Last year I went to see ACT’s production of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever at Pemetic Elementary. I had some friends from school in that show so I wanted to see them. Before the show began, a woman came out (I now know that was Keri) and announced what ACT’s next show was going to be. The moment she said Willy Wonka I totally freaked out. I’ve loved that movie (the old Gene Wilder one) for a really long time. It’s a little bit of everything; funny, scary, weird, sad… And it’s cool to look at too – all those colors and costumes… So I knew as soon as I heard this was going to happen on the island that I wanted to be a part of it.
I’ve always liked watching plays and writing plays, but I’d never actually been in one – at least not a big production and definitely not a huge musical. I thought it would be great if I could get an ensemble part (especially an oompa loompa) so I decided to audition. But I’d never auditioned for anything in my life. Like, EVER. So, in order to prepare, I spent a couple weekends re-watching the old movie and practicing a song. I didn’t want to do anything from the play, so I just practiced something I already knew – a song I sing with my family sometimes.
Then, the night of the audition, we arrived at the high school and there were tons of people there! Way more than I thought there would be. It was crazy and exciting but I got really, really nervous. I sat in the cafeteria with my mom waiting to be called in and wondered if I could even do this. I tried to practice the scene they had given me but I was pretty scared. Actually, I was really scared. My mom said we could just go home if I wanted and that it’d still be fun to go see the show later and that maybe I could audition for the next show instead. But I thought about it for a while and I said to myself ‘I can do this’. (I think I said that like ten times in a row) and finally I told my mom, “I want to stay – I know I can do it”. And when it was time, I went in and met Mike and Annie and I sang my song and I read my scene and they were super nice and it was actually incredibly fun! When it was all over and I was walking away I thought – “wow. I can’t believe I just did that!!” I was proud that I overcame my nerves but also excited to think that I had a chance to be a part of this play.
Then, a few days later… I woke up in the morning and did some yoga with my mom and when we were done my mom said, "There’s something you need to know…"
And she showed me the cast list on her phone.
I got Charlie??!!
I was so shocked and surprised that I almost leapt off the couch. I pretty much smiled nonstop for a week after that and I kept saying to myself “What?” Seriously… What?”
Since then, it has been a lot of work and a lot of fun. A great experience for me. Every time I go to rehearsal I learn something new from Mike or Annie or the rest of the cast and crew. I’ve learned a lot of new skills that I will continue to practice – some cool dance steps (turns out its pretty hard to sing and dance at the same time – but heel clicks are fun!), how to sing harmony and how to ‘cheat out’ without looking too weird. Also rehearsing with people that have way more experience than me has helped me work on my acting. And being directed by Mike has been an awesome experience. He is smart and funny and he can do that insane Wonka somersault which I wish he would teach me – he’s a great guy. Some of my friends from school are in this show (Jordan Casey and Zoe Boland) but I’ve also made lots of new friends. Getting to understand how musical theatre works has been pretty cool as well. I just learned the word 'Sitzprobe'! That word is crazy.
In the end, if you want to spend a lot of time with some great people doing a really fun project – this is the place to be. I know that as scared as I was to audition and as nervous as I might be opening night, that this has been a fantastic experience. Something I will want to do again and again. Hope you enjoy the show!