by Bruce Strand, Arts editor
Growing up, Alexa Gerber had little parts in plays for church and English class, like most kids.
Then the Genie got out of the bottle, so to speak, when she was 11.
“I got to play Genie in ‘Aladdin.’ It was a one-week thing, a community theatre play,” said Gerber. “That was my first big role and it was so much fun.”
Thereafter, the Rogers 2014 honor graduate was smitten with the stage. She made acting a big part of her high school years and became a pillar of the RHS theatre group while also sparkling in vocal music.
In Gerber’s biggest role, Narrator in “Our Town” last November, she displayed the clarity, maturity and understated passion needed for a complex story to unfold smoothly. Also in her senior year, she played a nun in the one-act play “Booby Trap” about a doomed soldier, and had a fun role as a contestant in the “The 25th Anniversary Putnam County Spelling Bee.”
Hope Murray, who directed spring plays the last two years, lauded Gerber’s contributions.
“Aside from being an extremely talented actress, and having good instincts in both acting and music, Alexa was the hardest-working person in the department,” said Murray. “She was always on time and always ready to help out. Whenever she did an audition, it was a given that she would get the part, because you knew you could always rely on her.”
Gerber, who posted a 4.06 GPA, will attend Minnesota State-Moorhead, majoring in film production and English.
“I don’t know yet exactly what I want to do,” she said, “except somehow being involved with movies.”
Murray added, “I know she wants to go to film school, but I hope she does not abandon her acting pursuits.”
Gerber capped her senior year on stage in RHS’s spring band/choir concert at Zabee Theatre in Elk River, in which she was one of the soloists, singing “You Don’t Know Me.” An alto, she was one of three seniors receiving a choral award.
Along with choir through high school, she was in Eileen Anderson’s Command Performance Choir during junior high.
Gerber’s four-year career in RHS theatre also included the roles of Lucy in “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown;” flower shop owner Mrs. Mushnick in “Little Shop of Horrors;” Plato, devoted friend of the troubled teen in “Rebel Without a Cause;” and one of the disastrous dates in the one-act comedy “Check, Please.”
Gerber had been in studio dance (tap and ballet) for nine years but gave that up to devote more time to theatre.
“I think dance helped me (in theater),” she reflects, “because acting is very physical and it made more more confident and prepared.”
Her own favorites include the actress Jennifer Lawrence and the singer Lorde, and “movies that make you both laugh and cry” such as “Silver Linings Playbook” and the current “The Fault in Our Stars.” Maybe she’ll help make some of those herself someday.