Ellie Tomasso, a 17-year-old senior at Glenwood Springs High School, has been performing since she was 2 years old. A singer, dancer and actress, Tomasso uses all her skills in her theatrical pursuits, including productions with her school, the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts, Defiance Community Players and Long Lake Camp for the Arts in New York.
Tomasso will be performing in the high school’s upcoming production of “Legally Blonde,” and she plans to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts in musical theater. Find out what her favorite part of being on stage is.
Post Independent: How long have you been performing?
Ellie Tomasso: The performing arts have always been a part of my life. My earliest memory of performing is when I was tap dancing to “Animal Crackers in My Soup” by Shirley Temple, who was definitely an idol when I was very young. I have always loved performing right from the start, and it hasn’t changed since. It’s a huge part of my life.
PI: When did you start dancing, singing and acting, and what do you like about each?
ET: I started first with dancing when I was 2. What I love about it is how you can express so much emotion without even using words. The physicality that you put into your technique is what makes a piece speak for itself. I started singing when I was 5. Since then I’ve had vocal training and love to try out all types of genres of music and see how much I can push myself to get better all the time. Acting started with Defiance Community Players in “Oliver!” when I was 8. It’s nice to become another person and develop a point of view based on the character.
PI: What are some of the productions you’ve been in, both in and out of school?
ET: I have been in about 12 musicals since 6th grade. I have been a Defiance kid with the Defiance Community Players and have done shows such as “Urinetown” and, most recently, “Les Miserables.” I also went to a camp up until junior year called Long Lake Camp for the Arts. There I did a variety of shows, like “Willy Wonka,” “Rent,” “Rocky Horror Picture Show” and even “Cabaret.” There is where I had my first lead. I got to be my dream role of Tracy Turnblad in my second show of “Hairspray.” In high school I was in “Young Frankenstein” and was dance captain. This year, I am Vivienne in “Legally Blonde” with such an amazing cast. As a dancer, I have always loved jazz, lyrical and hip-hop. My favorite roles in theater have been Vera Salt, Tracy and now Vivienne.
PI: How and when did you get involved with the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts? What do you like about it?
ET: I got involved with the Center for the Arts when I was very little. After going there for two years, I went to the Glenwood Dance Academy. I decided to take a year off when I was in 7th grade and that year, Christina Brusig [executive director of the Center for the Arts] was a choreographer for Defiance‘s performance of “The Wiz.” She had told me about how I should join again. So I did. Ever since then I have learned so much. Christina and all the other teachers there have really helped me grow. They started bringing us to competitions. I’m not there at the moment because of the show, but they are all doing so well with the dance competitions, and I am so proud of everyone a part of it.
PI: Do you see the performing arts as a profession for you?
ET: I will be pursuing the arts as a profession. I’m going to go to college to get my B.F.A. in musical theater. After auditioning for colleges, it’s still so surreal that I will be leaving Glenwood.
PI: How do you think your involvement in the performing arts has helped you in other aspects of your life?
ET: The arts have helped me in many aspects of life. It helps socially, showing you how to communicate with people in general. It also deals with how to be professional. In the arts, you are put in situations where you need to be professional whether you’re in an audition or even in rehearsal. This teaches you how to act in interviews and other jobs you might have.
PI: What’s your favorite part about performing?
ET: The best part about being on stage is the feeling you get as soon as you step on it. The lights are hitting you, and you feel this adrenaline going through your body because you want the audience to have a great time. And that’s the best part of theater: having everyone come together and have a great time.
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