Spotlight on Hannah Oertwig

How long have you been performing on stage? My very first show ever was through Yorba Linda Spotlight. I was 8 years old and have been performing for about 8 years now. My older sister introduced me to musical theatre and sparked my passion for performing. Once Upon A Mattress will be my 22nd stage production.

What was your first show with Yorba Linda Spotlight? My very first show with Spotlight was the first time they did Beauty And The Beast back in 2009. My older sister encouraged me to try out and it was my first time ever being on a stage. Once Upon A Mattress will be my 16th show with them.

Why do you like performing in shows with Yorba Linda Spotlight? I love performing with Spotlight because it truly is not like any other company. Spotlight’s quality of shows is not your average community theatre company. I love coming to honestly my second home because of how encouraging and supportive the environment is. Theatre can be very competitive at times and it’s nice to know that we are all there for each other. Also, I love how professional Spotlight is while we continue to have crazy amounts of fun. In every show, I’m always improving and continue to learn new things.

What is your dream role? I would absolutely love to play Penny Pingleton in Hairspray and Yonah in Children Of Eden. I would also like to play Audrey in Little Shop Of Horrors. Each of these roles sound great and interesting in their own ways and I would love to portray them.

Of the roles that you’ve played, which has been your favorite? My first lead ever was in You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown and I was Sally Brown. That was such a fun role that I would love to play again! Also, I really enjoyed playing Andrea Devereaux in Once On This Island. But, playing Queen Aggravain right now in Once Upon A Mattress is definitely going to be in my favorite roles. I love how over the top she is and it’s super fun to be the villain.

Has Spotlight helped you grow as a performer? If so, how? Spotlight has not only helped me grow as a performer but as a person. Their guidance and training has helped me improve in all areas. I have taken various drama and theatre classes that taught me the basics of acting. I have taken weekly voice lessons for years through Spotlight and I have improved immensely. I have taken many dance classes and continue to grow in my abilities. They have taught me the definition of teamwork, determination, and encouragement.

What do you like to do when you’re not performing? I am very involved at my school, El Dorado High School. I am actively involved in EDHS choral music program and theatre department. When I’m not performing at Spotlight or school, I am usually creating makeup looks or hanging out with friends.

If you could choose a show for Spotlight to produce, what would it be and why? I would love for Spotlight to produce Children Of Eden! I have been fortunate enough to have done that show already through my school. I just love the simplicity, story, and gorgeous music. I know Spotlight would do a wonderful job. Some other shows I would love them to put on are Curtains, Catch Me If You Can, Bonnie and Clyde, Little Shop Of Horrors, and Les Miserables.

What are your strongest and weakest traits as a performer? I would consider myself a stronger singer and actress. I have always loved to sing and think it comes most naturally to me. I have definitely improved through vocal lessons at Spotlight. Dancing is probably my weakest trait. I’m not a horrible dancer, but it is what I’m least comfortable with. However, weekly dance classes have definitely helped me and now I’m focusing on tap. I am constantly improving and learning new things.

Of Spotlight’s past shows, which has been your favorite and why? I loved Once On This Island because of how unique it was. It had such a beautiful story, gorgeous music, and fun dance numbers. I also really enjoyed Shrek and Hairspray. They were both very energetic and upbeat shows!

Anything else you want to say? I would like to say how thankful I am for Yorba Linda Spotlight! They have shaped me into the performer and person I am today. They have supplied me with so many wonderful opportunities, lifelong friends, and an abundance of memories I will cherish forever. Through their guidance and support, I continue to learn and improve in every way. I would have never guessed I would be so passionate about theatre and performing as I am today!

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Spotlight on Victoria Goodkind

How long have you been performing on stage?  I started performing on stage when I was 8 years old and have been performing ever since. My very first show ever was here at Yorba Linda Spotlight. My brother’s friends had started doing shows and so he got myself and my sister into performing.

What was your first show with Yorba Linda Spotlight? My first show with Yorba Linda Spotlight was Beauty and the Beast in 2009. It was my first experience ever performing on stage, so you could imagine how 8 year old me felt being on the stage for the first time in a major production. Once Upon A Mattress will be my 22nd show at Spotlight.

