Actor and singer, senior Kunal Kamath recently played the male lead in the Westminster Player’s production of The Pajama Game, an opportunity that showcased his love for music. Apart from the musicals, Kamath’s musical talent is displayed in multiple ways. He is one of the leaders of Men’s A Cappella (MAC), as well as a member of the ensemble and the 11-12 choir.
“Since I’ve worked with him, he’s always been a leader,” said music teacher Adam Fry. “He joined chorus sophomore year. He hasn’t been in chorus the whole time; in fact, he used to be in the band. He’s always just had such a positive outlook. Try finding a time when he doesn’t have a smile on his face. I think he’s always been a positive influence and role model for his peers, which really shows, especially now that he has more positions of leadership with MAC and the musicals.”
From band to chorus to MAC and the shows, Kamath is a multifaceted musician.
“The fact that he is as good at singing a cappella music as he is at singing a solo in Messiah or a solo in The Pajama Game is amazing,” said Fred Scott, director of choral music. “He is a good instrumentalist as well. That is definitely one of the things that sets him apart—that he is so versatile.”
“One reason that casting is often so difficult, for example with The Pajama Game, is that we wanted the characters of Babe and Sid to be really empathetic, and for us to really want to watch their story all the way through the show, because otherwise it can be sort of a fluffy musical,” said Kate Morgens, head of the theater department. “It’s hard to decide if the priority is to pick an actor or a singer. And in this case, we were lucky. We could pick people who do both. If you watch auditions, it actually becomes pretty clear that some people are better at acting and some are better at singing. And [Kamath] was really good at both.”
Kamath’s involvement in the arts is not limited to any one group, which is an indication of his dedication, another of his shining attributes.
“One of the things that makes him a good role model is that he is so hardworking,” said Morgens. “For example, his stomach was hurting one day and he decided he would keep singing, and then his appendix burst!”
“I was at the rehearsal where, I think his appendix was about to explode and he was so dedicated that he never once complained about it,” said Fry. “Once he finally had the surgery, he was basically walking hunched over saying, ‘I can still do it, I swear!’ I think I actually had to tell him to go home at that point.”
A short ten days after surgery, Kamath was performing the show in its entirety in front of an audience.
“Doing a lead in a musical on top of having an appendectomy is beyond the call of duty; not everybody has to do that,” said Scott. “He had his appendix out on the night of homecoming and by the end of the next week he was back in rehearsals for The Pajama Game. He is very thorough and he is very dedicated to his work.”
The dedication Kamath has for the arts and music is duplicated in the amount that he cares for those he works with and for the music itself.
“Kamath is very caring. I’m lucky that I get to work with him in ensemble, in choir, with MAC and in musicals, said Fry. “I see that care come through, especially as a leader of MAC this year; he really genuinely cares about the well-being of the group. He’s always worried about their time, and trying to make sure they’re making good use of it. He really does look out for the well-being of others.”
“I think, as a young man, [Kamath] is elegant and polished, witty, and in a certain way, very compassionate,” said Scott. “That’s also very good for solo singing in a way, because it informs the way you think about music, and it also makes him a wonderful member of the ensemble because he has a wonderful feeling for his colleagues and his friends. He really enjoys singing.”
The care he shows for music comes through in Kamath’s style, and the confidence his voice brings adds to his leadership qualities.
“I would say he has kind of a croony-type style,” said Fry. “He has a voice that you just want to listen to, over and over again. I think that’s why he fit the part so well because his character sang a lot in The Pajama Game, and while I was conducting I liked to just sit back and enjoy the ride. I just thought he had such a beautiful tone quality. I’d say he has a Michael Bublé, Harry Connick type smooth sound.”
“I think he has a very handsome voice,” said Scott. “And I don’t know of a soul in school who doesn’t enjoy hearing him, which is a great accolade. His singing is polished. He has a great sense of pitch and rhythm. His tone and communication of the text are also good. As a choral singer, he is also elegant and polished and has a good sense of rhythm and pitch, which is really great because it makes him a good leader for the bass section. For me, he’s a really great commodity, whether he’s a soloist or part of a group.”
As an actor, Kamath also has a very unique, thoughtful style.
“There are two different kinds of actors. Usually there are actors who are emotional first and thinking second. And then sometimes, there are people who are more thinking actors, who sort of plot out what they’re doing throughout the show and add emotions later,” said Scott. “He is a fantastic thinking actor who does not neglect adding a really good level of emotions. I think it’s a great way to be, a sort of inside-out actor. It’s very much a Meryl Streep way of acting.”
Perhaps what makes Kamath such a good leader is truly his love for music. His style, dedication, versatility, and personality all reflect how much he enjoys being on stage.
“You can see it on his face, you can hear it in his voice when he sings, and you can see it when he moves on stage,” said Scott. “There’s a love of music and a love of performing.”
“I really like being a part of plays because of the people,” said Kamath. “We’ve built a really tight-knit family of StageCats over my four years in high school and I can’t imagine doing an activity where I couldn’t hang out with them. I just really like singing because it’s something that I’ve been doing for a while. Also, being on stage to present yourself to an audience is exhilarating.”
Whether he’s on stage for chorus, MAC, or a musical, Kamath loves his craft. His versatility, dedication, unique style, and genuine love for the arts all contribute to making him a good leader.