Gaby Moseley-From Manning the Spotlight to Finding Her Place in it

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TOWAMENCIN-On a Saturday night in May, the North Penn High School auditorium is full of over 1600 people. The lights are out and the pit orchestra is beginning to softly play the Mamma Mia! Overture. The thought of stepping out on that stage and belting ABBA tunes in front of those 1600 people would make most of us shudder, but for North Penn Senior Gaby Moseley, she makes it work.   

”I’ll make it work is kind of my motto through life now,” Moseley said.

Moseley played Rosie in NPHS Theatre’s 2019 production of Mamma Mia!, alongside alumni Molly Hofstaedter and Maddy Burk, who played Donna and Tanya, respectively.

“Playing Rosie was awesome. It was so cool to finally act with two of the girls that I really looked up to. Their talent and leadership…I was envious of how they were able to lead an entire group. They inspired me to continue and be better-a better actress, singer, and upper classman,” Moseley added.

Moseley took away leadership skills she learned from Hofstaedter and Burk, and used them in this fall’s production of Once Upon A Time, which were especially useful due to the above average number of sophomores involved in the play.

I think my personality eased [sophomores new to the theater program] in to high school. Even though theater is not always a very serious topic, you have to have some respect for yourself.”

— Gaby Moseley

“I think my personality eased [sophomores new to the theater program] in to high school. Even though theater is not always a very serious topic, you have to have some respect for yourself.Even if you don’t particularly like [a fellow cast member], the thing is you have to have respect for them, you have to listen to them,” Moseley said.

This past summer, Moseley, along with the rest of the company of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, traveled to the International Thespian Conference at the University at Nebraska-Lincoln.

“It was really fun! The bus ride was not…Learning that there is a vending machine coffee maker, it really fulfilled my coffee addiction,” Moseley joked.

During the conference, members of Thespian Troupe #5464 attended a number of  different workshops, where professionals helped them hone their skills in accents, acting, or dancing, to name a few.

“So me and Keenan [Washington] were late for a workshop about auditioning, with the University of Nebraska’s Mrs. Wall. She lead us through these exercises to help us, and she kept giving tips like if you want a chair during an audition, it can inhibit your performance. You see the chair as a crutch. She gave us pointers like don’t be nervous, say hello when you get into the room, talk to your accompanist, be an actual human person, just be you. She said to pick a point above the judges’ heads and fully express yourself. Also, she lead us through some accents and warm ups…so I can do that now,” Moseley added.

Moseley’s very first North Penn show was 11 years ago, when she was in just first grade.

“My very first show was in 1st grade…my mom took me here and I did the summer show, Cinderella, and I played a mouse. It was kind of wild,” expressed Moseley.

Since then, Moseley has been involved in Hairspray, Shrek, and The Addams Family at Penndale, and 1776, Fiddler on the Roof, Midsummer, Mamma Mia, and Once Upon A Time here at the high school, but she wasn’t always in the spotlight.

In fact, she started out by spinning it.

“I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be on spotlight or sound, but they were like…can you do lights?! I was like, I don’t know how to do that, but ok,” Moseley joked. 

As much as she enjoyed getting to see Hairspray from the comfort of the balcony, Moseley knew that she wanted to be down on that stage.

I felt so sad being up there…it was so cool to watch, but I so badly wanted to be down there and dance with everyone and sing.”

— Gaby Moseley

“I felt so sad being up there…it was so cool to watch, but I so badly wanted to be down there and dance with everyone and sing,” Moseley remembered.

So, in her eighth grade year, Moseley auditioned for Penndale’s production of Shrek and got cast.

“I am most proud of being a Duloc dancer, and I was also a Ninja Turtle,” Moseley said.

When her ninth grade year came along, Moseley really wanted to get a lead role in The Addams Family to make her last Penndale show especially memorable.

“I remember I really wanted to get a lead. I wanted to be Alice. I thought that I could be Alice because I thought I had the range; someone said I sounded like a soprano, which is a lie. So I went out for it, and midway through the audition process they said, “we have some sheet music, can you sing for Morticia instead?” I don’t know how to sight read, so that was a leap in the dark and it was so cool,” Moseley expressed.

It is a bit of a full circle life moment that Moseley’s last North Penn High School Theatre production will be Shrek, since that very same show gave her her start on North Penn’s stages(not counting 1st grade’s Cinderella).

“I would like to be a lead in Shrek. I think that would be really cool! I wouldn’t go for like Fiona, but I think being Dragon would be awesome and I don’t know how to tap…but I could always learn,” Moseley said.

The Moseley legacy will continue on the NPHS stage, as Gaby’s younger sister, sophomore Katrina Moseley, just participated in her first high school production, Once Upon A Time.

“I told my sister Katrina that she should go out for [Once Upon A Time auditions], because this school always pushes its students to go out and do something and be involved, and it’s so important to be a part of something,” Moseley added.

With her final North Penn show on the horizon, Moseley realizes how much she has gotten out of the theater program and how she has changed so much since she was behind that Penndale spotlight. 

“A lot has changed, like the way I look at theater has changed. I used to think of it as a hobby, and like you can do more than one thing in life, but not right now. Now I think that you can either choose a sport or a humanity.

I think a lot more about putting my all into a character, into a performance, not like it was lessened back then, but I didn’t think it was something necessary.”

— Gaby Moseley

“I think a lot more about putting my all into a character, into a performance, not like it was lessened back then, but I didn’t think it was something necessary,” Moseley reflected.

Moseley plans to major in Musical Theater in college, hopefully at Pace University or Ithaca College. For the rest of what her future endeavors may be, Moseley says it best herself. 

“Theater is absolutely what I want to do with the rest of my life!”