Why do you like performing in shows with Yorba Linda Spotlight? I like performing in shows here because you won’t find a place like this anywhere else. Not only is their production value incredible, but the training and quality of shows they put together is unlike anything. Each show I do here, I grow into an even better performer and I continue to improve. We manage to put on incredible shows but still have so much fun putting them on. We have fun in rehearsals and have such a great support system with Yorba Linda Spotlight’s staff.

What is your dream role? I have been fortunate enough to have played one of my dream roles, The Witch in Into the Woods, here at Spotlight. Some roles that would be my dream to play would be Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast, Pennywise in Urinetown, and Bea in Something Rotten. Each of these roles add something unique to the show and are such strong women that I’d love to portray!

Of the roles that you’ve played, which has been your favorite? My favorite role to ever play would be a tie between the Witch and Erzulie in Once on This Island. They were both challenging for me as a performer because they are two completely different roles. It helped me grow immensely vocally and in my acting abilities.

Has Spotlight helped you grow as a performer? If so, how? Spotlight has definitely helped me grow as a performer in all ways possible. Ever since I was little performing, I have looked up to the older kids wanting to be like them and being my theater role models. I was able to grow through a constant support system and incredible training through the wonderful people who make up the Spotlight team. I have been able to go outside my comfort zone and push myself with challenging roles. I am constantly learning new ways I can improve myself in each show. They have also taught me how to be professional in this environment but still have an amazing time while I perform.

What do you like to do when you’re not performing? When I am not performing at Spotlight, I am actively involved in my high school. I love participating in my schools choir, whether it be a concert or traveling the world with my choir friends. I also spend a lot of my time just hanging out with friends and seeing other shows around the county and supporting my peers.

If you could choose a show for Spotlight to produce, what would it be and why? If I could chose any show for Spotlight to produce, it would be either Urinetown or The Addams Family. I think they are both such unique shows and have something special to each. They both incorporate acting, singing, and dancing, which I think would help all of our performers to grow immensely. They also seem like so much fun to do and be a part of.

What are your strongest and weakest traits as a performer? I would definitely say that singing is my strongest trait. I take weekly vocal lessons here at YL Spotlight and that has been my main focus growing as a performer. Music has always been a passion of mine, so it isn’t a burden to practice over and over again. I would say my weakest trait would be dancing. I’ve always been a little stiff, so dancing did not come naturally to me. So, knowing that its my weakest trait, I’ve been taking dance classes through my school and through Spotlight, and I can already say I’ve grown immensely and I will keep practicing and improving.

Of Spotlight’s past shows, which has been your favorite and why? My favorite show I’ve done at Spotlight would be School of Rock. It was such a new show to do and different than anything we’ve ever done before. I loved getting to see the younger kids work so hard to perfect their instruments and see how well they did on stage. I made so many new friends and was able to push myself outside my comfort zone. The show’s cast was incredibly close and I felt that after all of those long rehearsals and months of working hard, we were able to put together a fantastic show. It helped me grow as a performer by doing something that isn’t your typical musical theatre show.

Anything else you want to say? I would just like to say how grateful I am for Yorba Linda Spotlight. They are my second family and I have been fortunate enough to grow up having somewhere like Spotlight to come to every week. I have grown tremendously through Spotlight not only as a performer but as a person. They have truly shaped me into the performer I am and I would not have the passion and love for musical theatre without Spotlight!

 

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Spotlight on Ron Kinloch

How long have you been performing on stage? I began my “performance career” if you will in Kindergarten in my school’s production of The Music Man. My teacher Mrs. Bray was playing the role of Mrs. Paroo and the director needed some younger kids to fill out the ensemble. She saw someone like me, filled with energy, constantly talking in class, and someone who could never really sit still, so she asked me, or well really my parents, if I’d be interested in it. Before my parents could even respond, I jumped at the chance and shouted YES. That experience really skyrocketed my love for Musical Theatre and I’ve been performing onstage ever since!

What was your first show with Yorba Linda Spotlight? My first show with Spotlight was Beauty and the Beast, the first time they produced it back in the summer of 2009. I’ve been with the company ever since, and their upcoming production of Legally Blonde will be my 22nd show with them! (P.S.: Come see Legally Blonde April 21st through the 24th! Be there!)

