Senior gives insight to being ‘Part of (her) World’

Vander Missen prepares for last stage appearance


Liam Keenan

Senior Marissa Vander Missen takes instruction on flying from Director of Theatre Art Ms. Jennifer Alexander.

Erin O'Neill, Reporter

This weekend, the Hill will see its second musical of the school year, and the final performances of the members of the senior class involved in Catheatre. Among them is senior Marissa Vander Missen.

Relationship with Catheatre

Vander Missen has been very involved in theatre throughout her years at Cathedral and she said, “The reality of my time with Catheatre coming to a close hasn’t set in yet. Next week will be a rollercoaster of emotions. My time with the theatre has so shaped my Cathedral experience.”

Vander Missen described that simply being on stage has been one of the highlights of her time in Catheatre.

She said, “Performing is such a rush. I love the challenge of authentically playing another person. (The Little Mermaid) was always one of my favorite Disney movies. As a swimmer, of course Ariel was my favorite princess. It’s surreal trying to embody a cartoon.”

Favorite role

Vander Missen described that her upcoming role has been her favorite among those in her time in Catheatre.

She said, “Ariel in The Little Mermaid has been my favorite role so far–the flying, or swimming, rather, the familiar songs, and loads of scenes with my best friends make rehearsal non-stop fun.”

She added, “Ariel’s optimism inspires me and helps motivate me to put my everything into the show.” While Ariel has been her most beloved role, Vander Missen said, “My most unexpected role was the King of the Flying Monkeys in The Wizard of Oz.”

Starting early 

Vander Missen has been dedicated to Catheatre throughout her four years. She said, “I was one of two freshman Thespians, which means I participated in all four shows freshman year, and I’ve continued all my years since.”

She added that Shrek the Musical her freshman year was particularly special. Vander Missen said, “People say your freshman musical will always seem the most magical. As a freshman, becoming a part of such an incredible program takes your breath away. Shrek will prove a hard show to surpass, but The Little Mermaid  might take the cake.”

Director of Theatre Art Ms. Jennifer Alexander described the bond that is formed with the students, like Vander Missen, who are involved in Catheatre all 4 years.

She said, “Many of them I have worked with for 4 years, and we have a common language as we are working on the play, and I’m able to direct them and coach them and they are able to understand what I’m talking about.”

Some of Vander Missen’s best memories of Catheatre come from her freshman and junior year musicals.

She said, “My fondest moment onstage remains the closing bows of Shrek my freshman year, it was then when I felt I’d truly found my home in theatre.”

Vander Missen described some of the backstage moments she was able to share with other members of the cast from last spring’s musical, Legally Blonde. She said, “Last year before the jump rope routine, my workout girls and I always sang Shakira songs and warmed up. That always makes me smile.”

Challenges are still present

While Ariel has been Vander Missen’s favorite role to date, the part has not come without  challenges.

For this show, members of the cast will be flying on stage to add to the illusion that they are underwater.

Alexander described some of the challenges, saying, “Marissa, when she’s flying, having to ‘swim’ and sing at the same time, she’s using all those core muscles. Luckily she is a swimmer, but that’s the biggest (challenge), being able to incorporate the swimming and singing. But, she is so strong that it’s been amazing to watch.”

Vander Missen added that she hopes to iron out some of the technical parts of the show, like her flying routine.

Choir Director Mr. Trevor Fanning also discussed these challenges.

He said, “Certainly the most difficult part about show is the technical aspect, making the transition from underwater to on land. Sometimes that’s a transition that needs to happen as the scene is going on, when Prince Eric drowns or when Ariel gets her feet, those are tricky, timing that out, making it look realistic to the audience.”

A dream attained

Despite the possible challenges, Vander Missen expressed her excitement for this weekend’s performances.

She said, “I cannot wait to see little kids at the performance watching a favorite Disney movie come alive.

“Being a mermaid for four days will be a dream.”