First Miss is a full-length play that follows Michele and Grant from their “emotionally sweaty” prom dance floor to the dumpster-fire days of their early twenties as they try to figure out why rom-coms make first kisses look so deceptively simple.
Written by UCF alumnus Sarah Schreck ’18, First Miss is a touching story of friendships, first loves and what it means to miss someone who, by all means, appears to be right there.
Produced by student developmental theatre organization Project Spotlight, First Miss is entirely student directed, produced, performed and designed.
A Note from the Playwright
This story began as a recounting of a failed slow dance to “1000 Years,” a song professing an eternal love (appropriate for the Twilight franchise) at a particularly lovely and awkward junior prom. Since then, it has grown into a completely original conversation about young people as they navigate new feelings about themselves, and about others.
Since then, it also became my favorite story to tell, and in times of trial, continues to teach me. There is medicine in all of our stories, even (and perhaps especially) in our tales from adolescence. If First Miss encourages anything, I hope that you leave the theatre fondly remembering a lovely, awkward time from your youth that you continue to carry with you.
I am so grateful for this opportunity to expand First Miss into a two-act play that demands more of its artists and asks more questions of its audience. My love to its cast, crew, faculty, and the UCF theatre community.
This play would not have been possible without the current and previous Project Spotlight teams, including the director of its initial staging, Liz Calvert. I would also be remiss without recognizing Sybil St. Claire, who sparked my imagination when she facilitated a playback performance of this story; my parents, who live, recount, and proofread all of my stories; and my coming-of-age relationships (both friendships and romances) for the good, the bad, and the beautiful.
—Sarah Schreck ’18
A Note from the Director
One of the many things that makes for powerful storytelling in theatre is an element of empathy for the characters we see and the circumstances they live out on stage. Directors and playwrights strive to provide a promise of authenticity to their audiences in order to establish an emotional connection to the art that they create. First Miss, written by Sarah Schreck, undoubtedly delivers on that promise through its layered text and intriguing character dynamics. Whether you establish a connection to that haunting feeling of lingering regret, or to the draining thought of “what could’ve been”, this play provides a variety of story elements that patrons of all ages and backgrounds can relate to. It’s an honor for me as an emerging director to work with Project Spotlight in bringing the full-length adaptation of this piece to life for the very first time at UCF Celebrates the Arts!
Cast and Crew
Matthew Beaton (Grant) is a freshman Psychology student. His favorite previous roles include Theatre UCF’S OF MICE AND MEN (Whit, U/S Lennie), FOOLS (Leon Tolchensky), and LOVE/SICK (Keith/Mark). Instagram: @mattbeat72
Blake Parker (Michele) is a freshman in the BFA Acting Program at UCF. Some of her favorite roles include Meg in Leading Ladies (2016) and Deirdre in I Hate Hamlet (2018) at Richey Suncoast Theatre. She was voted “Best Female Lead in a Comedy” for the theatre’s season for both of these productions! Her proudest moment in theatre was directing the first musical at her high school in 25 years, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. She is so excited to be apart of UCF Celebrates the Arts and hopes you enjoy the show!
Isabel Bernal (Amy) is a sophomore in the B.A. Theatre Studies program with a minor in dance. She was recently a part of Project Spotlight’s One Act Festival in the fall in Anomalies Anonymous (Broomhilde). She was also a part of UCF’s inaugural Pegasus PlayLab in April Ranger’s staged reading of Bathsheba’s Psalms (Bathsheba). Some of her other past credits include I Never Saw Another Butterfly (Raja Englanderova) and School House Rock Jr. (Assistant choreographer).
Isabella Bisbal (Teresa) is a third-year student in the Theatre program. Previous UCF credits include He Did It.
Amanda Paolicelli (Diana) is a sophomore in the B.A. Theatre Studies program with a Business Administration minor. This will be her first time participating in Project Spotlight/UCF Celebrates the Arts and she is very excited for this opportunity. Previous Theatre UCF include: Claire’s Johnny (Jada) and The Vagina Monologues (My Angry Vagina/ A Six Year Old Was Asked). Favorite credits include: The Children’s Hour (Mary Tilford) and The King and I (Anna Leonowens). She would like to thank her friends and family for their love and support. A special thanks to her Grandpa Dom and Bobo who are watching from heaven.
