Fall Student Spotlight 2012: Madeline Hotham0
Each month, FVR Performing Arts Academy selects an outstanding student to be featured in the Student Spotlight of the Month. The selected student is featured in the FVR Playbill and on the blog. Our current Student Spotlight recipient is Madeline Hotham.
Madeline Hotham is an 8 year old 2nd grader from Batavia. She showed an interest in performance at a very young age, often acting out scenes from her favorite fairy tales. “She took ‘pretend play’ to another level”, explains Mom.
Madeline’s Mom also recalls how Madeline’s interest in musical theater was sparked. “Madeline’s older brother was involved in a school musical so she would sit in on rehearsals while I helped out. She absorbed everything that was going on during rehearsal like a sponge. She came home from rehearsals knowing many of the songs and the lines from the show! It was then that I knew that I needed to find something for a child her age.” Madeline’s family found Fox Valley Repertory.
Madeline started her journey at FVR two and a half years ago, taking her first class, The Sound of Music Tots Performance class at the age of 5. Her Pre-K teacher at the time shared that Madeline had taken it upon herself to teach the class songs from her theater class, such as DO-RE-MI, during break times!
Madeline went on to take two more musical theater performance classes; The Little Mermaid and The Wizard of Oz, gaining more confidence with each class. One year after her first class, she auditioned for the Kids’ Advanced Musical Annie Jr. and was cast as Molly, the littlest orphan, one of her favorite roles to-date. Later that year she was cast as Gladys in the Youth Play, Best Christmas Pageant Ever.
Madeline then had the unique opportunity to reprise her role as Molly in the FVR Youth Ensemble Production of Annie Jr. Although the role was the same, the Youth Ensemble Production provided new challenges for Madeline. The youngest cast member, Madeline had to learn difficult choreography while working with older, more experienced students. Despite the challenge of the role, Madeline loved the experience and was sad to see it end, even asking her Mom if there was any possibility that she could do just one more performance with the same cast! After Annie, Madeline went on to play Chip in the Kids’ Advanced Musical Beauty and the Beast Jr.
This summer Madeline was cast in the Kids’ Advanced Musical The Wizard of Oz as Dorothy, her dream role! She is so grateful for the opportunities and experiences that FVR has given her and can’t wait to get back on the FVR stage! In a recent school writing piece describing her, Madeline exclaimed “I live on stage!” According to Nicholas Davis, Madeline’s elementary music teacher, “Madeline was born to be on stage. Her ability and talents far exceed her young age. In my 10 years of teaching I have not encountered someone so young with her singing talent. I won’t be surprised to see her on Broadway some day.”
Madeline is especially thankful to have Tracy Whiteside as a teacher and mentor. In addition to her training at FVR, Madeline works with Dawn Harkins, a private vocal instructor and acting coach, who remarked, “Madeline is a joy to work with! She is intuitive beyond her years and boldly acts on her instincts. Madeline is bright and very quick to learn anything that comes her way. She is a firecracker – the spark that lights up the stage!”.
Madeline’s first grade teacher, Marsha Stierwalt, adds, “Madeline is a beautiful girl both inside and out! She is a pleasure to work with because she puts her heart into all that she does.”
Besides singing and acting, Madeline also studies piano and Jazz dance. Madeline hopes to have a career in the Performing Arts when she grows up and it looks like she has gotten a good head-start on fulfilling that dream!