By Abby Samaha, Contributing Writer
Photos Courtesy Mount Carmel Academy
Behind the curtain of a high school theater performance lie countless hours of hard work, dedication and passionate rehearsals. While being an actress, stage manager or lighting designer is hard enough, many theater students go beyond their high school productions as members of the International Thespian Society (ITS), an honor society of theater students around the globe. Troupe 2075 of Mount Carmel Academy, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, is home to 40 inductees ranging from ninth to 12th grades. These students attain honor status by devoting their time to Mount Carmel’s drama club, Shinto Torii Kabuki (STK), which means “God’s Gateway to the Theater.”
STK director Kristi Jacobs-Stanley explained the impact the members of ITS have on her drama program: “Because you earn points to be inducted, you have to be more active and dedicated to the club helping in all capacities. You earn points for every job you complete in a production – acting, working crew, designing, painting the set are just a few of the important jobs student complete for points. Inducted ITS members are the most committed and dedicated members of STK.”
The inducted students are presented with countless opportunities to broaden their talents: eligibility for the State Thespian Festival and International Thespian Festival to perform, learn and audition for scholarships to continue their career in collegiate theater. These opportunities enrich the productions at Mount Carmel Academy.
Members are using these new skills to choreograph, design lights, enhance sound, hair and makeup, and stage-manage this year’s spring musical, “Annie.”
Members of Mount Carmel’s ITS, along with male actors from surrounding Catholic high schools, push the caliber of the show to an amazing level both on and off the stage, helping bring to life a classic story of love and innocence. They have worked relentlessly for months, gaining invaluable experience, to make the production of “Annie” like no other.
Senior Shelby Estess explained that it makes her feel like she is a “part of something bigger” than herself. This selfless attitude is what makes this year’s production of “Annie” so special: It was created by passionate students seeking to share their joy for theater with all who are willing to watch.
Members of Mount Carmel Academy’s Troupe 2075 will be highlighted both on and offstage at the performance of “Annie,” showing from April 5-13 in Mount Carmel Academy’s Fitzmorris Performing Arts Center.
For tickets, visit www.mca cubs.com. STK alumnae are invited to attend a 50th anniversary celebration of Troupe 2075 April 6 following the 2 p.m. matinee of “Annie.”