Kristen Misthopoulos has converted a supporting role in the Darien High School production of "Romeo and Juliet" into an opening with the Apprentice Company of Shakespeare on the Sound.

Her appearance as Juliet's unnamed nurse drew accolades from Shakespeare on the Sound's education director, Emily Bryan, who described the aspiring actress as "dynamic, fresh and funny." That led to an audition and an appointment to an apprentice company of 14 students with theatrical ambitions that run across the spectrum of performing, playwriting, directing, costume and set design, administration, marketing and public relations.

Misthopoulos is headed for Syracuse University in the fall in pursuit of a bachelor's degree in fine arts. She says acting's appeal is that "storytelling is the oldest form of entertaining people and it remains adaptable to today's evolving technology."

She is one of two graduating Darien high schoolers to qualify for apprenticing with Norwalk-based Shakespeare on the Sound, in rehearsal for "The Two Gentlemen of Verona" in Pinkney Park June 12 to 29, the 19th outdoor season.

Will Steinthal is the other Darien student. Like Kirsten, he is 18. His interest is back-stage production and sound.

One assignment for the apprentice class is to create a children's pre-show of "The Two Gentlemen of Verona" in Pinkney Park an hour before the 7:30 p.m. nightly curtain, designed for youngsters 4 to 12.

The adaptation runs about 20 minutes, featuring an all-female cast, which means actresses appear in the roles of the male characters, reversing the practice of Elizabethan times, when adolescent boys played the female characters.

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