Some families become well known for their participation in football, basketball or hockey, but the Sechsers seem determined to make a name for their participation in local theater.
Anna was in “Oliver” as was Cecilia; Joshua played Linus in “Charlie Brown” as well as some high school musical roles; Luke never acted, but he played in pit orchestra. Now with the newest wave of Joe and Amber Sechser's children, 12-year-old Josiah was the mayor in “Seussical," Flounder in “Disney's The Little Mermaid" and Chip in “Beauty and the Beast” while 14-year-old Gianna was a lion in “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" and a fish in “Disney's The Little Mermaid."
In the upcoming production of “The King and I," Josiah plays Prince Chulalongkorn, Gianna is a young royal wife and their younger siblings - Eli, 9, and Nico (Nicholas), 7 - play royal twins.
That means their oldest and youngest siblings - Cassie and Zoe - are the only ones who have never gotten into theater. This time, four members of the family get to share the stage.
“I let my kids kind of direct where they spend their time and energy,” Amber said. “Josiah has a lot of love of theater, so have some of my older children. We have continued to let them try different things and experience different things. Gianna has joined the ranks of people who like to be on stage. The two of them have been in shows together. The thing I like about this production using a lot of children is we get to do this all together.”
All four children are enjoying their time on stage for this production of the Rogers and Hammerstein classic, with the possible exception of Eli.
“He wanted to try it but rehearsals are getting really long,” Amber said.
As one could expect, some Sechser children became interested in theater thanks to their siblings before them.
“With me, I probably wouldn't have started performing as early as I did unless they had done shows before,” Josiah said of his siblings.
Nico's inspiration will be on stage with him.
“Watching Josiah do 'The Little Mermaid' made me want to do another play,” Nico said.
Gianna, on the other hand, got into theater to spend time with a friend.
“Me and my friend wanted to try out for 'The Little Mermaid' together,” Gianna said. “We just did that and now I just want to keep doing it.”
Following several successful performances, some of the children are already starting to set their sights on future plays. Josiah hopes the Greater Lakes Area Performing Arts eventually brings “Hamilton” or “Dear Evan Hansen” to town. Gianna is looking to the nearer future.
“I think Ben Gordon is doing a play in the summer, 'Jane Eyre.' I'm going to try out for it,” Gianna said.
Performance is simply something they enjoy doing.
“Performing on the stage just makes me feel really nice,” Josiah said. “If I'm in a bad mood, I won't be anymore. I like being around people that are in the play. They're usually really nice people. The directors are nice and friendly.”
They are each excited about different events at “The King and I." Josiah is excited for the “Getting to Know You” number. Gianna enjoys “The March of the Royal Children,” which introduces much of the cast. Nico's favorite scene is sure to entertain as well.
“My favorite part is when I go in a meeting and kind of annoy the King a little,” Nico said, referring to a scene where all the other royal children behave perfectly - well, except Nico.
“Basically you get to act like a naughty little boy,” Amber joked.
Josiah said performing with his family is an opportunity to make memories together. Gianna enjoys the opportunity, but she prefers performing alongside Josiah.
“Him (Josiah), I don't mind,” she said. “Them (Eli and Nico), they're goofballs.”
'The King and I'
What: Pequot Lakes Community Theatre production.
When: 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Oct 4-5 and 11-12, 2 p.m. Sundays, Oct. 6 and 13.
Where: Pequot Lakes High School auditorium.
Tickets: $14 for adults, $12 for seniors age 60 and older, $10 for youth age 18 and younger. Call Pequot Lakes Community Education at 218-568-9200 or go online to www.isd186.org and click on "Community Education" and then "GLAPA/PLCT."