Bright Future: Natchez native chosen for international theater program

Published 1:50 am Wednesday, April 5, 2017

By Lyndy Berryhill

The Natchez Democrat

NATCHEZ — When Natchez native Randa Morace first starred in a local production of “The Sound of Music” in second grade, she never knew she would one day be traveling to the Bavarian Alps for a role in her own musical.

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Morace was chosen to be a part of the musical theater program at the International Performing Arts Institute in the southern German village of Kiefersfelden. She will be in Germany July 2-23.

“My dream has always just been to perform,” Morace said.

During her stay, Morace will be approximately 75 miles away from where “The Sound of Music’s” real story unfolded.

“Usually for my auditions, I feel like I could have done better,” Morace said. “But this time I really felt confident.”

After being prompted by her voice instructor Lori Guy at the University of Southern Mississippi, she auditioned with songs from the Broadway musicals “Waitress” and “Bring It On: The Musical.”

Morace had been practicing her songs since the previous spring. She found out about the auditions the following August.

“I guess it is just because I had been preparing for so long that it just kind of came out. … My adrenaline kicked in, and I just hit notes that I had never hit before,” she said.

The judges let her know immediately she had a spot in the program.

When the program begins this summer, Morace will arrive and find out what musical she will be a part of. Every day, she and other students will participate in workshops that focus on the acting, singing and dancing aspects of theater. Students will then rehearse whichever musical they are a part of.

Morace will also take German lessons and have the opportunity to visit the Von Trapp family home from “The Sound of Music.”

At the end of the program, everyone will perform one final time for European theater company recruiters.

Morace is a little nervous, but said she has always loved to travel. Her parents will meet her in Germany and they will travel together in several other countries before heading back to Natchez.

Morace said she also grew up watching a ton of musicals. Her favorites were “Hairspray” and “Wicked.” Her mother and grandmother both danced growing up.

She struggles to count up the productions she has starred in, but she estimates at least 10 different plays. Ever since the day she was recruited for the Natchez Little Theatre, and she has been in “Christmas Carol,” “Rocky Horror Picture Show” and “Mary Poppins,” to name a few.

Morace danced in the Natchez Ballet Academy as well as a dance company in Vidalia growing up.  She also became captain of Dixie Darlings at Southern Miss and has choreographed dances for her sorority.

She still cannot get enough. Morace said she is hoping for a bigger chance on stage by the end of the program.

Morace said one advantage of performing in front of recruiters to European casting companies is she could land a job that combines her passions: traveling, singing, dancing and acting.

“Make it big time,” Morace said. “It doesn’t even have to be Broadway.”

Later, she would like to own a performing arts studio where she can teach, passing on the experience she has gained.

“Since I was captain of the dance team and I was captain of cheer at Trinity my senior year, that really taught me how to work with people and how to lead,” Morace said.