Lead actor in musical was sick during performance week
By Elena Chamberlain, Current Staff
For his first lead role in a high school musical, West Bend West ninth grader Keegan Kainz sacrificed seven pounds.
Kainz, a lead in the winter musical “We Will Rock You,” became terribly ill during the week prior to the performances. His illness wasn’t due to nerves, though. Kainz had a fever of 102 before and during the shows. The week before the show, Kainz was unable to eat anything, with his high fever causing a loss of appetite. He pushed through and performed Feb. 20-23 at the Silver Lining Arts Center, as planned.
Kainz was so ill that he ended up losing a lot of weight, but that wasn’t enough to stop him from getting on stage on opening night in the role of Britney Spears.
“I told myself that I was going to perform no matter how I felt,” Kainz said.
Even though his sickness created so many problems, Kainz never even thought about skipping a show. His illness caused high fevers, congestion, headaches and a sore throat. Since he barely ate anything during show week, he also lost considerable amounts of weight.
To complicate things even more, he was nervous about making the other leads’ final high school musical count, as the majority of the leads are seniors. He wanted to make the show amazing for them, so he pressured himself to make as few mistakes as possible.
“It’s their last (high school) show that they’re gonna be in, odds are,” Kainz said.
Before he even began to think about performing on stage, though, he had to prove himself in auditions. Even though Kainz believed he had secured a spot in the ensemble after auditions, looking back he thinks he did extremely well.
“I went into this (audition) feeling like, you know, I’ll just shine,” Kainz said.
Before the cast list came out, Kainz gave no thought to starring in the musical. He believes the auditions went extremely well because he did not stress over them too much. Since he put no pressure on himself, Kainz was able to have more fun, which showcased his acting skills more accurately than in previous auditions.
“He worked as hard as everyone else to bring his character to life,” said Karen Wysocky, director of the musical.
Kainz worked extremely hard to create the character as directed and pushed past the obstacles to make his character come to life. He knows now, after all the hard work is done, that the next show will be easier for him.
“It’ll just kinda feel like I can do the things that I’ve already done, without one more thing to worry about,” Kainz said.
Now that he has experience, Kainz believes being a lead will be less stressful in the future. Additionally, the next time Kainz is on stage, he hopes he will not have to worry about overcoming an illness.
“There will never be another cast or show like this one—it truly was special,” Wysocky said.
(Top image: Keegan Kainz and his scene partner, East senior McKenna Garvey, during dress rehearsal for “We Will Rock You” on Feb. 13. Photo courtesy of Jody Breit.)