Why do you like performing in shows with Yorba Linda Spotlight? As I stated previously, the people and creative team I get to work with. I can be having the worst day ever, but then I remember I have rehearsal and I instantly perk up at the fact that I get to come “home” essentially. Spotlight creates for itself such a warm and welcoming environment that I love being a part of. The creative team has practically become my mentors and I owe them everything when it comes how much I’ve grown in this business. The people I’ve gotten to work with over the past 8 years I’ve been with the company have become my family, and they keep me coming back. Along with all that, they pull out all the stops for their productions. They go above and beyond what people’s expectations are and then some! They will do whatever it takes to make these shows phenomenal and won’t pass over any little detail. With Mary Poppins for example, they could’ve easily said, “You know, Mary doesn’t need to fly. We can just have her exit stage right when the time comes.” and that would’ve been that. But they want to, like I said, go above and beyond, and so come end of Act One, Mary went flying over the rooftops of London. They will do whatever it takes to create a wonderful show, for the audience and for the cast.

What is your dream role? That’s a tough one! I have so many! Luckily through Spotlight I’ve had the opportunity to cross two of them off my list, Pinocchio from Shrek the Musical, and most recently, The Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz, but I would LOVE to play both again in the future. When it comes down to ones I haven’t played, Mary Sunshine from Chicago is for sure up there, along with Officer Lockstock in Urinetown. Both of those roles are so different from each other and I would love to be given the difficult task to make those roles my own and see what I could do with them. Other roles that I would love to play but aren’t necessarily dream roles are Prez in The Pajama Game, Bobby in A Chorus Line, Sylvia in Ruthless, Gomez in The Addams Family, and King Charlemagne in Pippin. Unrealistically, of course I have to say Elphaba in Wicked, and then Eliza Hamilton in Hamilton. Hey, a guy can dream right!

Of the roles that you’ve played, what has been your favorite? I would definitely have to say just recently, The Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz. It was so much fun bringing such an iconic role to life onstage in such a well known story. I loved making the role my own while also staying true to the character that everyone who’s seen The Wizard of Oz knows of. Not only that, but my costume was INCREDIBLE. It was the same one used in the Madison Square Garden Production and I LOVED it, it was hot, but I LOVED IT!

Has Spotlight helped you grow as a performer? If so, how? Absolutely! Besides school theatre previously, they were the ones to introduce me to this “brand new world.” I’ve learned so much when it comes to singing, acting, and dancing with the training I’ve received. The creative team has pretty much taught me everything I know, I’ve taken voice lessons with them, dance lessons, and so on. They’ve shaped me into the performer I am. I started with them as a performer, but as time went on, I began to get involved with the company through other aspects. With them, I’ve choreographed, stage managed, production managed, ran the box office, worked microphones, helped with hair and makeup, run stage crew, the list is endless! They’ve opened so many doors for me within the realm of theatre. Through them I now have various knowledge of numerous theatre fields, and I couldn’t be more grateful for that.

What do you like to do when you’re not performing? Honestly, I cannot think of a time when I’m not performing! I currently attend the Orange County School of the Arts in their Musical Theatre Conservatory, so even at school I’m singing and dancing my way through life. Then at night I usually have rehearsal or am practicing for some recital performance or school event. Even my job consists of performing! I currently work at The Disneyland Resort as a Performer, so even then I can’t get away from it! Haha! I would have to say that in the little time I’m not performing, I’m hanging out with friends, going to Disneyland, obsessing over Killer Whales and Paint The Night, and just living my life to the fullest!

If you could choose a show for Spotlight to produce, what would it be and why? So many tough questions! Haha! One hundred percent, I would have to say Urinetown. The show is so funny and crazy and I love how comedic everything is. Other shows I would love for Spotlight to do are The Pajama Game, West Side Story, A Chorus Line, Pippin, and Bye Bye Birdie (again!). All of those shows have so many great characters and I would love to see what twists could be put on them.

What are your strongest and weakest traits as a performer? I would have to say that singing and acting are my strongest, while dancing is definitely my weakest. That’s not to say I’m the worst dancer, but that’s the one area I focus primarily on to improve upon. I love dancing the most so I love being able to work on it whenever I can!

