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Caitlyn Schott will never forget her first time on stage – because she knew right then it would not be her last time on stage.
“My first musical theatre experience was ‘Annie’ in 2012, I was an orphan,” said Schott, now a senior at Pioneer HS. “I loved every minute of it and was hooked! I’ve been doing theatre ever since.”
Performing runs in the Schott family. The daughter of Teri and Gordon Schott, Caitlyn’s father Gordon is a local magician (Gordo the Magician). “I had performed on stage a few times with my dad,” she says of her younger days on “stage.” But her love for acting is clearly no magic trick.
“When I was 9, I begged my parents for voice lessons,” she continued. “My voice teacher encouraged me to try out for a community theatre she was the music director at so I did.”
Being on stage struck a perfect note for Schott.
When Schott walks on stage for the upcoming Pioneer Theatre Guild production of “Our Town” it will be her 27th time performing and she’s only getting started.
PTG presents the Pulitzer Prize winning play: “Our Town,” by Thornton Wilder. The production, directed by Pioneer acting teacher and Purple Rose resident artist, Alex Leydenfrost, opens Feb. 6 with four performances through Feb. 9.
Schott is playing the part of Emily Webb, an intelligent young woman who falls in love with her high school sweetheart.
“On the surface, Emily and her life seem simple, but she is actually very complex,” Schott says. “Throughout the play we see Emily and George discover their love for each other and their relationship blossom. When Emily looks back on her life she is very regretful that she didn’t appreciate moments while she was living them. One of my favorite quotes from Emily is, ‘It goes so fast. We don’t have time to look at one another.’”
Caitlyn feels a real connection to Emily.
“I can definitely relate to Emily because she is a high school student who loves her family and is on the cusp of becoming an adult,” Caitlyn says. “The challenging part about playing Emily is that she is a very emotional and real character. I want to be able to get to that dark place and give that to the audience.”
And Schott loves the overall message of “Our Town.”
“One of my favorite things about the show is the message that we should appreciate and take in life while we’re living it,” she says. “And, of course, I love the cast and crew of ‘Our Town.’”
Going to those “dark places” and being able to deliver powerful and positive messages is why performing is such an emotional, meaningful and even personal experience for an actor. “One of my favorite things about performing is not only that it’s fun, but you also get to go inside yourself and become your character,” Schott says. “As a performer your job is to connect with the audience and move them and I think it’s really special having the opportunity to do that.”
One of Schott’s favorite roles was playing Katherine Plumber in “Newsies” in 2019 with Young People’s Theatre. “Katherine has always been a dream role of mine,” she says. “She is strong, independent, determined, and wasn’t afraid to speak her mind. I really related to this character.”
Schott, who has performed in other PTG shows including “Hunchback of Notre Dame,” “High School Musical,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and “Matilda,” sees a lifetime of other roles in her future.
“I am planning on attending college and getting a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in musical theatre or acting,” she says. “I’m currently auditioning for musical theatre and acting programs. I have offers in New York and Wisconsin, but I should hear from the rest of the schools in March.”
By Terry Jacoby
Photos courtesy of Lindsay King Portraits