Cary twins, 17, shared stages most of their lives now off to separate colleges

Teagan and McKenna Sharkey say they will reunite in New York and take on Broadway

McKenna and Teagan Sharkey, 17-year-old twins and recent Cary-Grove graduates, performing in Mean Girls.

People say identical twins are connected in rare and unexplainable ways and that likely could not be more true than for 17-year-old twins McKenna and Teagan Sharkey of Cary.

The twins, who just completed a run of the play “Mean Girls” at Cary-Grove High School where they also just graduated, have spent most of their lives together on stages.

Today, they are heading off to different colleges to pursue musical theater and for the first time they will be many hours and states apart.

Teagan is attending Oklahoma City University and McKenna is going to Millikan in Decatur.

Their mother, Nicole Sharkey, said: “I’m just so proud because they love it so much, they love dancing, they love performing, and seeing them perform together and doing what they love is the most, it has been just amazing.”

Seeing them go off to separate colleges and so far from each other will be difficult for her but also for them “at first,” the mother said. “But they are both going to places where they definitely are meant to be and they are doing what they love so I’m happy for them.”

The twins have memories of most of their lives being on stages together and performing in the same plays, auditioning for the same roles, pulling for each other, supporting each other and hurting when one doesn’t quite hit the mark, although they both say those moments have been rare.

Currently, they are rehearsing for one last show together before heading to college, “Songs for a New World” in The Hope Collective Church in Lake Zurich. They will perform in July.

“It is so amazing,” Teagan said of sharing the stage with her sister in about a dozen shows since they were just 5 years old. “We are both super passionate about the same thing and it is amazing to see each other thrive.”

Teagan said auditioning for the same roles is not competitive but “interesting” because their voices are similar, yet different. She also said it is “amazing to see the other thrive and see it on stage.”

McKenna echoed her sister’s feelings and said though the thought of being separated is sad, it may be a good experience for them both.

“Being apart is gonna obviously be hard but more beneficial,” McKenna said. “We have always been together in growing our craft. We need to separate ourselves in growing our own strengths and weaknesses.”

Teagan said although she will miss her twin the separation is “necessary.”

“When we are together we are always worrying about the other one and I think we need to not do that,” Teagan said. “We need to worry about ourselves.”

“Just being able to watch her grow … I don’t think there will be anything like sharing the stage with basically my other half while we do the thing we love the most in the entire world together,” McKenna said. “It has been hard at moments, the amount of competition, we look exactly the same and have very similar voices, but also I think that made it so much rewarding to get to perform with her, especially in ‘Mean Girls.’ This year has been the best theater experience of my life.”

McKenna was cast as Janis Sarkisian and Teagan played the part of Cady Heron. McKenna said the roles in which they were cast and are opposite personalities “just fit us so well.”

Their roles provided the opportunity for the twins to share a duet during the show and at the Illinois High School Musical Theater Awards in Chicago in May.

The show was nominated for best production as one of the top five shows throughout the state by IHSMTA, which is part of Broadway in Chicago. Teagan was nominated among 12 in the state for best actress and the show’s director Rob Boncosky was nominated for best direction.

Singing the song “Apex Predator” together McKenna said “was almost like we sang together this little send-off moment into the next four years.”

“I remember feeling very, very sad, at the same time, it almost felt very right,” McKenna said. “We have been going through this process together and it is like, OK we are gonna be apart, both studying musical theater in completely different regions of the country but we will only be apart for four years. Then we get to start this amazing journey together and start our adult lives.”

After they graduate college, both said, they will reunite in New York where each will pursue their musical theater careers on Broadway.