Georgia Pertsch has blossomed on the Hillbarn Conservatory stage! She started out in Hillbarn Conservatory’s outreach program at her middle school where she did her first production, The Little Mermaid. Although she didn’t know it yet, that would be the start of a long line of shows Georgia would perform in. We’ve seen Georgia play animals such as Horton the Elephant, and Snoopy, as well as all different human characters. In addition to the Conservatory, where Georgia was last seen as Lulu in Footloose last summer, we are happy that she follows her passion for theatre by performing in her high school’s fall and winter shows. Georgia’s stage presence makes her a stand out in every show.
Q: Walk us through your first show experience.
A: This was at Crocker Middle School, and my mom was mad at me for not signing up for the last show that Hillbarn put on with Crocker the year before which was Grease. (I’m assuming Jr. because well, you know.) I told my mom I didn’t know when the sign ups were. The following year, she pushed me to do The Little Mermaid. I was like, “I have to do this show now.” I didn’t realize it at the time that I would end up love doing every single component of the show. It was my first show ever, so I had no idea what an audition was, and I didn’t research it before. I was stuck being like, “I will put myself out there.” But at the time I was not like that at all. I was very shy and I thought it went horribly, but I got a part in the show because everyone who auditioned got a part. Doing the show was very weird for me because it was new for me and I didn’t know anyone in the show. I forced myself to make friends. Doing that and learning music, choreography, singing, and how to act was a little much. It turned out ok.
Q: You were in The Music Man at your school, San Mateo High School tell us a little bit about that production.
A: Because I play the role of a parent, I don’t really dance. Therefore, that component is taken out of the experience for me. I have lines, which I’ve never had at San Mateo High. However, this is only my second show. I also have a few solo lyrics. I play someone who has four kids and married to a quartet member.
Q: You’ve been in Conservatory shows since you were in middle school, what made you want to do shows at Hillbarn?
A: After The Little Mermaid, I realized how much fun that was for me and how much fun I had being on stage. I was told by my parents, by some of my friends that when I was on stage I had this energy that made me bring myself to life on stage. That was a new thing for me. Plus I had nothing else going on at the time. What started as an activity turned into something much more.
Q: Can you tell me what an audition is like?
A: I am a person who knows they have an audition way beforehand, but I don’t actually pick my song until the weekend before. I’ll have one or two days to work on my song, which is fine for me because I play the piano, and also I think I learn music really efficiently. I learn the song, but I overthink everything. I overthink the entire audition process. Such as, what if I end up vomiting right in front of the directors right onto the ‘X’ on the floor? So that’s what’s going through my head as I’m in the room with thirty to forty other people at San Mateo High. Being surrounded by so many people who do know how to dance is kind of intimidating. I’m not the best dancer, but I try my best and hope it turns out well. I’ve gotten into shows, so it works!
Q: What makes you want to be in a conservatory class or production?
A: Hillbarn’s process leading up to the productions are very lively and you’re surrounded by friendly people who want you to succeed. I think that’s very calming and reassuring for a person who wants to do musical theatre. Being surrounded by supportive people will make you want to do more theatre in the future.
Q: What was it like seeing your first musical?
A: The first musical I remember seeing was Cats in San Francisco. I fell in love with it because I loved animals as a kid and I was in the second or third grade when I saw the show. So I was like, “Oh my God! It’s cats singing, dancing, and acting on a stage!” I was so mesmerized and I fell in love with Cats!
Q: Would you ever want to be in the show Cats?
A: I would love to be in the show Cats, but just as a background cat. Purr purr!
Q: Has doing theatre helped you in life?
A: Actually, it really has. All my life people have told me I am outgoing, but in certain aspects, I really am not. Theatre has allowed me to become more outgoing. So it’s made me more on an extrovert because I’m surrounded by theatre kids. When theatre kids get together they feed off of each other’s energy and outgoingness.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about being in a show?
A: The sense of community. You make really close bonds when you are in a show with people of any age. That is my most favorite thing about being in a show.
Q: What is your favorite role you’ve played?
A: I would have to say it’s a tie; either Horton in Seussical, or Snoopy in You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown. They’re both supposed to be male roles. I think it’s a coincidence. I really felt like I was able to become both characters which is weird because they are both animals, and I love animals! Being able to play Horton and Snoopy was so much fun! Both a dog, and an elephant.
Q: What’s your favorite show you’ve been in?
A: I would have to say West Side Story. I didn’t know what to expect when we started, but the outcome was outstanding for me personally. It opened a door for me into a world of enchantment.
Q: What is your dream role?
A: My dream role would have to be Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes because the character is so radiant and full of life. She’s just so lively and I think if I could be her- I mean I’m not a tapper; I don’t consider myself a tapper, but if I had the chance to work on it, and become her, then I think I could pull it off. She seems like such a fun person to be around, and I think that’s the main reason I’d love to be her.
Q: Do you have a Broadway performer spirit animal?
A: I haven’t looked into the lives of many Broadway performers, so I don’t have one yet. But if I were to research in the most non-stalker way possible then I think I could come up with one, but for the time being, no I don’t have a Broadway spirit animal.
Q: Does doing shows motivate you to improve your skills?
A: It does. I think the competitive nature in doing shows is a factor in that. I always want to strive to be better not to beat out the competition, but to be aware of my surroundings. I think it has motivated me to get better as a performer.
Q: Why should people your age do Hillbarn Conservatory?
A: I think people my age should do Hillbarn because you get to know so many new and fantastic people. Over the years I’ve made so many great friends at Hillbarn and if I didn’t end up doing Hillbarn I don’t know what path I would have taken. Hillbarn has also created a structure for my high school years. Doing shows is a thing that I’m sticking with and I enjoy.
Q: What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned at Hillbarn Conservatory?
A: There are so many things. I think the most valuable thing I’ve learned is that you should be aware of your surroundings, and always strive to be your best self.
Q: Do you get nervous when doing shows?
A: Yes! I get so nervous when we’re doing run-throughs of our show at rehearsal. I feel like the adrenalin that I get before a show will never go away for me. It’s such a rush that calms my nerves because I know the show I’m in will be amazing in the end.
Q: What person would you love to be on stage with?
A: Honestly, I think it’d be Xandra Nemchik because I’ve had her as an assistant director, or I’ve seen her working backstage on crew. I would love to do a show with Xandra because she has such great energy and I love being surrounded by people like that. If you are doing a show with very reserved people, then I have nothing to be excited about, and that carries onto the stage.
Q: What broadway song do you like singing over and over again?
A: I love the song “On My Own” from Les Mis. It’s perfect for my voice, so I can sing it over and over again, and never get sick of it. I love the emotion behind it even though I’ve never had to go through what she had gone through, but I like to try and put myself into her shoes and act through the song’s emotions.
Q: Do you have any hidden talents that no one knows about?
A: I can make farm animal sounds!
Q: What musical are you currently obsessed with?
A: So I’m not an obsessive person, but here are some musicals I do enjoy: Cats, Annie, Xanadu, Aladdin, and of course West Side Story!