The Front Row Blog

Discover 5 Life Skills at Encore’s Summer Camps!

Encore provides a stage where students can use their creativity to discover their potential. Here are 5 life skills your child can discover at Encore’s Summer Camps!

#1 – Leadership
As the saying goes, “the show must go on!” Our campers learn how to problem-solve when challenges arise and how to be a role model onstage and off!

#2 – Empathy
When children become a character in a play, exploring their story and emotions, they learn how to better empathize with others!

#3 – Teamwork
Putting together a performance takes teamwork! At camp, your child will participate in ensemble-building activities to prepare for the stage and beyond!

#4 – Creativity and Imagination
At camp, we celebrate creativity and imagination! From writing plays to crafting sets, we can’t wait see your child’s creativity soar!

#5 – Confidence
Drama is a great way to come out of your shell! Each day at camp, you child’s self confidence will grow as they build towards a final performance.

“My daughter was nervous about performing but they couldn’t get her to leave the stage at the final performance! She will be doing this camp again this summer.” – Parent

Register for your Encore Summer Adventure today!

Photos by Larry McClemons, Hayley Olivenbaum, Rosemarie O’Connor, Madeline Pages and Aileen Pangan

Remembering Marji Jepperson

We are sad to share the passing of Marji Jepperson, a former Encore director and actor, props master and dear member of our Encore family. She brought tremendous joy to working with the children of our organization for almost 20 years. We’re delighted to share some of the many memories of Marji from our Encore family:

Seussical was the first show I did with Encore and Marji was the director. I was so excited to be in the show but at the same time such a shy little 15 year old. It was my first time performing in such a big theatrical performance and I wasn’t the most outgoing at that time. Susan still tells stories of how shy I was then compared to how much I have grown out of my shell now! But Marji saw something in me, hence choosing me to be in the performance, which was my first step to becoming part of the Encore family which I love so dearly, so for that I am forever grateful! Marji asked me to be the dance captain for Godspell the following year because she remembered my dancing in Seussical, which made me so excited because I thought I was just a quiet little nobody then! She was always so happy to see everyone at rehearsal and supported each show by making her own show sweatshirt. I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to work on the production side with her in a number of shows, most closely in Cinderella where she directed and I choreographed. Marji was such a sweet soul, kind to all and always with a gentle way about her!
-Sarah Conrad

I met Marji many many years ago through Encore (when it was still The Children’s Theatre). She was funny, creative, always cheerful. I worked with her on more shows than I can remember, when we were both designers and when she was the director. Her props were always inventive (and glitzy!) More importantly, she guided both my children through multiple productions, encouraging them, teaching them skills they still use today, mentoring them. She was unfailingly kind. When her health problems became more significant, she did not complain but kept working her magic. I am sure it took a lot out of her but she seemed indefatigable. My daughter describes her as always loving and filled with joy. Her customized bags and shirts for every show- such a fun spirit. She was a trouper. She is tremendously missed.
-Debra Leonard

Our Marji memory is her warmth and her kindness, along with her custom sweatshirts for every show!
-The Meek family

My favorite Marji memory is that whenever we came into rehearsal for Once Upon A Mattress she was happy to be there and thrilled to see us. She obviously loved the rehearsal process and building a show and her passion rubbed off on the cast.
-Rosemarie O’Connor

Marji Jepperson directed shows for many Encore seasons including Darius the Dragon and Rap-Punzel (2012), Honk! Jr. (2013), and Once Upon a Mattress (2014)

I deeply enjoyed getting to know Marji Jepperson over the past 10 years. She had a gift for working with children and knew how to create a warm and welcoming environment where they could express themselves. I will miss her wonderful smile, patient soul and fantastic sweatshirts. Thank you for the lasting impact you had on our organization Marji!
-Sara Strehle Duke

While lighting nearly 30 shows for Encore, I have had the pleasure of working with Marji in many of her capacities: Director, props maven, choreographer, actor, kid wrangler, friend & mother (to name a few). She was smart, funny, occasionally a bit crusty, wise, courageous, talented, kind and my pal. She is and will be missed.
-Gary Hauptman

