Her heart is beating at what feels like a million times a minute. Her sweaty palms clench together, butterflies in her stomach. She’s a bundle of nerves. This is her moment to shine, people looking at her, and her only. The curtain comes up, the lights turn on, and it feels like an abundance amount of eyes are staring at her at once.
Amy Santo, a senior who is part of PV Theatre, has been performing and singing for most of her life. She was first introduced to theater in the fourth grade at St. John’s the Baptist Church in Hillsdale for the Christmas pageant. She played the Blessed Mother Mary.
“Watching your kids perform is a joyful experience for most parents,” Tim Santo, her father, said. “She did a fine job and it was totally joyful watching her up there in her costume holding the baby Jesus.”
The Christmas pageant sparked her interest in live theater which still remains with her to this day.
Amy then continued to pursue her interest through a local community theater group before moving onto bigger productions with the YMCA in Wyckoff and 3sPa at Pascack Valley during the summer.
“She’s always loved to sing, and we always encouraged her to do what she loves,” Denise Santo, her mother, said. “It all started when the Wyckoff Y’s was having auditions for ‘The Sound of Music.’ She tried out for that and got in and that’s what started everything.”
She was first introduced to PV Theatre in the fifth grade. At the time, Merielle Lupfer, one of the directors of PV Theatre, was helping her prepare an audition song. There, Lupfer told her about the theater program at PV and that she should consider auditioning for them when she got older.
Years later, Amy performed in her first PV Theatre production “The Dining Room” in the fall and her first musical was “Anything Goes” in the spring.
“I felt so honored when I saw her on stage and I was very touched,” Denise said. “I couldn’t believe how good she was. I also couldn’t believe how much work PV Theatre put into it, I don’t think I ever really acknowledged the acting and the memorization.”
Amy’s first lead was Young Sala in “Letters to Sala” in 2015. This was both her most challenging and favorite role that she played at PV.
According to her parents, all of her hard work devoted to this drama showed through her performance.
“This was my favorite play [“Letters to Sala”] that she has done because my other older daughter worked with her,” Denise said. “It is a beautiful story, so it was amazing to see them up there together.”
Amy’s older sister Laura, who graduated from PV in 2016, is Amy’s inspiration to perform.
“My sister does theater as well, and she is mainly the reason why I continued doing theater in high school,” Amy said. “ The confidence she has in herself inspires me.”
Amy’s favorite performance at PV was the musical “Urinetown” in 2016. She enjoyed it because to her, it was a fun and an exciting show to be a part of.
Prior to this, she had never taken any private singing or acting lessons. She had danced for five years when she was younger, but she eventually stopped.
To prepare for her performances, Amy records the other characters’ lines, leaving a pause in between them, so she can say her lines while playing the recording. She also reads her lines before she goes to bed, so she has them fresh in her mind.
For each role, she does background research on her character to figure out how she should portray it. She also likes searching Youtube for clips of other’s interpretations of her character and spends time looking up what the composers and writers wanted from it. For even more ideas, she talks to her directors to see how they wanted her to portray her character.
“Theater has given me so much. It has given me the confidence to be myself along with giving me opportunities to let my talents grow,” Amy said. “Theater has taught me the importance of storytelling and how influential theater can be. I love what theater can do for others, and I love what it has done for me.”