Meet the “Willy Wonka JR” cast: Karissa Szczechowicz looks toward career in medical field

From now until opening day on March 14, The Livingston Post will be profiling cast members of the Hartland Encore Youth Theater production of “Willy Wonka Jr.”

Karissa Szczechowicz, 13, the daughter of Michelle and Scott Szczechowicz, is an eighth-grader at Hartland Middle School at Ore Creek. She is vice president of the National Junior Honor Society and is on the school’s student council. She likes to paint and play tennis, and is looking toward a future in the medical field. She has a sister, Marlena, who is a freshman at Michigan State University. She plays Violet Beauregard in “Willy Wonka JR.”

1. How did you get involved with the production?
I have participated in Encore for more than 6 years and I was excited to be in this year production of “Willy Wonka JR.”

2. Have you been in any other theatrical productions?
I have been in many other productions with the Encore Youth Theater including: Mrs. Mayor in “Seussical,” Susan Walker in “Miracle on 34th Street,” and many other roles from other shows. I have also been in camps like “Annie,” in which I played Molly.

3. What do you most enjoy about being part of the production?
I love being in theater! I find it fun to act with my friends and make new friends from other school districts. I also love being involved in the dances and being able to make other people laugh and smile at what I do on stage.

4. Who is/are your inspiration(s)? Why?
My inspirations are my parents and my sister. I look up to them because they always encourage me to do what I love.

5. What’s your favorite part of the experience of being in the production?
I love the feeling when the show is over. It’s where I can look back at the friendships I’ve made and the amount of smiles and joy that the show brought to the audience.

6. What can audience members expect when they see the show?
Audience members can expect a wild and hilarious show filled with jokes. It definitely a show you don’t want to miss.

“Willy Wonka Jr.” will be performed at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 14, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, March 15, at the Hartland Performing Arts Center, 9525 E Highland Rd. Tickets are $6 for students and seniors, and $8 for adults, and are available at


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The Livingston Post is the only locally owned, all-digital information and opinion site in Livingston County, Mich. It was launched by award-winning journalists who were laid off from the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus by Gannett Co. Inc. in 2009.