Stage Spotlight; Hannah Woodside


Luka Vaicekauskas

Hannah Woodside has been dancing ever since being 3 years old, a passion that evolved into musical theater. She is currently joining her main passions at the Plant Theater Company, where she is the featured dancer at the shows, the student choreographer, the Secretary, and the unofficial Performance Head.

Luka Vaicekauskas, Features Editor

Since a young age, senior Hannah Woodside has been the highlight of the stage- whether it is dancing, acting, or simply spreading her charismatic personality- Woodside is one of a kind. Currently, she dances competitively for Ms. Lisas Dance studio, but too adjoins her two passions- acting and dancing- and puts them in play at the Plant Theater Company. At PTC Woodside is currently the featured dancer at the shows, the student choreographer, the Secretary, and the unofficial Performance Head.  

“I started dance when I was 3 years old- my mom put me in classes- mostly because she wanted a break from me and my craziness. And when I was 5, I started competing for dance. And then I always loved musical theater- I started doing solos and duets in musical theater when I was 9, making my way up in musical theater solos, which transferred into theater,” Woodside said.  

While dance is Hannah’s specialty, and her right-sided and objective thinking aids with her musicality skills, to the point where her coaches ask her to do the counts, Woodside has been dividing her time in order to squeeze both of her passions into her packed senior schedule.  

“I dance about 3 to 4 hours three days a week. And then adding theater to that which adds up to 3-6 hours daily, and then I also sometimes have theater on the weekends, which can be a little hectic,” Woodside said. 

Hannah specializes herself in all kinds of dance genres- all aside from hip hop- but her performances all have a common goal:  

“I love making people laugh. Usually when I dance musical theater my goal is to make people laugh and entertain my audience,” Woodside said. 

There is no better way to entertain people than on stage, so that is when Hannah’s other passions kick in. 

“When I was 6 years old I did a summer camp and I was a munchkin with Mr. Boss. Then I started doing theater shows for my dance studio- I was Walter in the Elf, which is the dad. Then I was also in the Grinch play at my dance studio, but I didn’t do anything super organized in middle school theater-wise, I mostly started in high school,” Woodside said. 

Hannah has been part of Plant theater for four years now, performing multiple times yearly. This year she is probably going to be in the musical “Xanadu” which Hannah is pumped about because she will be teaching performers how to skate. However, the play that most resonates with Hannah is the very first one of her acting career.  

“At PTC my favorite role has been my first role freshman year. I was a dead girl who would come out of these stairs and I would scratch the floor for pennies that I left when I was alive. So I could buy biscuits. I was basically the girl from The Ring,” Woodside said. 

 However, by being a present member at PTC, Hannah is too filled with roles and is actively involved in order to make the plays happen. And while this year they have a director, last year they didn’t for a good amount of time, which caused PTC and the theater classes to further work together. PTC had four directors in the past two years, so it’s a lot of change. In short, this year PTC has a director but last year it was mainly student-run, and the musical was all student run, so the process of building a play requires more than acting talent.  

“It’s a lot, and even more for musicals, as straight plays require less work with the cast, as they usually just do what they know to do best. But for musicals it is a lot- you have to spend weeks drilling choreography, drilling music- everyone needs to learn the music and the harmonies- and if they mess up then it sounds bad. It is a lot easier for plays- we have to build a set, so everyone comes in during work days and builds the set, and then for musicals, I get to drill the choreography into everyone by just sitting in the middle of the audience and yell at them to do better,” Woodside said. 

However, acting is not for everybody, as it is a lifestyle that requires you to go beyond your comfort zone, and not let your inner voice block you from performing your designated role. With years of practice, Hannah has nearly defeated those barriers, and built a mentality that furthers her success.  

“Really, I just kind of think, if I was in their situation, how would I feel and deliver these lines and then I think about how personally myself would deliver those lines, so It’s a mix between the two. But I always had a lot of confidence, but with time I also learned that if I am not going to do it, no one is going to do it, so you might as well just do it. Choices are choices and any choice you make in theater is a good choice,” Woodside said.  

However, always up for a challenge, Hannah has been putting her acting skills to a new defiance, and performing at the annual Congress of French Culture in Florida, and competing in French. 

“Pièce [the French play] was a little different. It started with the skit, which me, Fletcher, Sophia, and Addison did freshman year, and then we just kind of all decided that we wanted to keep doing that and nobody at Plant was doing a theater pièce, so we just made a pact to do the theater pièce until we graduate.” 

But unlike what many would think, performing in a foreign language is not only memorization of lines, but the actor has to know what they are saying in order to best deliver the lines with the proper intonation. 

“It is a lot harder to perform in French, because in English, it is easier to deliver the lines for me, and in French I have to concentrate a lot, and understand what I am saying, so I don’t just deliver them as me. Like last year with my character Thomas- I really had to concentrate on being nervous,” Woodside said. 

While her top goal is attending Columbia, so that she can keep auditioning in New York, Woodside’s plan is to double major in Biochemistry and French, and possibly minor in dance.  

A farewell note from Hannah to all performers, is rather straightforward, however.  

“I know everybody says that, but don’t be scared. If you are scared of getting up there in front of everybody, you are never going to make it. At that point just pick another career or interest. If you don’t want to perform, then just do tech and still be involved in theater. Everybody feels as stupid as you do, so don’t be scared.”