It Doesn’t End at Regionals: Theater play makes states

On Feb. 7, as judges called out the winners for the annual VHSL Northern Regional theater competition, Statesmen Theater sat in hopeful anticipation to hear who won. 

Just like in their district round, the cast once again took home first place, an announcement that erupted in cheers, hugs and tears of joy. 

Playwright and junior Han Nguyen’s play “It Doesn’t End in Nebraska,” is now heading for the statewide VHSL competition. The original one-act also includes a student-run pit orchestra and composition, led by songwriter and sophomore Hayven Marin

“[The win] actually felt surreal, like a dream,” Nguyen said. “At that moment it really felt like every long and tiring day of rehearsal really became worth it.”

Each judge at districts ranked the play first place, securing its spot in regionals. The same thing happened in the regional round.

“I was honestly super surprised we got first place,” Nguyen said. “Obviously my cast was super amazing, but it was just so surprising to see that the judges liked it that much, and that people were really receptive to it.”

Cast member and senior Sharon Cho said her first Statesmen Theater play with a speaking role was Nguyen’s.

“I speak for everyone in the cast when I say we are so lucky and grateful to have worked with her on a special project she put her heart into,” Cho said.

At the district round, Cho won an award for best actor in her cast.

“I was a little worried my inexperience would bring down the play,” Cho said. “When I got the award, I was relieved to find out that wasn’t the case and that some judges actually liked my acting.”

Nguyen also starred in her autobiographical play and received individual actor awards for both the district and regional rounds.

“Holding the district trophy was so awesome, and winning my own award for acting on top of that was super crazy,” Nguyen said. “Winning meant so much to me and made me feel really proud of my cast, crew and especially myself.”

The cast will compete again at the state level on March 2 in Charlottesville.