Digging the dancing queen!

Student spotlight: Stella Moster

As the new semester starts, the Jones theater department is preparing for its yearly musical, which this year is Mamma Mia. With preparations and rehearsals coming along, the lead, Stella Moster ‘23, is ready to take on all of the responsibilities that come with having a lead role. 

Even though she is not involved in any theatrical performance groups outside of school, Moster has plenty of experience being involved in school plays and musicals.

“I’ve done almost all of the in-person shows at Jones,” says Moster. “I don’t participate in any professional [acting] troupes outside of school, but I was involved in choir and currently take voice lessons.”

Although she has been involved in three of Jones’ musicals since 2019, Mamma Mia presents a special platform for self expression.

“I love doing shows that have a lot of emotional value,” says Moster. “However, there is something special about doing a show that’s fun disco music.”

For many involved in theater, the ability for actors to relate to the characters they play onstage is a vital part in accurately portraying them.

“Taking the time to find where each individual actor’s gut feeling in their character’s development is important,” says Brennan Roach, director of the Jones theater department. “Finding that intersectionality is key to telling the story.”

Moster’s ability to relate to the play both emotionally and culturally helps bring the story together.

“Being of that Greek and Cypriot heritage, Stella brings in a lot of [cultural experience],” says Roach. “We’ve had some great conversations about what life is like in a small community [like that portrayed in Mamma Mia].”

Moster not only contributes her cultural knowledge to the play, but also a sense of celebration and community which can be felt throughout the production.

“Working with Stella has been really wonderful.” says Roach. “One of the big positive things about this community is the welcoming, supportive environment created by Stella and her classmates.”

Putting on the school production takes a group effort from the entire cast.

“The theater department is very much a community and we all work together to put on the show,” says Ruby Tallarida ‘25, the co-lead in the musical. “[Running a show] is mostly a group effort.”

Apart from Mamma Mia, Moster has experience with playing an array of different roles in plays and musicals.

“A lot of the shows that we’ve done in the past have been very dark,” says Moster. “Radium Girls was very poignant…where I got to play a villain…and in Anastasia I got to play a countess during the Bolshevik Revolution.”

Playing a lead role in the show comes with particular responsibilities Moster must take on.

“[I] have to be committed in terms of time,” says Moster. “I get to school in the morning and am here until 6:30 PM for rehearsal.”

Among time management, other factors contribute to the ability to keep an ensemble together.

“It is also important to have a sense of humility and understanding,” says Moster. “No matter what someone’s role is in the show, everyone plays a vital part…especially in ABBA where the ensemble carries the show.”

Offstage, Moster contributes to the community also by providing examples to follow.

“The subtext of being in the position of a lead role is to lead by example,” says Roach. “Others aspiring to be in that position look up to the lead to see how they handle being in that position…having an example like Stella there creates a strong example for on and offstage.”

The opportunity to be involved in theatrical shows is a unique feeling for Moster.

“The feeling immediately before going on stage is one of the worst feelings on earth,” says Moster. “But as soon as I go on stage it all goes away…it is a very freeing experience to be able to sing and act as a different character.”

For Moster, audience feedback is a component that keeps her motivated to keep acting.

“It is the best feeling in the world when people come up to you after a show and tell you that they were so moved, laughed, cried, or had so much fun,” says Moster. “Being able to connect people in that way is very unique to theater.”

Though performance may not be a career option for Moster, she plans to continue pursuing theater after high school. 

“As someone who is fed through creativity and art, I don’t think I could function without it,” says Moster. “I definitely want to keep performing and storytelling [after high school], whether that be through theater or other art forms.”