Stepping Out

Young actor reaches milestone with 50th PYT performance


Lyn Flaim Healy/Spotlight Moments Photography
Los Altos resident Braden Koch’s 10 years with Peninsula Youth Theatre includes performing “The Cat in the Hat.”

Local actor Braden Koch is preparing for his 50th and final performance with Peninsula Youth Theatre.

The Los Altos High senior, who began acting at age 8, is set to play the Pirate King in the Mountain View theater company’s CenterStage production of “The Pirates of Penzance,” scheduled to run May 11-19 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St.

“‘It’s my last hurrah with PYT,” Koch said. “I’ve done so many things with them.”

Koch’s first encounter with acting was at a PYT camp the summer before second grade. He played March Hare in a short production of “Alice in Wonderland.”

“My first production of actual substance, that wasn’t at camp, was also with PYT but one of their main-stage musicals,” he said. “It was a production of ‘Aladdin.’ I was the executioner, and that was my first experience.”

Koch initially started acting because his two older siblings did and he grew up watching them on stage.

“When I started doing it, I did fall in love,” Koch said. “Before theater, I was very shy and timid. I didn’t have a lot of self-confidence. But through theater, and throughout these years of doing it, I’m more self-confident and my public speaking is so much better than it was when I was younger.”

Aside from acting, Koch has also worked behind the scenes as a stage manager, videographer, director and media designer. In February, he served as student director for a production of “The Good Doctor” at the city of Mountain View’s one-act play festival.

“I thought it was an interesting opportunity,” he said. “I had no directing credits whatsoever. … It was really interesting to figure out that whole directing process, because I’ve never been on that side of the table before.”

Koch was also the media designer for Sunnyvale Community Players’ recent production of “Bye Bye Birdie.”

“More recently, productions are now dealing with actual videos on stage, like projections and things like that,” he said. “They asked me to help out with that. There’s a little video they played during the overture and I made that.”

Final act

Koch, 18, is an active member of Los Altos High School’s Broken Box Theatre Company as well. In late February, he performed in the school’s rendition of “Kiss the Girls and Make Them Cry.”

Later this month, Koch will be featured in Broken Box’s spring comedy, “The Iliad, the Odyssey and All of Greek Mythology in 99 Minutes or Less.”

Koch said he hopes to keep theater in his life after high school but plans to enter college as a communications major.

“I’ve been taking a film analysis class, new media literacy, and both of those are very much communications based; I find that really interesting,” he said. “Also, thinking even further down the line, I hope to have a job that interacts with people. Theater has fed that skill to me. I would like to use it to my advantage.”

But first, Koch has a few more bows to take.

“I’m very happy that ‘The Pirates of Penzance’ is in this time slot so I could do it before I go off to college,” he said. “It’s going to be a challenge for me, but I’m really happy about that because I know I’ll be going off with a bang.”

For performance times, advance tickets ($12-$24) and more information, visit pytnet.org.

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