Artist spotlight: Jake Smith

The stage is a second home to senior Jake Smith. He has starred in numerous productions and is best known for his work in the Westminster Players performances, such as An Experiment with an Air Pump and Titanic. A talented individual, Smith brings a certain vibe to the stage that makes each production one to remember.

Smith has been involved in many types of musical and acting programs throughout his life.

A well-rounded thespian with many productions already in his repertoire, Smith’s biggest passion is musicals. He has performed in over 20 different shows in his life, an unusually high number for someone of his age. He engages in every aspect of the theater, including singing, dancing, acting, playing instruments, and songwriting.

“I’ve fully written two produced musicals, along with one unfinished solo project and a new show in the works currently,” said Smith. “I really love writing, music, singing, acting, and all that fun stuff.”

Many underclassmen look up to Smith as well. Students may have seen him perform as the lead in the school’s production of Titanic. Smith’s natural leadership instincts benefited the extremely large cast of 65 people, and he would often give many pep talks to the members and continue to motivate them to do their absolute best.

“He’s always very invested in his work and in the story,” said junior Josh van der Eerden, who has worked closely with Smith in many productions. “It is very evident that he cares a lot about it, and his positive attitude tends to rub off on the other cast members.”

Along with school performances, Smith is also heavily involved in productions outside of school. One of the summer camps Smith participated in was Interlochen, a highly competitive arts camp, as well as conventions for fellow thespians, such as the National Thespian Conference.

At the National Thespian Conference, Smith auditioned alongside many others, competing on a state and national level. Throughout each competition, he was one of extremely few to score perfectly in every round.

“This past summer, I went with him to the National Thespian Conference,” said director of theater arts Kate Morgens. “He accomplished a great amount, and was the only student selected to perform in a prestigious opening number.”

Smith also enjoys attending the annual Georgia Thespian conference, or ThesCon, where he and many other Westminster students can meet other thespians, perform, compete, and connect.

“ThesCon was a really amazing experience, but it took up a ton of my time getting ready for it,” said Smith. “The feeling of being up on that stage after I was selected was unlike anything I’ve ever felt – it was basically the biggest performing opportunity I’ve ever had.”

Smith has weighed his options for his career path and future. These past few months, he has been auditioning for some of the most competitive undergraduate musical theater programs in the country.

“Continuing music and theater in college is the plan!” said Smith. “I ultimately want to get a [Bachelor’s in Fine Arts] in musical theater and hopefully get a minor in business as well, so I can one day produce new plays, musicals, and works in general.”

Smith aspires to be a working Broadway actor and writer one day, hoping to sustain himself on acting and singing.

“Jake has so much innate ability when it comes to theater and music, just because he’s been oriented in that way,” said van der Eerden. “While it comes naturally, he also puts so much dedication into his work, and I can guarantee that will drive [his] success in his future.”

Smith’s acting, singing, and directing skills stem from his dedication, and he continually looks for ways to improve. He considers his writing to be huge accomplishment as well.

“It is extraordinary for Westminster to have someone that is not only incredibly talented and brilliant, but also to have someone that is such a good role model and mentor for younger students,” said Morgens. “I know he will take it to the next level in his career, and all I wish is for him to be a well-known, incredible musical theater performer, who is happy by doing what he loves the most.”