Thursday, October 23, 2014

Spotlight On Madison Potantus in A Year with Frog and Toad

When Madison Potantus moved to the Tampa area with her family last year from Ohio, she was concerned that she wouldn’t be able to find a dance studio or theater to suit her passion for performing.

Madison and Jacob Potantus
“I started dancing when I was about two and a half,” said Madison, 13, from Harbour Island.

“When I was little, I started singing a lot. That led to trying a vocal class, which led to trying a theater class.”

After recently playing Miss Hannigan in a local production of Annie, she was hooked on theater and wanted more, which led her to the Patel Conservatory.

When she started classes this fall at the Conservatory, she dove right in, taking six classes in dance, theater and music, including Junior Choir, Acting, Just for Kicks and Show Team.

“This is actually the first studio we’ve come to that has everything,” she said.

She performed last week in the Vocal and Instrumental Concert, and plays a Lady Bird in our upcoming theater production of A Year with Frog and Toad.

“I’m loving it here, it’s awesome. It seems like a big program, but really it’s like a really tight family. My first class, everyone was so welcoming,” said Madison.

Madison’s 10-year-old brother Jacob is also enrolled, taking chorus and theater classes. Jacob, who has autism, surprised his family with a solo part at last week’s vocal concert.

“When he was little, we didn’t think he was going to talk at all, so it was awesome to see him get up there,” said Madison.

“I was blown away by the concert, the level of professionalism, the technique,” said their mom Heather Potantus. “You could see the talent in [instructors] Kavan [Gillespie] and Aaron [Cassette] and their ability to work with the children. They respect the kids. The way they interact with the children is so special.”

One of the things Madison enjoys about the instructors is how they encourage the students to make their own creative choices.

“I love all the faculty... it’s amazing to see how well they communicate with us,” said Madison.

In A Year with Frog and Toad, Madison was surprised by how director Matthew Belopavlovich added his own unique touches to the show, playing up his vaudeville experience.

“When I first saw it, I thought it was going to be crazy, but it works,” said Madison.

A Year with Frog and Toad is a fun, family-friendly show about friendship through the seasons. Performed by students in grades 5 through 8, it's a great way to introduce kids to live theater.

“Some of these kids are blowing my mind, giving their own take on these characters. Overall, I think it’s going to be amazing and I’m so excited to see the finished product.”

The show runs Nov. 6 through Nov. 9, 2014 in TECO Theater.

Patel Conservatory students receive 50% off one ticket with their Patel Conservatory student ID badge at the Ticket Sales Office. For tickets, click here, visit our Ticket Sales Office, or call 813.229.STAR (7827).

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