Yesterday was College Signing Day for our CHAMPS Panthers with 455 college acceptances and counting! From UC and CSU to SCAD, from UCLA to Dartmouth, CHAMPS students journey into higher education to study criminal justice, psychology, English, photojournalism, music, fashion design, cinematic arts, art history, and so much more!
We caught up with some of our seniors to ask them about how they’re finishing out their senior year of high school and where they’re headed next.
CHAMPS: Congratulations, everyone! So tell us a little about your college acceptances?
Bella: Thanks! I’ll be going to UCLA to study acting. Their theatre program has a 6% acceptance rate so I am pretty excited! And Mylah was accepted into a few, UC Berkley and USC Theatre...
Mylah: Yeah, I’m also waitlisted at Julliard. I really want that but if I don’t get in, I’ll audition again next year with my brother and transfer.
Natalia: I’ll be going to UCLA with Bella but for Musical Theatre which has a 3% acceptance rate for that specific area of focus. It’s the same program but with a different emphasis.
Bella: That’s right, so at UCLA, the program offers various “program focuses.” We’ll graduate with the same degree but each with a different emphasis. Wait, Mylah, you also got into NYU Tisch, right?
Mylah: Oh yeah, and Kylia got into Tisch, too!
CHAMPS: Where’s Kylia?
Natalia: Getting ready for Twelfth Night.
CHAMPS: That’s right! And all of you are in the show?
CHAMPS: Nice! Okay, real quick, tell us a little about your roles. So Twelfth Night is a comedy of gender confusion. A girl disguises herself as a man to be near the nobleman she adores, but she’s pursued by the woman that this nobleman actually loves?
Mylah: Yeah, so I play Lady Olivia, the Countess. So Duke Orsino is after her and wants to marry her but she could care less and ends up falling in love with one of Duke Orsino’s men, Cesario, except Cesario is a girl in disguise so (s)he is not in love with Olivia. And so there’s this whole thing about Olivia being in love with this girl who’s undercover as a guy and then at the end she finds out… oh, am I allowed to spoil it or no?
Bella: I mean… it’s Shakespeare, it’s been around a while.
Natalia: It’s a total rat race! I play Antonio, the savvy and tough sea captain… errr... PIRATE with an unrequited love for Sebastian and that drives his action throughout the play. A very much implied relationship between Sebastian and Antonio, who’s supposed to be this masculine figure but under the surface he has this crush.
Bella: And I’m Maria. She’s Lady Olivia’s chambermaid. She doesn’t come from a rich family so she lives in the palace in return for all the work she does. She has a budding romance with Lady Olivia’s drunk uncle, Sir Toby Belch. She takes care of him when he comes home drunk and so it’s kind of the second storyline in the play.
Mylah: And Kylia is Festie. Well there are two Festies, originally it was a role written for one person but we split up into two so they finish off each others sentences and stuff, it’s really funny. They’re really great comedic characters.
Natalia: They’re kind of like Thing 1 and Thing 2. They help Maria and Toby Belch play a practical joke in one scene that’s pretty great.
CHAMPS: She’s not here to defend herself but how well does Festie as a character match Kylia in real life?
ALL: Oh, they’re close. He’s a total jokester. She’s a jokester in real life. She’s great for the role. It’s hilarious! It’s perfect. Perfectly suited for her. She’s just a fun-loving personality!
CHAMPS: Love that! And the show is one cast?
Mylah: My role is double cast because I have to leave part way through the show’s run to fly back to New York.
CHAMPS: For the August Wilson Monologue National Finals, right?
Mylah: That’s right. Second place in Finals and headed to Nationals in NYC, so I’m actually missing half the performances for Twelfth Night.
CHAMPS: Okay, but you said you have to fly back to New York. You were just there?
Mylah: Julliard callbacks. The audition process was an amazing experience! They teach the BFA’s and MFA’s together… So, since I’m currently waitlisted and my brother is looking at grad schools, he and I will audition together again next year.
CHAMPS: That’s very cool! Okay, so you’re all wrapping the school year with a performance of Twelfth Night and then headed off to college after the summer. Two questions: Where can we see the show and then what are you most looking forward to when you get to college?
Bella Nguyen: Dancing! I danced ballet for thirteen years and haven’t done it in a while. So I’ll take some crossover classes in Musical Theatre.
Mylah: You make a lot of connections and meet a lot of the same people during these auditions. So I feel like I’m going to stay in contact with a lot of the people I’ve met from all of these various competitions when we’re all going to college and stuff. Even this guy I got to know through August Wilson got into NYU and USC as well.
Natalia: I mean, yes, you see them in passing and you’re like, “Oh, yeah we did this together,” or, “We met at that audition,” and I’ll work with these people again. So I chose musical theater because I went to Millikan and studied musical theatre there. And my Godfather is a heavy influence and kind of guides me like a manager-he was on Broadway and in ballet companies. It was just something that was always prevalent in my life.
Twelfth Night runs from Thursday, May 2 through Saturday, May 4 at the amphitheater in Franklin Canyon Park. Tickets and directions are available on the CHAMPS online box office: https://champscharterhs.thundertix.com.
CHAMPS Theatre Academy is also holding a Renaissance Faire Fundraiser at the park the morning of Saturday, May 4 at 11:00 AM before their matinee shows.
Our seniors attend in-state and out-of-state public and private schools ranging from liberal arts colleges to full-scale research universities. CHAMPS has two full-time college counselors in addition to two full-time academic counselors, all of whom are dedicated to helping our students find individualized post-secondary experiences, universities, and career tracks that best suit each students’ need.
For more information contact CHAMPS Charter High School of the Arts at 818-994-7614.