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Kennedy Torch

The Student News Source Of Kennedy High School

Kennedy Torch

The Student News Source Of Kennedy High School

Kennedy Torch

Introducing the Anxiety Project

Rachel+Deans+The+Anxiety+Project+debuts+in+Iowa+as+the+alum+returns+to+her+hometown.
Lara Secl
Rachel Dean’s “The Anxiety Project” debuts in Iowa as the alum returns to her hometown.

Debuting in 2016, The Anxiety Project is a musical theater performance. The show depicts situations surrounding human suffering and mental health through the eyes of Avery, a psychology student attempting to complete her thesis. Avery’s thesis drives her to become more involved in the lives of those affected by mental illness.

The project started when Kennedy alumnus and composer Rachel Dean met writer David Brush in 2013.

“The rest is history,” said Dean. “We asked for readers to anonymously send in their stories of struggles and triumphs in living with mental illness and we would turn them into scenes and song.”

Being a former Kennedy student, Dean grew to realize many of her close friends had suffered from mental illnesses.

“I had no idea how to sit with them through that. I thought about those people often while writing the show,” Dean said. “I hoped that what I was learning from listening to these strangers and trying to bring their stories to life would help me be there for my loved ones better in the future.”

The Anxiety Project will open at Kennedy on Oct. 5. Directed by Steven Tolly and Nicolas Hayes, many students have rehearsed to bring this story to the stage and deal delicately with the heavy nature of the topics.

“Directing this show has been difficult. I do not think we were ready for the mentally taxing nature of the scenes,” Tolly said. “The music and lyrics are powerful and for most of us remind us of someone we know who struggles with a mental illness.”

Cast members echo Tolly’s thought as they strive to present a show that sends a message.

“There’s a sense of responsibility that comes with being in a show that has to deal with such sensitive subjects,” said Cael Cummins, the actor who plays the role of Avery. “Wanting to portray all of the issues properly can be tricky when you yourself haven’t had to deal with certain situations… If there’s one thing I want audiences to understand from the show, it’s that you are not alone.”

Kennedy’s showings of The Anxiety Project will be on Oct. 5-7 and 12-13 in the Kennedy High School Black Box Theatre at 7:00 p.m.

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Joshua Barker, Writer

Hello there! I’m Joshua Barker, an aspiring student at Kennedy High School and a future attendee of Coe College. I also love writing, research and debate which works perfectly with my journalistic work. Enjoy your time here visiting Torch!

Lara Secl, Designer
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    LindsayOct 12, 2023 at 5:30 pm

    Can’t wait to see this tonight! It sounds amazing!!

    Reply