WAUKESHA — The Waukesha STEM Academy's musical this year was in serious jeopardy. The director had left, and they couldn't find a replacement.
"We put it online, posted it, and nobody replied," Principal James Murray, said.
Time was winding down and the window of opportunity to put on Beauty and The Beast Jr., (a condensed version of the show) was quickly closing. They just couldn't find a director who would put the show on.
"We were getting near crunch time," Murray said.
That's when he and one-eighth grader started thinking outside the box.
"Bryanna came to me and said, 'hey can I direct,'" Murray said.
In comes theater-loving eighth-grader Bryanna Madson.
"I'd rather us have a show and no one else had as much experience with theater besides me, so we didn’t really know who else would direct who was a student, so I decided to step up and do it," Madson said.
She had never directed a show before. She was always in the limelight never behind the scenes.
There was a quick learning curve Madson had to go through.
She had to learn about, "...the set, all the props, a costume person, how the music is going to be, we need backstage helpers."
Plus, it was difficult to adjust from eating lunch with her friends to telling them what to do.
"It is a little hard directing my peers because I don't have as much authority over them and sometimes it's hard to grasp their attention or like make sure they listen to me just because I am the same age as them.”
However, she took it all in stride. Now, just two days away she is confident about her performers' ability to put on the show.
Plus, she said that one of the best parts was being able to put her touch on the big numbers and she even added a kickline towards the end of one number.
There is something more getting at her through all of this, though. She doesn't want people to treat her age as a crutch.
"Just because its 'my first time ever doing it, and I really want to impress people, and I don’t want people to think because I am 13, 'oh well she’s thirteen I get why it's not the best.' But I want them to be like, 'oh wow she’s 13, and she was able to direct a show like that.'"
There will be four performances of a Beauty and The Beast Jr. at Waukesha West High School's auditorium from Friday to Sunday.