Success and Creativity Shine for Pinnacle Theater Company and Thespian Troupe #6565

Celebrating triumphs this year with original play and individual honors

The Pinnacle Theater Company (PTC) and Thespian Troupe #6565 achieved much success this year, with major performances including the dinner theater in the Fall and the musical in the Spring.  But the PHS Thespians also enjoyed crowning achievements that were not main stage productions, including an award-winning play written by, directed by and starring PTC students and individual achievements in acting and tech at various competitions.

One of the award-winning ensemble performances this year was an original script, inspired by  Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel Little Women, which readers have enjoyed for over a century. PTC Thespians enjoyed success this year with a new version of the story. A tale of the sisters, grown up and finding love, this original modern play adds a twist by including parts of the movie Jurassic Park, complete with dinosaurs and violence.

PHS student director and playwright, senior Hayden Wasnesky, came up with the concept on his own and brought it to life when he wrote the script and directed this one-act play, Little Women 2: Wrath of the Undead. PTC took the play to the annual Thespian Conference in the Fall and ranked top 8 in the state with their performance of it.

“The plot was a babysitter telling a bedtime story and the children thought it was boring so she threw in dinosaurs and violence,” said senior Lilly McGever, who played the lead role of Meg, one of the three title characters. 

 The Pinnacle Theatre Company (PTC) and Thespian Troupe 6565 performed the show three different times, each with different stage dimensions, and their hard work paid off when they won many titles at the State Thespian Festival such as a spot in internationals. 

Individual student actors and technicians also achieved high honors at various competitions this year, in areas such as acting, musical theater and design.  PHS thespian, sophomore Jazzy Rafnson, won 2nd place at State in the makeup competition for her design, called Face On. In this design, she included a lot of prosthetics, like horns and an open chest wound, which she made herself within an hour while being timed by the judges. 

To qualify for Internationals, PTC and Troupe 6565 competed at Northern Arizona Festival of Theater (NAFT) each faces a judge and earns a score of Fair, Good, Excellent, or Superior. To qualify for Nationals, they needed to score Superior. Unlike many competitions, the Thespians did not compete against each other and there was no set limit to the number of Superiors that could have been rewarded. Everyone who earned enough points according to the scoring guidelines qualified for internationals. 

“We all worked and rehearsed for months before the event, choosing what categories we would compete in, picking out scenes or monologues or picking shows memorizing, creating portfolios if applicable, and rehearsing to create the best performance we could,” McGever said.

NAFT was held at Yavapai Community College in Prescott in January. The competition began with an opening ceremony followed by rounds of competition. Each room included three judges and in order to get a Superior, competitors needed to earn at least must a Superior from two judges and an Excellent from one. The schedule included multiple sessions at different points throughout the day, and the closing ceremony, the people who earned Superiors were named from the stage and given their certificates. 

Out of the 23 PHS students that attended, 20 qualified for the International Thespian Festival this summer at Indiana University. McGever, one of the 20, will travel to perform in Internationals along with Wesnesky and the cast of Little Women 2, adding a final highlight to her drama career at PHS before heading to college next Fall.