by Daisy Creager | Staff Writer
Bright lights. You can hear the chatter of the audience behind the curtain-some of them excited to be there, some of them bored. No matter what their expectations, you have to perform well – as good as the last show. You have set the standard.
“I remember my first performance of Mash Bash. I was so nervous I wanted to throw up, I had never been that nervous in my life,” senior Hannah Peterson said. “When I’m on stage we interact as a group of people. It’s so much fun. I can’t even explain it really.”
Since spring break of her junior year, Peterson has worked at Six Flags Fiesta Texas as a performer in shows such as ‘Rockin at Rockville High’ and the ‘Monster Mash Bash.’
“I went to see one of the shows one time and I was talking to my dad and saying ‘I would love to do a job like this where I could do something that I really love, be able to perform and get experience, while I’m making money,’” Peterson said. “My dad suggested I audition so I looked up the dates and it turned out it was that weekend. I had to put together a resume and everything and I auditioned, then they called me back and said they wanted me.”
Because the shows at Fiesta Texas are seasonal, Peterson has to re-audition for each show.
“I auditioned for the summer shows and worked there all summer, and to continue working there I had to re-audition for the Halloween shows,” Peterson said. “They’ve told me that they really like me so they’re probably going to keep me there, but it is a formality.”
A natural entertainer, Peterson says she has been singing and performing for her family since she was young.
“I’ve always just had a passion for being in front of people whether it was dancing, acting, or coming up with little performances for my family,” Peterson said.
Peterson began taking theatre in school her sophomore year.
“I have seen her grow in confidence and determination by taking the classes,” theatre director Jay Asterman said. “This class [has] built up her confidence and self esteem, allowing her to go out and try out for those type of things-jobs like Fiesta Texas or Sea World.”
One of the younger people in the cast, her job at Fiesta Texas is giving her unique experience in performing she can use after high school.
“It’s real world,” Peterson said. “I’m getting to be with people who have been on Broadway, who have choreographed with people on Broadway, who have been through that stage rather than being with people who have never had experience before. I’m learning from every person I come across there. My voice has gotten much stronger.”
According to Asterman, working with professionals now will open new opportunities to Peterson later.
“It’s giving her a lot of networking capabilities with all the different people she is meeting, giving her experience,” Asterman said. “She can now put on her resume that she has worked at Fiesta. It’s a stepping stone-she can now work on cruises or go for other theme parks or the dream dub of Disney.”
As well as improving her skills and giving her valuable experience with professionals, Peterson’s job has also exposed her to the role other people’s opinions will play in her life is she enters the entertainment industry.
“I’ve been through a lot there with the girls-they’ve said mean stuff about me and they’ve pressured me to look a certain way,” Peterson said. “If you’re in the entertainment industry you have to deal with a lot of problems spiritually too. I’m glad I’ve been through stuff like that now because it will give me a feeling of what it will be like if it was harder. It’s a really good stepping stone for performing as well as growing up.”
According to Asterman, outside of an educational setting, other people’s attitudes play a much different role in performances.
“She’s getting a real world application of taking things she’s learned here and applying them to the real world and a real work setting,” Asterman said. “People aren’t always 100 percent on board with you going through a project. There are people who are going to have different types of attitudes about the job and about the experiences. She’s learning how to stay positive but also learning how to handle those relationships and keep it professional.”
Due to the distance of Fiesta Texas from her house and the rigor of rehearsals, Peterson has had to sacrifice a lot of time for her job.
“Being away from her family has been hard for her, because she’s gone all the time and doesn’t get to see us at all,” sophomore Thea Peterson, Hannah’s sister, said. “It’s affected our relationship, we use to be closer and we’re not anymore.”
However, what she misses at home she makes up for with her coworkers.
“You can’t slack, but it’s so enjoyable to where I can’t wait to get out of school to go there,” Peterson said. “Over the summer I probably did a total of 500 to 600 shows, probably more. It’s my home, it’s like my second family.”