Name: Beth Gilchrist
School: Daniel Hand High School
Accomplishment: And the winner is … Beth Gilchrist! As the 2011 Shoreline's Top Talent Winner in the Theatre Category, Gilchrist was awarded a $1,000 scholarship award and professional mentoring sessions with Eric Ting, Long Wharf Theater’s Associate Artistic Director. “I was amazed when I found out and I am just so excited to be able to get the chance to work with him (Ting). It’s so exciting!” said Gilchrist.
The competition is run by the Shoreline Arts Alliance, which offers scholarships in multiple art disciplines, according to its website. High school juniors and seniors in the Shoreline region are eligible for awards in creative writing, dance, instrumental music, vocal music, theater, and visual arts.
After competing against 10 other students in the theatre category, Gilchrist was called back for the Shoreline’s Top Talent finals. She obviously wowed the judges with her performance of “It Won’t Be Long Now” from the musical In The Heights.
Key To Awesomeness: Gilchrist has worked diligently for the last 5 years to get to this pinnacle of her musical theater career. She was in her first production in sixth grade. “I played a part with absolutely no lines and I just stood in the background basically the whole show,” she says. “But I fell in love with it (theater)."
Since that time she has appeared in six plays with the same theater company, Backstage Players, in addition to six shows at Daniel Hand High School. And it runs in the family. Her dad, Mark Gilchrist, went to Ohio State originally as a chemical engineer major but then changed career paths to major in musical theater. His background includes national tours, including a performance at the Washington D.C.’s famous Ford Theatre. While he no longer performs professionally, he did have a role recently in the Backstage Players production of Oliver.
Gilchrist’s maternal grandmother also nurtures her talent by buying her tickets to professional productions. “My grandmother is a huge fan of the theater so she would send my cousins and I to the theatre all the time,” Gilchrist says. It was the show Wicked, in 6th grade, which changed Gilchrist’s life.
“There was this one song and it literally just made me start crying,” Gilchrist remembers. “And I just realized how powerful theatre can be and how you can touch an audience. That’s when I decided that I loved it!” She walked away from that production after hearing the life changing song, “Defying Gravity,” and thought, “I need to do this.”