Last October, when the guild opened auditions for its production of "Hello, Dolly," Kouns said she couldn't resist auditioning.
Few Streisand fans could. The "Funny Girl" actress won an Academy Award for that one.
The 17-year-old said the early rehearsals for "Hello, Dolly" were a little awkward.
"I didn't really know what to do," she said. "I didn't really know stage direction, and I didn't know anybody in the guild."
That soon passed. In a short time, she made a lot of new friends.
Kouns said, "A month into it, I'd made some of the best friends I'd had in my entire life."
Among them, she added, was Toni Pilato, who co-stars with Kouns in "Chicago."
"Toni is probably my best friend."
Rehearsals for "Chicago," she said, haven't been as awkward, but Kouns said they've been intense. Over the summer, she's barely seen her parents.
"They both work," Kouns explained. "We've had to meet up at various times to sort of keep each other informed."
But it's been a great experience. Kouns said the ensemble cast has made all the difference.
"It's really nice to be around a base of people who would support me," she said.
Which is good since getting a grasp on Roxie Hart has been tricky. Aside from being a cheating wife and murderer, Hart isn't especially smart.
"She thinks she's more worldly than she is," Kouns said.
The 17-year-old senior, however, is smart -- very smart. She's a member of Rho Kappa, the social studies honor society; Mu Alpha Theta, the math honor society and the National Honor Society. She's also a team captain for Nitro's Quizbowl team.
"It's kind of like 'Jeopardy' but with a team," she said. "I read a lot of non-fiction. I read a lot, which sort of lends itself to Quizbowl."
Kouns said the year ahead looks busy. Aside from finalizing college plans, she wants to audition for the guild's fall production of "Les Miserables," but she's trying not to get too ahead of herself.
"I just want to take it day by day," she said. "I want to appreciate everything that happens along the way."Reach Bill Lynch at ly...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.