Student actors perform outside of school

Several actors experiment with professional shows


Used with permission by Greta Nackerud

Gabriel Kaplan and Maria Perez-Barriga

Senior Greta Nackerud, who was a part of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” at the Minneapolis Children’s Theater Company, said she found herself acting in productions beyond the high school for several reasons.

“At some point when I was in seventh grade, I decided I wanted to be a famous actor. It’s not so much my goal anymore, but I knew everybody starts with theater, so I had to get out and do theater,” Nackerud said. “It’s my passion and I love doing it. I just really enjoy performing every day.”

According to Park theater director Jodi Hatzenbeller, there are many opportunities for students to act in and out of school.

“There are a lot of opportunities for student actors throughout the Twin Cities,” Hatzenbeller said. “Some (production companies) may have a more intensive audition process (than Park), especially if they have students coming in whom they have never met and whose acting skills they have no gage of yet.”

Senior Morganna Oberdorfer, who has acted at the Blue Water Theater Company in Wayzata, said she got involved in professional theater to experience what acting is like outside of St. Louis Park.

“I really wanted to reach out and get more of a variety of theater. I went to a show at Blue Water, and I saw at the back of the playbill that they had auditions coming up, so I decided to audition,” Oberdorfer said. “I started last year with ‘Pippin’ at the same company.”

Some students are able to stay active in both Park and professional theater at the same time, according to Hatzenbeller, but she said it is challenging to do so.

“We have a handful of students that manage to do both, but it’s difficult,” Hatzenbeller said. “It depends on the demands of each production. Our rehearsals tend to be right after school, so sometimes if they can have evening rehearsals, they can manage to balance both.”

Sophomore Phoebe McKinney, who has performed at Park and her church, said the ability to do more than one show at the same time depends on the intensity and difficulty of the shows.

“I know some places will accept everyone who auditions and some just take who they think are especially skilled, or some places you even have to pay to get it,” McKinney said. “It can be more of a commitment outside of school because you have to travel there and do practices outside of school, (which) is a big commitment and it depends on how demanding it is.”

Even just one professional show can be difficult to manage and requires a lot of communication with teachers, according to Nackerud.

“I usually have about two shows a day every day except on Mondays and Tuesdays,” Nackerud said. “I take Spanish and English at SLP and then I take pre-calc and psychology online. I go to school when I can and talk to the teachers on Mondays and get my schoolwork for the week and get through it. It’s all about communication and being on top of your work and time managing and all of that.”

Hatzenbeller said she encourages her students to seek experiences outside of Park, as they often bring new skills back to the school’s shows.

“It’s a great opportunity for students to take advantage of what’s available in the community,” Hatzenbeller said. “Selfishly, I hope we don’t lose too many of them from our own program when scheduling conflicts occur, but I certainly encourage them to take advantage of what they can because they learn and grow and then bring those new skills they’ve learned back to our program and make us stronger.”