MONROE — It was tech week, the demanding final stint of preparation before the show’s opening night, and Aly Gutierrez often remained at rehearsals in Seattle until after 11 p.m.
Then it was home to study and sleep, up by 5:30 a.m. and off to class for tests.
Finals at school overlapped with tech week on stage.
Gutierrez, 18, has balanced rigorous classes with musical theater, undaunted by long days and late nights. She’s set to graduate from Monroe High School June 9.
She couldn’t be in “Guys and Dolls” earlier this year at her school because she was busy with Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre production of “Mamma Mia!” She was in the ensemble.
It was her second time performing in a professional show. She also played Molly Aster in “Peter and the Starcatcher” with ArtsWest.
Gutierrez grew up in a musical family. Her dad is in a band and her mom is a jazz singer. Gutierrez is the sixth youngest of eight siblings and step-siblings.
She played saxophone in middle school. Then the choir teacher heard her sing and urged her to join.
She’s been in choir for six years, including the select women’s ensemble at Cascade High School and the jazz choir at Monroe High. Gutierrez moved from Everett to Monroe her junior year.
She got into musical theater after seeing a friend perform with Village Theatre KidStage. Her first real role was in the ensemble of “Shrek the Musical.” She played the baby angel in “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,” but doesn’t count it, seeing as she was an infant.
Other credits include Belle in “Beauty and the Beast” and Wednesday Addams in “The Addams Family.” She was nominated for a 5th Avenue award for her portrayal of Jo March in the Monroe High production of “Little Women.”
Gutierrez hasn’t let her grades slip while performing. She keeps As and Bs. Her course load includes advanced classes in literature and government.
In her downtime, she loves to hike. Mount Pilchuck is one of her favorite destinations.
“It helps keep in balance with the craziness of school and social life and theater,” she said.
Gutierrez plans to attend Edmonds Community College, but hasn’t settled on a career. She figures she’ll need a steady job to support her passion for performing arts.
“It’s a major game of prioritization,” Gutierrez said. “It’s figuring out what’s important to you as a person and not how others perceive you. It’s finding what’s fulfilling, not what’s showy.”
Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; firstname.lastname@example.org