Wiregrass Thespians are headed to States


Wiregrass Ranch Thespians, Troupe 7142, competed at the IE festival on December 2, 2017 and returned with 9 awards: 1 Critics’ Choice, 5 Superiors, and 3 Excellents. The competition was held at Wesley Chapel High School where 18 drama club members participated in solo/duet musicals, duet acting pieces, and also tech events.

For the last couple months, Troupe 7142 has been preparing for this competition with the goal of coming back with as many Critics’ Choice awards as they could, and they succeeded by winning one.

“We hosted auditions in September, and then we had checks along the way where we would watch their performances after school. We would then tell them how they did and what to work on,” drama teacher Joel Murray explained.

Junior Vanessa Converse won a Critics’ Choice award for publicity design. She also won a Superior for makeup design. For her publicity design audition she created a poster, budgeting report, program, and a ticket design concept and presented it to the judges.  For her makeup audition, she applied makeup to 3 different fellow troupe members and took photos of them to present to the judges.

“I was really surprised I won it, because the competition was tough this year. It was an honor to represent my troupe and show what we are capable of,” Converse said.

Junior Zach D’Onofrio earned a Superior in Musical Theatre Solo for “If I Can’t Love Her” from the Beauty and the Beast musical. He also performed with Eli Oliveri and they both received an Excellent for “Agony” from Into the Woods.

“I think I did pretty good, though I could have improved on a lot of things,” D’Onofrio said, “and the judges gave me good feedback, which is going to help.”

Two other students, JD McDonald and Lillian Nelson also earned Superior ranking after a glitch in the new scoring system originally gave them Excellents. McDonald sang “Mr Cellophane” from Chicago, and Nelson sang “Fly, Fly Away” from Catch Me If You Can in the solo musical category.

In total, the Wiregrass Thespians have 4 members moving on to States: D’Onofrio, Converse, McDonald, and Nelson, all earning a superior or higher. Murray plans to polish the auditions before heading to the state competition.

“We need to practice more and incorporate more of the feedback since the judges leave a paragraph of feedback with what they like, what they are wondering about, what they’d like to see more of, etc… It can be really useful for what we can work on for states,” Murray explained.