Raglan actor lands lead role in Hamilton musical

Raglan actor Sasha Kirkwood couldn’t believe her luck when an audition as a cast member landed her one of the lead roles.

Playing the gullible cheerleader Charlotte, Sasha made her debut last week in Musik Maker’s production of 13 – The Musical, which runs at Riverlea Theatre in Hamilton until Saturday, June 1.

“Opening night was amazing. It felt great to finally perform to an audience who laughed and cheered all the way through and we became more confident as time went on. The whole team – cast, crew, and everyone behind the scenes – have put so much passion and effort into 13 and it felt awesome to finally show an audience what we have been working on for the last couple of months.”

The hilarious, coming-of-age musical about fitting in – and standing out, helped launch the career of Ariana Grande in her Broadway debut in 2008 when she played the very same role Sasha plays.

“I feel honoured to be in it (13), I didn’t expect to get the part.”

Since getting the role, the Year 12 Raglan Area School student has been travelling to Hamilton four times a week for rehearsals and says she has been loving every minute.

“I’m meeting so many people I would never have met before and they are so passionate about performing. I’m so happy to be a part of it all and we have all become like family.”

Sasha is no stranger to theatre, the 16-year-old drama student has been performing in school productions for a while and was part of a winning team from RAS to take out the Waikato Secondary School Theatresports competition in 2017.

Not just a drama buff though, she is also an accomplished athlete and was awarded Raglan Area School’s Overall Sportsperson of the Year in 2018 for topping the under-16 girls’ athletics, swimming, cross-country and making the Area Schools’ North Island team.

“Sport has helped me with the dancing and singing. It takes a lot out of you so it helps to be fit,” she says.

Theatre is Sasha’s true passion and one she hopes to make a career out of with plans to study performing arts at tertiary level.

“I hope to travel once I’ve finished my studies and find more opportunities overseas.”

Janine Jackson