Of Spotlight’s past shows, which has been your favorite and why? Another tough question! I’m gonna have to say top three, because I have too many favorites! In no particular order, Hairspray, Shrek The Musical, and of course, The Wizard of Oz. I absolutely loved Hairspray because of all dancing. I consider myself a pretty strong dancer, and it was so fun being one of the “Nicest Kids In Town” and portraying the “All American Teenager” while dancing on The Corny Collins Show. The dances were so fun to perform and that show just holds a special place in my heart. Shrek The Musical is also up there as well, simply because I got to portray one of my dream roles, Pinocchio. I just got to prance around the stage acting all sassy and just saying whatever came to my, well, Pinocchio’s mind (providing it was in the script haha). Also, I loved being in the big dance numbers, Story of My Life and Freak Flag. Pinocchio is essentially the leader of the Fairy Tale Creatures and it was so much fun being “the boss.” And last but certainly not least, The Wizard of Oz. Being able to portray the Cowardly Lion was such a dream, but there’s also another reason why I loved this show so much: the People. The four of us, Veronica Ornelas, Josh Bates, Jared Piper (Dorothy, Scarecrow, and Tinman respectively) and myself became so close, along with Cassie Bangle, Grace Underwood, Rob Bergman, and Haley Enos (The Wicked Witch, Glinda, The Wizard, and Aunt Em). All together we became such this tight-knit family and were practically inseparable come closing show, and it was so hard to have to say goodbye to such an amazing experience.

Anything else you want to say? Thank you Spotlight for forming me into the performer I am today, I would not be where I am without you guys. It has been such an honor and a privilege working with you guys over the years, and I could not be more grateful for the people I’ve met and the opportunities I’ve been given. So thank you!

Spotlight on Shane Norys

How long have you been performing on stage? I have been performing for about 5 years so since I was about 10. I have done about 20 on stage shows (musicals & plays) and about 5 concerts or dance shows.

What was your first show with Spotlight? My first show at YL Spotlight was one of my favorites, “Into the Woods”. I was 13 years old and I played Jack in, actually the young adult cast. That was very surprising because I was not old enough! That role will always be one of my favorites.

Why do you like performing in shows with Spotlight? The reason I love performing with Spotlight is because, they don’t pick favorites or are rude to certain performers. They are absolutely nice to each and every person in every cast they direct. They are very welcoming and loving. When I walked into the audition room for the first time I instantly felt like i was a part of the Spotlight family.

What is your dream role? My dream role which has been the same my whole life is Peter Pan. I have a very strong connection to him and I have always wanted to portray him. Peter Pan is very adventurous and never wants to grow up which is just like me. I would also love to play Lumiere (Beauty and the Beast), Pinnochio (Shrek the Musical), Jack Kelly (Newsies). A female dream role I would love to be just for funzies would be Mary Poppins. She looks really fun and I would lover to perform as her!

Of the roles that you’ve played, which has been your favorite? Of the roles I’ve played I would have to say Willy Wonka which is what I am doing right now. He is just so funny and sassy and that is just like me. I am playing him as a boy Mary Poppins which is really working out. I would love to play him again sometime in the future!

How has Spotlight helped you grow as a performer? Spotlight has helped me grow because I have been so many types of characters and each one was different which made me realize my strengths and differences as an actor.

What do you like to do when you’re not performing? When I am not performing I like to go to Disneyland and take pictures of shows, characters, parades, and just all of Disneylands beautiful sites. I also like cooking, photography, and dancing day and night.

What are your strongest and weakest traits as a performer? My strongest traits as a performer would probably be singing and dancing because I feel really comfortable when I am doing these things and I don’t feel scared. My weakest would be acting. I really don’t feel like I act everything correctly or do it correctly, I also get really stressed with memorizing lines, I should probably learn to not get stressed but for right now, I am okay.

If you could choose a show for Spotlight to produce, what would it be and why? I would probably choose Spotlight to produce Tarzan. Tarzan is a show I have been wanting to do forever. I feel like they could do it, the vocals & choreography would be amazing and I just think it would be such a good family show for all ages and it is Disney which makes it even better!

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Spotlight on Hannah Campbell

How long have you been performing on stage?
I started performing in Kindergarten, so about ten years ago. My very first performance was in a play about Santa Claus where I was an elf. I continued doing small shows through school all throughout elementary school. They weren’t official productions or anything, they would usually just be little musicals about the gold rush or the organs in the human body, things that were related to what we were learning in school. When I was eight, I started taking voice lessons, so I started singing in recitals a couple times a year. However, I didn’t start doing community theatre and “real” musicals until I was 10, so 5 years ago.

What was your first show with Spotlight?
My first Spotlight show was The Wiz in the summer of 2011. I was 10 years old and I played a Munchkin/ Oz Citizen. Once on This Island will be my twelfth show at Spotlight.

