- June 29, 2016
When Emilie Scheetz was 9, she stumbled across an after-school musical theater class.
She was cast as the witch in what she considered a “weird version of Snow White.” When she went on stage to sing her song, “I Got this Apple,” she felt the stage fright kick in.
“That’s first moment I realized, oh, I don’t know if I want to die of embarrassment right now, and I can kind of carry a tune, maybe this might be fun,” she said. “The more I did it, the more I thought, what an interesting way to tell stories and connect with a large group of people.”
Scheetz has performed in about a dozen shows since then. Now a 16-year-old student at Windermere Preparatory School, Scheetz is performing in her first production with Mad Cow Theatre.
The musical, “1776,” has an all-female cast, in a show that traditionally only has two female parts.
“The idea of it being all females is kind of like a political statement,” Scheetz said. “It’s making everyone think a lot. Just the whole concept of the show, it’s triggering a lot of thought-provoking conversations.”
The musical covers the events in 1776, leading up to the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the Revolutionary War.
Scheetz is the youngest actress in the show and plays the part of the Courier, who delivers messages to Congress from the battlefield. The courier acts as the sole voice in the musical that discusses realities of the war.
In the musical, the courier was expected to be between 14 and 16 years old, so the part is a good fit for Scheetz.
“She’s really quite special,” said Mark Edward Smith, who is directing Mad Cow Theatre’s production of “1776.”
“We had open auditions for the show and we saw a lot of people come in to audition for the show. Quite honestly, when (Scheetz) came in, it was obvious to us that she was the one we were going to cast in that role. She’s got a really natural presence on stage; she’s really honest in the way she approaches her character; she’s got an amazing singing voice.”
Smith said the show is one of the best-written musicals, and it helps people to really get to know the characters, even though audiences will recognize the characters from their history books.
In her first two years of high school, Scheetz attended Dr. Phillips High School. During her time at Windermere Prep and Dr. Phillips, she found she was cast in more motherly roles. But one of her favorite roles was Fiona in “Shrek the Musical.”
She is looking forward to performing for an audience that will consist of more than high-school parents and friends.
“I want audiences to leave not only thinking about the messages in the show but also the implications of the gender twist, or my song in particular, or really a lot of the songs just really stick with you,” she said. “I just want to affect people. I hope it makes people think.”
Contact Jennifer Nesslar at [email protected]