As she watched, she imagined herself on-stage, feeling what the actors were feeling. She'd never seen a
What Keener will do this summer might help her realize her dream.
She will study under the
Keener, 14, will major in voice during the intensive workshop, scheduled for
"I'm so, so excited. I can't wait to go," the daughter of
"I was very, very pleased," Keener said about her acceptance in March. "It made me very happy."
A huge smile stretched across her face the entire day.
A friend had told her about the alliance's visit to
Up until 2011, her performing experience comprised singing along with her grandmother's old karaoke machine. She'd sing every day, starting when she was 8 or 9, to, among other things, the entire "High School Musical" soundtrack and to an entire
She'd sing in front of family members.
"They thought that I had a really nice voice, but they thought I should be a little less shy, be a little more open," Keener said.
In 2011, she decided to audition for
"I think it was probably all right," she said about her performances, although she added audience members probably couldn't hear her very well.
After "The Little Mermaid," Keener participated in an audition workshop with CCYT's artistic director,
She said she learned how to present herself on-stage and "sell yourself."
Marshall "looked at me with an extremely interested gaze," told her she has a beautiful voice and should continue singing.
"After that, my confidence just went through the roof," Keener said. "I wasn't sure what feedback I was going to get and it really touched me."
Since then, Keener has appeared in several plays, including most recently the musical adaptation "Oliver!" at
Gracie portrayed a non-lead role, a female named Bet.
"I think I did relatively well," she said. "I've improved a lot since I first started."
Keener said in addition to Marshall's feedback at the audition workshop, guidance from different directors has helped her.
"Each director is so different and each stresses different points," Keener said.
One director stressed diction, she said, adding "that definitely helped me a lot."
Another emphasized the importance of an actor putting his or her own spin on a character.
Keener said she hopes to develop some connections during the
"Experience the best of
To raise money for her trip, "
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Visit the Norwalk Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) at www.norwalkreflector.com
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