Triple Threat

Anna Schloerb lives to perform in the spotlight

LIGHTS, CAMERA, PASSION. Anna Schloerb, a senior, rehearses her role as Sophie Sheridan in U-High’s staging of “Mamma Mia!” for the spring musical. Anna combines her other extracurriculars and long-time interests, such as singing and dancing, along with theater, all in this role.

Lily Vag-Urminsky

LIGHTS, CAMERA, PASSION. Anna Schloerb, a senior, rehearses her role as Sophie Sheridan in U-High’s staging of “Mamma Mia!” for the spring musical. Anna combines her other extracurriculars and long-time interests, such as singing and dancing, along with theater, all in this role.

Caledonia Abbey, Midway Reporter

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Senior Anna Schloerb is no stranger to performing — and a true triple threat. As a singer, dancer, and actress, she’s dedicated herself to choir in and outside of U-High, dance classes and acting roles including playing the lead role of Sophie in U-High’s upcoming school musical “Mamma Mia!”

This year, Anna is in Bel Canto as well as Voice of Chicago, the top performance group of the Chicago Children’s Choir.

She’s been singing non-stop since she was little, and credits her young love for music to Music Together classes she took with her parents as a toddler.

“It’s a part of my life, always part of something I do, part of my identity,” she said. “I can’t imagine my life without it.”

Last year was her first year in Voice of Chicago, and she is also a part of The Groove, Chicago Children’s Choir’s advanced dance group. While acclimating to the new environment and meeting all the new people was difficult at first, Anna has grown to see the choir community as a kind of utopia.

“Everyone is listening to each other and making something beautiful together,” she said, noting that many of her peers come from other schools, who she would otherwise never have met. “Coming together with people who are pretty different from you and making something beautiful is really cool.”

Anna started performing as a camper at Summer Lab Onstage where she began working with Katy Sinclair, Bel Canto director.

“No matter if the performance was that day, or if it was the first day of camp, she just has this unfailing optimism that is very wonderful to work with,” Ms. Sinclair said.

She said Anna took on a significant role in Bel Canto: stepping in to lead small ensembles and doing “behind the scenes work in both musical and administrative roles.”

Anna’s singing and dancing experience, which also includes U-High’s dance troupe, modern dance classes, and of course, dancing around her bedroom just for fun, will come in handy next month in “Mamma Mia!” Anna will put her singing to use as Sophie, the lead role in U-High’s spring musical May 16-18.

“When I was really little, me and my cousins always put on musicals together with our dolls and our stuffed animals, so one of the musicals that we did was ‘Mamma Mia!’” she said, “and I got to be Sophie as a little American Girl Doll dancing around on the bed. We did the entire cast album, and we had choreography and everything.”

But the performance is just one of the many great things that Anna loves about doing theater. The most rewarding part is the time, commitment and energy that goes into really working on something — and seeing it pay off.

“My favorite thing in the world is running a dance number over and over and over again until it’s perfect,” Anna said, “and when you do it, you’re like, ‘Yes!’ And that’s the most amazing feeling ever.”

Theater and choir have been constants in her life, and always something to fall back on after an especially hard day, as many can be during the already tumultuous times of high school. Rehearsals after school on those days “can be tough, but are always there to look forward to,” according to Anna.

Her involvement in theater goes beyond acting. She’s been on crew, helped choreograph dances and even directed her own show as a part of the Student Experimental Theater her sophomore year.  

“Being able to have that experience, being more in charge of things, in a place that I feel so comfortable… gives me the confidence to see that I’m capable of doing that kind of thing when I go out into the world,” she said.

Anna hopes to pursue music and theater in college and beyond in addition to her interests in the sciences. She has also said that teaching is something she would like to do, recognizing the disparity in access to performance arts, and the importance of giving back. She herself accredits much of her personal growth, and many of her closest relationships to performing.

“To me, it is more about the people and the process and the community than the role that you have,” she said.

 

Samira Glaeser-Khan contributed to this report.