With the performances of White Christmas fast approaching, we took a look at some special folks in our cast who have been appearing in VOS shows for many seasons – Emma Sandziuk, Ewan Mireault, Stephanie Koomen, and Justin McKague. As they are all graduating from high school this June, this could well be their last opportunity to appear on-stage together.
Here’s what they had to say about their theatre experiences with VOS.
VOS THEATRE: Hi guys! You’re all so important to our organization and you’re heading off next year to higher educational pursuits. What was your first show with the VOS?
Stephanie: My first show with VOS was Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in 2015.
Emma: My first show with VOS was Fiddler On The Roof
Emma in Fiddler on the Roof, 2009
Justin: Fiddler on the roof.
Justin in Fiddler on the Roof, 2009
Ewan: My first show with VOS was Oliver.
VOS THEATRE: What was your favourite onstage experience with us?
Stephanie: My favourite onstage experience with VOS was probably Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. It was my first show with VOS and I find the first show with a theatre company to be very important because it determines whether you are going to audition for them again or not. I was greeted with a warm welcome and felt right at home. I instantly fell in love with VOS and I am so grateful to have been part of the cast for 3 of their productions.
Emma: My favourite onstage experience with VOS was White Christmas back in 2014. That’s why I am so happy to come back and be apart of such a great show.
Justin: Getting my very first laugh.
Ewan: I think my favourite onstage experience was Spamalot.
VOS THEATRE: What’s your best memory working in a show?
Stephanie: The way it made me feel. Especially with VOS, I always felt important even when I had a small role. There was one person in particular who always reminded me that I was beautiful and always told me, “You’re rocking it, babe”. This really helped me with my confidence and comfort towards going on stage in only a body suit and a suit jacket 🙂
Emma: My best memory working in any show I have done is moving into Victoria hall. That is the point when all of our hard work pays off and we get to enjoy performing, as well as enjoying the backstage experience with each other.
Justin: Seeing everyone so excited right before opening night.
Ewan: My favourite memory is opening night for any of the shows I’ve done.
VOS THEATRE: Everybody – one word to describe your friend Justin……your friend Ewan…..your friend Emma……your friend Stephanie….
Stephanie: Justin – entertaining; Ewan – amusing; Emma – Happiness
Emma: I don’t think it is possible for me to describe some of my best friends with just one word but I will do my best: Justin- hilarious; Ewan- forthright; Stephanie- irreplaceable.
Justin: Ewan: Bromance; Emma: Puns; Stephanie: Sass
Ewan: Justin: Hilarious; Emma: Energetic; Stephanie: Enthusiastic
VOS THEATRE: We know its early days but what are you up to next year?
Stephanie: I would really love to go to either Sheridan College or St Lawrence College for musical theatre performance, but I’m also considering taking a year off to work and maybe go for a couple of auditions in Toronto.
Emma: Next year I plan to work on my undergrad towards speech pathology. I am not sure what school I will be attending yet.
Justin: I will be studying Computer Science in University.
Ewan: At the moment, I’m not too sure.
VOS THEATRE: What has it been about musical theatre that has kept you coming back year after year?
Stephanie: Besides the singing and dancing? I love the audience, they’re the reason I do this. I love the feeling you get when you finish a spectacular dance number and the audience just goes wild. We the performers wouldn’t survive without them.
Emma: The people are what keep me coming back. I love music and drama, and to be able to spend time with other people that also enjoy the theatre is so much fun. These people have become like a second family to me.
Justin: The people. You build such a bond with these people while making a show. You become a family with these awesome people. That’s what keeps me coming back.
Ewan: The people and the enjoyment of doing shows are what keep me coming back.
VOS THEATRE: It’s hard balancing the demands of a job and school with a hobby of theatre. How do you do it?
Stephanie: After a lot of tears have been shed and hair has been pulled out, I prioritize and organize. Considering that I want to have a career in theatre/film I usually put my rehearsals and shows at the top of my list. However, I am very lucky to have a manager who is very flexible when it comes to me booking time off work. Also, whiteboard calendars are a blessing.
Emma: I do find it a little crazy to balance rehearsals, work, and school sometimes. I often bring my homework to rehearsal and work on it whenever I am not needed on stage.
Justin: Work, school and theatre all at once seems like a lot of work, and it is but you just have to push that much harder to get out and do what you love, and it won’t feel that stressful when you are around the great people that volunteer their time for the shows.
Ewan: It’s tough, but you just have to push yourself to get through it all and enjoy it.
VOS THEATRE: White Christmas – your thoughts?
Stephanie: It’s simply a must see. I hope everyone gets a chance to see this show because it is such a beautiful work of art.
Emma: White Christmas is one of my absolute favourite musicals because of all the music and dance numbers. The music is great, the choreography is fun, and the costumes are always so creative. Thank you VOS for all the great years!
Justin: This will be my last show with VOS, and that is a very sad thing to think about but this show is so fun and well done that I feel great ending this amazing chapter of my life with this awesome show and these even more amazing people.
Ewan: It’s a fantastic show full of amazing songs and incredible dancing. I’m really glad I got the chance to do it again.