Kamiak grad says goodbye to theater in the PNW

By Ian Davis-Leonard | Aug 01, 2018
Courtesy of: Donna Beard Mitchell Beard played piano for nearly every song during "Dear World."

For one night only, Mitchell Beard, a 2018 Kamiak High School graduate, assembled a ragtag cast, arranged a diverse playlist of music, and produced “Dear World, a Cabaret” a culminating project to Beard’s own theatrical career.

Inside the Cope Gillette Theatre in Everett, on Sunday, July 29, “Dear World” captivated its audience with moments of laughter, awe, and heartache.

Beard developed the idea for this cabaret to fill his time during a summer in which he wasn’t performing in any other plays.

“I didn’t have anything I was working on, so that was kind of what I wanted to do,” he said.

Beard assembled the cast for “Dear World” on his own.

The mishmash of actors and actresses from the different places he has performed since his theater career began just four years ago included actors and actresses from Village Theatre in Everett, as well as Kamiak students.

The troupe included Kamiak High School graduates or attendees Kayla Hall, Ella Corwin, Emily Vaughan and Amanda Henkel, along with non-Knights Aly Gutierrez, Gabe Zuniga and Maleah Harvey, to form a cast that Beard described as “random.”

“It was such a fun cast to work with, because everyone was really encouraging of everyone else, so it was really cool,” Beard said.

Despite the show’s success, the group had just one chance to rehearse prior to the Sunday performance.

The show’s first act featured cast members singing anthems of their choice, which allowed for a wide range of music from songs from Adele to pieces from hit musicals like “Hamilton” and “Les Miserables.”

Beard played piano for each of the performances during the first act, an experience he described as stressful.

“I didn’t have everyone’s music till two or three days before the show, so it wasn’t perfect, but it ended up OK,” Beard said.

For the show’s second act, Beard assigned cast members specific pieces, each of which were songs that Beard had either written or co-written over the past few years.

“There were some songs that I had written in the past and I wanted to put in something, and the performance was a great excuse to add those,” Beard said.

The show closed on a sentimental note, with Beard singing a pair of songs to his parents, thanking them for their love and support over the past 18 years.

“I was thinking about what I wanted to say and putting it to music,” Beard said. “It was definitely harder than I was expecting it to be.”

The performance provided a curtain call for Beard’s four years of theater at Kamiak and Village Theatre.

“It was my goodbye to everything high school and moving on,” Beard said. “In some ways, it was a relief. It was nice to kind of leave that as my end of high school moving on.”

“Dear World” may have been Beard’s swan song to performing in the Pacific Northwest, but his musical career is far from over.

In the fall, Beard will attend Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. He aspires to one day be on stage or write for productions in New York City.

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