Leading Man Ayden Herreid on Joseph

Mia Pandža, Editor-in-Chief

The Herreid name has long reigned on the Orchard Park High School stage. From his aunt to his sisters, Ayden Herreid is in good company as he approaches becoming a theater alumni. This year, the Orchard Park Drama Club is proud to present Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Herreid plays Joseph, so I decided to talk to him about his upcoming lead debut and what to look forward to for the show. 


How long have you been acting?

I have been acting since I was 5, and I’m now 17 so… 12 years!


What’s your history with acting at Orchard Park?

This is my 6th high school musical, because I was in the musicals before I got to high school. I was in  Les Mis in 4th grade; I was in The Addams Family in 6th grade, so I am a 6 year senior; I think the first in history. That is the extent of my high school acting.


How did COVID-19 affect you in regards to performing?

It kinda slowed down, because all the professional shows got shut down, so I didn’t have anything to do. I had to stay put and look forward to the next high school show, which was actually the first show I did after the whole COVID thing. Sister Act got closed; it got shut down opening night. Like 3 hours before opening night it got canceled. So Theory of Relativity was the first show I did. I got into video making to like… itch my acting nerve (laughs). To keep it in my system, to keep the art, to keep it going.


Tell us about the musical this year and your role.

The musical this year is obviously Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and I am Joseph,  so I have the name of the show! So that’s pretty cool. It’s my senior year, so I’ve had to take a big step up to help lead everyone else, or attempt to at least. The thing that’s really cool about this show is that we have two new age groups that have joined us. Freshmen didn’t do the musical last year, because they weren’t allowed to because of the numbers and restrictions and everything. So we have the freshmen and sophomores who have never done a high school musical, so that’s a pretty cool experience, because we have a bunch of new talent that we didn’t know of. It’s really cool, they have to be taught in the right way, they have to be nurtured in the right way (laughs). They kind of know the ropes now, but not until they get to that Sunday show, they won’t know the feeling of everything. We’ll get through this, and I think it’ll be really good.


What should people look forward to?

People should look forward to just how funny this show is and how talented the people are in it. With all the talent we have, we can make this a really fun show, so they should look forward to the humor in it. It’s an old fashioned show; it’s an oldie but a goodie. It’s one of the most famous shows of all time. There’s just a lot of really good songs, good harmonies. They should look forward to the songs, the humor, and the talent we have acting in it. 


How has preparing for the shows been?

Well, I haven’t drank milk in 3 weeks so… (laughs). I kinda miss it but… besides that it’s been a lot of fun. We’ve rehearsed everyday until 6 since winter break. Today’s the first day we haven’t rehearsed… But we’ve been hitting the grindstone pretty hard, and we’ve put a lot of effort into it. Hundreds of hours. For me, I’ve been looking forward to this. It’s a challenge. This is like my first leading-man role in a show, so that’s been pretty exciting. 


What’s your favorite part of the process?

My favorite part of the process is when everything finally comes together. You can tell when you hit a corner because there’s going to be that one rehearsal where you’re going to be like ‘Oh my gosh, we actually have a show, we have a show.’ That’s what our director said to us, when you turn that corner, you can feel like a change in the air. You can feel it, a change in the performance and everyone. During tech week, everyone starts getting excited in school, and you can feel the energy around the cast. Thursday night is going to be… we’re all going to be shaking in school. We’re so excited. 


Is there a song that stays stuck in your head all day?

Yes! But it’s not my own song. It’s the pharoh’s song. It’s like this Elvis-y interpretation, like the pharaoh is supposed to be Elvis, that’s the joke. But that’s the song that’s stuck in my head all of the time. It’s just a really fun song, and I like it. 


I heard there’s quick changes, how has that been?

We’ve actually handled it pretty well, I would say. Personally, I’m not too bad at quick changes because my freshman year, when we did 42nd Street, I had tons and tons of them. I got some experience practicing that, doing them. I feel like everyone who was in 42nd Street is pretty good at them. We’ve taught people how to (snapping) quickly, quickly, stuff on and off, on and off. That’s definitely part of it, but I think we can all handle it. 


How do you feel about this being your last show at OP?

Oh, that’s a tough one. My “family name,” quote unquote, we have a rich “history,” quote unquote, of the musicals at Orchard Park. It started with my aunt, Kimberly, back when they did Finian’s Rainbow or something; she was the lead then. It comes all the way to me, and with my three sisters, Roxanna Herreid, Miranda Herreid, and Phoebe Herreid, all having starred in their own shows. It’s finally my turn to finish it up, last Herreid on the Orchard Park stage, so I’m very excited. It’s kinda sad, but I’m not gonna think about that until it’s all over. Just trying to enjoy myself and the process with this live show.


Do you have a final message for the people?

Please come watch the show! We’ve got some really talented kids. We have a really good quality show in my opinion. Come watch it, you’ll be surprised. You might find out something about yourself, like you actually like theater! This is a fun high school show, and I can’t wait. It’s gonna be a lot of fun. And people should go see it!


You can come see Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat this weekend, March 17-19 at 7 pm and on March 19 & 20 at 2pm. You can call (716) 209-6299 to purchase tickets or you can buy them at the high school on weekdays from 10 am-2 pm. It’s $12 for orchestra, $10 for balcony, and half price for senior citizens.