Madison Lara, a 15-year-old 10th-grade student with the KEYS program, is actively involved in theater. The Riverside resident was recently assistant director and also stage manager for Mulan and Thirteen the Musical with RL Theatricals.
She will soon serve as the head tech for Riverside Children’s Theatre’s (RCT’s) Lion King, Jr., and will assistant direct and stage manage Starlight Express auditions with RL Theatricals.
Madison began theater directing after she graduated from RCT in 8th grade. She explained, “I had been there for three years and had never really considered the backstage work until Conner LeBlanc and Mike Goodell (who are the current RCT stage managers and tech teachers) showed it to me and I kind of instantly fell in love with it.”
She continued, “Even though it is stressful at times, it’s mostly really fun. I was really worried that I would be overwhelmed but I ended up learning that I can actually think more clearly if I’m under a bit of pressure.”
Madison especially likes being a stage manager. A stage manager, she explained, makes sure that the play goes smoothly during production. She said, “I am in charge of everything that goes on behind and on the stage at every moment. I make calls for blackouts, as well as when the sets go on and off the stage.”
She continued, “During the show, when a problem arises if I don’t stay calm and keep a clear head, the show can very easily slip into chaos. I am also currently interning with RCT to help teach kids how to tech backstage.”
Madison noted that she was working on a “secret project” with RL Theatricals that will be released around late February to early March next year, and will work with the company to present monthly workshops for beginning actors and prepare for an advanced outdoor theatre camp.
Madison is in her first year with KEYS. She chose the program, she said, to give her more time for her theater work.
Despite her extensive involvement in theater, she plans to be a math teacher. However, but she’ll keep up with theater as a hobby “because I doubt I could abandon it completely. Having an academic option just seems more realistic to me.”