Photo Credit: WeberPhotographics
By Nichole Smith
Montverde Academy alum and former Theatre Conservatory student Aidan Fracker, ’21, is home from college for the summer and will be performing the lead role of Richie Cunningham in the musical “Happy Days” at Sonnentag Theatre at the IceHouse in Mt. Dora. The show will run from Friday, July 14, through Sunday, August 6.
Aidan began performing in theatre productions at the IceHouse when he was a child and also had some theatrical opportunities in the Lower School at Montverde Academy. He was a part of the Lower School Choir, and in the fourth grade, he performed the role of Benjamin, Joseph’s youngest brother, in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” In the fifth grade, he was cast in the ensemble in “Shrek The Musical.”
During his time in the Middle School at MVA, Aidan sang in the ensemble in “Barnham” and played the role of the Footstool in “Beaty and the Beast.” In the eighth grade, he was cast in his first lead role as Evan Goldman in “13: The Musical.”
He would go on to perform in a host of other productions in the Theatre Conservatory during his time in the Upper School. In the ninth grade, he played Scuttle in “The Little Mermaid.” In the tenth grade, he played the role of the Baker in “Into the Woods” and Romeo in “Romeo and Juliet.”
When Aidan was in the eleventh grade, he was cast as the character Tom Wingfield in “The Glass Menagerie,” a role that Aidan truly related to. “The role kind of lined up with me starting to figure out who I wanted to be as a man,” said Aidan. “I was trying to transition to that part of my life, which I’m still in the middle of.”
During his senior year, he played Will Shakespeare in the musical “Something Rotten,” among other productions, as he was going through his college application process. “At the time, I was battling whether I wanted to be an acting major or musical theater major,” Aidan said.
He ultimately decided that he wanted to focus on acting, and after graduation, he enrolled in Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in acting.
His freshman year at Wright, he sang in the ensemble in the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta “The Gondoliers.” And his sophomore year, he sang and danced in two ensembles, one for the musical “Sister Act” and one for the musical “On the Town.”
Aidan felt that his time in MVA’s Theatre Conservatory helped prepare him for college. “The way the Conservatory functions really prepared me for the mindset I’d have to be in for [a college] conservatory program,” Aidan said. “We’re a BFA program that functions like a conservatory, but what attracted me to [Wright State University] at first was that I would still be taking [general education courses],” unlike traditional conservatory programs. “If I only think about acting all the time, I don’t have anything else to influence my point of view, which is the whole point of acting.” Courses such as African American history and sociology have been a tremendous influence on how he sees the world.
Not only does Aidan allow his life experiences to inform his acting, but he has also found that the training and experience he’s received as an actor have given him valuable skills for work outside of acting. For the past couple of summers, Aidan served as a camp counselor at MVA’s summer camps, and this year he took on a leadership role as the Assistant Camp Director. “In high school theatre, Roberta Emerson instilled a leadership quality in me that I think I always had. I’ve always felt like I was a leader, but I think especially in theatre, she made it clear that she was trusting me with a group of people, so that practice really helped,” Aidan said.
The musical “Happy Days” opens this weekend at the IceHouse Theatre in Mt. Dora. And this fall, Aidan will be performing his first lead role at Wright State University’s theatre in the play “The Liar” where he will play the lead character Dorante, a pathological liar who goes to Paris to have some fun. Whether Aidan is acting on a stage or leading others in the community, he has an affecting energy about him that will certainly capture the hearts and minds of audiences and anyone else in his orbit.