Girl Who Used to Act in High School Wants Everyone to Know: She Still Can

Anyone who’s done high school theater knows of its particular joys and of course, dramas. The musty smell of old costumes soiled with thirty years of teen pheromones, who kissed who at the cast party and why Emma keeps getting ingenue roles when she can’t even hit a High B. But most people leave high school theater where it belongs… back in high school. 

Not Shannon Pender. She had a storied career at James K. Polk High School, especially shining in the twice yearly musical. She asked us to print that “her favorite credits include Evita in Evita, Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors and Lucy in You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown and wants to thank her parents for the support, her vocal/chorus teacher Mrs. Phipp for the mentorship and God… for the gift of the pipes.”

She brings up her high school theater stardom whenever it’s applicable – and often when it’s not. 

Shannon’s co-worker Jordan, in Staples HR, is super over it. “At a staff meeting the other day, we were passing around copies of the new vacation policy. You could tell Shannon was about to burst, and as she got handed the papers she yelped ‘This was like waiting the whole weekend for the cast list of Brigadoon!’ Then she told us all she played Fiona and spent the rest of the meeting speaking in a vaguely Irish or Scottish accent. We ignored her, like usual.” 

Her local coffee shop “Beanz” has considered banning Shannon from their establishment. James, her barista, weighs in. “She comes in and sings along to whatever we’re playing at the top of her lungs. And not only that- she always makes a joke that she should get the tip jar. The day our manager put Hamilton on? She almost blew the windows out. We try to drown her out with espresso steam.” 

We tried to reach out to friends for quotes, but found she doesn’t really have any. An ex-friend, who wants to remain anonymous, still feels rage when Shannon’s name comes up. “She held my karaoke birthday party hostage performing the entire score of Carousel. Spoiler alert: It’s a super depressing musical about domestic violence. I never want to hear ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ again, for as long as I live.” 

When confronted with these examples, Shannon shrugs it off.

“This reminds me of ‘The Stepsister’s Lament’ from Cinderella. It’s hard not to feel jealous of the person (me) who always got the lead in, wow, literally every single musical that we put on! But just to clarify, I never played one of the stepsister’s. They’re supporting. I was obviously Cinderella. Let me sing you the ballad it made my mother cry.”

Susan-Kate Heaney (Los Angeles, CA) @sue_kate Susan-Kate Heaney is an actor (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, The Mindy Project, Masters of Sex), writer (multiple one-woman shows, webseries, movies) and new mom (Clover). She loves comedy and performs live often (improv, stand-up, sketch). She is the host of a podcast called "The Quirks" and spoiler alert... she has many of them. ​