Terrace grads star in Washington State Lottery commercial

Mountlake Terrace High School graduates Miranda Antoinette (left) and Matty Sythandone play timid karaoke performers who are surprised with a rockstar welcome from adoring fans in a Washington State Lottery TV commercial running statewide.

The odds for winning the top prize in the Washington State Lottery’s Lotto drawings is 1 in 6.99 million, a possibility that some say is greatly improbable. The odds of seeing two Mountlake Terrace High School graduates appear together in a television commercial about that same state lottery may seem just as far-fetched. But those odds, remarkably, have been beaten.

Terrace grads Miranda Antoinette (class of 2012) and Matty Sythandone (class of 2015) have hit the jackpot and can be seen singing and dancing their way through a new state lottery TV ad entitled “Go Full You – Rockstar” currently running on television stations throughout the state.

The commercial, one in a series from the Washington State Lottery urging players to imagine grandiose dreams-come-true, presents Antoinette and Sythandone as timid karaoke singers that end up jubilant on a stage in front of thousands of screaming fans.

Both Terrace grads said they enjoyed the experience of filming the commercial together. 

“It was just really fun,” said Antoinette. “They had so many big production elements — all the lights and kinda some haze. It was set up like a rock concert. And that was just a really fun environment to play in.”

“A lot of the in-person work was green screen and special effects and all that jazz,” Sythandone explained. “So seeing what all the people who worked on that commercial did and seeing the practice and then seeing it airing is really cool.”

While Antoinette had done some commercial acting previously, the state lottery ad was the first for Sythandone. “That’s like the biggest thing I’ve done so far (in my career),” he admitted.

Casting two actors from the same high school wasn’t necessarily the plan for the commercial shoot, said Kristie Christensen, group account director for Wunderman Thompson, the West Coast creative agency that developed the ad.

“It was totally just a coincidence,” Christensen said. “They both answered the casting call. They were by far our favorites separately, but when we saw them together, their already established chemistry was perfect for the roles they needed to portray. We were stoked that they were friends and they were both fabulous to work with.”

Filming of the ad took hours, recalled Sythandone, and came with some challenges, including a last-day change of the song he and Antoinette would sing in the ad.

“I honestly didn’t even know the song walking into the building that day,” Sythandone said. “I was like, ‘You gave me this at 11 last night and I don’t know the words.’ I had to lean on Miranda a lot. But we made it through.”

While filming of the commercial took place last July, the 15- and 30-second versions of the ad didn’t reach television and social media screens until this year. Both Antoinette and Sythandone agreed that the final product was worth the wait.

Miranda Antoinette (Photo courtesy of mirandaantoinettetroutt.com)

“I think it’s cute,” Antoinette said with a smile. “Like a lot of commercial, it’s short and sweet.”

When students at Mountlake Terrace, both Antoinette and Sythandone were four-year participants in the school’s drama department. They were even cast together in the department’s musical production during the 2011-2012 school year, All Shook Up The Musical, when Antionette was a senior and Sythandone was a freshman.

Both have continued on in the field of performing arts now years after graduating from Terrace. For Antoinette — who was known by her first and last names Miranda Troutt while in high school but now goes by her first and middle names Miranda Antoinette — acting, singing and performing for a living has been a lifelong dream.

“I grew up watching a lot of the golden age movie musicals; that’s really what I watched when I was a kid,” Antoinette explained. “Those were the movies that I watched. And so I always loved the music. And I had been in choirs since I was like five and I did an extracurricular children’s choir through Columbia choirs from like seven or eight.”

“Then there was a summer program at Seattle Children’s Theatre that I did throughout middle school,” she continued. “I did a couple of shows there through their summer programs. And I loved it. So I had a good introduction through choir and that program.”

Now more than 10 years after her time at Terrace, Antoinette is firmly established in the Seattle arts scene. Most recently she played the role of Repunzel in the 5th Avenue Theatre’s production of Into the Woods that closed last month and will be a “swing” performer in the theater’s production of Sweeney Todd that opens on Friday, April 21.

“I feel really grateful to be doing back-to-back shows at 5th Avenue Theatre,” she said.

Antoinette also keeps busy with her swing/boogie-woogie trio The Memphis Belles (a group that includes another Terrace 2012 graduate Karin Terry), her wedding dress design company and various other stage and concert performances. 

Matty Sythandone (Photo courtesy of mattysythandone.com)

Sythandone is also working full-time in the Seattle arts scene but with an emphasis right now on the administrative end of theater work. Sythandone is the audience services assistant manager of Seattle Repertory Theatre. In his role, he makes the theater experience enjoyable for patrons when the Rep holds performances at the 842-seat Bagley Wright Theatre at the Seattle Center.

When he can fit it into his administration schedule, Sythandone finds time to pursue acting opportunities and is on stage for the monthly Miss Ruby & Friends cabaret show in south Seattle.

“The feeling I get when I’m performing up on stage (or) when I’m in front of a camera, it gives me a feeling that not a lot of other things can,” Sythandone shared. “And when I don’t have the opportunity to do any of that I find myself craving it, searching for that space.”

“I focus on my day job (but) if the right email comes to my inbox I make it work,” Sythandone said.

Landing roles in television commercials is something both Antoinette and Sythandone will remain open to, but both are concentrating on their other interests in the arts right now.

“I’m a musical theater person; I love to sing, I love to dance,” Antoinette said. “And that’s not really something you do in a lot of commercials. I guess I sang a little in that commercial, but there’s something about the long form of telling a complete story, that feedback from the audience, the community made in a rehearsal process, just the community at-large that I become a part of by doing all these different shows at all these places – you know people, you recognize people, you’re excited to work with them again – and there’s such a variety of work.”

“There’s something fun about doing a show with many performances,” she added.

While performing on stage will always be a personal passion, Sythandone said he is finding increased satisfaction with helping on the administrative end at Seattle Rep.

“My job now has thrown me into a lot of new adventures,” he said. “I’m really grateful for the team of staff that I get to have; they’re very supportive.”

Sythandone is especially proud of how he and the theater staff helped restart live performances at Seattle Rep following COVID-19 shutdowns.

“My biggest accomplishment is reopening the Rep after a two-year closure and giving jobs to people that miss theater.” he stated. “It felt like I got to close a gap for a lot of people; it was something a lot of people were missing. And that helps me craft a real cool vibe at work.”

While both Antoinette and Sythandone work and live in Seattle, the two both expressed concerns about budget cuts coming to the Edmonds School District’s 2023-2024 school year. (The district’s board will be hearing the first reading of proposed cuts to staffing levels at its Tuesday, April 18, meeting.) Antoinette and Sythandone — in addition to many parents, students and district staff — said they are concerned that the district’s music, drama and arts departments may be reduced in size or cut entirely.

“Public schools is one of the places to give young people the initial access to the arts,” Antoinette said. “And taking that away would do a lot to hurt that.”

“I really look back at that (time in the MTHS drama department) with a lot of fondness and respect,” Antionette added. “They acknowledged the importance of this, kind of ahead of the curve I think. I don’t want to see (schools) lose that. I think it was really important.”

Sythandone’s objection to possible cuts in high school drama departments also comes from his personal experience when younger.

“I was going through a lot of rough patches in my middle school age,” he explained. “I found theater going into my freshman year. Going from middle school to high school it was like, I need this. I took one little look into theater (classes) on an electives’ showcase day and I was like, yup, this is where I’m supposed to be.”

To view the 30-second “Go Full You – Rockstar” in its entirety, click www.youtube.com/watch?v=KkEsB7vqo8Q.

— By Doug Petrowski

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