Christa Washburn sets the stage with confidence



Junior Christa Washburn has participated in many theater performances at the high school.

Junior Christa Washburn’s long hair flares out during their spin in “Mamma Mia’s” “Super Trouper,” having just marched into view, therefore commencing the beginning of rehearsal.

Washburn’s drama career started during the pandemic, resulting in their first drama experiences, the freshman play and 2021 musical “The Little Mermaid,” to be online.

However, this unconventional start did not stop them from bringing their fullest self into the digital space. Director and Drama I teacher Elena Maimonis has known and taught Washburn since their freshman year, and says that their enthusiasm was always apparent.

“I didn’t get to know a lot of other students fully until they were in person,” Maimonis said. “But Christa really acted as a leader in class even through the screens, showing off their personality without hesitation.”

Now, with the upcoming production “Mamma Mia,” Maimonis said she is confident in her casting of Washburn as Donna, the secondary lead.

“I had seen them audition for other things before, but something just about their song in the very first audition actually made me tear up a little bit,” Maimonis said.

This musical will be the 9th graders’ first show with upperclassmen, and Maimonis believes Washburn will provide a supportive environment for the younger performers.

“Having the 9th graders look up to a junior or senior who has done shows before is just such a positive experience for them,” Maimonis said. “To be like, ‘Oh wow, that’s how I want to be one day,’ or, ‘This is how I should be acting in this show.’ It helps them mature, and it helps them learn about what it takes to be a positive team member of a show.”

Freshman Holly Anthony, who has worked backstage in sound and lighting on a variety of shows with Washburn, says that Washburn’s personability has made all the difference for their comfort in a cast.

“They’re just super fun to be around. They’re very funny and very nice,” Anthony said. “We’re going to be working on ‘Mamma Mia’ together, so I know it’s going to be a lot of fun and I’m really looking forward to it.”

Anthony said that a familial cast is essential for a solid performance and people like Washburn make that dynamic more manageable.

Washburn explains that it’s a positive feedback loop. They come in with leadership and inclusivity that connects the actors, resulting in a tight cast that in turn lessens stage fright and social anxiety. This strengthens their acting and confidence, and the cycle is repeated.

“Whether it’s theater or everyday life, building relationships with people is really helpful,” Washburn said. “So even if it’s faked, you’ve got to have some kind of confidence to go out there and just do your thing.”

That said, Washburn said that performing doesn’t necessarily come naturally to them.

“Performing has kind of been going out there just full force and rolling with it,” Wasburn said. “Anxiety and stress get in the way, but at the same time if you focus in, remember your lines and go with the flow, the people around you will support you. You’ve just gotta have the right group of people.”