Pupils win ma­jor roles

Taupo & Turangi Weekender - - News -

Taupo¯-nui-a-Tia Col­lege stu­dents Saman­tha McCutchan and Lochie Jones wowed Taupo¯ au­di­ences as Cherie and Drew in Taupo¯-nui-aTia’s Rock of Ages and now they will hit the stage again with Cen­tre Stage in Je­sus Christ Su­per­star.

The year 13 stu­dents will per­form with over 30 Taupo¯ lo­cals and a live rock band in a con­tem­po­rary ver­sion of An­drew Lloyd Web­ber’s fa­mous rock opera in the Great Lake Cen­tre this month. Set in mod­ern-day Jerusalem the show tells the story of the last few days in the life of Je­sus Christ.

Saman­tha, 17, trained in bal­let for seven years and is also an ac­com­plished singer, mu­si­cian and song-writer. As well as tak­ing the lead role in Rock of Ages this year, she played Shar­pay in High School Mu­si­cal in 2016. She wants to fol­low a ca­reer in the per­form­ing arts when she fin­ishes school this year.

“My dream is to travel the world per­form­ing in mu­si­cal theatre. For me it’s the per­fect com­bi­na­tion of all the things I love — danc­ing, singing and act­ing.”

Lochie, 18, is also keen to con­tinue tread­ing the boards af­ter school. He per­formed in High School Mu­si­cal in 2016 too but re­ally stretched him­self with the lead of Drew in Rock of Ages.

“That show was the first time I’d sung in front of peo­ple ever. It was a bit of strug­gle for me. My con­fi­dence with singing has re­ally built up since then. My range has in­creased, and I think over­all my singing has re­ally im­proved dur­ing re­hearsals for Je­sus Christ Su­per­star.”

Saman­tha is re­ally en­joy­ing be­ing part of the cast.

“At first, I thought be­ing in a show with a group of adults might be a bit awk­ward. But it’s ac­tu­ally not that dif­fer­ent from the high school shows. There’s prob­a­bly not as much muck­ing around. Every­one has re­ally got­ten into from the start.”

Lochie agrees. “Every­one is re­ally com­mit­ted and not afraid to get into char­ac­ter and go for it. The stan­dard of act­ing is re­ally high. I don’t think that fact that we are younger has made a dif­fer­ence — every­one fits in re­ally well to­gether.”

Jug­gling sport, school work, re­hearsals and part-time jobs has been a strug­gle for the pair.

“The re­hearsal time is a lot longer for this show than Rock of Ages and the re­hearsals go on later,” says Lochie. “It’s been hard to fit ev­ery­thing in. It’s go­ing to be worth it though once we start per­form­ing for au­di­ences.”

Photo / Sup­plied

Taupo¯-nui-a-Tia Col­lege stu­dents Saman­tha McCutchan (back row fourth from right) and Lochie Jones (cen­tre, stand­ing) with some of the cast from Je­sus Christ Su­per­star. An­drew Tat­tle, who plays Je­sus, is at front cen­tre.

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