Why do you like performing in shows with Spotlight?
For one, the quality of their productions has always been outstanding. Not only through the sets and costumes, but the entire process of the show as well. Although it is a youth theatre, we’re always treated professionally and pushed to be the best performers we can be. The creative team has always been so helpful and supportive of me and to this day, teaching me so much. There is such a sense of family and support here, and I’ve met so many wonderful people here and made so many amazing friends.

What is your dream role?
Eliza from Hamilton. Without a doubt. I am a die-hard Hamilton fan, so that’s one reason. Also, I just love singing all of her songs so much. They’re all so catchy and well-written and fun to sing. The Baker’s Wife from Into the Woods is another dream role of mine, and I have been lucky enough to have played her before at Spotlight!! But I would really love to play her again in the future. Some other roles that I really want to play are Fiona from Shrek, Fantine in Les Mis, and Fanny Brice from Funny Girl.

Of the roles that you’ve played, which has been your favorite?
Ti Moune is my favorite roll I’ve gotten to play so far, because it is probably one of the most difficult roles I’ve ever had to step into, both vocally and acting-wise. I absolutely love a challenge when it comes to performing. This is the hardest I’ve ever had to work for a part, and I love it. This part has some of the hardest songs I’ve ever had to sing in a show before. I also have gotten to do a lot of dramatic, intense acting for this role, which was something I hadn’t done very much of before. I feel like being Ti Moune has broadened my horizons and helped me grow a lot as a performer. It has overall been a very fun role to play.

How has Spotlight helped you grow as a performer?
Let me start out by saying that starting Yorba Linda Spotlight was essentially what kindled my love for theatre in the first place. So I might not even be a performer today if it weren’t for them. So much of what I know about theatre is because of Spotlight. I have taken vocal lessons with Sarah, our musical director for a couple of years now, and she has helped me improve so much. I’ve learned most of my acting skills from Spotlight as well. Being in the shows and getting feedback about my performance from my directors has helped me learn a lot about acting. And when it’s not the creative team helping and teaching me, it’s the other performers. A lot of what I’ve learned at Spotlight has been from watching other, older performers and picking up on what they were doing. It has truly been such a great environment for me to learn and grow as a performer.

What do you like to do when you’re not performing?
Between school, theatre, and homework, I don’t usually have that much spare time during the year. (This is what I get for taking AP.) But when I do have free time, I enjoy drawing and writing stories. I also love to read and spend time with my friends.

If you could choose a show for Spotlight to produce, what would it be and why?
I would love for them to do A Chorus Line. It’s one of my favorites, and it has so many great roles in it. It’s also a very dance-heavy show, which I think would be a ton of fun.

What are your strongest and weakest traits as a performer?
Singing is for sure my strongest. Music has always come very naturally to me, probably because I’ve been hearing it ever since I was born and I grew up with a piano teacher for a mother. I’ve always had great pitch and a good musical ear. Dance is my weak spot, as I am a very clumsy person. I’ve definitely improved a lot though. I used to not even be able to do a box step without tripping over myself haha… but yeah. Dance does not come naturally or easily to me, so I’m going to try my best to keep practicing and to keep improving.

Of Spotlight’s past shows, which has been your favorite and why?
I loved being in Hairspray. That was my first time doing a more dance-heavy musical and I had so much fun. It’s just such a great, upbeat musical, and probably one of the best shows ever to be ensemble in. I also had an amazing time doing You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. I was Lucy and it was the first time I had gotten to be a leading role in a show, and I learned so much from it. I also enjoyed it because (being that I was thirteen at the time and this was a junior show,) it was nice to be in a cast with so many people who were my age. I made so many friends during that show, and it really helped me come out of my shell a bit more at Spotlight.

Anything else you want to say?
I am so lucky to be a part of Yorba Linda Spotlight. Had I told myself back when I started here that I would improve as much as I have, I wouldn’t have believed myself. I never would have guessed that I would ever love performing as much as I do or that I would ever be as passionate about theatre as I am today.

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Spotlight on Bianca Turner

How long have you been performing on stage? I’ve been performing onstage for six and a half years now. Once on This Island will be my 19th show with Yorba Linda Spotlight and 35th show overall. I started out at a young age doing a lot of print work and commercials when one day my agent recommended I try out musical theatre because she said it would look good on a resume. Reluctantly, I auditioned for my first show ever (which happened to be with Yorba Linda Spotlight). I figured I would absolutely hate it but it ended up being the best thing that ever happened to me. I stopped everything else I was doing and decided musical theatre was what I wanted to do. I’ve been at it ever since.

