A little girl with a big voice pursues even bigger dreams
By SOPHIE OJDANIC
SPCHS Student Journalist
Out of a sea of students, she was called to the stage at the Rawlings Elementary Christmas Festival, only 4 years old. Sara Risk, a kindergartener at that time, was the girl heading for the stage. The small girl hopped onto the stage and began to sing “Silent Night.” It was the first time her parents had ever heard her sing.
“We were surprised, because she usually was so shy,” Risk’s mother, Tammi Risk said. “It was the first time we ever heard her sing… it was like a little girl with a big voice.”
Risk, now a sophomore at St. Petersburg Collegiate High School, has been singing since.
That little Christmas festival at Rawlings Elementary was the moment Risk realized she was sure she wanted to pursue a career on Broadway. She has been singing and dancing for as long as she can remember, and started acting in seventh-grade. “I want to be a triple threat,” she said. Risk even co-wrote a play titled “Go with the Flow” with fellow student Allie Eison in her eighth-grade year at Azalea Middle.
Risk says musical theatre was the right choice for her. “I just really love it, and if you really love something, you should definitely pursue it,” she said.
And pursue it she did.
So far, Risk has had lead role in a play she co-wrote, as well as a minor role in Boca Ciega High’s production of “Urine Town.” Recently, she got the lead role of Little Red Riding Hood in Boca Ciega High’s production of “Into the Woods,” which hits the stage on Nov. 10-12 at Boca Ciega.
Risk cites getting the role of Little Red as one of her greatest moments in musical theater. “It was a dream come true,” she said. “Into the Woods doesn’t have a lot of characters, so it was an honor to get a lead.” Risk got the lead role without even attending the school. She has always wanted to be Little Red. “I mean, I embody her,” she said.
Risk enjoys the character so much that she wants to be able to play her in a Broadway version of “Into the Woods.” Risk also hopes to work on musicals like “Les Miserables” and “The Crucible.” Most of all, she wants to be cast as Christine in “Phantom of the Opera.”
“’Phantom of the Opera’ is my all-time favorite [musical],” Risk said. “I’ve always dreamed of playing Christine. I definitely love the uniqueness of the play, and I fell in love with Christine instantly. I just knew I wanted to play her.”
And according to some of her biggest supporters, she could do it.
“She is very ambitious, but she can do anything she sets her mind to,” said Sabrina Eversole, a close friend of Risk’s.
Both Eversole and Risk’s parents, Tammi and James Risk, describe her as driven, kind, and intelligent.
“I have faith in her,” her father said.
“She has a drive to fulfill her dreams,” her mother added.