Marji has been a Rockstar for Encore. I have been with Encore for years as a independent contractor and even though our paths did not cross as often as I would have liked, I had always heard of her great work and what a great person she was and how easy it is to work this. As I became full time with the organization and had the pleasure of speaking with her. At the first moment of meeting her I was able to understand why she was so beloved.
-Madaline Langston

I remember how much each cast meant to Marji. I think each subsequent cast became her favorite one. I also remember how much she wanted to protect the props. I’m very thankful and fortunate to have had the opportunity to be a member of one of her casts.
-Richard Kashmanian

It was always such a joy to see Marji at the theatre, from directing shows, to seeing her fabulous props and set dressing, and just her presence on opening weekends in her amazing show sweaters. She is the definition of Encore spirit. Thank you for your inspiring creativity, joyful spirit and kindness.
-Aileen Pangan

Marji created the beautiful props and set dressing for many shows including:

On my first day at Encore, I was introduced to Marji and Kristen as the “mother daughter dream team.” I don’t believe I’ll ever think of them any other way. It was inspiring to see a mother and daughter working so well together. It always brought a smile to my face to see Marji at the theatre. She exuded positive energy and her laugh was infectious. She was such a creative soul from crafting so many imaginative props to her personalized show sweaters. I’ll always think of Marji wearing one of her sweaters smiling in the back of a theatre seeing her work onstage.
-Rebecca Pfeil

Marji Jepperson’s round cheeked, sparkle-eyed, angelic face appeared to me to be fairy godmother-like. Unruffled, unflappable, a benign countenance that seem to say, “I have seen everything and done everything in theater, and whatever new crisis is or will be upon us, I will handle.”
I can see her churning butter during Oklahoma’s, “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning”; herding recalcitrant teens in West Side Story; hauling enough Cat in the Hat dolls (from the Dollar Store!) to hang across the whole proscenium for the first Seussical. She loaned books, toys, and a portrait of Queen Victoria for the display window. Her creative hand will be missed everywhere.
-Sherry Gainer

Marji is the mother of Encore’s Technical Director Kristen Jepperson.

We will be celebrating her life and legacy tonight on Monday, January 29 from 6:30 – 8:30 pm at Encore’s Offices (St. Andrews Episcopal Church 4000 Lorcom Lane Arlington, VA 22207). The program will begin at 7:00 pm. All are welcome.

Photos by Larry McClemons, Madeline Pages and Aileen Pangan

3 Reasons You’ll Love Encore’s 2018 Summer Camps!

If you like theatre, then you’re gonna LOVE our summer line up this 2018! We’ve got three big reasons to enroll in our summer drama camps!

#1 – We have more options to fit your summer plans!
We’re offering one, two and three week camps! We have camps beginning at 10 am, and extended hours available.

#2 – New Camps to Explore!
We’re proud to partner with Lola’s Lab to present Captain Kaleidoscope and Zoopossible Kingdom. Also new this year includes Amazing Adventures, Modern Day Myths, Improv-a-thon, Summer Nights Live, and Shakespeare Intensive!


June 25 – June 29, 2018: Zoopossible Kingdom
The wise King of Zoopossible has a big idea to sustain his “green” kingdom. But the prince-zoologist goes missing when he finds out that it involves a royal marriage to his neighbor! Our story comes to life when campers become citizens and animals of Zoopossible, using their creative skills combining art, movement, drama, creative writing and more, to help the prince and save Zoopossible.
July 2 – July 6, 2018: Captain Kaleidoscope
Off the Isle of Black and White, a young sea captain sails under the stormy skies and catches something that changes everything his land has ever known to be true. A rainbow. Imaginations will be dipped in amazing shades of fantasy as campers activate in expressive art, movement, creative writing and more to help the captain in bringing back the colors to the Island. No camp July 4.

