Sophomore Gavin O’Meara loves to be on stage.
Other people may be frightened by the thousands of eyes watching them or by the shine of the spotlight in their eyes, but not Gavin. This attention and these lights fuel his passion for theatre.
Gavin was first introduced to musical theatre in the summer of sixth grade when he was in The Sound of Music.
“My mom kind of forced me to do my first show,” Gavin said. “But after that, I kind of fell in love, and I’ve been doing a bunch of shows ever since.”
Since beginning at FHC as a freshman, Gavin landed a role in last spring’s production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. This is quite an accomplishment considering the large talent pool that the FHC Theatre program has to pick from when casting a show, and earning a spot as a freshman is something that not many people are lucky enough to receive.
“I was able to get a part in Joseph because I knew the music already,” Gavin said. “I have been working on [becoming] a better singer since second grade, and it also helped that I am a boy. Musical theatre is far more competitive for girls than boys because so many more girls try out.”
This show—Gavin’s favorite of the many he’s worked on—is special to him not only because of the production itself but the relationships that he was able to make offstage.
“It was just a super good time getting to meet all of the people in theatre,” Gavin said. “They were so accepting of me, and they kind of helped me fit in as a freshman.”
Gavin is grateful for the relationships that he has made working on his first school show, but he realizes the sharp difference between doing a school show and a community show.
“[For] a show in the community, I feel like you meet people who are different from you than at FHC,” Gavin said. “At FHC, a lot of people are very similar to me [in] how they were kind of doing a little bit of everything. At community theaters, you get people from all different backgrounds.”
Most recently, Gavin was given the part of Kristoff in the upcoming production of Frozen at Stage GR—a non-profit community theater.
This main role will be demanding of Gavin’s time and attention to make sure that the production is a success. Luckily, Gavin is not a novice when it comes to time management, for he has been involved in theatre for many years while in school and playing soccer. The lessons that he has learned from soccer he has been able to apply to theatre and vice versa.
As a member of the JV Soccer team this year—his eleventh season—Gavin held the position of center back.
“I do [think soccer has helped me with theatre],” Gavin said. “Center back [is] kind of like one of the quarterback positions in soccer. In theatre, everyone has to play a quarterback position because your actions affect everyone else on stage.”
This added stress of affecting everyone else on stage is one of the reasons that Gavin is looking forward to performing at the Random Acts of Talent (RAT) show with his brother, Aidan.
Gavin and Aidan are planning on singing a duet. Last year, Gavin was also in the RAT show and sang a duet with one of his friends, so he is no stranger to singing in the spotlight.
“I am excited for RAT because it’s a time when I get to perform without as much pressure to get the show perfect for my castmates,” Gavin said.
Sometimes this added pressure to perfect a show and having everyone relying on you can be stressful and give others stage fright, but Gavin knows that once he gets on the stage, it will all come to him.
“Sometimes, right before I get on stage, I get nervous,” Gavin said. “Like in the fall, before the Improv show, I was petrified, but once I get going, I’m ok.”
From being a part of a plethora of different types of shows—community, school, and talent shows—Gavin has come to the conclusion that the school shows are the most difficult.
“I think that community shows are, most of the time, less difficult than the school shows,” Gavin said. “The school just has such an intense rehearsal schedule, allowing us to do all sorts of crazy stuff.”
Through all of the crazy shows and schedules that Gavin has been a part of, he has learned some valuable lessons from each of them.
“Many people don’t realize how hard it is to sing while dancing, acting, and trying to look like you are not absolutely exhausted,” Gavin said. “I have learned to work hard and be flexible because no matter how talented I could be, there is [always] someone more talented so the only way [that] I can make that up is hard work. Being flexible helps you when things go wrong, and honestly, when don’t things go wrong?”
Although these lessons have been an important part of the challenging theatre experience, Gavin finds that the relationships with the cast are the thing that is the most important. As much as he loves acting, singing, performing, and being in the spotlight, the friendships that he’s made are what he’s going to remember most.
“I love to meet the whole cast and get to know them [very] well,” Gavin said. “I also love performing [in] the show, but I would probably say [that] the friendships you make [are what I look forward to most in a production.]”