By Lindsay Carey
Recent Southington High School graduate Gabrielle Baker won the Halo award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical for her role as Aida in “Aida.”
This was the first year the Southington High School Drama Club competed in the Halo Awards, and six SHS students were nominated.
Baker said that she was personally even more motivated to perform well in the spring musical because of the awards and that she wished the club would have joined earlier in her high school career.
Eric Lindblom, one of the SHS drama club’s directors, said that the club participated in the Halo Awards this year because it was the something the students had been requesting. Seven Angels Theatre, the group that runs the Halo Awards, sends judges to watch different productions and then decides which schools in the area will be recognized.
Lindblom said that the group tried not to focus on winning, but rather “presenting the best possible product.”
“We weren’t looking at what everyone else was doing, we were focused on what we were doing,” said Lindblom, who has been involved with the SHS drama club for seven years.
Baker said she became interested in musical theater in middle school when she joined the drama club and has been actively pursuing theater for eight years.
When she got to SHS, Baker said musical theater became more serious because of all the talented students she was surrounded by.
She said most years it was difficult to land a major role in the club, but her love for the musical “Aida” may have helped her land her dream role.
Lindblom, who has known Baker since she was a freshman, said that the directing staff had had their eye on Baker for a while. However, the staff cautiously tries to find the right voice for each role in a production. Lindblom said Baker had the perfect voice for this part.
“Aida has been my favorite musical for as long as I can remember,” said Baker. “To even be nominated was incredible and then to win, I can’t even describe it.”
Now that she has graduated, Baker is taking a gap year before heading off to college. In the meantime, she is preparing for a consultation with a talent agent in New York City.
“Every door is open,” said Lindbolm. “She’s a very talented young woman, very focused and driven. If she dedicates herself, the sky is the limit.”
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By Lindsay Carey