Drama is a way of life for most teenagers, but for two local teens, drama has been a passion throughout their childhood. Southlake teens, Alli Calvert and Pierson Van den Dyssel spent their childhood on stage as members of STARS Theater Company, located in Bedford. This weekend they will both take their final bow along with other seniors as they head up the cast in STARS’ production of BYE BYE BIRDIE, playing the roles of Albert Peterson and Kim MacAfee.
Growing up in the theater, the two became team players and team leaders as they played everything from ensemble roles with no lines to leading roles. They both had the unique opportunity of taking over a character when a cast member was unable to fulfill their role showing their team spirit and dedication to the old adage, “the show must go on”.
In addition to their talents on the stage Alli and Pierson became a great support for other members of the company. Alli developed a love for stage make up and took it upon herself to organize make up for the cast before every performance. Pierson on the other hand was known as the encourager. He could be found supporting younger cast members and volunteers throughout rehearsals contributing to a more cohesive group both on and off the stage.
Cast in two to four productions every year, they have performed together in dozens of musicals including THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS; BIG BAD, THE MUSICAL; MARY POPPINS; DISNEY’S BEAUTY & THE BEAST; WILLY WONKA; WIZARD OF OZ; DISNEY’S THE LITTLE MERMAID; and BYE BYE BIRDIIE. Both were students at Carroll Senior High School where Alli was an active member of both the band and choir; and Pierson was active in the theater department.
Although their theatrical adventures began the same, the skills they developed are taking them in different directions. Alli plans to attend the University of Central Florida in Orlando to study Communication and Pre-Law. Her mother, Mary, stated that, “standing and performing under pressure will serve her well—will be essential. I have absolutely no doubt that the confidence she gained, and honed, in STARS will never leave her and will add to her success in whatever career she chooses.”
Pierson’s plans to study Musical Theater with a Bachelor’s degree in Music from the University of Central Oklahoma. He said, “STARS has always been a home away from home for me. This is the type of place that lets an actor grow and develop their skills on stage, due to the fact that the director Lu Anne Tyson makes it fun for the students to learn.” He also mentioned that the kids are not judged by anyone because everyone is in the cast. Pierson’s mother, Terri, stated, “We especially appreciate how each student is worked with as an individual. Roles are cast to help them stretch and grow as a performer, but the STARS team is also focused on developing great people.”
Both Alli and Pierson developed strong relationships during their years with STARS. Alli’s mom stated, “I am confident that her friends at STARS will be friends for life. They share a special, almost indescribable bond for which I am immensely grateful . . . We have loved watching these children grow up and mature in the loving atmosphere that is STARS. It has truly been a home for Alli, and for us.” Pierson’s mother, added, “We love being part of the STARS family!
It’s a special responsibility and privilege to teach a child from age 7 or 8 through high school. According to STARS’ Director, Lu Anne Tyson, “As STARS Theater Company bids farewell to our senior students, we rest in the assurance that we are not saying goodbye. We’re just changing roles. We are no longer their instructors. We are their biggest fans and friends for life.”
Don't miss Alli, Pierson, and the other members of STARS Theater Company in BYE BYE BIRDIE. Only one more weekend of performances so make reservations before they sell out. Final performances are June 28-30 at Scott Hall located on the campus of First United Methodist Church in Bedford, 1245 Bedford Rd. Call 817-925-1430 for more information or check the website at www.STARSTheaterCompany.org It’s great family entertainment.