Improv-a-thon:
Get the ultimate improvisation experience to stretch your creativity while learning to trust your instincts! In this one week camp, students will explore various improv techniques including games, short-form improvisation, and character work. Want to take it to the next level? Make it a two-week experience by building on skills learned in Improv-a-thon in our Summer Nights Live camp!

Summer Nights Live: Coming to you live from Arlington, VA it’s Summer Nights Live where you take center stage! Explore everything sketch-comedy from developing an idea to finalizing a script in this one-week side splitting spectacular. Want to make it a two-week experience? This camp pairs perfectly with our Improv-a-thon camp, where students will build improvisation skills that feed into their sketch-comedy work!

Shakespeare Intensive:
Encore’s Shakespeare Intensive will challenge students to take the reigns as they present a fully staged production of Hamlet. Guided by professional teaching artists, actors will approach the Bard’s most famous work from the perspective of actor-directors. Through text analysis, movement and voice classes, and character development exercises the ensemble will focus on staging Hamlet in a contemporary setting. The intensive is suitable for both students who have experience working with Shakespeare’s text and those who are new to his plays and want to round-out their theatrical skills.

#3 – A Longer Summer to Love!
We’re starting our summer on June 18 when private schools are closed. Camps beginning June 18 include Amazing Adventures for ages 4-9 and Modern Myths for ages 8-12.

Amazing Adventures: Adventure is out there, and Encore will help you find it! This session is jam-packed with heroic escapades, discovering lands unknown and more! Will there be detours along the way? You won’t want to miss your chance to participate in these amazing adventures!

Modern Day Myths: Have you heard about the daring adventures of Odysseus or the epic feats of Hippolyta and the Amazons? What if those heroes and heroines lived in today’s world? In this one-week camp students will devise and perform their very own modern day myth determining important morals, creating characters, and constructing stories all while building their theatrical skills. Student to staff ratio 1:8.

5 Reasons You Don’t Want to Miss Encore’s 50th Anniversary Bash!

It’s Encore’s 50th Birthday and we are celebrating with our 50th Anniversary Bash! We are hosting a party to celebrate our past, present, and future on Saturday, April 28, 2018, at the Columbus Club of Arlington! Doors will open at 7 pm and from that point on it’s a night full of reunions, music, and fun. Adult tickets are $75 and student tickets are $60. You can get your tickets here. And now, here are 5 Reasons You Should Go the 50th Anniversary Bash.

1) You’ll see your Encore Family.
The Bash is the perfect opportunity to see the friends you made while participating in Encore. Whether way back when was five months, five years, or even fifty years ago, you’ll see familiar faces at the Bash!

2) It’s a chance to get dressed up!
Not only will you get to see your friends from back in the day, the Bash is a chance to do so while looking your best. Our theme is Opening Night! The attire is creative cocktail so get inspired by a classic Broadway character or even a character you played in an Encore production!

3) There will be performances from Encore’s Past and Present.
Of course, we’ll have a musical number or two! It’s Encore! As for who’s performing and what they’ll be singing… You’ll have to come to the event to find out. Just know that it’s going to be fantastic!

4) You can bust out your best dance moves!
As a group of theatre people, we know that everyone needs a chance to show off their best dance moves. Why not do so while surrounded by your fellow thespians?

5) You get to celebrate your Encore Story!
In fifty years Encore has touched lots of lives. Yours included! The Bash is the perfect opportunity for you to share your story with people who get what it means to be an Encore Kid!

Do Good Over Dinner: Chipotle Fundraiser 12/18

On Monday, December 18th, 2017 Encore Stage & Studio is partnering with the Lee Heights Chipotle Mexican Grill on 4520 Lee Hwy, Arlington, VA 22207! When you make a purchase at the Lee Heights Chipotle between 4-9 p.m. and mention Encore or show the flyer that’s below, 50% of the price of your purchase will be donated to Encore. The flyer is at the end of this blog post, on our Facebook page, and on our Instagram page.

And now, here are 5 Things That Happen When You Support Encore at Chipotle!

