Kendyl Brown ’23 Lights Up the Stage Through Theatre and Dance
Kendyl Brown ’23 took a leap of faith in auditioning for her first production at Hutchison in middle school. That first step sparked a love of theatre, and now she is pursuing a career in acting thanks to encouragement and experience from Hutchison’s theatre department.
She first discovered her passion for the arts when her dad played Michael Jackson’s music in the kitchen during her childhood. Now, Kendyl Brown ’23 can’t imagine her world without the arts.
Kendyl has flourished in Hutchison’s fine arts program. She dreams of becoming an actress, which she did not see as a possibility when she began attending Hutchison in seventh grade. She had stage fright, but Anne Marie Caskey ’80, Hutchison's theatre artistic director, encouraged her to audition for her first show. Years later, the stage is where she feels most comfortable and confident. She has performed in almost 20 Hutchison theatre and film productions, from playing an ancestor in The Addams Family to Mrs. White in Clue. After her role as Jean-Michel in Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella this past fall, students and faculty approached Kendyl and told her that her performance inspired them.
“That moment is why I do theatre, to move people,” she said. “It’s emotional to be able to present stories for people to see, derive meaning from, and take it back into their own lives.”
The theatre department has given Kendyl opportunities to serve as an assistant choreographer for several productions, working with Jay Rapp, Hutchison’s middle school theater teacher. “Choreographing with Mr. Rapp was one of the first times that I choreographed something bigger than myself. I learned a lot from him because he’s had so much experience,” Kendyl said. “The way he was open about letting me explore new ideas helped me gain confidence in teaching and becoming a choreographer.”
She also served as dance captain for several shows. When her castmates had trouble with choreography, they would schedule meetings with her to work on it. She enjoyed helping her peers build their confidence in their dance skills. Her favorite dance to choreograph was the waltz in last fall’s all-school production of Cinderella. During one performance, Rapp had to step in as her dance partner.
“It was heartwarming to perform the choreography we created together. Also, seeing him have fun on stage while dancing really made the experience so incredibly sweet and memorable,” she said.
Kendyl Brown ’23 waltzes with Jay Rapp as her dance partner during a performance of Cinderella when her castmate was out.
Kendyl has appreciated the opportunities that Hutchison has provided in helping her realize her dream. She said whether it’s the arts, sciences, or social sciences, Hutchison supports students as they explore and pursue various interests, and there is no limit to creativity.
“You have the power to make things happen. If you can dream it, you can do it. Someone is always going to have your back. If you want to do something, someone is always going to be there to support you,” she said.
Kendyl said she wouldn’t have gotten this far without taking a leap of faith, and she encourages younger students to push through their fears and try something new: “I was that kid. I didn’t want to do theatre. I told myself I had stage fright and that I would never get over it. Now, my whole life is theatre. If I’m not at home, I’m somewhere in the theater. What can happen if you don’t take the opportunity? It’s scary, but just try.”
Watch Kendyl talk about her love for the arts and how there are no limits to creativity at Hutchison.