WESLEY CHAPEL — Mrudula Peddiniti, 18, has spent more than a few moments performing in front of an audience, as an accomplished pianist, a singer in middle and high school choruses and an ensemble actor in theatrical productions of Guys and Dolls and Bye Bye Birdie held at Wiregrass Ranch High School.
In 2012 she earned a superior rating for her performance of On My Own from Les Miserables at the District 14 Thespian Festival.
This year the standout AP art student decided to combine her theatrical knowledge with her flair for visual arts by competing in the tech category, putting her own spin on costume designs for the musical South Pacific for district competition.
"There's a lot of Hawaiian stuff going on," Mrudula said of the designs she drew and accentuated with fabric swatches and dabs of textured paint. "I kind of went overboard."
That and an impressive oral presentation paid off when Mrudula came away with the Critics' Choice award in the tech category at the 2014 district thespian festival held in December at Kathleen High School in Lakeland.
"I skipped the note cards and went off script," Mrudula said. "It worked out. I got a lot of positive feedback."
It was the third year in a row that Wiregrass Ranch High School thespians took the Critics' Choice prize for the tech category, Wiregrass drama teacher Margaret Peacock said.
"It's incredible," she said. "The thing about tech is that I can take no credit at all. This is completely them."
The best thing about the tech award, Peacock said, "is that it acknowledges students that want to be a part of a production, but don't necessarily want to be on stage."
As with past winners, Mrudula will represent District 14 at the state thespian festival in March. Her designs will be showcased along with those of winners from other districts in a video montage shown during opening ceremonies.
In the meantime Mrudula, who is in her senior year, will be tweaking a few things for her presentation at the state festival while figuring out where to attend college. She has applied to five schools, including Harvard University, but most likely will settle on a school with strong graphic and performing arts programs.
"The arts is one of my greatest passions," she said. "I've always loved the arts."
Michele Miller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.