A Second Home by Olivia Petersen

Olivia Petersen is a student in our STAR Academy programs who most recently played Madame Thénardier in the Teen Conservatory production of Les Miserables.

OP BlogMy friend Emma, a.k.a “shmemma”, a.k.a the best Assistant Stage Manager of all time, recently brought up how Gulfshore Playhouse was like a second home to us kiddos. I would totally agree, had it not been for the fact it would probably be my first had I not been kicked out at 6PM every day. 

Hello! My name is Olivia Petersen, and I’ve been doing the Gulfshore Playhouse Education program for quite a while now. Well, actually, only five years. But being 15 years old, that’s like three transition phases and half-a-foot of growing for me. So it all depends on how you look at it.

This past week I was honored to play Madame Thénardier in this summer’s production of Les Miserables. And, oh my golly, what can I say? I couldn’t have asked for anything better. The cast and the crew were just so amazing. This group was so dedicated, not only to our work, but to each other as well. Everyone was just so supportive of one another. Together, we pushed through a total of twelve shows! It’s exactly what brings me back year after year. And I’m talking all the way back to the days of Cinderella in 2015 (my first ever role in a show here). At the time, I hadn’t even the faintest clue of what I wanted to do with my life. Now, whether or not I’m able to pursue it professionally, theatre will forever be a passion of mine, and I will forever be grateful for my experiences at Gulfshore Playhouse.

OP Blog 2

The cast of Les Mis

Now, here’s a list of random fun facts about Les Mis and the education program I didn’t quite get to mention, but I thought y’all would enjoy:

  • Every night before a show, the cast of Les Mis would circle up and do a short prayer together.
  • Our wonderful director, Becky Timms, taught a class at this past year’s Florida State Thespians where I got the chance to meet her months before the show even started.
  • As Madame Thénardier, I got to wear the same bonnet as Charlotte Corday did in the recent production of The Revolutionists.
  • In addition to rehearsal, we’ve done audition prep, masterclasses, and workshops (one of which was taught by the casting director of Disney.)
  • EVERYONE IS SO TALENTED! (Sorry, just had to give my kudos ‘cause it’s true.)

If you didn’t get the chance to see Les Miserables, do allow yourself the time to see one of our future productions or get involved in one of our programs. I’m sure it will be well-worth it. Young and old performers alike, they share a true connection with their audience. I’m so happy to be a part of this craft and to be able to share it with you. Thank you.

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