All this week, the Livingston Post will be profiling cast members of the Howell High School Performing Arts Department’s production of “The Dining Room.”
Justin Perdue, 17, is a senior at Howell High School. The son of Joani and CJ Griffin, he has a brother, Jason Perdue II. He is involved in the International Thespian Society, drama, choir, and bowling. His hobbies include singing, fishing, hiking, bowling, acting, and cooking. He plans to obtain a business degree from Cleary University.
The Livingston Post asked him some questions:
How did you get involved with the production?
I started doing theater performances in my sophomore year of high school. I instantly fell in love with the performance aspect and all of the hardworking cast and crew who are involved. I came to Howell to finish up my high school academics in 2019 as a junior. I love everything theater-related, and I love putting on a show, so getting a role in this play is something that I am very passionate about.
Have you been in any other theatrical productions? If so, what roles did you play?
This will be marked as my fourth theatrical production. I have made three main stage plays and I was also in a black box, “Hallmarks Of Horror” (H.O.H.), as a narrator. My first production was “Tarzan: The Musical.” I played the small role of Tarzan in my first-ever performance. After that first play, I fell in love and auditioned and got into H.O.H. Not long after that I was given a role in the beautiful musical “The Secret Garden”; unfortunately, this production was cancelled due to the global pandemic. As well as being in productions as an actor, I also was given the opportunity to work the fly gallery in the production “Peter and the Starcatcher.”
What do you most enjoy about being part of the production?
Something that I have always loved about starting a new production is the company that follows along with it. I love meeting new people and hearing their stories. Every production that I have been in I have met someone new. I am very fortunate to have met some of my closest friends through my productions.
Who is/are your inspiration(s)? Why?
I look up to a lot of people. You can’t just base who you are on one person because everyone has flaws. However, you can be inspired by a select few. I really look up to my step-dad CJ. He and my mom recently got married and he has taken full responsibility for me. He is one of the most hardworking individuals that I have ever met. I’m proud to talk about him. CJ has been a positive role model for me since the day that we met. Along with him I will say my mother Joani. She is so hardworking and genuine. The heart that my mother has is so pure. I try to take each step as she would. And, finally, my last inspirations are historical figures. I love my country and the origin stories that some of our previous presidents have had. I look at how they lived their lives and I try to replicate that in modern day.
What’s your favorite part of the experience of being in the production?
The night before a performance I look at what all we have accomplished. And, personally, there is no greater feeling in the world than to know that you have worked so hard to make a show that all people will enjoy.
What can audience members expect when they see the show?
If and when crowds come to see the show, you will be able to experience a dining room through the ages. You can feel loss, happiness, and so many other emotions throughout this show. Although the set doesn’t change, there are definitely mood shifts throughout each one of the scenes. So, when you come to see it, you will be surprised to see how much the actors and actresses can do with so little. They will make you feel like you are in the moment with them. It will make you feel alive.
The Howell High School Performing Arts Department presents “The Dining Room” March 18-21, 2021. The production will be presented at 7 p.m. on March 18-20 and at 2 p.m. on March 21. There will also be a live-streamed performance at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 20. Seating is limited to 150 patrons per show, with assigned seats. Tickets are available online at http://bit.ly/2ZGF1HK.