Victoria Lane (Waiter) is a sophomore Music Education major and with a minor in Theatre. This will be her fourth semester acting in Project Spotlight and she is so grateful for the creative and collaborative opportunities this organization has given her. Some of her favorite credits include Aaron in No Service, Rona Lisa Peretti in 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Sweet Charity, and the Music Man.
Sarah Schreck (Playwright) is a recent graduate of the UCF Theatre program and is pursuing her Master’s in Arts Management at Carnegie Mellon University. She serves as education intern with The Pittsburgh Public Theatre and marketing intern at Quantum Theater, and has been recognized for her dramaturgy at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. Another work of hers, The Force of Gravity was presented at UCF Celebrates the Arts in 2017. Check out: imsarahschreck.com
Ramon Paradoa (Director) is a second-year graduate student in the Master of Arts in Theatre program at the University of Central Florida. After completing his MA degree, Ramon plans to pursue an MFA degree in Directing with a focus on Show Directing in Themed Entertainment. This will be Ramon’s second semester working with Project Spotlight and his first time directing a production for UCF Celebrates the Arts. He is incredibly excited to bring Sarah Schreck’s full-length adaptation of her wonderful piece “First Miss” to life.
Caroline Hull (Assistant Director/Understudy Michele/Amy) is a freshman transfer student in the minor-to-major program. She was seen on the Theatre UCF stage last semester in Project Spotlight’s production of Anomalies Anonymous (Nerrgh). Other theatre credits include Sweeney Todd (Johanna), Heather Chandler (Heathers), Into the Woods (Little Red), and Bye Bye Birdie (Kim MacAfee).
Ashley Faulkner (Stage Manager) is a BA Theatre Studies major with a minor in Event Management. She is excited to be a part of her fourth Project Spotlight production (the others being First Miss (one act), Til Debt Do Us Part, and Anomalies Anonymous). It means so much to her that she got to be involved in both the one act and full length versions of First Miss. She hopes you enjoy the show!
Jessica Mesnick (Lighting Designer) is currently a junior majoring in Theatre Studies with a minor in Creative Writing. She originally began her interest in light design at Ocala Civic Theater in Ocala, Fl, the Grand Theater, and at University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Jessica also has experience assistant directing shows such as, “Evita”, “The Love of Three Oranges”, and recently had the chance to Co-Direct “Be More Chill”. However, whenever she gets the chance she loves to perform. She was most recently seen on the new TV show, “Yellowstone”, played Inez in “No Exit”, and Renee in “Schoolgirl Figure”. Jessica hopes to one day move to New York or Los Angeles to pursue her dreams and go on tour in the future.
Will Diaz (Sound Designer) is a senior Mechanical Engineering major. This is his second semester on the Project Spotlight leadership team.
Raymond Veliz (Costume Designer) is a first year BFA theatre student focusing in costuming. He has worked on several Project Spotlight productions in the past, including First Miss, The Butler Did It, and several ten-minute plays. He hopes to design for large productions in film and theatre and eventually hold a leadership position at a production company or theme park.
Kassidy Pierce (Artistic Director) is the current Artistic Director of Project Spotlight, the student developmental theatre company at UCF. She is double majoring in Theatre Studies and Entertainment Management. She has produced over 15 student written plays.
Nicholas Stelter (Technical Director) is a sophomore BA Theatre Studies major. This is his fourth semester working with Project Spotlight.
Annie Lovelock (Marketing Director) is a sophomore BA Theatre Studies and Advertising-Public Relations major. This is her fourth semester working with Project Spotlight and her second as a member of the leadership team. Annie also serves as an intern in graphic design with Orlando Fringe and in youth education with Central Florida Community Arts.
Rachel Capo (Executive Producer) is a first-year B.A. Theatre Studies student at the University of Central Florida. Recent credits include Devan in Project Spotlight’s Washed Out, Daisy in the Hunter, which debuted in Project Spotlight’s 10 Minute Festival. She is now directing her first show, The Vagina Monologues, with her amazing co-director Michael Gleason. She is so ecstatic to now be a Producer for Project Spotlight’s leadership team and cannot wait to grow the program even more. She would like to thank her roommates and best friends for continuing to support her throughout her college journey.