High School North’s Thespian Society never fails to impress. From captivating fall dramas to dazzling spring musicals, our actors and actresses have quickly captured the hearts of our WW-P community. As the Class of 2021’s graduation is just around the corner, let’s take a look at some of North’s greatest performers.

Caroline Corriveau:

Shining on Stage

What have you participated in throughout your high school career?

“I have participated in North’s Spring Musical all four years. During my freshman year, I was in the ensemble in Les Miserables. Sophomore year, I played a narrator in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Junior year, I took on the role of Mary Poppins in Mary Poppins. And this year, my senior year, I was Theresa Liu in Working.”

What inspired you to get started in theater and the arts? What inspires you to keep going?

“I grew up surrounded by theater and the arts. Both my parents grew up participating in it and it was a huge part of my childhood. I absolutely love performing; the rush I get when I go up on that stage is unmatched.”

What moments and people will you remember from your experiences in high school and in the arts?

“The friendships that I have developed from doing the shows are some of the best I have ever had. Having a group of people in my life that are like a second family to me is so special and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

What challenges have you had to overcome?

“My dad (Mr. Corriveau) has been directing the shows at North for 21 years. While it is so special to have my dad supporting me and being by my side through musical season, it has caused many people to question when I get cast as a lead role. Many people are quick to assume I got the roles I did because of the position my dad holds. What they don’t know is how much harder it is for me to get these roles for this exact reason.”

What have you learned through these experiences?

“Being a part of the theater department at North has made me more confident in myself and my abilities. High school can be a stressful and anxiety-inducing four years. I feel as if I always have a group of people in my corner that I can depend on no matter what.”

What are your plans for college in regards to theater and the arts? Any other plans or hopes for the near future?

“While my dream is to become a nurse, I hope to try my hardest to incorporate my love for the arts into my college life next year.”

Max Wiener:

A Musical Talent

How did you first get into performing arts?

“I first got into performing in Middle School. I have always loved participating in choir, and in middle school, numerous opportunities to sing, act, and dance presented themselves to me such as the acapella groups and the musical, and I knew I had to get involved. After developing a passion and sincere joy for performance, I continued my participation in the program throughout high school.”

What has it been like participating in the musicals and plays over the course of your four years at North?

“I’ve participated in all of the musicals, and some of the plays including the fall drama this past year and Froshmore Plays, and I can only say that I have been able to join an incredible group of people that has become my second family. There is nothing like the feeling of performing with your closest friends, and it’s amazing to see the strong bonds and friendships established each year despite the constantly changing past.”

What is the biggest thing you’ve learned from performing? What has it taught you?

“Theater has taught me to be confident and to reveal the true sides of myself to people. The ability to perform in front of an audience tests one’s ability to look past their own insecurities and to portray any character- no matter how unique or embarrassing it may be.”

What are your future plans in college? Is performing a part of these future plans?

“I plan on continuing to perform as a hobby in college as I simply cannot give up my love for performing and the experience of being in a show. I enjoy theatrical performance too much to move on from it.”

What piece of advice would you give to aspiring high school Thespians?

“For any aspiring thespians: don’t be afraid to put yourself out there! Holding back your emotions, your voice, your personality, for whatever reason, is a limitation for your performance capabilities. Not only will you reap the benefits of performing at your best with a certain role in a show that you may have wanted to get, but it is incredibly invigorating and enlightening in terms of discovering who you really are.”

Makenna Katz:

North’s Star Performer

What encouraged you to get into performing? 

“I started performing when I was seven at the Kelsey Theater in Mercer County Community College. I grew up attending shows there with my grandparents, and after seeing a production of Pinocchio, performed by only teenagers, I decided I wanted to be onstage too! That following summer, I attended Tomato Patch Theater Camp there and fell in love with performing.”

What is the most memorable experience you’ve had in your performing career at North?

“The first in-person rehearsal for our production of Working. Because there was so much uncertainty surrounding the musical this year, getting to see everyone on that first day was so exciting. Even though we were masked and socially distanced, being with everyone again was the best feeling.”

What is the best part of performing? 

“The best part of performing for me is the feeling when you walk onstage for your first entrance on the opening night of a show. There is no rush quite like watching an audience experience the character you have spent months perfecting.”

What challenges came with putting together the most recent show Working? 

“Because we didn’t have access to the tent until the week leading up to the show, it was hard for the cast to replicate everything we had rehearsed inside onto the platforms outside. Secondly, masks made learning music difficult. It was hard to get a good understanding of the sound quality of each voice part and what it would sound like once we took the masks off. Also, trying to convey facial expressions through a mask was difficult. That’t to say it was difficult to stay motivated to act “through the mask.”

Who is your support system? 

“My family! When I decided to start doing theater, my parents knew nothing about it. But because I had such a passion for it, they quickly learned the ropes on how to be traditional theater parents. Since then, my dad has helped with stage crew for almost every show I have performed in and my mom started off as the prop master, and now stage manages and produces shows that I am involved in!”

What do you plan on doing in the future in respect to performing? 

“Although I am not majoring in theater, I plan to join performance clubs in college and perform in Kelsey Theater shows when I am home for summer breaks!”

Lea Dempsey:

An Artist of All Types

When did you first realize you wanted to be a performer?

“At Millstone, they used to take the fifth graders to Community Middle School to watch the yearly show. After seeing them over the years, I knew I had to participate.”

What performances have you been in over the course of your four years at North? Which one was your favorite?

“I’ve been in almost every musical and drama all four years and Bang Bang You’re Dead since Sophomore year. Out of them all, Mary Poppins has to be my favorite show. It was the first time I was casted in an individual role and my part was very funny. Still, the overall experience of being in our most recent show Working and getting so close to the cast has definitely trumped any other year I’ve participated.”

