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For young actor, her drawings and your support can help local theater companies

How much does Stella Freeman love musical theater and drawing?

So much that the 13-old member of the Good Company Players Junior Company is combining her two passions in a fundraising project to help keep local theater alive.

Her mom, Stephanie, explains, telling me:

Stella (you may remember her from the recent Children’s Musical Theatre performance) is doing a fundraiser to raise money for Good Company Players, Junior Company, Children’s Musical Theaterworks, and Shine! Theatre. Stella has been with the Junior Company for three years and has also been performing on the main stage of GCP. Stella started performing at CMT when she was 6. When Stella is not performing she loves to sketch, so she wanted to use her art to contribute to her theater families by providing commissioned art.

Through Aug. 15, Stella will do a commissioned 6-by-8-inch sketch of “you, someone you love, or a pet.” All proceeds will go toward the four theater companies listed above. You can request a commission by emailing stellash.art@gmail.com.

To date she has raised $920 and hopes to double that amount.



Those of us who have seen Stella on stage knows she has a dynamic, confident acting presence and a lot of vocal potential. I can tell she loves being there!

Intrigued and impressed with her community spirit, I wondered about this young do-gooder. I followed up by asking Stella a few questions via email:

Q: It’s great that you’re talented in both musical theater and drawing. How do you think you got so creative?

A: I believe I inherited my art from my Great Nanny, who was also an artist. As far as theater goes, when I was 6 and taking dance, one of the other moms told my mom, “Stella is always performing and so theatrical, you should check out Children’s Musical Theaterworks.” So, my mom asked me if I would want to do a musical called “Aladdin” and I said, “Yes!” I loved performing in “Aladdin” and haven’t stopped performing since.

Q: How old were you when you started sketching? Have you taken lessons?

A: I have always loved drawing for as long as I can remember. My Mom gave me my first easel when I was 3 years old and my first picture was a girl with red lips, blue eyes and big eyelashes.

I did take a couple summer art classes at California Arts Academy when I was 7 and 8. When I returned at 10, the art instructor immediately placed me in his adult class, which was very cool. I had also started taking some private art classes but had to stop because it was at the same time as Junior Company.

Stella Freeman is an enthusiastic member of the Junior Company.

Q: What is your favorite sketch you’ve done?

A: That is so hard to choose. I love my sketches for so many different reasons. My first portrait was of my Great Nanny, and it’s meaningful because she was also an artist and because she shared her love of art with me. I also love the portrait I did for Dan Pessano because he is so special to me and such an inspiration in my life. As far as fun sketches, I like my recent portrait of a pinup girl from the 40-50’s with her red lips. I was inspired by the women during WWII that wore red lipstick as a sign of patriotism.

Q: Tell us about being in the Juniors. What’s your favorite musical number you’ve performed?

A: Being part of the Junior Company is incredible. It has taught me so much about theater, being professional, being on time, and about the importance of honoring commitments. But what I really love is all the directors and being a part of the GCP family and getting to perform on stage every week. My favorite performance was the first tap number during the “Mamma Mia” pre-show and the song was “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.”

Q: What is your dream Broadway role?

A: Christine Daaé in the Phantom of the Opera because she is an ingenue with basic characteristics that the actor can take and make it their own version with more complexity.

Q: Anything else you’d like to say?

A: There are so many actors and theater companies that are hurting right now due to Covid-19 and I really wanted to help in some way. My goal is to raise as much money as possible to help the theaters that have been so important to me and have allowed me the ability to do what I love. It has been a joy to reconnect with my theater friends and has been so much fun getting to bring together the two things that mean the most to me, my art and theater. Please help me raise funds for these great companies so that we will all be able to continue to enjoy theater when everything opens up again.


The Munro Review has no paywall but is financially supported by readers who believe in its non-profit mission of bringing professional arts journalism to the central San Joaquin Valley. You can help by signing up for a monthly recurring paid membership or make a one-time donation of as little as $3. All memberships and donations are tax-deductible.



Covering the arts online in the central San Joaquin Valley and beyond. Lover of theater, classical music, visual arts, the literary arts and all creative endeavors. Former Fresno Bee arts critic and columnist. Graduate of Columbia University and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Excited to be exploring the new world of arts journalism.

donaldfresnoarts@gmail.com

Comments (1)

  • Jackie Ryle

    This is wonderful, Donald! Thank you!

    reply

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