November 1, 2018
Sydney Long feels like she has come full circle.
“When I was a freshman, I played a tree,” the personable Badin High School senior laughed of her musical bow in “The Wizard of Oz” in the spring of 2016. “Now I get to play the biggest lead in the musical as a senior. It’s pretty amazing.”
And not just any lead – Long is set to play the iconic Peanuts character Charlie Brown in the classic “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” on the Badin stage Nov. 15-18.
“I didn’t expect to be doing that role, but it’s really cool,” Long said. “I’m a pretty girly person – I like dresses and singing the high parts on songs. But I immediately related to the character – always feeling more mature than you are, having some struggles but seeing the daylight ahead. It’s more about the person than the gender.”
“I think you will fall in love with her portrayal of this loveable and relatable character,” said Sarah Cline, drama director at Badin. “Sydney is such a talented and giving performer – whether it’s singing jazz at charity event or helping a fellow cast-mate with a song. She is 100 percent dedicated to everything she does.”
Long’s stage presence is genuine and infectious as she pulls the audience right up front with her.
“I like interacting with people,” she nodded. “I’ve always enjoyed talking in front of people. Ever since I was a kid I’ve just loved it. People say that watching others perform gives them energy – I think performing on stage gives me just as much energy.”
“When she sings, she glows,” said her mother, Becky, the freshman religion teacher at Badin. “Sydney is at her most confident, purest self when she is on stage. But she is humble with her talents, not trying to upstage anyone else.”
As a sophomore, Long was so memorable in the title role of the timeless musical “Annie” that a picture of her in a red wig with the dog is still a recruitment poster at Badin.
“That was incredible,” she recalled. “That was the first time I ever felt recognized on my musical path. It was really wild to play this outgoing, fun red-headed girl who totally embodies the person I want to be, someone with such positive energy.
“It sounds cheesy to say it, but I take a little bit with me out of every role I play, and I think I took the most out of Annie.”
Long took her initial path to the stage in the musical “Grease” with Encore Youth Theater the summer before her 7th grade year in the Lakota school district. At the time, Badin High was nowhere on her radar screen.
“I had never even heard of Badin and I had no idea where it was,” she said … a thought that makes her mother smile, since Becky Long taught and coached at Badin and Sydney actually took her first steps in Badin’s Mulcahey Gym before her mother stepped down to be a stay-at-home mom.
In the spring of 2014, her five children rapidly growing up, Becky Long returned to Badin … first as a long-term sub, then as the freshman religion teacher, taking her place in the department she had left more than a dozen years before.
“Suddenly, Badin became an option to me,” Sydney said. “I had to make a choice, and it was very daunting. I knew everyone at Lakota, and I knew no one at Badin.
“But I thought that if my mom enjoyed Badin that much, then I thought I’d probably enjoy it just as much because my mom and I are basically the same person,” Sydney laughed. “I made the choice to come to Badin, and it’s been great. I couldn’t imagine it any other way.”
Now, Sydney Long must make another choice as she prepares to graduate in the spring of 2019.
“I’m going into Musical Education, because everything about music makes me happy. It’s my passion,” she said
Then, referring to having spent the last 10 years at YMCA Camp Ernst in Burlington, Ky., as a camper and lately a counselor, Long added, “I love being with kids. I love teaching. It’s a whole new world of understanding kids at a younger age.”
She’s looking at Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va., or perhaps Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, or maybe some others.
“The future is coming faster than I expected,” she said. “It’s definitely on its way.”
Then, thinking about the fun of Charlie Brown looming just over the horizon, Long added, “I don’t think I can ever completely give up performing, though.”
The curtain will rise on “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” in Badin’s Little Theatre at 7:30 p.m., Thursday through Saturday, Nov. 15-17, then for a 2:30 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Nov. 18.
Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and children and available through the front office at Badin. BHS students are admitted free through the Student Activity Fee.
Contact: Dirk Q. Allen, (513) 863-3993, ext. 120; Dallen@BadinHS.org