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Volume 26, Number 11 — November 2018

Arts for Youth Spotlight — Isaiah Young

Sara Burrell (Audrey) and Isaiah Young (Stanley Krelborn) in Tennessee High School's production of “Little Shop of Horrors.”
Sara Burrell (Audrey) and Isaiah Young (Stanley Krelborn) in Tennessee High School's production of “Little Shop of Horrors.”

Isaiah loves to be on stage

By Leslie Grace | A! Magazine for the Arts | August 29, 2018

Isaiah Young had a friend who got him interested in theater at Tennessee High School, Bristol, Tennessee.

“It’s a pretty funny story how I got thrown into the theater world.My school had auditions for the school musical, ‘Willy Wonka,’ and my friend wanted me to audition with him. So I decided to give it a shot and go for a small role like an Oompa Loompa. So auditions come and pass, and my director calls me to her classroom kinda tells me to bump the idea of being a Oompa Loompa and throws the lead, Willy Wonka, in my face. It took some convincing because I have never been in a play/musical, but I went with it and the second I stood on that stage I knew I was home,” Isaiah says.

Although not his only role, Willy Wonka is his favorite role because he is a unique showman.

“What interests me most about performing is being able to express yourself through song and intertwine your personality with the characters you are trying to portray. My style would have to be aggressive. I take a role, and I try my hardest to get the audience to forget who Isaiah is and to only see a fictional character come to life on stage. I believe I have in my power to do any role and all genres: comedy, drama, etc. Theater is a place where I can block the outside world and become someone/thing magically. It’s where I can use my talents and abilities to connect with an audience. A place where everything I have pent up inside of me can be released on stage,” Isaiah says.

His influences are his mom for supporting every “crazy thing” he has done, Amber Davis, his theater director/coach, for “giving me a shot and never letting me forget I got what it takes and, last but not least, Jason Whitson for changing my life by training my voice to becoming what it is now and being one of my biggest fans. Also Hugh Jackman because the splash he has made in the Broadway and Hollywood realm is absolutely amazing, and I hope to do the same,” he says.

Isaiah is studying theater at Northeast State for two years and plans to transfer to a performing arts school.
When he’s not acting, he sings in choirs. This past summer he went on tour to Ireland with Highlands Youth Ensemble, one of the Mountain Empire Children’s Choral Academy choirs. He was also a member of the Madrigals and the after-school a cappella group at Tennessee High School.

Isaiah is 18 and the son of Sheila Blackburn.