Please say Hello to Lauren McAlee! She plays the title role of ‘Annie’ at Limelight Theatre Company. Her performances are November 23, 24,25 and December 1 (evening show). Enjoy this interview with Lauren – she is absolutely brilliant in the role and will surely melt your heart – a superstar performance!
Limelight Theatre Co (LTC): Congratulations on landing the title and lead character of Annie in our Professional Production. How did you react when you learned you got the part?
Lauren: My mom came up the steps and put her phone in front of my face because the cast list was out and I just stared at it and for some reason thought she was tricking me because I didn’t believe I actually got it. My parents and I ran around the house for days whispering and screaming– “We Got Annie!” I am so excited to finally do this role.
LTC: That’s awesome! Share with us what you did to prepare for the audition – anything special or out of the ordinary in your approach?
Lauren: I don’t think anything out of the ordinary happened. I always sing the songs over and over before the auditions and look at what the possible sides may be for the role I want. I do think I just prayed EXTRA harder for this part because I knew it was in my reach but I was in the running with my friends who are super talented girls.
LTC: How has your previous stage experience or classes helped you prepare for this huge, iconic role?
Lauren: I have been performing since I was a little kid and watching other actors has always been a huge learning experience for me. My acting teacher at my school (CPFA), always tells me to live truthfully. Which means to not pretend or fake but to truly be the character. I think that is a statement which helped me lose myself in my performances and auditions in order to become the character.
LTC: That’s great advice from your teacher. Annie made its Broadway debut on April 21, 1977 – that was 41 years ago! How familiar were you with the show before you decided to audition?
Lauren: I am more than familiar with this show! I was fortunate enough to be cast in the ensemble at Walnut Street Theatre’s production of “Annie” last year. I auditioned in September, rehearsed through October and performed in about 40 shows from November through January. It was an amazing experience and I just love this musical and I am SOOOOO excited to be Annie.
LTC: What qualities about Annie can you most identify with? What qualities of Annie would you most like to have?
Lauren: I can identify with Annie because like her I always try to stay positive and optimistic. I admire her stealthiness. She has a way of getting things done in an orderly fashion while making it look easy.
LTC: What is your favorite song from the entire show?
Lauren: So this is kind of weird but my favorite song is one that Annie isn’t even in– “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile.” I think it’s a catchy song, it is always a great dance number to watch and participate in and I love to smile and make people smile. 🙂
LTC: Annie takes place in the year 1933 – during America’s Great Depression – why do you think Annie was able to keep such a positive attitude despite her own hardships and surrounded by so much sadness?
Lauren: Ummmm I don’t know… I guess you could call her a fighter!
LTC: Ain’t that the truth! What other role in the show would you love to play one day?
Lauren: I would love to play Lily St. Regis because she is so funny and her “Easy Street” is a great number. In the Walnut Street production, I truly admired the actress who played Lily (Lynne Philistine). She really took the role and made it her own and I would love the chance to dance and be comedic like that. I had a small comedic role in West Chester Summer Stage last year and it was fun to try that as opposed to the princessy roles.
LTC: True or False: You have been singing the songs of Annie since you can remember.
Lauren: False – but I think I sang it enough to make up for it in the past year and a half. HAHA
LTC: Wow – that’s a surprise! Do you know the significant connection of Annie to our hometown of Philadelphia?
Lauren: Yes! Andrea McCardle, the original Broadway Annie, is from the Philadelphia area. Believe it or not I got to meet her in person when she starred as Dolly in “Hello Dolly” at Media Theatre a few years ago. My friend Mrs. Hockenberry was in the show also and she arranged it for me. I was star struck -have her autograph and playbill hanging in my room. It’s a favorite memory!!!
LTC: So cool! Have you been enjoying the rehearsal process working alongside your friends as orphans and our adult professional cast and creative team?
Lauren: Absolutely!!! It has been a joy to meet and watch new adult actors and it’s always fun to hang out with buddies too. Being with my friends is the best part- we are a super close group. I can’t wait for rehearsals each week!
LTC: What is the funniest memory you have from the rehearsals?
Lauren: Nothing specific I guess but the little girls are always making me laugh. I love them.
LTC: What do want our audiences to know about this production?
Lauren: It will be awesome like all Limelight shows!!!
Thanks Lauren – break legs this weekend, we know you will be AMAZING!