Greenville High School student actors to compete at MSU this weekend


By Emilee Nielsen • Last Updated 11:41 am on Thursday, May 18, 2017

Jeremy Stowitts, 18, talks with Chris Chapman, technical director and auditorium manager at Greenville High School, about his rehearsal Tuesday afternoon. Stowitts is rehearsing to compete this weekend at the Sutton Foster Ovation Awards at MSU’s Wharton Center. — Daily News/Emilee Nielsen

GREENVILLE — Wednesday Addams and Gomez Addams will take the stage once again at a theater competition this weekend.

Lexi Hebert and Jeremy Stowitts, both 18, the Greenville High School actors who played Wednesday and Gomez in the school’s fall production of the musical The Addams Family, will compete at the Sutton Foster Ovation Awards at Michigan State University’s (MSU) Wharton Center.

Chris Chapman, technical director and auditorium manager at Greenville High School, said the play was submitted for consideration by adjudicators from Wharton Center. The school’s production of the Addams Family was early on in the season, which ranges from November to March.

Because of that, Chapman was worried there would be so many other plays judges would see that the Addams Family would slip their minds.

“They’ve been seeing shows all year long,” he noted. “(But) In December, we were notified that the Addams Family was in the top five of shows they’ve seen.”

Lexi Hebert, 18, rehearses to compete at the Sutton Foster Ovation Awards Saturday and Sunday at Michigan State University’s Wharton Center. Hebert was named best actress by judges from the Wharton Center for her performance as Wednesday Addams in Greenville High School’s production of the Addams Family.

Chapman learned judges were also going to nominate some students for best actor and best actress from some of the plays they’d seen over the last several months.

In the competition, Hebert and Stowitts will perform 32 measures of a song from the Addams Family and an additional piece from another musical of their choosing.

Hebert and Stowitts are going up against students whose shows closed two or three weeks ago. As a refresher, both of them have been working this week on rehearsing each of their performance pieces.

“They’re going to be evaluating and giving some critique (from their auctions) and they’re going to be performing in a larger show with kids from all across the state,” Chapman said. “They’re going to be working with vocal coaches, musical coaches and theater folks from around the state and from out of state who are coming in to work with them.”

Hebert and Stowitts are competing against other theater students for summer scholarships for MSU’s theater program as well as a spot in the national portion of the Sutton Foster Ovation Awards.

“They take the each of the winners from the 50 states to New York for the same adventure in New York City on Broadway working with Broadway folks,” Chapman said. “Along the pass, they’re going to be exposed to multiple levels of professional talent.”

Not only are there opportunities for scholarships but there are opportunities for them to catch the eye of talent scouts and making other professional contacts.

“I’m very nervous but I’m just going to go and do my best,” Hebert said. “I can’t lose anything from this. I can just learn a ton. I’m most excited to meet all these kids and to meet all of these people who have been in this business for a while.”

Jeremy Stowitts, 18, rehearses to compete at the Sutton Foster Ovation Awards Saturday and Sunday at Michigan State University’s Wharton Center. Stowitts was named best actor by judges from the Wharton Center for his performance as Gomez Addams in Greenville High School’s production of the Addams Family.

After she graduates in a few weeks, Hebert says she’ll head to Grand Valley State University for at least an associate’s degree. After that, she might head out west where music and acting opportunities are more plentiful and continue working toward a bachelor’s degree.

Stowitts is excited about the competition, and a little nervous.

“It’s one thing to get ready for a show and go over and over it again and just do it,” he said. “This is me actually being judged for what I’m doing. It’s more about me than it is about the whole show in general.”

Going to compete will be a new experience for Stowitts, but he said he’s seen other competitions and knows a little bit about what to expect.

Stowitts will be attending Cornerstone University in the fall to study commercial music voice, which he said gives him an opportunity to go on to Broadway if he were to do some dance lessons.

“This is something I really enjoy doing, just being able to sing or pretend to be someone else I’m not. Performing for people is something I love doing,” he said.

The school’s production of the Addams Family will be receiving the 2017 Sutton Foster Ovation Award for Excellence in Hair and Makeup.

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