Freshman rises to Olivia Newton-John’s legacy


Robert Wedertz

Junior Victoria Maldonado glances over the balcony as the spotlight shines below on freshman Anneliese Wedertz who is about to begin her debut on May 6, 2023 at the Grease production.

“Her voice was unbelievable. So mature and so emotional. Watching her face and eyes, she wasn’t just singing with her voice, she was expressing emotion with her face and eyes,” said security guard David Brechtel.

Freshman Anneliese Wedertz made quite the appearance at this year’s spring musical, Grease.

“Listening to and watching Anneliese, she seemed like she’d been performing for many years. She owned the stage and she blew me away,” added Brechtel.

Anneliese’s confidence left the auditorium convinced that she had years of theatrical practice under her belt. However, she began theater just three months prior to the show, in which she was casted the lead role of Sandy Olsson. 

“Her auditions in January were excellent, consisting of strong vocals, dancing and acting, but I was honestly nervous about casting her in a leading role mainly because I didn’t know her,” said theater director Claude Blanchard. “A leading role can be incredibly stressful even for an actor who has been in OLTC for years. However, my fellow directors and I took a chance and cast her as Sandy. This is a decision that I am so happy that we made; we took a risk and it really paid off.”

According to Anneliese, she was absolutely stunned and didn’t expect any outcome because she went into auditions knowing absolutely nothing about theater.

“In fact, my number one role was Rizzo, not even Sandy. And Kenzie, who played Rizzo, had Sandy as her number one role. We laugh about the fact it was flip flopped, it’s a little joke we share,” said Anneliese.

Preparation for Grease meant that Anneliese would have to spend three hours on average at rehearsals Monday through Friday, and as long as five hours leading up to the show date. This doesn’t include practicing her lines everyday, sessions with her vocal teacher and academy school work.

“Anneliese has definitely been an inspiration in the theater company. It was amazing to see her develop her talent throughout the show. She was always such a bright, positive presence who made those around her more positive too,” said sophomore Amanda Morris.

The cast of Grease has nothing but great things to say about Anneliese and the feeling is mutual.

“I hope to be able to influence people to participate in theater and love it as much as the upperclassmen did for me. They taught me the ropes, and encouraged me to hold theater dear to my heart,” said Anneliese. “This group of people are so accepting and just so loving. They make me believe that there are truly kind people in the world, and I couldn’t ask for a better experience.”

According to Blanchard, Anneliese never complained and always treated each cast, crew and band members with kindness. She was a team player from day one.

“Anneliese possesses the four most important attributes we look for in OLTC: kindness, dedication, hard work and talent and we are thrilled to have been able to work with her; we hope to do so in the future,” said Blanchard. “One of my favorite comments from an audience member concerning Anneliese was, “Olivia Newton-John (Sandy in the motion picture) would be proud,” and I thoroughly agree.”