Sarah Zasso: Underneath the Red Wig


By Abigail Davis

The lights in the auditorium slowly fade out signaling the anxious audience to become silent. Backstage an entire crew of people are rushing around trying to make the show as amazing as possible, but nobody is as excited as the star of the show. Sophomore Sarah Zasso is standing center stage as the spotlight hits her, this marks her debut as Annie.

Even when she was a little girl, Zasso has dreamt of the day she would get to play Annie. She first became interested in theater when she was in sixth grade, and ever since she was not able to get enough. She has been in a total of six plays at Niles West, and she cannot wait to be in even more.

“There is little that I don’t love about performing, but my favorite part is interacting with the audience. With a good audience, there is this amazing energy that you get from them. Also, I love analyzing text, finding deeper meanings to things, and creating character arcs,” Zasso said.

Zasso is well known for her beautiful, breath taking voice. She has been singing for as long as she can remember, and it is one of her favorite things to do. Whether she is singing choral, Broadway, or pop pieces, she can always be found hitting a note perfectly. Zasso is a member of Niles West Choir, and she has been well recognized for her talents.

“Since I was little, I’ve been constantly singing. The first singing lessons I took were in eighth grade. My dance instructor gave them to me at 9:30 after my tap class, and though I was extremely tired, I was just so excited to be singing,” Zasso said.

Playing a major role in a production is a huge weight to carry. There are constant standards and expectations that are pushed on to you. Zasso became familiar with this while playing Annie, but she did not let that hold her back. Playing Annie was a beyond amazing experience for her, and every bit of hard work paid off in the end.

“The worst part of Annie was probably the pressure to do well. I’m very critical of myself, so I was constantly worrying that I wouldn’t meet my expectations, or other’s expectations. There were so many wonderful parts of Annie! I literally fell onto the floor after I found out I was cast. Annie has always been a dream role for me, and never being the lead before, I was so excited to have the opportunity to create a character and just sing. Annie sings a lot, and I was totally okay with that,” Zasso said.

Senior Muhammed Javed played the male lead, Daddy Warbucks. The two got along really well and shared a special bond. Javed really appreciates Zasso’s bright and endearing personality, making it easy for them to connect on stage.

“Working with Sarah is like working with your own personal support group. She compliments heavily and makes you feel really good because she is a straight up rockstar herself. She brings smiles onto people’s faces just by being around. Her best quality is being able to make you feel cared for. She’s really good at listening, and connecting to her is super easy,” Javed said.

Sophmore Callieh Mohr attended Annie on Saturday night, making this the first theater production she has seen at Niles West.

“I was so amazed to see all the talent that students at Niles West have. When I first heard Sarah’s voice I was honestly so impressed. I am definitely going to come to more plays next year,” Mohr said.