Hayley Johnson, 15 years old, has been taking classes at Stagelight Performing Arts for two years. Her class load includes Tap Dance and Vocal Music private lessons with Ms. Darleen. Hayley just played the lead role of Kim McAfee in the Tri-School Theatre’s production of Bye, Bye Birdie.
SPA: How are you like Kim? How are you different?
HJ: Kim is a bubbly fifteen year old who is trying her very best to act like more of a mature woman than a young teen. She tries to convince herself, her parents, her friends, and even Conrad Birdie that she is no longer a child and that she knows it all. Kim and I are very different people in the sense that I know that I don’t want to grow up too fast. I love being young, and if I could stop time for just a little while, I would. Kim and I, however different, are also similar in some ways. We both love getting dressed up and being with our friends, and we both truly care about the people around us, as Kim displays while comforting the characters of Rosie and Hugo.
SPA: What special things did you do to prepare to play the role of Kim?
HJ: I spent a lot of time after being cast analyzing my lines and writing little notes on how I thought Kim would speak or what she would do while delivering the line. I also spent time sifting through many different renditions of the character and incorporating my favorite things from each into my own rendition to really try to make the character my own and give her life onstage.
SPA: How did your training at Stagelight prepare you for this role?
HJ: “Bye Bye Birdie” is a high energy show that is absolutely packed with music and dancing (and screaming teenagers). Not only have my vocal training and all of my dance experience at Stagelight helped me along the way, but the constant encouragement from my teachers to let loose and give the best performance that I possibly can have allowed me to keep up with all of the antics that come with this show. Also, I never would’ve been able to get through the grueling audition process without my training at Stagelight.