Hannah Paven, a senior at Kennett High School, has been acting in school and community theater for years and has gathered a long list of performance that includes “The Lion, the Witch and Wardrobe,” “Rent,” “Almost, Maine,” "Steel Magnolias” and “Guys and Dolls.” She was also in Jubilation, the Kennett High School glee club, which made it to the top five in the Fox 23 Glee For All video competition last November.
When did you get into singing and acting?
I have been singing for a very long time, probably since I was, I don't know, 4 or 5. It started in New Jersey with more like church group singing and then moved to theater in fourth or fifth grade. I think my first show was “The Pirates of Penzance” back in the day and ever since I've just loved it, so I haven't stopped.
How many shows do you think you've been in at this point?
Oh gosh, I don't even know. I think I was in like eight in just the past two years, so I'm going to say close to 20.
What has been your favorite performance?
I really liked “Guys and Dolls,” I was Adelaide, which we just did in the spring. “Steel Magnolias” was fun, but I think “Rent” was probably my favorite as Maureen.
What was the most challenging performance?
Probably “Rent” with Maureen. It was fun, but it was hard because it is such a big show to take on, but that was fun. Adelaide was hard in “Guys and Dolls.” It was different from anything I'd ever done, but I liked it a lot. It was fun.
I know in both those cases, “Rent” and “Guys and Dolls,” you rehearsed for months. What was that process like?
“Rent” was vigorous. It was almost every day for the summer, but it was awesome. It kept me occupied for the summer and it was something I really like to do, so it was fun. “Guys and Dolls” was just long because of the weather and all the cancellations, but it was fun. It really helps you bond with the cast having lots of rehearsals and the shows came out pretty well, so I think it worked well.
What are you hoping to do after graduation when you head off to college?
This fall I'm going to University of Vermont and studying early childhood education, as of now, but I plan on double majoring with theater as well.
When you come home do you think you will continue to participate in community theater?
Definitely, I don't want to give it up.
Who are some of your influences musically or acting wise?
I would say that I idolize Idena Menzel. She is probably the top for me. I just think all her work is amazing and I want to be in every show she's been in. Doing “Rent” was awesome because she was the same role I was, so it was kind of cool to play the same role Idena Menzel once played.
Ideally, if you could, would you want to do the whole go to New York and do Broadway thing?
If I could, I would, definitely. I think it is a hard business and it is definitely difficult to get roles. There are so many people out there who are so talented, but if I could, I would. It would be fun, but it is not something I am putting all my eggs in the basket. I'm not going to just settle for that.
Are there any roles you really want to do in the future?
I just saw “Spring Awakening” and I fell in love with the show, so I'd definitely like to play Wendla in “Spring Awakening” because it is an awesome role and really fun.
I realize that you've mostly done musical theater, but what has it been like with having to do straight acting like with “Steel Magnolias” and “Almost, Maine”?
It is difficult. It is definitely a challenge for me because I definitely like more of the Broadway show tunes. “Steel Magnolias” was probably one of the hardest roles I ever played just because I had a medical condition and I had to do it on stage and it was really difficult. I definitely prefer musical theater over normal theater. There's definitely a difference though.
Do you have any plans for the summer in terms of performances or singing?
No, not really. I might be auditioning for a couple shows here and there, but we'll see. I'm trying to do something for the summer, but if it doesn't happen that's fine because it is a big summer with trying to get ready for college and everything. But I'd like to.
Is there anything happening with the glee club?
I know that they are doing it again. I'm personally not doing it because it is the end of senior year and I've got a lot of chaos going on. I know they re-held auditions and that they have a whole new group of people. From what I hear they are doing really well. They should be doing a couple performance for the Fourth of July is what I heard.
What was that whole Fox thing like?
That was exciting. None of us really thought it would go anywhere really. It was kind of just presented to us last minute. We just did it and then we found out that we were in the top five. We were all really excited. It was fun to be on TV. It was nerve-racking, but really fun and a good experience.
Do you have any final thoughts about why you like acting, why you like singing or what you want to do?
I always say I like acting because it gives me a chance to be someone else that I am not on stage and you can be anyone. I've been Susan in “Narnia” to a '50s girl and it is really fun to just be in the costumes and just be someone else you're not everyday.