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Alissa at the apex: the “Lemonade Mouth” of JCU

Disney’s “Lemonade Mouth” prepared us for Theatre Club’s moment to shine.
Jasmyn Vislosky
Alissa reflects on the process of directing and producing a full-length and student-run play at John Carroll.

“Like a fire below the surface,” the Theatre Club released our flame for the performing arts on April 23, 2024. The soundtrack to Disney’s “Lemonade Mouth” has been on repeat ever since the inception of this club last semester and the movie could not be more fitting for our growth and mission.

This show marks the first time since 2021 that a student-run production has appeared at John Carroll. This is also the first time that my best friend and roommate, Maddie Jarosz ‘25, and I co-directed a full length production; we had never previously directed a show before, let alone a show run solely by a full cast and crew of students performing Shakespeare!

Both Maddie and I are more familiar with musicals and acting on stage, but we knew that we needed to take on these roles off stage to make this show come to life and to see the actors transform into stars.

This was a learning experience for everyone and it all came together because we were together, passionate and positive that this was necessary for a university that overlooks the arts. As student directors, we learned how to organize and direct a show, purchase rights and cast. I had fun working on the sound and designing the set and props, roles that I had never done by myself previously.

Maddie was the star behind the spotlight, cueing the lights and creating our Playbill for the show, roles that she had never done before. Actors brought in props and costumes for not only their character but also for the rest of the cast. Everyone pitched in to make this performance happen and I couldn’t be more blessed and grateful for them. The show wouldn’t have been possible without their adaptability and team effort.

Truthfully, I still can’t tell you how we pulled it off because there were times where I thought that it wasn’t possible, times where I wanted to just give up and thought that it’d be better to cancel, but I can tell you one thing: it wasn’t in my control.

Seeing the actors do so much more with their roles than I could ever imagine gave me the assurance and hope that I needed to continue. We couldn’t have done it alone without the commitment of every single member of the Theatre Club and without God’s mighty hand.

Finally, I feel that I must say a huge ‘thank you’ to everyone involved in this production, including the behind the scenes hands. I am “determinate” to continue this project with amazing and talented members and to ensure that there is a permanent place for theatre and the performing arts at John Carroll.

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About the Contributor
Alissa Van Dress
Alissa Van Dress, Campus Editor
Alissa Van Dress is a junior English major from Amherst, Ohio. She has a concentration in professional writing with minors in business, creative writing and Spanish and Hispanic Studies. Previously, Alissa served as the copy editor at The Carroll News. In addition to her current role as campus editor, Alissa is a JCU football and basketball cheerleader, a writing consultant at the JCU Writing Center, works as a digital engagement ambassador for the JCU Carroll Fund, and serves on the visual arts committee for The Carroll Review. Also, she is honored to have co-founded the Theatre Club at John Carroll University. Other than writing, some of Alissa's favorite hobbies include musical theater, vocal performance, fashion, dance and cheerleading/acrobatics. After graduation, Alissa plans to write for children's entertainment.

To contact Alissa, email her at [email protected].

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