A new type of Superfan takes the stage

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Katie Settos, A&E Editor

Crushing into their seats, they tear open bags of Skittles. Eagerly they wait for the action to commence as jitters creep through their nerves and the energy of the room consumes them.

Yet there are no game-changing turnovers or miraculous touchdowns to be seen.

This isn’t your typical game, and these certainly aren’t your typical fans.

Equally devoted and perhaps even more action-addicted, they are Staples Players SuperFans.

Caroline McKechnie ’15 describes the obsession simply, “It’s incredible. I love the Players’ dedication to entertain and share their talent with the world” she said.

Once she had seen “How to Succeed in Business” when she was in sixth grade, Mckechnie became fully enthralled in the world of Players, amazed by their level of talent, motivation and most of all, passion. “They really sold their characters,” McKechnie said. “And that was enough to draw me into an obsession.”

Making an effort to see as many shows as possible, McKechnie and her friend, Hadley Ward ’15, decided to generate a student fan base.

Yet Superfans is a title that must be earned, and McKechnie and Ward do not take the expectation lightly. Tracking Players’ gossip and events has become a hobby. Ward even confessed that she has the website bookmarked on her computer.

“While waiting for the cast and callback lists for any given show to come out, we spend time making our predictions on who will be cast” Ward said.

In addition to following the casting process of the productions, McKechnie and Ward make it their goal to be able to recite lines and songs prior to seeing the shows.

“We always try to make sure we know it,” Ward said. “We could pretty much jump in as understudy for any part whenever!”

Ward, who adored the Players production of “West Side Story” because of the intense chemistry between its leads, said she is continually impressed with the quality of their performances. “‘Avenue Q’ looked really professional even more so than other shows because the set was almost identical to the Broadway one and so was the talent of the actors. ” Ward said.

McKechnie, whose favorite is “A Chorus Line,”  agreed with Ward, regarding “Avenue Q” as one of the most entertaining shows Players has performed. “The comedic timing and puppet skills were perfectly on point. Not to mention, I could not keep myself together during  ‘Everyone’s a Little Racist.’ The entire show was unbearably hilarious,” she said.

While a Players student fan base is a relatively new concept, most members of the theater program have warmly welcomed the support from their peers.

“They break out into song constantly in our AP Government class. They also came to every performance of “Avenue Q” where I caught them doing a practical photoshoot in front of the stage during intermission. They freak out in the hallway when they see the stars, they check our website, they stay up to date on the gossip and I’m pretty sure they’re ordering T-shirts,” secretary of Staples Players Julia Greene ’15 said.

As Staples Players receives most of its support from the adults in the community, students said that it is rare to find admirers among peers.

“I do think that having Players Superfans is important to counteract the negative attitude toward Players that can sometimes be found on social media. It’s nice to be supported to the same degree as championship-winning athletes,” Joe Badion ’15, a member of Staples players, said. “Players Superfans should know that they are greatly appreciated.”