1) You Support Encore’s Scholarship Program
This spring, Encore is partnering with Arlington County’s Project Extra Step, the county’s office dedicated to meeting the educational needs of homeless children in Arlington, by offering full scholarships to Encore’s Spring Break Camp.

2) You Support Encore’s Productions
Not only are Encore’s productions fun for everyone, they are for everyone! Encore is one of the only theatre company for kids where no child has to pay to audition or participate! We believe that theatre is for everyone!

3) It’s a Chance to Catch Up with Your Encore Family!
When the class, camp, rehearsal, or show ends, it’s hard to plan time to get together. A quick bite to eat at Chipotle is a perfect opportunity to catch up!

4) Everyone Needs an Excuse to Pull Out an Encore T-Shirt
When was the last time you wore an Encore shirt around people who know what it means to be a part of Encore? Wear your Encore shirt and let people know what show or camp you’re proud to have been a part of. Share your dinner with your Encore fam on social media and use #RepYourEncore.

5) Hello, Burritos!!!!!
On top of all the wonderful things that come with supporting Encore through this fundraiser, you get to eat some delicious Chipotle! Get yourself a burrito, bowl, tacos, or a salad! Go crazy and get the guac!

As promised, here’s that flyer! We hope to see you at the Lee Heights Chipotle Mexican Grill on 4520 Lee Hwy, Arlington, VA 22207 between 4-9 p.m. Show your support of Encore and don’t worry about dishes for a night!

Meet 2017/2018 Arts Apprentice, Amanda Nell

We’re so thrilled to introduce you to a new face on Encore’s campus. Her name is Amanda Nell and she is Encore’s 2017-2018 Arts Apprentice.

Amanda, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Amanda:
I’m so excited to join the Encore team and share my passion for creating and inspiring art! I will be around as the Arts Apprentice for the ‘17-’18 season and hopefully as a member of Encore’s Family for life!

I’ve been a part of the performing arts world for as long as I can remember. From singing in choir, to playing in orchestra, to putting on puppet shows in the kitchen, I found my niche at an early age. When I was six, I was cast in my first onstage role as “Molly” in Annie. From that point on, I was hooked! I auditioned and took part in as many shows as I could; it even became pretty typical that my schedule could included rehearsals, load in, performances, and strike for more than 1 show at a time. And I loved every second of it.

While I started out as an onstage performer, I found a great fascination for the backstage world as I entered high school. Working at different theatres around the DMV, I was able to experience all sides of production from acting and singing onstage to running light and sound boards, building sets, calling shows, teaching stage combat, and directing. I continued to develop a love for the inner workings of theatre production and gained a new interest in sharing theatre with others. I followed these passions to Allentown, PA where I studied Directing for Theatre and Psychology at Muhlenberg College, earning a BA and graduating in May of 2016.
At Muhlenberg, I was granted some really amazing opportunities and worked alongside some of the best instructors and artists in the business. As I became more and more interested in the exchanging and collaborating of ideas in theatre, I developed a great joy in sharing that with other people. I was given the opportunity of working on a student-written, documentary-style piece about many of the identity issues that young people struggle with growing up. I worked with my team, both cast and crew, to create a devised theatre piece opening up a conversation with audiences about these sensitive topics. This greatly enhanced my interest in working with youth and using theatre as a way to create community and connect ourselves with the world around us.

As my interest in working with young people grew, I eagerly accepted a job and followed my passion to Paris, France where I spent my first year after college working as an au pair for a family with four young children (aging from 6 months to 8 years old). My experience in Paris gave me a new perspective on working with kids and opened me up to the exciting and innovative ways that kids of different kinds come together to play and create. It was exhilarating to be in a new place but still feel so connected through the concept of play, pretend, and imagination. It’s the same in every language.

