Averyl Hartje’s debut


Averyl Hartje is performing this fall in Shiver: a Musical Ghost Story.

As many people know, Wilsonville High School has a wonderful arts program – from choir to sculpture, there’s something here for everyone. The only thing more varied than the courses are the students —  many of whom are passionate about their work and hoping to pursue it in their futures.

One student in particular has already begun to branch out and start doing professional work. Junior Averyl Hartje is part of the Oregon Children’s Theatre Young Professionals Company –  a selective group of roughly 50 high school kids from the Portland Metro area. The YP Company puts on productions, provides opportunities for mentoring, and gives students the chance to work with people in the industry, according to Hartje.

This fall, she’s a part of Shiver: a Musical Ghost Story, written and directed by Matthew B. Zrebski. Hartje is excited to be in this show, and she explained, “It’s a musical that you will have never seen before. It’s not really something you would generally think of as a musical – it’s more electric-pop.”

Being part of this company has proven to be a great decision, even if it means moving on from high school theater. Hartje reflected on the differences between productions at school and professional shows, stating, “The biggest difference I’ve seen is that with professional shows, there’s more opportunity to grow with the people you’re working with, because they’re all very committed.”

Professional productions are a big commitment, but well worth it for someone who is looking to follow this path. When asked about her plans for the future, Hartje mentioned, “I think I possibly want to go into musical theater, in college and professionally, and taking this step of working on a professional production in high school is really important.”

With this production comes a huge workload, though, as it is professional and everyone involved is very dedicated to the show. She mentioned that this can be hard to balance alongside schoolwork, especially when factoring in the daily commute to downtown Portland. However, Hartje remarked, “I just love what I’m doing, and that makes it all worthwhile.”

Shiver: a Musical Ghost Story runs from October 26th to November 11th, at the Oregon Children’s Theater YP Studio. Tickets are on sale at www.octc.org/shiver, and Averyl encourages everyone to attend, hinting, “It’s about a ghost…that’s all I can say.” Guess we’ll have to go see it to find out!