Justin Shondeck: A Journey Through the Stars


Auden Yurman, Staff Writer

Theater is a culture that extends through the ages and all over the world. Anyone can be involved; men, women, adults, children, high schoolers. For some, like senior Justin Shondeck, theater might be a part of their entire lives. “I started [theater] when I was 10 years old, and it was because I hadn’t really found my niche,” said Shondeck. “When I started doing theater I realized that was where my life was headed.” As for the future, he plans to stick to his path. “I am currently applying to study theater as a major in college. I can’t really see myself doing anything else, and I’d also like to use theater as a platform for education and societal change.”

Shondeck recently starred as the title character in State High’s fall play, Peter and the Starcatcher, a prequel story to Peter Pan. It was Shondeck’s 7th show with State High, but it was still special to him. “I feel like we all have those moments in our lives where we feel like we don’t have anyone, and we slowly learn to realize that in fact we have a family,” said Shondeck.  “I used to switch schools a lot, and when I moved I didn’t have a lot of close friends, and in middle school I stayed in a school district and I started making a lot of really close friends. I found a family.”

Starring alongside Shondeck were two other State High Thespian regulars, seniors Eli Yurman and Devon Tighe. “The two boys in the show that I work with the most happen to be two of my best friends. We’ve been friends for years,” said Shondeck about his castmates. “And it’s been great because working with other people who, for a lot of them it’s their first show, it’s their first time not being in the chorus, it’s their first time being a lead, and so for them it’s great to spend more time with them and get to build more friendships.”

In addition to the cast, the show itself means a lot to Shondeck. He said, “I love this show. What I like about it is that it’s perfect for a high school, in my opinion, because it’s stuff that we all have to deal with in life, and because of that I think we all have more of a grasp on what we’re saying and what we’re doing and so I think that makes it really good.” Peter and the Starcatcher deals with the idea of growing up, the hardship that comes, and the struggle of moving on. It’s an idea that resonates with everyone, because everyone grows up sometime.

Shondeck will continue theater because of his love for the art and the truth it shares with the world. His favorite part of Peter and the Starcatcher was the line “We change, we grow up, nothing is forever, that’s the rule, and so our story begins.” It’s the beginning of the show and the main idea throughout. “I enjoy it because it’s so true. That nothing is forever, and while that does give a message of things ending, in fact it means that there’s a beginning for new things,” said Shondeck.