Keegan Connor is taking a break in her duties as Miss Indiana’s Teen to explore her love of theater.
Connor, who will be a Westfield High School senior, captured the title June 17 and since then has done some TV shows and personal appearances.
“It’s been crazy since I was crowned,” said Connor, who recently was in a parade and sang the national anthem at a South Bend Cubs baseball game. “But I found time to prioritize the show because I wouldn’t have signed up for it if I didn’t think I could handle both.”
Connor is now preparing for her lead role of Cady Heron in Civic Theatre’s Young Artists Program’s production of “Mean Girls,” set for July 27-30 at The Tarkington at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel.
“I think Cady is relatable from the get-go, even if you didn’t move from school to school to school,” Connor said. “She resembles a lot of people who are going through high school life, because no matter what you are going to get picked on, going to get judged. She does have a big character arc. By the start of Act 2, she steps into (queen mean girl) Regina’s role, and I think that shows how you can be influenced by people around you. Peer pressure is really real.”
Connor said this is the largest role of her career. The musical is based on the 2004 movie.
“I’m very honored and humbled to step into this role,” said Connor, who saw “Mean Girls” on Broadway and twice on tour. “A lot of the things from the movie are pulled into the musical as well, with iconic lines. I think the musical is a lot better than the movie, in my opinion. It brings more sense of community by the end of it all.”
Connor started with Jr. Civic when she was in seventh grade. She performed in “The Sound of Music” on the main stage this spring.
Claire Kauffman, who will be a Zionsville Community High School junior, plays Regina George.
“I’ve never played a super-mean character like her,” Kauffman said. “She’s horrible. It’s definitely fun because in real life, I don’t act like her, so it’s kind of challenging for me.”
Kauffman said her favorite song is “Someone Gets Hurt.”
Kauffman has been in several shows for YAP and Jr. Civic, including YAP’s “42nd Street” in 2022 and “Matilda the Musical” on the main stage last year.
Kauffman played the title role of “Annie” at Beef & Boards in 2018. She also performed in “Annie” at Civic Theatre.
Maddux Morrison, a 2023 Noblesville High School graduate who will attend Ball State University to major in musical theater, plays Cady’s gay friend, Damian.
“I was a fan of the movie, and then when it became a musical and went to Broadway, I was a fan of that as well,” Morrison said. “Damian is a fun role to play. He’s very confident and sassy. He really knows who he is. Playing the character has helped me as a person. He’s helped my confidence as a performer and also in real life. Something I love about the show and also this character is the show doesn’t take itself too seriously. When I was in high school, I took everything seriously. I didn’t stop and have fun that much. Doing this show and role has helped me to explore that side of myself.”
Morrison has been performing at Jr. Civic and YAP for eight years.
Amelia Schoeff, who will be a senior at Lebanon High School, plays Cady’s friend, Janis.
“She’s a goth and a victim of Regina,” Schoeff said. “I’ve never played a goth before, and it’s so different from me in real life. She’s so fun. She has a hysterical, dry sense of humor. She’s also relatable to a common high school experience for girls where she has been picked on by the main character.”
This is her first performance with Civic Theatre.
“Everyone that works on the show and the cast members are all incredible,” Schoeff said.
For more, visit civictheatre.org.