For the Love of Music

Freshman Olivia Mancina continues to pursue musical theater through high school productions such as the musical, “Into the Woods.”


Kennedy Wade

Freshman Olivia Mancina sings in the opening scene of “Into the Woods” Jan. 25, while holding a basket of bread for Grandma.

Ava Stoltz, News & Sports Editor

Her vibrant red hair is hard to miss as she runs onto stage with a bright red cape flowing out behind her. The audience roars after every high note she sings, performing in her dream role. After the night is over, she is greeted with warm hugs and bouquets of flowers from her family and friends.  Freshman Olivia Mancina is able to combine her passion for singing with her love of acting in musical performances.

Grace Parrott
Freshman Olivia Mancina performs in an improv skit in Night of One Acts Oct. 3.

Mancina played Little Red Riding Hood in this year’s production of “Into the Woods” in January.


“Little Red Riding Hood has been a dream role of mine ever since I saw the movie come out,” Mancina said. “Besides, like “The Lion King,” it’s the first musical that I ever remember seeing. I really didn’t like it as first because it’s pretty creepy, but I began to appreciate it more as I got older, and it’s been a dream role ever since.”

Mancina started performing in musicals three years ago when she heard about Rockhurst’s theater camp held over the summer. In the camp, she performed “Beauty and the Beast Jr.,” “Into the Woods Jr.” and “Legally Blonde Jr.” Through these musicals, she explored her love of singing and was able to combine that passion with acting.

“I started doing Rockhurst’s musical theater because my singing teacher was the musical director for the camp,” Mancina said. “Sion’s musical was my first non-junior musical. So doing the full version was different.”

She started private singing lessons when she was 9 years old with opera singer Catherine Boone. She was Boone’s youngest student, as most students have to be 11 before they can have private lessons. Mancina participated in these 30-minute singing lessons once a week, performing everything from Broadway hits to classical hits. In these lessons she fell in love with singing.

“When she first expressed interest as a very young little girl it was an average little girl singing and she loved to sing,” Mancina’s mom Jennifer Reed said. “I just can’t believe the growth from the time she started with Catherine to today.”

Mancina went to Curé of Ars when she was younger and participated in “The Little Mermaid” in eighth grade with her friend, Bishop Miege freshman Clare O’Brien. Mancina played the character Flounder and loved doing the show with O’Brien. Since then, O’Brien said Mancina’s love for theater and music has grown over the last few years. Mancina and O’Brien also have made it a tradition to go to all of each other’s shows.

She was excellent from the start. Every time we got to her piece she knew it before I even had to teach it to her”

— Music Director Elizabeth Mulkey

“I love going to her musicals, and it’s always my top priority to make sure I can see her and support her in anything she’s in,” O’Brien said. “Olivia has always been so extremely talented, and it is so crazy to see that she still improves every day.”

Coming to class every day, Mancina has a great balance of knowing when and how to have fun, but also working hard and getting stuff done, according to Music Director Elizabeth Mulkey. She said Mancina has been able to stretch and grow her acting technique during her time rehearsing and performing.

“She was excellent from the start. Every time we got to her piece she knew it before I even had to teach it to her,” Mulkey said. “She had to scream in one scene and she had to cry in another scene, and those were her stretch moments.”

During the musical, other performers would look to her as an example especially during the choreography since she knew all the moves, according to junior Peyton Wade. Mancina always remained in character and didn’t break it, and she never seemed nervous, even right before opening night, according to Wade.

“She got a lead her freshman year and she is just so talented,” Wade said. “I mean she’s just going to be amazing forever.”

Photo submitted by Olivia Mancina
Freshman Olivia Mancina poses for a picture after performing in her eighth-grade musical “The Little Mermaid.”

Even through the notorious stress of tech week and rehearsals that can last until 10 at night, Mancina stayed calm. She said she managed her time well. She spent even more time focused during class and spent all her free time doing homework to stay on top of it.

“I had a bit of trouble managing a sleep schedule and finding time to have meals due to how late practices would go, but I think that being in the musical didn’t affect anything academic-wise,” Mancina said. “In fact, I think it maybe helped toward my grades because it gave me the motivation to work harder.”

Musical theater is something Mancina would like to pursue in the future, both in future plays and musicals for the school and hopefully as a career. Her dream job would be to be a musical theater actress, according to Mancina.

“My parents really want me to go into the medical field, so if I could, I would combine those two,” Mancina said. “I definitely will pursue musical theater all throughout being at Sion and then hopefully in college as well.”