By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Narrows Community Theater (NCT), a Bay Ridge-based theater company, is always on the lookout for new talent. And the next generation of performers looks very promising, according to the company’s leaders, who recently awarded scholarships to two Brooklyn students to encourage their interest in the arts. Jessica Sparacio and Sarah Rodriguez, both eighth graders who will be starting high school in the fall, have been chosen to receive Betty Kash Memorial Scholarship Awards. Kash, a longtime member of NCT, died last year. The winners received their awards at an NCT meeting on June 6.
Prior to her death, Kash “requested that people donate to NCT in lieu of flowers,” a statement from NCT reads. “We here at NCT and her family decided to take those funds and form a scholarship for graduating eighth graders who have interest in theater, dance and performing and are furthering their education in theater and performance,” the statement reads.
Jessica and Sarah were judged to be the best of all of the students who submitted applications for the scholarship. The applicants were required to submit essays about their experiences in theater.
“I was very surprised. It was great to win,” Jessica, a senior at PS/IS 229 in Dyker Heights, said. “I spent a lot of time making sure my essay was good. The theater is so important to me,” she told the Brooklyn daily Eagle.
Jessica, who will attend Stuyvesant High School in September, is already an NCT veteran, even at a young age. “I have been a part of NCT since the third grade,” she said. Jessica has appeared in several of the company’s productions, including “Oliver,” “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” and “A Christmas Carol.” She starred n the NCT production of “The Wizard of Oz,” playing Dorothy. “I studied Judy Garland’s performance. She was so wonderful in the movie. I feel like I learned a lot,” she said.
She enjoys being onstage, she said. “I love that I get to express myself in a totally new way. I love everything I sing and everything I dance. I also love the teamwork it takes to put on a show. You get to know people and you all work together,” she said.
Sarah, a senior at http://www.prepms821.org/ Sunset Park Prep, will attend Edward R. Murrow High School this fall. Sarah candidly admitted she was surprised when she learned that she won the scholarship. “I was shocked, really,” she said. “I didn’t think I was good enough to win. I thought everybody else going for the scholarship was better than me,” she said.
Sarah said she believes the scholarship will give her confidence. “I definitely think it will help me look at myself in a different way,” she said.
Like her co-winner Jessica, Sarah is a stage veteran. She has performed in numerous musicals in her school and elsewhere. Her resume includes performances in such shows as “You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown,” “Little Shop of Horrors,” and “Peter Pan.”
The actors she admires most are Johnny Depp and Leonardo DiCaprio. “I love the way they get totally into the characters they’re playing,” she said. In addition to acting and singing, Sarah also enjoys writing.
Both Sarah and Jessica said they plan to continue performing.
“They have each performed in numerous shows and have an interest in continuing to hone their talents. We are very proud to have chosen them as this year’s recipients and look forward to learning about their future endeavors,” a statement from NCT reads.
In her years as a performer and director at NCT, Kash loved working with children and enjoyed sharing her talents and love of theater with them, her fellow NCT members said.