With Variety Theatre’s 10th anniversary production on the horizon, we reached out to the special Variety Kids and Teens at the very heart of every performance. In the weeks leading up to the show, we’ll share their inspiring stories here on our blog in a series titled “Why Variety Theatre.”
It is not just the St. Louis community that Variety Theatre has impacted for ten years – this program has placed its mark on its many participants, some of whom have had a role in each of the nine productions to date. Two of these participants are best friends Gracie and Meghan.
Gracie and Meghan are Variety Teens who have grown up together through our programs.
Both girls appeared on stage in our first eight productions before taking on roles behind-the-scenes as Variety Theatre Interns last year. Now, for our 10th anniversary production in 2018, they will return as interns.
Gracie, who is our Director Intern this year, most appreciates the opportunities Variety Theatre has given her that she wouldn’t have received anywhere else. “Director Lara Teeter really listens to me and wants to know my thoughts,” says Gracie.
For Meghan, who is this year’s Props Intern, it’s been all about the self-esteem boost Variety Theatre has given her. “My number one lesson from Variety Theatre is confidence. Theatre has really taught me to express myself and to always have a positive outlook.”
One of the ways Meghan expressed herself and her newfound confidence was by writing a song, which was then performed by our Variety Children’s Chorus!
And, for both girls, Theatre has been about the lifelong friendships they have formed, both with each other and other members of the cast. “Tom Sawyer (Variety Theatre’s first production) was such an amazing experience. The cast and the crew became family, and some of those people are still in our lives today. They continue to inspire me to follow my dreams,” says Gracie.
In fact, Gracie and Meghan recently traveled to New York City to visit one of these friends. Christian Propst, who played the titular role in that first show, is now on Broadway in The Book of Mormon. The girls went to see him perform, and even got a tour!
The friendship these two girls share truly shines through when they talk about each other.
When asked about Gracie, Meghan says, “She is just a really positive, bright and funny person. She’s so cool – and she helps with my confidence too. I think, ‘If she can do this, I can do this!’”
Gracie adds, “Meghan is such an inspiration! We could all learn a lesson from her.”
These girls, and their Variety cast mates, truly have been an inspiration for us all. They influence each other, their fellow cast and crew, and audiences with their stunning skills, but also their drive and determination to reach for their dreams. And Variety Theatre has had this same effect on all of our participants, both with and without disabilities.
Meghan puts it best, saying, “Variety Theatre is bigger than anyone can imagine.”
You can see the impact of Variety Theatre for yourself this October 18 – 21 when we present Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Tickets available here.