Behind the Curtains: Meet the cast of White Christmas


Senior Jillian Armstrong starred as Betty Hanes (Photos courtesy of Tara Johnson Photography).

Alexis Cornett, Editor in Chief

Jillian Armstrong

Character: Betty Haynes

Favorite line: “You can tell Bob to take a long walk off a high ski jump.”

The moment you found out about your role: “I was at the football game. I kind of had an idea just because I cast it in my head taking in consideration our senior class. But also Ms. Lambrecht was telling me that she thought I could play a good Martha. So, I honestly didn’t really know what’s gonna happen, but I was really excited. I guess I was just excited to find out I was playing Betty because I really liked “Sisters” and the other fun numbers in the show.”

What have you learned from your character: “The hardest part is that, on paper, Betty doesn’t have much “meat” to her as we say. She doesn’t have a lot to work with like character wise: not a lot of depth. And Rosemary Clooney, as we were talking about with the directors, she played it really flat in the movie. So there wasn’t a strong character there to work with. It was just a lot of basic stuff. So I think the hardest part was trying to find the right balance of being annoyed but also in love with Bob. The right balance, so I don’t look angry on stage. And actually find her depth to make her not a static character. My favorite part is probably her songs, to be honest. And I also like being the older sister character because I’m the youngest sibling in my family so it’s new and it’s kind of fun.”

Future plans: “I want to go to college for musical theater right now. I don’t have a set school or singular dream school yet. But I know for sure I want to major in musical theater and get a BFA or a Bachelors of Music. And I want to find somewhere that hopefully has an emphasis on music and classical voice. So I can do that and musical theater.”

Favorite ice cream flavor: Mackinac Island Fudge

Senior Joe Meagher starred as Phil Davis.

Joe Meagher

Character: Phil Davis

Favorite line: “Beautiful? It’ll be a winter wonderland.”

The moment you found out about your role: “I was at home, refreshing the page constantly, because that night we had off and didn’t have much to do. I had sat down to have dinner with my family, and I refreshed it one more time, and it was up. I was just going down the list one by one and I didn’t skip to my name. I got there and it was just pure excitement.”

What have you learned from your character? “One of the unique things about Phil’s character as opposed to some of the other characters I’ve portrayed was the 50s style of comedy. Phil is the comedic relief in the show: he’s that foil to Bob’s character. And that was very fun but different learning that different era’s style of comedy as opposed to the general style of comedy you see today.”

Future plans: “My future plans are to attend university for acting, for film and TV. I’ve found a real community within theater and a passion to create and story tell for the general audience. I think it’s a really powerful tool that some people don’t see when they go to see a show. It’s entertainment, but if you look at that entertainment on a deeper level, you’ll find that you learned something or a new perspective on how the world works. So I think I’m pursuing that as a way of being able to express that emotion to other people.”

Favorite ice cream flavor: Mint Chocolate Chip


Senior Austin Matlis starred as General Henry Waverly.

Austin Matlis

Character: General Henry Waverly

Favorite line: “If you could march as well as you could jingle, this war would be over by now.”

The moment you found out about your role: “So, I did not sleep very well the night before. And I was barely awake for the actual dance auditions [the day the cast list was released]. And then I came home and I fell asleep. Two a.m.: I woke up and then I looked at it [four hours after it came out]. I requested for General Waverly, I wanted to be him. So I was out of my mind tired and still in my day clothes. I scrolled and I saw it. By myself. No one else was awake. Everyone else was asleep. And I am just enjoying my own little moment at two a.m. knowing I got the role that I had wanted.”

What have you learned from your character? “So my character isn’t much of a singer or a dancer: He is a speaking role. And I guess just working with that kind of character: he’s a very masculine, very strong kind of guy. And I feel like that’s not something I am particularly. I am very eccentric and very up-in-the-air sometimes. So kind of having that heavy kind of commanding presence is something I had to learn over the last few months and doing that was really interesting to learn and grow from. I think I’ve been a better actor because of the challenge of being a completely different person.”

Future plans: “I’m applying to Grand Valley, and I just toured there recently, saw their theater program and there’s so many interesting things: they have a choir group, they have a theater group and you don’t need to be majoring in theater arts to do it. So while I won’t be majoring in theater, I’d love to still do it. It’s been a passion of mine for forever, even before high school. So doing it then would be just as interesting as doing it now. I’d love to pursue it as a recreation kind of thing in the future.”

Favorite ice cream flavor: Rocky Road