November’s artist of the month is Emily Schmitt, a junior here at Ridgewood High School. If you watched the New Players’ production of The Great Gatsby last month, you may have seen her with a crimson wig and a heavy New York accent as the ambitious Myrtle Wilson. Introduced first as Tom Buchanan’s mistress, Myrtle is a working-class woman seeking a life better than her current one in the valley of ashes between West Egg and New York. Emily had so much fun in her role although she admitted that she struggled with mastering Myrtle’s accent at first: “Sometimes I would suddenly become British in the middle of a scene and have to restart.” It also felt “super daunting” to portray these characters because they are “larger in life in that they represent ideals of American society in the 1920s.” However, she believes that in the end, she and the cast did an excellent job in capturing the essence of the characters in the show thanks to tireless days of research and practice.
Besides Gatsby, you may have also seen Emily in The Addams Family, Godspell, and Romeo in Juliet. Although she enjoyed all of these performances, her favorites have always been from New Players in Concert, including “Spelling Bee” and “The Prom.” She considers Concert shows to be very special and the most unique because they involve a lot of non-New Players and are directed by seniors. “Because it is student-led,” she says, “there is motivation to do well for your directors.” It seems New Players, to Emily, is all about the people. She claims they are her favorite part of this club: “Everyone is so supportive of each other, and it is such an amazing feeling to be on stage performing with your best friends.”
In the future, Emily looks forward to directing a Concert show, something she has wanted to do since freshman year. She is “excited to give other people that amazing experience” that she has felt first-hand. Make sure to check out the New Players in the spring and onward to see Emily–not just as an actress but also a director–and several of her other talented friends in action!
Graphic: Gina Vaynshteyn