What was your first show with Spotlight? My first show was Alice in Wonderland: the play. I was the Lori Bird in that show, which was actually a pretty big part. I remember being so excited to be a part of the show once we got into rehearsals and to make a ton of friends. Since it was a play, we read sides for the audition. So when auditions for Into the Woods came along, the show following Alice in Wonderland, nine year old me was absolutely shocked to find out we had to sing and ended up performing the only musical theatre song she knew at the time, Castle on a Cloud, for a Sondheim audition.

Why do you like performing in shows with Spotlight? YLSpotlight has always been my second home. I grew up with this company and without it I wouldn’t be the performer or person that I am today. You can always count on Spotlight to treat their performers professionally throughout the rehearsal processes while still giving us the resources and teaching us the skills we need to grow and succeed in our productions. We always do really interesting shows that fit our company well and perform at beautiful venues. More than anything, I love the creative teams at Spotlight. They always treat us as equals and are truly a pleasure to work with.

What is your dream role? Ahh the ultimate question to ask any theatre kid. There’s so many things I could answer this question with, from gender bend dream roles such as Elder Price in Book of Mormon or a dream role that I’ve already been fortunate enough to play, Val in A Chorus Line, but when it comes down to it my ultimate dream role would have to be Millie in Thoroughly Modern Millie. It’s such a fun show (as I’ve done it twice playing Cora and Mrs. Meers) but I’ve always really related to Millie, as she’s super spunky and she knows what she wants and she goes and gets it. Other roles I would love to play include Carrie White (Carrie), Heather Chandler (Heathers), Natalie (All Shook Up), Ariel (Footloose), Cathy (The Last Five Years), and Pennywise (Urinetown).

Of the roles that you’ve played, which has been your favorite? Val in A Chorus Line was an amazing role to play as she is truly a triple threat so I got to strengthen my singing, acting, and dancing. Gingy in Shrek was really fun as the role is totally over the top an has the best solo ever at the beginning of Freak Flag. Lastly, Ursula will always hold a special place in my heart. It was my first big role which been fortunate enough to play twice.

How has Spotlight helped you grow as a performer? Spotlight has helped me grow as a performer in so many ways. I’ve been challenged with a lot of roles that have pushed me vocally to work on expanding my range, both higher and lower. I also started off in musical theatre with two left feet, and I have Spotlight to thank for helping me become a better dancer. I’ve gotten to tap a lot with this company which I love and have got to do some really awesome dancing in productions such as Peter Pan and Once on This Island. Recently, we did a production of Wizard of Oz where I performed as the Wicked Witch. This started out as a huge challenge for me because it was a strictly acting role. Typically, I feel significantly more confident in telling stories when it is through song or dance so having neither of these things to rely on had me nervous. But as the rehearsal process went on I ended up growing a ton as an actor and it actually peaked my interest in straight acting.

What do you like to do when you’re not performing? Honestly… there isn’t really a ton of time for me to do things outside of performing as I’m usually a part of multiple productions at a time and am so heavily involved in the musical theatre program at OCSA. In these past two years I’ve developed a love for directing and choreographing. I’ve been able to do this in some smaller scale productions and hope to have opportunities in the future where I can grow in this. In addition, while this is still technically performing, I’ve recently gotten into straight acting a ton but more specifically on camera. I’ve been able to be a part of some films with FTV at OCSA playing some pretty wild characters and have love it a ton.

What are your strongest and weakest traits as a performer? In the aspect of singing vs acting vs dancing overall, I feel pretty well rounded but in each of the three categories I have my strengths and weaknesses. If I had to give it an order I would say acting is my strongest, then singing, and then dancing. It’s really when you get into the specifics of these where things fall as stronger or weaker. Vocally, I’m a lot weaker when singing in my upper register and stronger when not. When it comes to singing with other people, I do well with the harmonies themselves but need to work on blending my voices with the people around me. Acting wise, I do well with characters that have strong personalities and objectives. It’s hard for me to do roles where the character is just an average person. When it comes to dance I struggle most with tap because I don’t pick up on it quickly. It takes me drilling combinations over and over again to get to, but once I have it I’m set. Character dancing, shows like Tarzan, is what I’m most comfortable with and I enjoy a ton. In anything I do, I think acting needs to be a part of it. I’m never just singing or just dancing, it needs to have the objective and purpose behind it, otherwise it’s boring and pointless.

