As The Curtains Pull Apart

Blake Theater has racked up 8 Best of the Bay nominations.

The lights die down and the velvet crimson curtains pull apart to reveal a cast of extraordinary actors. These actors have worked tirelessly, for hours a day, and put forth immeasurable amounts of dedication.

This is the Blake Theater Program. Blake is renowned for it’s theater magnet in particular, which can be partially attributed to Mr. Paris, the head of the theater program. The levels of adept acting and singing, as well as dancing and performing in general, have sky-rocketed over the last few years, landing Blake with not one, not two, but eight Best of the Bay nominations. (see complete list at bottom)

The history of Blake doesn’t start at the beginning of Mr. Paris’s career here, but really, it started in New York, where he studied acting and directing in a professional setting. He’s been an actor since he was 18 years old, and after years of bouncing back and forth between Florida and New York, he came back in 2014 and began working with Blake’s theater program.

“We have taken it as our mission to push everyone to become better,” Mr. Paris shared. “For the past four years we have had a goal in mind: we want to be the best in the state. In order to get there, we have to continually raise the bar.”

Maybe it’s a combination of Mr. Paris’s knowledge and experience with how the staff encourages the students to continually try to do better, to grow as actors and actresses. Maybe it’s the fact that Blake attracts talent, that students come into the school with a set of skills that are already above average.

Various theater majors were quoted describing the program as “legendary,” as well as “versatile” and “creative.”

It’s undeniable that Blake’s theater program is special. Even more specifically, one of the shows, Side Show, won a Best of the Bay nomination for Best Theater Production.

“Side Show was the culmination of the four-year plan when I first got here,” Mr. Paris explained. “We wanted to go to state with a piece and I could see I had the cast for the specific show…It was going to be the jewel in our crown of our four-year plan to become recognized state-wide.”

The acting, the lighting, the planning, the sets; everything came together to create an amazing and award-winning production.

“Our cast and our tech crew definitely made a big impact on it,” said sophomore theater major, Alianna Waggoner. “Sideshow was a very well-written show from the beginning but Mr. Paris’s vision for the show really came alive.”

Mr. Paris also shared that Blake is such a special environment, mostly because “it’s the collaborative nature of what we do, and that we get to create art.”

What makes Blake’s theater so amazing isn’t just one thing. It’s the culmination of the students, the teachers, the resources, the history, and everything else that has gone into building such an amazing program. It’s fair to say Blake Theater has gone above and beyond to receive these nominations, and it’s also fair to say there is a lot more in store.


List of Nominations:

  • Best Actor- Luke McAndrew
  • Best High School Drama Program- Blake
  • Best Lighting Designer- Ben Phillips
  • Best Local Music School- Blake
  • Best Local Vocalist- Emily McAndrew
  • Best Stage Director- Sean Paris
  • Best Theater Company- Blake
  • Best Theater Production- Side Show

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