In her short time at Dartmouth, Haley Reicher ’17 has already made a name for herself in the campus arts community. Reicher has performed in two of the theater department’s main stage productions and sings regularly in her a cappella group, the Sing Dynasty.
Reicher’s theatrical career at Dartmouth began with “Big Love,” the fall main stage production, in which she played one of the brides. The role was small, but a learning experience, said Reicher, who went on to secure the lead role of Wendla in the winter musical, “Spring Awakening”.
“The creative team tries to spot those people who really stand out, and [Reicher] did,” theater professor Jamie Horton said of her “Spring Awakening” audition. “We all agreed by the end that we had the person we wanted to play Wendla.”
Reicher said she was interested in “Spring Awakening” not only because of the acting and singing opportunities the musical offered, but also for the important topics it tackled, including sexual assault, sexuality and teen suicide. Reicher participated in several charged scenes, including a sex scene that the entire cast discussed at length beforehand.
Horton recalled Reicher “digging into” the truth of her character when they talked about the meaning of one of her musical numbers.
“She was determined to communicate the right message of what she wanted to say during such scenes,” said Sing Dynasty member and “Spring Awakening” performer Isa Francisco ’14. “It was wonderful to see a [freshman] so committed to that process.”
When not on stage, Reicher rehearses with the Sings. The group’s grueling audition process, which took place this fall, ran from 10 a.m. to midnight, Reicher said, adding that it felt like three days. For her audition, she sang a song from the musical “Aida.”
“It was funny because she was really shy after beautifully singing this challenging song,” Francisco said, “which was such a dramatic and mature choice to come in with.”
As a member, Reicher sings various pop songs with original arrangements by the Sing Dynasty’s members. The Sings toured in California for two weeks this winter break, performing in San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego.
Reicher said she has enjoyed getting to know members of her a cappella group, many of whom are upperclassmen and can relate to her experiences.
Performing is not new for Reicher, who acted in her first show, “Ferdinand the Bull,” when she was 5. At age 11, while her family was living in Vermont, Reicher was a lead dancer in the Hopkins Center’s Christmas Revels show. Reicher continued developing her interest in the arts throughout high school, joining theater and music groups.
In addition to her passion for the arts, Reicher said she hopes to explore her interest in global health policy and women’s rights. Combining performance art with policy can be an effective communication tool, she said.
“I think that even if I don’t pursue theater as a career, being in a show has helped me in more ways than I could conceive of — overcoming stage fright, public speaking, communicating with others,” Reicher said. “I would say that you should definitely do a performance if you get the chance.”
THE FINAL WORD (with Haley Reicher ’17)
My favorite movie: “Life is Beautiful” (1997).
My favorite book: “Mountains Beyond Mountains” by Tracy Kidder.