Tessa Washburn: Davis High School’s Medda Larkin

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Tessa Washburn is going to be this schools Medda Larkin for this years musical, Newsies. In the show, Medda is the owner of the Irving Theatre where she provides a safe haven for the newsies. Though, she only has one song in the musical, she is still one of the main roles in the show. This puts quite a large amount of pressure on her shoulders, especially with the fact that Davis High School is going to be the first high school in Utah to perform Newsies. Even with tons of experience, it can still be nerve wracking to perform in front of such large crowds. I recently interviewed her and this what she had to say;

How long have you been performing in theatre?

“Well I’ve always been a performer since I was little; I could sing before I could talk, I’m not even joking. I began with tap dancing then I started ballet which I did for 9 years. Then I started musical theatre in 6th grade with Up With Kids and it was terrible! I quickly left that joint and went to Centre Stage and it’s an amazing place where kids can perform real musicals and it prepares kids for the real acting world. But for just acting I began last year when I had my first role as Millie in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.”

Are you excited to perform Newsies?

“I’m super excited! But, I’m also super nervous. It’s a big show and we’ve already sold a thousand tickets, so I know that we’re going to have a big crowd. The bigger the crowd the more pressure to perform to the best of your abilities. So the pressure is on!”

Do you use your own personality to influence how you play the character?

“Oh yeah, you always need to start with what is similar with my character and yourself. I have the character Medda and I personally feel like she’s completely opposite from me. She’s confident in herself and a very promiscuous character, so I definitely can’t identify with that. But Medda is first an artist and is a mother figure to a lot of the newsies and that’s the part of her that I can relate too. I depend on that part of my personality to bring out Medda but I am definitely am working on her confidence.”

Do you ever get nervous while performing?

“Well, it depends on how many people I’m performing in front of. Like if it’s a small group I’m petrified. Performing in front of my family or in church is the scariest thing in the world. But, if I’m performing in front of a thousand people or more that are complete strangers I’m totally calm.”

Do you want to work in the theatre industry when you get older?

“It definitely depends. I love theatre, especially musical theatre, and that love is never going away. But I’m nervous that I won’t excel in the industry. If I am given the chance to have theatre as my career I’m taking it!”

What’s the most stressful part about performing?

“Everything! I’m just kidding, the most stressful thing for me is if I disappoint the audience or my director. The audience came to see our performance and if I don’t perform to the best of my abilities they don’t get to fully experience the show. My director has worked so hard on the show and with all of us and if I mess that up I feel like all his work will go down the drain.”

What’s the greatest thing you’ve gained from performing in theatre?

“Definitely the confidence I’ve gained in myself and the friends I’ve made. Before theatre I was always sad and really disliked myself. But now I really believe in myself. I’ve really have improved with my own self confidence and I’ve come so far. I always see myself improve in each and every performance.”

Tessa Washburn is a very fun and extremely talented girl who can make anyone smile. She puts so much work and dedication into every performance she’s in. Along with her, all of the theatre hopes to see you when Newsies has it’s run here at Davis. Newsies runs from November 9th to the 17th.