Annie Interview with Lauren McAlee

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!

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Annie Interview with Molly Hopton

Please say Hello to Molly Hopton! She plays the title role of ‘Annie’ at Limelight Theatre Company. Her performances are November 16, 17, 18 and December 1 (matinee). Enjoy this interview with Molly – we hope you love her performance as much as we do – she’s absolutely fantastic!

           

 

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?

Molly: I cried!  Tears of joy!  I was so happy!!

 

LTC:  Share with us what you did to prepare for the audition – anything special or out of the ordinary in your approach?

Molly: I just gave it my all! I know I need to work on showing more emotion in my scenes, so I tried to focus on that.

 

LTC:  How has your previous stage experience or classes helped you prepare for this huge, iconic role?

Molly: Developing eye contact.  I have had lead roles in a few other productions before, but never this huge.  The most important thing is getting ahead of the game by memorizing my lines, memorizing choreography & trying to be on top of everyone else.

 

LTC:  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?

Molly: I sang “Tomorrow’ in my school talent show when I was in Kindergarten. Then I saw Annie on Broadway for my 8th birthday.  I couldn’t wait to audition!!

 

LTC:  What qualities about Annie can you most identify with? What qualities of Annie would you most like to have?

Molly:  Tough, mostly positive, considerate, kind, a leader.  I can be negative sometimes, so I’d like to be as positive as she is all the time.

 

LTC:  Annie is probably the world’s most famous orphan – how are you preparing for the role, what have you done to really understand her journey?

Molly: I have watched the movie countless times and got a feel for the character, even though my director Wendy tells me it’s nothing like the movie. lol. But it still helps me prepare.

 

LTC:  What is your favorite song from the entire show?

Molly: Ooohhhhh, ok. tough one.  probably Hard Knock Life. It just shows how the orphans are troubled and what they are going through.  For example, Miss Hannigan is sitting back eating pizza and they are cleaning out hairballs from the sink.

 

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?

Molly: Annie grew up in an environment which was very sad and upsetting because she was abused and not properly taken care of by the headmistress, Miss Hannigan.  For all of her life, she believed her parents were going to come find her one day and come back to her.  She has always been positive.

 

LTC: What other role in the show would you love to play one day?

Molly: I would love to play Grace! I feel like she relates to my poised personality (being neat and tidy at school – but which is NOT anything like what I am at home!)

 

LTC: True or False: You have been singing the songs of Annie since you can remember.

Molly: TRUE!!!!

 

LTC: Have you been enjoying the rehearsal process working alongside your friends as orphans and our adult professional cast and creative team?

Molly: I most certainly have! Everyone in the cast is wonderful and so nice.  I love working with all the younger kids there.  They are so sweet and adorable.  It feels good to be working with my friends and be surrounded by them.  It’s fun to make jokes and laugh, but never when we aren’t supposed to!!

 

LTC:  What is the funniest memory you have so far during the rehearsals?

Molly: Hmmmm…….Little Emily, who is one of our Molly’s, found this big furry white sweater thing in the lost & found bin.  It was so big on her, she put it on, threw the hood way up over her head and wrapped herself up in it and walked downstairs to show us all. She is so cute!!!

 

LTC:  What do want our audiences to know about this production?

Molly: It is a very upbeat production and it shows that even when you are going through hard times you can still be positive and optimistic, even when everything around you is falling apart and people are losing money and people are less fortunate than us.

The Limelight version is very creative! I just wish we were using a real dog in the performance, but that’s not my decision to make, so……I encourage people to come see the show, very much so! You might not be having such a good day, but maybe the person that plays Annie can help lift their spirits! It’s a great family tradition for the holiday season!!!

 

LTC: Thank you Molly for participating – you are such a joy to watch on stage – as Miss Ann says “you have amazing instincts as an actress at such a young age”… Break Legs and enjoy your performances!