What is the biggest lesson you’ve taken away from being a performer?

“Confidence and shamelessness is absolutely key.”

What has it been like participating in Bang Bang You’re Dead?

“For anyone who is unfamiliar, Bang Bang You’re Dead is a production aimed to depict the events leading up to and after a school shooting. Unfortunately, two out of the three years i’ve participated in BBYD, the pandemic has lorded over the world. Despite this, i’ve always found Bang Bang to be a positive experience and a show too important to ignore.”

What are your future plans? Is performing a part of those plans?

“While my major in college is going to be Animation, I plan on doing enough theater to pursue a minor in it! Beyond college, working in the Animation field may open up some doors for me in voice acting, which would be a great way for me to continue acting as well.”

Is there a final message you’d like to express to fellow Thespians, High School North students and staff, or the WW-P community?

“If you don’t show people you can do something, they’ll never know you can—be bold, give yourself a chance, and everyone else will follow!”

Sophia Barbatsuly:

Born to Perform

Picture Source: AngelEye Photography

When did first start performing? What compelled you to continue?

“I started performing when I was three years old at my first dance recital. I was raised watching movies, musicals, and live theatre. Still, it wasn’t until seventh grade when I auditioned for my school’s play that I realized I had a true love for performing.”

What have you taken away from performing in the plays and musicals held at North?

“The biggest thing I’ve learned is that putting on a show is a lot of hard work, but hard work that is worth it in the end. Each time we work together and perform onstage, that fact is proven. It doesn’t matter what part, how big or small, you play or what scenes you are in. Everyone is equally as important in making a show great!”

What is your favorite memory from rehearsals/performances?

“In general, I would say my favorite memories are being at rehearsal, whether we were singing, dancing. Getting to know the cast and crew during rehearsals and working as a team is a lot of fun. I will say my favorite memory from rehearsals at North was learning the choreography for the Potiphar dance in Joseph, my Sophomore year!”

Do you perform in productions outside of North?

“I’ve been dancing for 15 years and, at the end of each year, we perform in a recital. Along with dance, I take singing lessons and my voice coach holds two singing concerts a year that I perform in.”

Is performing and dancing a part of your college/future plans?

“Performing is definitely a part of my future. I will be majoring in Theatre and Performance at Bard College! I also plan on joining dance clubs on campus to further my dance training.”

In what ways do you think you’ve grown as a performer between your freshman and senior year?

“As an incoming freshman, I was just happy to make the cast of one of my first performances at North, Les Miserables. Now, with a lot of hard work, blood, sweat, and tears, I know what I’m capable of doing on stage. I hope in the future with more training, that I will find a place in this industry and grow into my role as a performer.”

Michael Wu:

A Vibrant Stage Personality

How did you get into performing in musicals and plays?

“Everything happened really suddenly in sophomore year. I was just hanging around with my friends after school as they were prepping for the spring musical auditions that year. They convinced me to audition with them. That one experience led to me stepping out of my comfort zone and trying more music-related things. I was already in band, but I did not do much beyond that. First, it was Out of the Blue, then Knight Owls, and then Mary Poppins, so on and so forth. In hindsight, my time before high school kind of hinted at musicals and performing arts before I consciously even noticed. When I was little, I did gymnastics. In middle school, I even dabbled in ballet. I even worked on stage crew and lights for the middle school shows in 7th and 8th grade. The world was yelling at me to do theater, but I guess I never got the message. I’m glad it finally caught my attention.”

What is your favorite part about performing?

“My favorite part of performing is that moment right at the end of a big number or at the end of the show. Your surroundings suddenly get so still as there is this sigh of relief right before the applause. It’s a triumphant feeling towards all that the cast has accomplished and the work that we put into it. Everyone is proud of the show they’ve put on and you can feel it in the air flooding your senses. “

What will you miss most about performing at North?

“I will miss my fellow cast members because they are the people that made the musical an unforgettable experience. They were the people that made it a lot easier to get through the lengthy Saturday rehearsals and rehearsals after a long day of school. These people made it so that there was something besides the musical itself to look forward to every day there was rehearsal.”

What is a moment from your performing arts career at North that you will never forget?

“One unforgettable moment was on the opening night of Mary Poppins during the ‘Step in Time’ number. The whole number was already chaotic and rambunctious, but I think my contribution that night put the cherry on top. I was doing my tumbling pass into a backflip as usual. That day, my microphone was attached to my body differently. That is to say, it detached from my body. The transmitter flew off and took with it bits and pieces of my microphone cable. Needless to say, mic-tape was not a problem for the following four shows.”

Many of us know that you also spend your free time on the lacrosse field. What sparked your interest in lacrosse?

“I promised an old friend in middle school that I would join the lacrosse team. I wasn’t really interested in the sport, but more than anything, I was just a shy kid and afraid of new things. Naturally, I didn’t fulfill that promise until high school when I joined as a freshman with some good friends.”

How has the combination of being a student-athlete and performing influenced the person you are today?

“I am physically tired, exhausted, drained, more synonyms, you get the point. Since the world opened up a little bit, sports, the musical, and school flooded in all at once. In the game of life, this spring’s MVP was the bitter bean juice. Jokes aside, the past couple of months have been a lot of work. Every day I wanted to crash in my bed and hibernate, but I still managed to get out of bed the next day. I knew deep down that I loved what I was doing, filling every second of the day with every one of my hobbies. Yeah, I was physically tired, but I’m more tired of feeling like I have to choose one confining path in my life. Life is just too short to stick to the easy path.”

Contributors: Nona Saharan (Managing Editor), Jack Carter (Staff Writer), Natalie Leung (Staff Writer), Zohra Ahsan (Staff Writer), & Aadi Saharan (Staff Writer)

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