Britta Cowan Takes the Stage

Sadie Oster, Journalism Staff

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Britta Cowan has been the lead in the last two fall musicals put on by Chaska High School-and she’s only a sophomore.

“So though I’m not a great romancer, I know that I’m bound to answer when you propose, anything goes!” Britta Cowan ends the song on the shoulders of three of her castmates, her arms lifted in unison with everyone else on the stage. “Let’s run it again!” shouts Mark King, the choreographer for Chaska High School’s current fall musical, Anything Goes.

Cowan plays the lead, Reno Sweeney, an evangelist turned nightclub singer onboard a cruise ship. This will be the second time she’s been the female lead in the fall musical counting her debut in CHS theatre last year as Ariel in Footloose. She was a freshman, but she was no rookie. “I was in my first show when I was eight,” states Cowan, “so I guess that’s seven years.” She’s also been dancing since she was three, and singing since she had a voice. “She matched pitch from, like, day one I had her in class,” says Mr. Sather, the Jonathan Elementary School music teacher. “She was a little on the shy side at first, but whenever there was something musical to do in class, she was the first one to try it.” That willingness to try and get out there was a trait that would aid Cowan in getting her first big role; Liesel in The Sound of Music at Theater 301 in Excelsior. “It was kind of just, like, a really low budget, not a great show, but it…was the first role I’ve ever gotten, and it was like, hey, I might not be bad at this. Hey, I want to do this with my life,” says Cowan.

So far, theatre has been what she’s done with her life. From Spring Awakening last summer at The Children’s Theatre to programs such as the International Thespian Festival and Spotlight Showcase, Cowan has immersed herself in the world of high school theatre, and wouldn’t have it any other way. “I truly believe that this [the CHS Theatre Department] is the most welcoming, loving group of people to be around, and I just love to be a part of that,” says Cowan. Other people do to. Castmates and students have described the theatre program as a “family,” and “a community within a community.” Cowan first got to experience this family in Footloose. “We really bonded as a group during Footloose which is something we haven’t had in a long time,” states cast member Carlie Doll, a junior. While Footloose introduced Cowan to high school theatre, it also gave her a chance to delve deep into who her character was and what made them do what they did. “My favorite part about Ariel was her layers…there’s so much more to her than what’s shown and I loved being able to play with that aspect of her while developing the character,” says Cowan, who seems to have a knack for being cast as complicated characters. Take Reno Sweeney, her current character, for example. “Reno could be seen as a very two dimensional character and I think the hardest part will be making her relatable,” says Cowan “there is definitely more to Reno then she puts on display so I really want to make sure I do her justice.”

It’s this seriousness about these musicals that helps her get cast as the lead again and again. “I see a level of maturity and professionalism in Britta,” says Mrs. Dinndorf, the theatre director here at CHS “that is unusual to see in a freshman or sophomore coming in.” She has a tremendous amount of natural talent, but she also inspires confidence that “she is someone who will work really hard, and give it their best,” says Mrs. Dinndorf. Fellow castmates agree. “Other than her being a triple threat in singing acting and dancing, she is an all around great person,” says Doll. So why does she get the lead year after year? As senior cast member Matt DuFresne says, “Because she’s the best candidate for that role.”

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