If you could choose a show for Spotlight to produce, what would it be and why? I would love to see YLSpotlight do Urinetown as a Young Adult production. It has always been a dream of mine to do that show as I’m in love with the music and whacky storyline. I think it would be really cool to have Spotlight do a young adult production of a straight play, as we typically do musicals at this company. Other productions I’d love to see the company put on are A Chorus Line, 9 to 5, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and A New Brain.

Of Spotlight’s past shows, which has been your favorite and why? This is a really tough question, but I think I’d have to go with Peter Pan. The cast was super close from onstage memories of making up our own sign language to offstage memories of watching really interesting Netflix movies and Friends marathons. We even had our own hashtag for the show with photos and tweets from when we hung out. Some very close favorites include Bye Bye Birdie, Into the Woods, and Once on This Island.

Anything else you want to say? I just want to give a big thanks to all the opportunities YLSpotlight has given me. Not only have I been fortunate enough to do so many shows with the company but also work as a camp counselor in their summer camp productions, work as a crew member in a couple productions I haven’t performed in, take a variety of different classes, and perform in various things such as our annual Disneyland event, multiple showcases/recitals, their old winter Glee club, and their musical theatre competition. The opportunities Spotlight has provided me with are endless and I will truly treasure forever. And for anyone out there who has been considering seeing shows here, auditioning for things, taking lessons, or wanting to become a part of YLSpotlight in anyway, go for it! The environment here is fun, loving, professional, educational, and you will absolutely love the memories you make with this amazing company.

Spotlight on Brayden Martino

How long have you been performing on stage?  10 years! I started in 3rd grade when I got cast as “Sherlock Holmes” in Mabel Paine Elementary school’s production of “Geology Rocks!” Ever since then I knew I wanted to keep performing and telling stories through this art. I started performing with Yorba Linda Spotlight 6 years ago.

What was your first show with Spotlight?  Alice in Wonderland, 2010! I played the Knave of Hearts. Since then I have grown so much and really come out of my shell. Once on this Island will be my 16th show with Yorba Linda Spotlight!

Why do you like performing in shows with Spotlight?  The main reason is because I love the people. I’ve made so many amazing lifelong friends in my 7 years of performing with Yorba Linda Spotlight, and so many memories that I will cherish forever. These people have not only made me feel loved and cared about, but they have also inspired me with their talent and allowed me to grow as an actor. Yorba Linda Spotlight also puts on some really high quality shows that I am blessed to be part of! The production team is SO amazing, and never puts on a bad show. They treat us so professionally, and also love and care about us so much, its incredible. Yorba Linda Spotlight will always be my second family.

What is your dream role?  I have a few! I’ve been lucky enough to play some of them already, but here are the ones I have yet to play: Bert in Mary Poppins Shakespeare in Something Rotten! Gomez in The Addams Family Blackstache in Peter and the Starcatcher Lumiere in Beauty and the Beast There are also TONS of other roles I’d really like to play, but I wouldn’t necessarily consider them to be “dream roles”, like Adolfo Pirelli in Sweeney Todd, Timon in the Lion King, William Barfeé in Spelling Bee, Officer Lockstock in Urinetown, and Thenardier in Les Miserables.

Of the roles that you’ve played, which has been your favorite?  Donkey in Shrek the Musical! I grew up watching and loving the Shrek movies, and Donkey was always my favorite character. When I first found out Shrek was a musical, I fell in love with it, and Donkey instantly became my number one dream role! I love the comedy, personality, and energy in that character, and I had so much fun bringing him to life. It was a role I never thought I’d be able to play, but Yorba Linda Spotlight gave me the opportunity and I felt like I pulled it off really well and had tons of fun doing it! A close second favorite role would definitely be “Jukes” in Peter Pan, the pirate I played on my off-night. I had lots of fun playing Captain Hook in that show, but nothing compared to the fun I had being the drunken, stupid, peg-legged pirate in the ensemble on my off-nights. I had so much freedom to bring whatever I wanted to that role, and I had so many funny gags throughout the show. I got more compliments from random audience members after my off-night shows than I did when I was Captain Hook! And I loved it!

