William Shakespeare once wrote, “We know what we are, but we know not what we may be.” But the Bard might have something to chew on, and no less from a self-admitted “huge Shakespeare nerd.” Angela Wertner, MFS’s new theater director, knows who she is, where she’s been, and where she’s going.
A native of Havertown, Pennsylvania, and a graduate of DeSales University in Allentown, Wertner is a “PA girl,” but she is hardly foreign to the Moorestown area. She recalls with some regret that she has not yet seen as much of the world as she would like to—her only trip outside of the U.S. was on her honeymoon to the Dominican Republic, and her future dream destination is Italy due to her Italian heritage. But she is a practical globetrotter when it comes to theater, with favorite works ranging from Hairspray to Godspell to Shakespeare and everything in between.
For her MFS directorial debut, Wertner wanted to choose a play with a range of different roles. “Being new to a school, I would like to have that opportunity to get to know everyone…I really wanted a chance to get to know everyone and allow everyone to shine.” She picked Anything Goes, an ensemble piece with a number of interesting parts and lively dance numbers, one of her specialties. It has personal significance for her as well: as a high school freshman she played the role of Charity in her school’s production of Anything Goes. The role is played this year by freshman Mariana Goldlust, whom Wertner “sees a lot of herself in.”
Although not all students participate in theater, Wertner believes that engaging with the subject is important for everyone. “Through any kind of art we can express ourselves, we can let loose. . . Sometimes my 5th and 6th grade classes let loose a bit too much, but when it’s structured, creativity is very important.”
Wertner’s interests stretch far beyond the theater. She has broad musical interests, with favorites including Billy Joel, Paul McCartney, and OneRepublic. She is also an unabashed theme park enthusiast, especially Hershey Park, near her hometown, and Disney World. Wherever she goes, her energy and enthusiasm follows. During her interview with WordsWorth, she sat down excitedly, coffee cup quivering in her hand, and did not stop talking until our questions were exhausted. Such enthusiasm is a precious gift for any teacher, and hopefully a model some of MFS’s more stressed and exhausted students can look up to.