First Stage's Dorothys get ready to leave 'Kansas'.

1:15 PM
Talk about tornados.  The process of getting into college is a whirlwind that can make even the most prepared students dizzy and disoriented.  Alyssa Sylvester and Jade Taylor, the First Stage young performers who recently appeared as "Dorothy" in the production THE WIZ, are both seniors in high school, and they are deep in the process of finding their way to the right college. 

They have taken the standardized tests, visited schools,written essays,completed the common application, and submitted letters of recommendation. But they are actors and that means one more hurdle.  They must audition too.

So now add in to the process the need to select and fine-tune several audition pieces. Each school has different procedures.  Some universities and colleges, like University of Minnesota, will not allow a student to audition without first being accepted by the program.  Others, like Juilliard and NYU, disregard all other elements of the application until they see an audition.  Some require a classical monologue, others specify modern.  They all want passionate desire and talent.  It quickly gets overwhelming.

Jade Taylor, a senior at St. Joan Antida in Milwaukee, says it was a grueling process.  "I've made hundreds of lists.  I do all my audition pieces myself.  I sent tapes to the schools I want.  It's a lot of work."  Ms. Taylor hopes to attend a four-year college and graduate with a bachelor in fine arts.  Ms. Sylvester, who is a senior at Milwaukee High School of the Arts, and who also hopes to enter a BFA program says, "My mom and I put together this spreadsheet.  I've been working on this for months.  I've also been applying for scholarships, which adds another twist to the whole thing."

Both of these accomplished actors have a secret weapon in the quest for landing the right school.  Their mothers.  Given the workload of high school, the committment of a First Stage production, and college applications, it's no surprise that both have leaned heavily on their moms.  Ms. Taylor readily admits that she would not have been able to complete this journey without her mom.  Ms. Sylvester gushes, "My mom is amazing. She has been there for me every step of the way. She loves me so much -- even more than I love myself!"

When asked about the future, these young women don't mince words.  Ms. Taylor is determined to succeed: "I am a type A person and I expect a lot from myself.  Obviously, it's very competitive, but the adult actors I've met on THE WIZ have taught me that it is possible to make this your life.  I can do this."
Ms. Sylvester says, "I don't know what to do or where to go but I'm figuring it out.  People tell me New York City is scary and that there's too much competition but I don't listen to anyone.  I don't care what they say.  I'm going to make it."

Photo of Alyssa Sylvester (above) and Jade Taylor (below) courtesy of Bobbi Navine and Amy Taylor.


Amy said...

You are both amazing and are gonna go far!! I can't wait to see how things unfold... you will be missed in Kansas though.

Amy said...

I can hardly wait to see how the future unfolds for the two of you. You are both so amazing! You will be greatly missed as you journey on.

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