How has Spotlight helped you grow as a performer?  Spotlight has not only helped me grow as a performer, but as a person. Coming into my first show at Yorba Linda Spotlight, I didn’t even talk… to anyone. I was as shy as could be, but gradually I started making friends and opening up. I wouldn’t be who I am for today if it wasn’t for Yorba Linda Spotlight! They’ve taught me so much about being a performer as well. Before I started with Yorba Linda Spotlight, I couldn’t sing in-key, more or less hold a harmony. I had two left feet, and was very uncoordinated. Acting was the only thing I was really comfortable with, and even that is something I’ve improved so much on because of this company. If you watch the video of me dancing in Mama Says (Footloose 2011), you’d see me awkwardly moving my body, completely out of sync with all of the other boys. It’s quite hilarious. NOW I’m a pretty decent dancer (if I practice enough)! But you can be the judge of that if you come see Once on this Island 😉 If you watch the video of me as Aladdin (Aladdin 2012, my first lead role), you’ll hear me singing completely out of rhythm and off key in a few parts. It’s pretty funny to look back on now, because throughout my time performing with Yorba Linda Spotlight, I’ve grown SO much thanks to all that they have taught me.

What do you like to do when you’re not performing?  When not performing, I’m probably drawing, hanging out at Disneyland, or planning a Murder Mystery Party. I love to express my creativity through other forms of art, and recently I’ve been having fun creating my own stories and telling them through the form of Murder Mystery Parties. I pick a theme (such as Disney, Film Series’, or Broadway characters), let my friends choose their characters, and create a story where they have to act as their character and figure out who is behind the murders. They’re always a lot of fun, especially for my theatre-friends because they get to dress up in fun costumes and act as their favorite characters for a night. Last Halloween I created and hosted a Broadway Murder Mystery party at Yorba Linda Spotlight. It was a huge success, and hopefully there will be another one this year! It’s a really fun way for people to meet new people, practice improvisation, and really be immersed into a story. The cool thing is: the guests at these parties are both the performers AND the audience. So that’s a fun hobby I have!

What are your strongest and weakest traits as a performer?  My strongest trait as a performer is definitely my acting. I’m a very diverse actor, and have played roles everywhere from the silly Mad Hatter, to the strict and stern Mr. Banks. Although I’ve played a range of comedic (Rapunzel’s Prince, Donkey, Captain Hook, Charlie Brown) and dramatic roles (Pippin, Mr. Banks, Daniel, Tarzan’s Father), I really enjoy the comedic ones most, and I feel like that is where I am strongest as an actor. I have great comedic timing, body control, and many different character voices. I would say my next strongest would be singing, although it’s definitely something I continue to work on. My weakest trait is dancing, but I’ve definitely improved over the years!

If you could choose a show for Spotlight to produce, what would it be and why?  The Addams Family! It’s one of my favorite shows and it would be SO GOOD! I love the comedy in that show, and the music is fantastic. And like I said before, one of my dream roles is Gomez in that show. I’d also love to do Sweeney Todd, because that is just a beautiful show and I think Yorba Linda Spotlight would do a great job with it.

Of Spotlight’s past shows, which has been your favorite and why?  Definitely Peter Pan! That was such an amazing cast, and the whole experience was the most fun I’ve ever had in a show! We created so many fun memories and it was just an unforgettable experience. I got so close with everyone in that cast and we shared so many inside jokes and ridiculous shenanigans. Like I said before, I got to be in the pirate ensemble on my off-night, and I had so much fun every moment I spent on that stage, whether I was Captain Hook or Jukes. I learned so much about the importance of an ensemble in that show, and how to bring a character to life even when they don’t have any lines.

Anything else you want to say?  Come see Once on this Island! It’s been SUCH a fun show to be a part of, and it’s really coming together. Our cast is so small, which is nice because we’re all so close and we’re all having a really great time. I didn’t know anything about this show going into auditions (as its not very popular), but looking at it now— I didn’t realize what I was missing out on! It’s such a beautiful show with a really moving story. So come see the show, you won’t regret it. And you wont have very many other opportunities to see it because it’s a show that’s rarely done! So come check out why we tell the story! (I will be performing as Daniel on Thursday and Saturday night, and a grand homme on Friday and Sunday.) Thanks for reading!