Recent Tullahoma High School graduate Juliette Orihuela’s passion is the theater. Whether that is acting on stage or doing behind-the-scenes work, it is clear where her interests lie.
Orihuela was recently rewarded, and her on-stage skills and vocals were highlighted when she was named a Tennessee All-State Musical Theater member. After the selection, the December graduate has been invited to the All-State Conference held this Saturday at Rockvale High School.
“It really means that all of the work that I’ve put in has been recognized,” Orihuela said. “I’m confident in myself, but it’s always great to be recognized. I’m really looking forward to the conference and performing there.”
During her virtual auditions, Orihuela had to perform a monologue and a section of a musical theater song. For her monologue, she performed from Death Comes to Us All. Orihuela chose to sing a piece from Grease, one of her favorite musicals, “There Are Worse Things I Could Do.” Her performance ranked high with the judges, and she was featured as one of the top 25 performers in the state.
“It is stupendous, and it’s also an incredible feat that she was able to rank so high in the state during our first attempt at having somebody audition for all-state,” said THS Theater Teacher Benjamin Spurlock. “We don’t have an exact placement on where she finished as far as ranking. But, she was invited to perform at the All-State Conference, which is designated for the top 25 performers.”
Tullahoma High School Principal Jason Quick echoed Spurlock’s sentiments and congratulated Orihuela.
“Juliette has been an outstanding member of our student body and the THS Theater program,” Quick said. “As evidenced in this selection at the highest honor of All-State, she serves as a great example of commitment and hard work towards perfecting her talent and following her dreams. What a great way to end her senior year.”
While she graduated from Tullahoma High School in December, Orihuela continues to stay active and aiding with the theater department. This spring, she is an assistant director for the springtime musical, The Addams Family, slated to take place from April 7-10.
“It has been fantastic having her. She is truly a godsend,” Spurlock said. “We have been fortunate enough to make this upcoming performance a multiple department production. Jules and I are working with the staging and the set for the musical. While [THS Choir Teacher], Ms. Melissa Hinds is working on the music direction. We have a local choreographer, Ms. Kristen Carroll, and [THS Co-Band Director] Justin Scott, helping with the pit orchestra for a live band for the show. A lot is happening, and I have to say thanks to Jules because she has been helping me keep track of all the moving parts.”
While it’s been busy for Orihuela said she’s been loving her time working on the production in her new role. She also thanked Spurlock for allowing her to work alongside him to gain that experience.
“It’s been so much fun,” Orihuela said. “I’ve been working a lot on costumes and props. Mr. Spurlock has been coaching me on how to direct some scenes. Directing is something that I want to do someday, so I’ve been shadowing him a little bit. It’s a lot more difficult than I expected, but it’s been so much fun.”