Hit the Lights

Senior will continue his passion for theater


Addisson Thornsbury

Adjusting — Senior Liam Romano runs the lights in his position at the Lawrence Arts Center.

By Macy Landes, Staff Writer

After working behind the scenes for most of his high school theater career, senior Liam Romano will continue designing and building in college.

With a variety of shows and work experience under his belt, Romano plans to pursue his lifelong interest of technical theater by majoring in theater design and technical production at University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film.

In Lawrence High’s theater department, Romano has been known for creating professional-looking sets and his willingness to take on responsibility.

“He was in the first play that I directed here, ‘Our Town,’ ” theater teacher Jamie Johnson said. “He played this character that was kind of like the town drunk….And I remember in that show we were like, ‘OK, it’d be cool if this character had a belly, like if he was kind of bigger,’ and Liam was like, ‘I can do that, I can make that,’…so that was kind of my first introduction to who he was as a person, and that perfectly sets the tone for him as a human being. He’s always like, ‘Oh, I can build that. Let me figure that out, I’ll go do it,’ which has been such a huge asset.”

Senior Caitlin Treviño, student director of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” worked with Romano on the musical. He acted as technical director.

“Without Liam, there wouldn’t have been a set for the musical,” she said. “And it’s a show that could have been done without a set, just some bleachers and tables and chairs, but he made it look professional. And I think the cast benefited from having their little world in that gymnasium created.”

In addition to designing sets for high school shows, Romano is one of the youngest technicians on staff at the Lawrence Arts Center. On an average day, he could be moving heavy equipment, painting walls, assisting in preparations for outside groups using the facility or anything else that day requires of him.

“That requires a certain amount of professionalism, dedication and flexibility,” Romano’s boss, Samaria Flieg, said in an email. “Liam is such a calm presence in high-stress situations and is able to problem solve issues quickly.”

Romano first discovered his love for theater while seeing a play at the Arts Center in elementary school.

“It was about these bugs,” he said. “And I recall at the very end, they brought up all the curtains and everything as we were leaving. And I turned around and I saw all the stuff backstage and I was like, ‘This is crazy, what? There’s like 40 people I didn’t see, what? Magicians. Yeah, get me involved.’ ”

Romano committed to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln because he felt it provides him with the most on-the-job experience and updated technology.

“I’ve been in those situations before where I haven’t used certain things, like equipment or tools because I didn’t know how,” Romano said. “Getting that knowledge in college will definitely help.”

Johnson believes his work ethic and creativity are what set him apart from others in his field.

“He just has this way of seeing the world that’s just a little bit different,” Johnson said. “And I think that being able to have that kind of skewed view, in a positive way, gives him that edge creatively because he’s not afraid to do something that’s a little different.”