Accolades follow performanceWhen East Ridge High School junior Isabel Cuddihy decided to participate in an acting event this month, she only hoped for feedback on her performances. Little did she know she was going to be judged.
By: Amber Kispert-Smith, Woodbury Bulletin
When East Ridge High School junior Isabel Cuddihy decided to participate in an acting event this month, she only hoped for feedback on her performances. Little did she know she was going to be judged.
“I originally thought you perform and get feedback, I didn’t know it was a competition,” she said. “It’s kind of hard to get a lot of different opinions on your performance so it’s really nice if somebody offers you an opportunity to give you a critique on it and find out what they think.”
Not knowing about the competition — Minnesota Thespian Festival’s National Individual Event Showcase on Jan. 8 at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis — has appeared to work in Cuddihy’s favor.
She took home two superior rankings for her performance of “Life of the Party” from the musical “Wild Party” in the Solo Musical category. Additionally, Cuddihy will be heading to the International Thespian Festival this June at the University of Nebraska. The winner receives scholarship money.
“The festival wasn’t just you in a room of judges, you got to hear everyone who was competing in your round,” she said. “We got to hear people from all different kinds of schools, we got to hear all kinds of amazing talents.”
Cuddihy, who has been singing for most of her life, said she has always been drawn to performance.
“I love all kids of music in general pretty much so the idea that I could make my own music is really, really cool,” she said. “Plus, when you look out and see the audience and they are really captivated by what you’re doing, and knowing that you got their attention, is a great feeling.”
Over the year Cuddihy branched out from singing choir music to participating in school musicals. Cuddihy appeared in both of East idge’s musicals — “Seussical the Musical” and “Beauty and the Beast.”
In fact, Cuddihy student-directed and performed in the latter.
“It was interesting to have a complete different view of the show,” she said. “It was a cool way to look at the show.”
When it comes to auditioning and picking parts, Cuddihy said she has to be careful about what she chooses since she has a contralto voice, which is the lowest female voice.
“It’s usually kind of hard to find musical theater pieces to perform because they’re usually more for sopranos,” she said. “One of the most difficult parts of theater is finding songs and monologues that fit your type — making sure the part you’re playing fits you.”
Cuddihy said the Minnesota Thespian Festival was a really exciting experience because she was able to get input from the judges and watch a variety of talented high school students.
Cuddihy said she wasn’t nervous at all about her competition.
“When you’re acting and performing it’s kind of hard to compare yourself to somebody else since there are a lot of different styles,” she said.
Cuddihy said she is not sure if she will continue with her same musical theater piece, or if she will choose a new one. She said she is going to wait to get her feedback from the judges before deciding.
“If they really liked it, I may just stick with it because it’s hard to find pieces that fit my voice,” she said.