Taylor Wiebers

Taylor Wiebers is this week's Meet Your Neighbor.

Taylor Wiebers, 18, of Clinton, loves the energy and fun she receives from musicals, from combining her singing and dancing skills with acting.

Taylor has always enjoyed musicals. She fondly remembers her grandmother taking her to a variety of theater performances when she was a child.

“I’ve been interested in theater for as long as I can remember,” Taylor said.

Taylor has participated in Clinton Area Showboat Theatre productions since she was 9. Now she is in Showboat’s current production, “Bye Bye Birdie,” as Kim MacAfee, one of the leading roles.

Taylor has danced with Sheryl’s Dance Academy since she was 4 and has been singing since she joined the middle school choir. When she was 9, she was Marta in Showboat’s production of “The Sound of Music.” Since then, she has continued in theater and has participated in some Quad City Music Guild productions. She was one of the children in the Christmas show “Nun Crackers” and Sandy in “Grease.”

“I think it’s just an environment where you can be yourself and not have to worry about people judging you,” Taylor said. “The people in theater are very open to expressing who you really are.”

Taylor also enjoys playing different characters in shows. She said theater allows her to go through different time periods and fashion eras.

After graduating from Clinton High School this spring, Taylor will attend Drake University, studying musical theater. After finishing her education, she hopes to tour with different productions. She has never travelled much and said she is looking forward to the adventure of touring nationally or internationally with a show. She added that she feels her experience with the Showboat has helped prepare her for her future goals.

For the past few years, Taylor has been an intern at the Showboat. This has allowed her to learn about auditioning, stage presence and movement. She said it allowed her to work with professionals who are now on Broadway.

“The education program here is something that, I think we take for granted a lot of the time, because we think it’s so regular to have theaters that offer this,” Taylor said. “But, it’s really not. I’ve never been to a theater that offers such a good education program for the youth in town.”

Taylor is excited to be in “Bye Bye Birdie” as Kim MacAfee. With all the additional stress and responsibilities of preparing for college in the fall, Taylor contemplated not auditioning this year. She said she is now glad she did. She enjoys Kim’s character and really enjoys the song “A Lot of Livin’ to Do.” She described it as a high-energy song about teenagers growing up and wanting to be adults.

“And I think that’s Kim’s struggle throughout the whole show is becoming a woman and making decisions that as a 14-year-old you never have to make, but when you turn 15, you know, your whole world changes,” Taylor said.