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Annie Interview with Samantha Hires

Please say Hello to Samantha Hires! She plays the title role of ‘Annie’ at Limelight Theatre Company. Her performances are November 9, 10, 11 and 30. Enjoy this interview with Samantha – and don’t miss her in this iconic role – she’s absolutely fantastic!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Limelight Theatre Co. (LTC): Samantha – 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?   

Samantha: I was in shock and really happy at the same time. Annie has been my dream role since kindergarten! After it really hit me that I was Annie, I started jumping up and down with happiness!

           

 LTC:  That’s awesome. Can you share with us what you did to prepare for the audition – anything special or out of the ordinary in your approach?       

Well, I did practice my audition song (Tomorrow) at least 100 times. But, something out of the ordinary that I did was looked up scenes from the old Annie movie and looked at how she acted and how she would move from tough to kind.

 

LTC: How has your previous stage experience (or classes) helped you prepare for this huge, iconic role?

This is my third year at Limelight and all of my past experiences really helped me become the actress I am today.  I have been taking some classes at Limelight with Geo and it has really helped me with my dancing. Also, all my other roles have helped me learn how to memorize my lines better and I feel I’ve gotten better as a singer, the more I get to practice and perform.

 

 LTC: Sounds like practice makes perfect! So, 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?

I was familiar with the role of Annie, as it is one of my favorite movies, but I am not familiar with the Broadway production of Annie.

 

 LTC: Tell us, what qualities about Annie can you most identify with? What qualities of Annie would you most like to have?  

I think I have the spunkiness and sassiness of Annie and I share her optimistic way of looking at things.  I would most like to always be there for my friends and help them when they are feeling sad, like she always did in the orphanage.

 

 LTC: Annie is probably the world’s most famous orphan – how are you preparing for the role, what have you done to really understand her journey?

I am preparing for this role by thinking “what would Annie feel at this moment” or “how would Annie act”. Also, I am practicing my lines and dances a lot. I am trying to picture how I would feel if I was an orphan and always wondering if my parents would ever come back for me.  That helps me feel both the sadness and hopefulness she shows during her journey.

 

LTC: We are curious – What is your favorite song from the entire show?

Personally, my favorite song in the whole show is “Tomorrow” because of the meaning of the song…how you should always have positive thoughts like “the sun will come out tomorrow”.  Also, whenever I’m sad, I always sing that song to make myself feel better.

 

 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?

I think Annie had a positive attitude, because she wants everyone to keep their heads held up high (like in the song “Tomorrow”), because you can always find the good in people and have things to look forward to in life. Also, I think Annie is just an optimistic person about everything.

 

 LTC: Just for fun, what other role in the show would you love to play one day?

I would also love to play Miss Hannigan.  She is the villain role, but she is also funny.  I think it would be fun to go from being Annie to being her enemy.

 

LTC: True or False: You have been singing the songs of Annie since you can remember.

100% true. I have watched Annie so many times and I loved every second of it. I remember when I was 6 years old and belting out the words to “Maybe” every time I would watch the movie.

 

LTC: I can only imagine – Do you know the significant connection of Annie to our hometown of Philadelphia?

I didn’t, but I looked it up on Google and I think it is that the first actress to play Annie in the Broadway musical (Andrea McArdle) was born in Philadelphia.

 

LTC: You got it! Have you been enjoying the rehearsal process working alongside your friends as orphans and our adult professional cast and creative team?

YES! I love every second of it! Everyone is so nice and supportive! They are very helpful and if you don’t know a dance move, they will 100% show you how to do it.  We always have so much fun together, no matter what we’re doing!

 

 LTC: What is the funniest memory you have so far during the rehearsals?

Probably when Emily (Molly) said to Jerry (the music director), “we already know that”.  It’s an inside joke…another really fun part of working with my friends and the creative team at Limelight!

 

LTC: Lastly, what do want our audiences to know about this production?

Annie is such a heartwarming, fun and enjoyable show to watch and, from the moment it starts, you will love it!

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