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KW gets new director in Hebert

Katrina Rooney

Katrina Rooney

Hannah Smothers, Staff Writer

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Last year, Dustin Hebert took over the theatre department here at Kelly Walsh after Michael Stedille held the position for many years. A lot is changing under Hebert, but the cast and crew of “Beauty and The Beast,” the spring musical, seem to be loving it.

Many of the actors in the show enjoy being under Hebert’s direction. Tess Bjorksten, an actress in BATB, says, “He’s so invested in every aspect of the show. Not only does he direct the leads, but he takes the time to give each background character a purpose and objective.” Another actor in the musical, Jarred Carlstrom, likes that Hebert is personal with his cast on and off the stage.

Hebert is definitely bringing some changes to the theatre department. Katrina Rooney, the choir director here, is working on the singing aspect of the musical. She is in favor of the new ideas he is putting into action, like senior bios. Now, instead of only giving leads bios in the musical program, he is giving them solely to seniors, in order to honor everyone that goes through Kelly Walsh theatre. Another actress in the show, Kirsten Roussel, likes that he changed the audition process, which “needed to be done”. It used to be that the person auditioning sang one song from the musical based on the character you wanted in the show for your audition, and that was all. This year Hebert made the audition process more thorough and modern. People auditioning can sing a minute and a half of any song from any musical they wish, and there is a dance audition as well. This aligns more with the audition process in more professional theatre programs.

Of course, with a new job comes unexpected twists and stress. Alongside directing the show, Hebert now has to design the set. However, he is doing very well. Abby Baker, a set builder for the show, says, “He is bringing a sense of order and structure to set construction. He cares about the education. He is explaining every step of the process and takes the time to make sure I know what to do.” The cast and crew of the show all think he is handling the stress of directing and set design very well, or at least that is what he shows. Baker also says, “I think Hebert is having a mental breakdown daily because he is doing about four to five jobs by himself. But he’s doing a great job of keeping it from the actors. He’s basically trying to be Superman. He’s pretty close.”

Even though Hebert is juggling a lot of responsibilities, everyone thinks he is fantastic.

“He’s doing amazing. Period. Just from watching him direct one scene or talk about one character’s given circumstances, you get the sense that he’s been doing this for a long time.” Says Bjorksten.

Rooneythinks the same: “He’s doing an excellent job of maintaining a huge cast, keeping the lines of

communication (open) with everyone, (and) building an excellent set. I think he’s a phenomenal acting

coach.” Keep on Superman-ing, Hebert!

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KW gets new director in Hebert