These teen actors are lighting up the stage in the Queen City. See them live this weekend at Theatre Charlotte.


This post is brought to you in partnership with Theatre Charlotte All opinions are our own. 

Need some “just do it” inspiration? Meet Liam Pearce, Reneé Rapp and Maya Sistruck. All attend high school. All juggle homework and activities, friends, family and the excitement and pressure of getting ready for college. All are burning up stages across Charlotte, and all three were recently nominated for a Blumey Award (named for the Blumenthal theatre) which recognizes excellence in local high school performances. Cue audience applause.

If you want to catch these talented teens in action, they are performing in Spring Awakening at Theatre Charlotte May 25 – June 10.

The rock musical takes place in the late 19th Century and follows a group of teenagers as they wrestle with the common themes of growing up: the discovery of sex, questions of morality, family tension, expectations and secrets.

This show has won eight Tony Awards, and while it can serve as a great starting point for important discussions, it contains adult themes and is recommended for viewers 16 and older.

C5 caught up with these three actors to learn more about how they do what they do. Cue the music.

Name: Liam Pearce
Age: 18
High School: Senior at Northwest School of the Arts

C5: How did you get into acting?
LP: I started out at a music program called School of Rock where I performed tributes to rock bands. I decided to audition for the theatre program at Northwest School of the Arts (NWSA) because I always loved musicals. I’ve been doing theatre at NWSA and many places outside school.

C5: What has been your favorite role?
LP: Edward Bloom in NWSA’s production of Big Fish. The role was very challenging because I had to play an age range of around 18 to 70. He was a bigger than life character who was so loving and reminded me of my dad which made it special for me. I was nominated for Best Leading Actor (Blumey Award) in Big Fish. I did not win, but I was extremely honored to be nominated.

C5: Who do you play in Spring Awakening?
LP: I play Melchior Gabor, a high school student growing up in the late 1800s in a very strict and oppressive town in Germany. Melchior reads constantly and through that reading he comes to understand the changes – both in body and mind – that boys and girls go through during their teenage years. I had to study the text of the script a lot. There are a very mature themes in this show and a lot of advanced language.

C5: What advice do you have for younger people (and not so younger people) who have thought about giving acting a try?
LP: Go for it! When I was younger I was much more hesitant when thinking about joining theatre. I cannot image doing anything else with my life.

Name: Maya Sistruck
Age: 18
High School: Senior at Northwest School of the Arts

C5: When did you perform for the first time?
MS: I performed in my first production in 2010 as Gertrude McFuzz in Seussical. I had been singing since I was five, but this started my musical theatre journey.

C5: What has been your favorite show?
MS: My favorite show was NWSA’s spring production of All Shook Up, in which I was also nominated for a Blumey Best Actress Award. It was such an amazing time to perform on stage with my friends and we felt really connected through the process.

C5: Why did you want to be part of Spring Awakening?
MS: I thought this show would be an excellent challenge for me before I go to college.

C5: You play Martha in Spring Awakening, tell me about the role.
MS: My character has quite a difficult past and is forced by society and her own guilt to keep it hidden. It was a challenge for me to tap into that pain and strength as someone who goes through that and still perseveres.

Name: Reneé Rapp
Age: 18
School: Senior at Northwest School of the Arts

C5: How did you get into acting?
RR: Ron Law (Theatre Charlotte’s Executive Director) cast me in my first show, Annie at Theatre Charlotte, and that started my career!

C5: What has been your favorite role so far? 
RR: Sandra in Big Fish. It was such a dream role for me! Doing that role was so important to share with my family. (Reneé won the Blumey Award for Best Actress for this role!)

C5: Why do you like drama/acting? 
RR: I’m a dramatic human being and a very emotionally driven individual. I love figuring out more of myself as a human being every time I portray a different role. 

C5: You play Wendla, the lead female in 
Spring Awakening. This is a very emotional and serious role. What did you do to prepare?
RR: I had meetings with our director, Billy Ensley, and also a few meetings with myself. This role is emotionally very challenging and in some ways obscure and different than any I have ever played.

C5: What are your future plans for your acting career?
RR: I committed to Texas State for a BFA in musical theater. 

C5: What advice do you have for people who have an interest in trying acting?
RR: Trust yourself, and listen to those around you. I also find that it is intriguing and very insightful to watch other people perform who are a little bit older than you. Being in shows is the best way to help yourself grow as a person and as a performer.

Catch these three hugely talented actors on the Charlotte stage! Don’t miss Spring Awakening at Theatre Charlotte May 25 – June 10. Get your tickets today.

Want to know more about Theatre Charlotte? Click here for more information. 


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