Archive for Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Renaissance man

Free State senior lauded for music, theater skills

Free State High School senior Anthony Twarog is the ArtStar winner for January. Twarog has performed in a variety of high school theater roles and plays percussion in the marching, symphonic and jazz bands. He also is a National Merit Scholar semifinalist.

Free State High School senior Anthony Twarog is the ArtStar winner for January. Twarog has performed in a variety of high school theater roles and plays percussion in the marching, symphonic and jazz bands. He also is a National Merit Scholar semifinalist.

January 22, 2008

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February ArtStar talented actor, musician

Student actors have to be versatile, and this month's ArtStar award winner is a good example of that. Journal-World features editor Terry Rombeck introduces us to Anthony Twarog. Enlarge video

About the program

The ArtStar program, sponsored by Peoples Bank, recognizes seniors in Lawrence high schools who demonstrate outstanding achievement in the fine arts. Honorees also must excel academically.

Nine monthly winners (September-May) will be selected via nomination by fine arts teachers and featured in the Journal-World and on 6News. An overall winner will be chosen from among those and designated ArtStar of the Year. The annual award will come with a scholarship.

In addition, nominations will be taken for promising students outside the senior class for up to two honorable mention spots each month.

For more information, contact Terry Rombeck, Journal-World features/special sections editor, at trombeck@ljworld.com or 832-7145.

Nancee Beilgard has a nickname for Anthony Twarog. "I told him he's a real Renaissance man, which embarrassed him greatly, I'm sure," Beilgard says. "But he is."

Twarog, she says, has been good in a variety of roles on stage at Free State High School. He also plays percussion in the marching, symphonic and jazz bands, and he's strong in the classroom, earning a National Merit semifinalist honor.

His versatility has earned him the ArtStar award for the month of January. The award is sponsored by Peoples Bank.

Twarog got his start on stage through Summer Youth Theater at the Lawrence Arts Center.

More recently, he's played in roles at Free State, including the recent "Urinetown" and is currently working on "Death by Chocolate." His favorite role was the Rev. Parris in "The Crucible."

"It was a really dramatic role," Twarog says, "and I got to kind of get into a deeper character than some of the comedic roles, I guess."

Beilgard, Free State's theater teacher, says she's always impressed how the senior can fit into any role.

"He's very malleable, which is a really good thing," she says. "He does pretty much anything I ask him to do. ... His comedic timing is excellent. He's extremely reliable, very modest. He's just a wonderful kid."

Though Twarog is strong in math and sciences, he longs to be on stage after school.

"Sometimes it's a way to get away from the homework, but there can be relations" between the classroom and the stage, he says. "You have to learn your lines. You have to show up on time. It's about being studious. For the most part, I like getting away from the book work and getting to the more creative part."

As comfortable as Twarog is on stage, he would like to end up on the front end of movies as a screenwriter.

"I think acting is fun because you get to play a role," he says. "But with writing you can do whatever you want. You can tell whatever story you want."

His favorite genre of movie is thriller or adventure, and he'd love to bottle up the excitement of the Indiana Jones movies series in his own screenplays.

"It's just so fun," he says of Indiana Jones. "It's really entertaining. It keeps moving. When you think about it, some of the story doesn't make sense, but it's just paced so well it's just fun to watch."

Twarog currently is applying to colleges with strong film programs, including New York University and the University of Southern California. He thinks good screen writing is a mix of natural-born talent and hard work.

"I think it's somewhere in between," he says. "There's a certain element where you have to read and you have to know what is good literature and that kind of thing. But I think a lot of it is teaching - I think it's more teaching than people would like to admit. There are techniques and there are things to learn."

Beilgard says she thinks Twarog will have a bright future ahead of him as a screenwriter.

"He has a really good sense of what works and what sounds good," she says. "I think he'll be really good. I think he might be a little uncomfortable being famous, but at least he can pay the bills."

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