One day, 18-year-old Susannah McLeod hopes to become the wicked witch of the West. She wants to perform as the character Elphaba in the Broadway musical Wicked.
Nineteen-year-old Jonathan White has similar ambitions. He wants to perform live theater on Broadway with the hopes of winning a coveted Tony Award.
In order to get to Broadway, however, these young performers need more than big dreams and a passion for live theater - they need professional experience.
That's why Gloria Dossett formed The Occasional Theatre Company last summer.
"Our goal is to give local artists who are early in their performance careers, not necessarily young artists, an opportunity to use the productions for professional experience," Dossett said.
Appropriately named the Occasional Theatre Company, the organization only performs plays and musicals periodically. Last summer, the company performed Hamlet, and it is currently preparing to perform the musical The Last Five Years. The musical opens Friday at Augusta Preparatory Day School in Martinez.
According to Dossett, the organization's producing artistic director, The Last Five Years is a "realistic musical about love that begins and ends with slow nostalgic energy."
The cast consists of only two actors, Susannah McLeod and Jonathan White, who play the characters Kathy and Jaime, respectively.
The musical is a story about the beginning, middle and end of a five-year relationship between the two characters. Kathy tells the story from the end of the relationship to the beginning, while Jaime tells the story from the beginning to the end.
The narratives converge in the middle of the 90 minute musical during the only time when both actors are on stage together - at the couple's wedding in the third year of their relationship.
Dossett suggests that because the musical is about an adult relationship, children under the age of 13 would most likely be bored.
For McLeod and White, the musical is another opportunity to press toward their dreams. Though they have both acted in various school plays and with other theater companies, they understand the need for more experience.
In the fall, both McLeod and White will continue to pursue their goals at the Musical Theatre Conservatory University of Miami.
For now, both performers hope to see a newer audience at their production of The Last Five Years.
"I want to see people we haven't seen before," McLeod said. "That way, we know they are genuine when they say we've done a good job," she said.
IF YOU GO
What: The Occasional Theatre Company's production of The Last Five Years
When: 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday; July 23-24
Where: Goodwin Commons at Augusta Preparatory Day School, 285 Flowing Wells Road
Tickets: Admission is $10 for adults and $8 for students and seniors. Tickets can be purchased at the door.
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