High School Drama: Cookeville High Grad EMMA CHOATE
It's been an exceptionally busy summer thus far for recent Cookeville High School graduate Emma Choate as she prepares to make the transition to college student at Tennessee Technological University in her hometown. Making the leap from high schooler to college student is a challenge, no matter who you are, but for Emma - who has been an over-achiever in live theater most of her life - it's probably made easier by her decision to remain at the local college, where she plans to major in vocal music education.
"Emma received a large merit scholarship to AMDA in NYC, but she will complete her undergrad here at TTU," reports her deservedly proud father Michael Choate, who has been instrumental in establishing the theater program at Cookeville High School as one of Tennessee's best.
Taking on roles ranging from Maria in West Side Story to Christine Daae in CHS' lauded production of Phantom of the Opera this past spring - as well as the title role in Mary Poppins - Emma's shown a range of talents and abilities that may make older and more experienced actors jealous, all of which has been crafted through years of hard work and dedication to her craft.
"During Emma's audition for her debut performance with our company, I quickly noticed her natural talent and spot-on instincts," recalls Jennifer Welch, artistic director of Cookeville Children's Theatre. "By final callbacks, I knew that Emma was destined to become an extraordinary performer."
"As a ninth grader, she played Louisa Von Trapp in our production of The Sound of Music. Over the next few years, Emma played many leading roles, notably: Cosette (Les Miserables, CHS), Chava (Fiddler on the Roof, CCT), Maria (West Side Story, CHS), Dorothy (Wizard of Oz, CCT), Mary Poppins (Mary Poppins, CHS), Belle (Disney's Beauty & the Beast, CCT), and most recently Christine Daae (Phantom, CHS)."
"In every role, Emma radiates truth and artistic beauty. She completely transforms into these diverse characters, night after night, giving stunning performances consistently, with the same energy, truth, and heart for each and every show," Welch continues. "I treasure each opportunity I've had to direct such a fine leading lady. Her kind and gracious personality is just as genuine and true as her on-stage performances. I can't wait to see all the beautiful ways Emma will use her incredible gifts as she begins this next chapter of her career."
Here's the perfect opportunity for you to get to know Emma Choate in this edition of High School Drama...
What is your theatrical goal in life? I don't think you can be an aspiring actress in musical theatre and not have dreams of someday going to New York and being on Broadway. In the meantime, I hope to always be able to share my talents through music and theatre with as many people as possible. I want to make audiences happy by performing and help them escape from their everyday lives.
If you could play any role in any show, what would you choose? I have had the opportunity to play so many wonderful roles, and each of them has been special and uniquely challenging. If I were to have the chance to play any other role in a show, it would probably be Glenda in Wicked. I love the music from that show, and her character is so charismatic and fun, yet complex. It would be a fun challenge.
What's been your best theatrical experience to date? Les Miserables was my first opportunity to portray a character in a dramatic musical. That experience exposed me to the grandeur of musical theatre and taught me to have confidence in my abilities. Mary Poppins, however, has been my very favorite role to play because it was a further stretch and challenge for me. The role is iconic and requires certain character traits and features that pushed me to deliver my best in a way that no other role has.
Who are your favorite actors? Audra McDonald is the first to come to mind. Her passion comes through in her singing and acting, which makes every role she plays seem authentic and real. Also, she has played diverse characters with equal success and demands excellence from herself consistently.
What show that you've never seen would you most like to see live, onstage? Love Never Dies is the obvious choice for me. I'm a big Phantom fan, and I 've had the opportunity to play Christine, so I would love to see this production to see how it compares to Phantom. I love the music!