Archive for Wednesday, May 9, 2001

Bound for New York

THS senior plans to attend drama school this summer

May 9, 2001

Luke Manson, a Tonganoxie High School senior, has been accepted to attend a drama school in New York City, starting this summer.

The American Musical and Dramatic Academy enrolls 550 students in its two-year program.

Areas of study include acting for stage, film and television, as well as musical theater and dance.

Luke, who plans to settle into an apartment in New York City on June 30, will study musical theater, training in acting, singing and dancing.

The son of Tim and Janet Manson, Luke Manson has lived in Tonganoxie all his life. And for as long as he can remember, he's wanted to be a performer.

"I've always loved theater and stage," Manson said. "When I was in the third grade, I wanted to be a rock star and an actor. Those were the two things I wanted to do and it just never wore off for me like it did for everyone else."

He said he always heard music at home.

"My mom has always been into music," Manson said. "She always had me singing stuff with her."

His first acting experience, Manson said, was when he participated in a musical play at the Christian Church when he was in the third grade.

More recently, he toured the East Coast last summer, performing with the Continentals, a Christian singing group.

He has participated in high school plays and the school choir, and currently sings with the worship team at Heartland Community Church of the Nazarene.

Manson credits his high school debate and forensics coach Steve Harrell for encouraging him in drama.

"Mr. Harrell definitely helped most of all in school," Manson said. "He's been like a father to me. He's helped me through a lot of rough things in my life."

Manson said he received a medal at the first forensics tournament he ever competed in.

"I looked at the medal and immediately thought, 'Wow this is cool,'" Manson said.

Last summer, Manson traveled with Harrell and other representatives of the debate and forensics teams to New York, where Manson and Marissa Stephenson took 13th place nationally in duet forensics.

Later this month, Manson again will compete in national forensics, this time in New York City.

When asked what he'd like to be doing five to 10 years from now, Manson said, "I'd like to perform on Broadway, and God willing, I'd really like to be famous someday."

Even though, when he was younger, he said he often heard the comment that it's tough to earn a living as an actor, Manson said nothing has changed his mind.

"I think the biggest thing I have that I hope will enable me to succeed is that I never really saw it as possible that I wouldn't do all those things," Manson said. " It just seemed natural to me that that's the way my life would end up going. I couldn't see me doing anything else. It just didn't make sense."

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