Logan Teder Finds Confidence in Theatre

Zach Green, Creative Director

As he runs out for his curtain call, Logan Teder peers beyond the blinding stage lights to search for his mom in the crowd. She is cheering from her seat a few rows from the lip of the stage, as close as she can sit without embarrassing her son. He tips his brown Willy Wonka top hat to her and takes his very first bow.

Engrossed in the elation of his eighth grade musical, Teder has no idea that four years later, he might be taking his very last bow. He couldn’t have fathomed how theater would become an integral part of his identity, let alone performing in Charleston Stage’s Helium as a mainstage actor.

Years before working at the historic Dock Street Theater, Teder was working on computers in his bedroom. His friend group consisted of people with whom he played video games after school. He had struggled for years to emotionally adjust after his family had moved down to Mount Pleasant from New Jersey. He tried playing football, basketball and baseball, and struck out in each.

When Cario Middle School announced their upcoming production of Willy Wonka, Jr., Meghan Teder, his mom, insisted that he audition with his little sister, Camryn.

“I would not have expected anything much of it because, up until that point, he had never acted before. He had never sung before. I never even heard him sing around the house,” Mrs. Teder said.

It came as a shock when it was announced he would be making his foray into theater playing the title role of the cantankerous chocolatier.

“That was pretty crazy because I didn’t think I was any good,” he said. “I had just expected to be doing, like, an ensemble role.”

As it turns out, this opportunity served as a turning point for Teder in more ways than one. This primordial performance process paved a path for his long overdue emotional adjustment.

“It gave him confidence. It was almost like, overnight, he decided ‘you know what? I’m gonna kick butt in academics.’ He just turned it on… and totally came into himself in eighth grade, and it started with ‘Willy Wonka,’” Mrs. Teder said.

Teder’s newfound academic aptitude earned him an invitation to Academic Magnet High School. However, he opted instead to come to Wando High School for the opportunity to participate in the band program while pursuing rigorous classes in parallel.

Through Charleston Stage’s TheatreWings program, Teder discovered an exciting intersection of his passions for computer science and acting: theater tech. The stage manager at Dock Street Theater, DJ Edwards, shepherded him through the inner workings of live theater, and provided him with a new appreciation for its many different components.

“The shows impacted me as much as I was helpful to them. There might not be a place where only one person can do the job, but the fact that I was given the chance to be helpful — even if I was in an expendable role, like pressing spacebar on a laptop when I was told — there’s still enjoyment and fulfillment in that,” Teder said.

Meanwhile, Teder sustained his successful scholastic streak, taking as many engineering and physics courses as his packed schedule would allow. His biggest fear at the time was that he would be consumed by Wando’s myriad opportunities and find himself in senior year with classes that he wish he had taken.

Outside of academia, he started performing in Wando’s fall plays and honing in on his acting craft in Drama 3 Honors. What many may see as an insurmountable workload came easily to Teder.

“I’ve never even seen him walking around the house studying lines. He just does it. Academically, I don’t see him staying up all night studying. It just seems like he’s that type of person,” Mrs. Teder said.

In the fall of his junior year, Teder landed his first paid theater gig as both an assistant stage manager and background actor in Charleston Stage’s “Dracula: King of Vampires.”

“It’s very fulfilling to be able to create a product that people enjoy and pay for… I do [these shows] because I know that what I’m doing is reaching people instead of being in my own little school bubble. I’m getting out and I’m doing things in my community and interacting with other people in ways that would not have been possible if it weren’t for theater,” Teder said.

Through the fog of senior year’s college admissions mania, Charleston Stage provided Teder with a guiding light: a lead role in their production of Helium.

“The name of the institution at the top of your degree, at the end, is just another piece of abstract ink jet-printed onto thick paper that you’re gonna mount on your wall that’s gonna accumulate dust over decades… For me, as I’ve learned through acting, community and cooperation are important and you wanna be with people who think like you,” Teder said.

His future is certainly bright in the field of engineering. Does this make Helium his final bow?

“Actors don’t say goodbye, they say ‘‘till next time.’ I guess it’s like that. I’m not gonna say I’m done. I’m leaving. I’m going hundreds of miles away to New York [to attend Columbia University], but I’m not gonna say I’m done because it’s not something that revolves around me. The important thing is that I was a part of that bigger goal,” Teder said.