What do you do as the Arts Apprentice at Encore? What are you enjoying most about Encore Stage & Studio?
Amanda:
At Encore, I have a wide range of jobs and responsibilities. I get to work in the office where I answer phone calls, help with projects, coordinate workshops, and see how a professional children’s theatre is run from the inside-out. This has been really exciting for me to get to see and take part in the other side of the arts world that, as a performer, I was not very aware of. There is so much that goes into running a professional theatre aside from the performers onstage or even production team. There are a whole slew of people in the background who work to ensure that our goals as a company are being met.

Already in my time here, I have gotten to work hands-on in the theatre and with the kids. On Mondays and Fridays I get the great opportunity of giving back to the community by providing education fun childcare for families while they get their groceries.

I’ve also had a lot of fun creating activity guides that we have put in the show programs and handed out at out Theatre for the Very Young performances. I have enjoyed creating something both fun and educational to share with our families and students to enhance and extend their experience of the show.

I’ve been able to work a lot with the children in Encore’s camps, classes, and afterschool programs. I’ve really loved getting to work with kids in all the different environments and communities to introduce them to theatre and bring structured play into their experience. It’s really been incredible to be “thrown in” since day one. I feel like already in my short time here I have become part of the team and have been entrusted with carrying around the Encore name with me wherever I go. And that is something I am very proud of.

What are you looking forward to for the rest of the season?
Amanda:
I am very excited to have the opportunity of directing our in-school program the spring. I think it will be an amazing opportunity to go into a school setting and bring theatre to the students there who might not otherwise have the chance to experience it. I love working with kids of all ages and experience, so I am very much looking forward to working with those students to put on a really great show, that they can call their own!
I am also looking forward to working with more and more members of the Encore Family as the season continues. Everyone involved from the students in class, to parent volunteers, up to the members of our board, everyone at Encore has been so kind to me and made me feel welcome and a part of the family from the very start. I can’t wait to continue working with everyone and sharing the love and commitment to creating theatre by kids, for kids!

Some fun facts: Do you have any hobbies or special interests apart from theatre?
Amanda:
When I’m not around the theatre, I really enjoy spending time outside and reading. As my second major was Psychology, I have been interested in reading about behavioral psychology and psych of the mind. When I returned from France, I joined the Northern Virginia women’s rugby team since I had played in college and was looking for a way to get active again.

I can’t wait to see what comes next!

Meet Miss Clavel (Blue Cast), Amelia Williams

It takes two! With a three-weekend long run, we have two actors cast as Miss Clavel. We’re so delighted to introduce you to Amelia Williams, who plays Miss Clavel in the blue cast of Madeline’s Christmas!

Can you describe your first experience with theater? What sparked your interest?
Amelia:
My first experience with theater was when I was 4 years old, I saw the Nutcracker with my mom. I just remember seeing all of the pretty costumes and all the pieces of the play come together. The play really made me want to see more and more so that’s what started my theater experience.

What other roles have you played in Encore’s past productions? What is your most memorable one and why?
Amelia:
I have played Ermengarde in A Little Princess and Nyra in The Jungle Book. My most memorable performance would have to be Ermengarde because she was so funny and it was also my first play. I really connected with her by the end of the play I was actually really sad.

In your own words, how would you describe Miss Clavel?
Amelia:
Miss Clavel is a very kind and caring teacher. She takes care of her girls as if they were her own daughters and always pushes them to be the best they can be. She always tell them not to be afraid and to try new things.

What do you enjoy most about playing Miss Clavel?
Amelia:
I enjoy being able to develop her character more and more. I think Miss Clavel seems very simple on the surface but she is really a complex person. I hope i get to know more about her.

Do you find any fun challenges playing the role, and if so, what are they?
Amelia:
A challenge for me was memorizing my lines! Most of them were very proper and didn’t come in any specific order so i really had to memorize them quickly. The songs were also hard at first but after singing them a few times they got much easier.

What are some tips about being in the audience can you share for first- time theater goers coming to see the show?
Amelia:
Well when you are in the audience please be quiet, you don’t want to disturb other theater goers and the after can hear you on stage! If you find something funny go ahead and laugh! It’s the actors job to stop speaking if someone is laughing so that everyone can hear the performance. Last but not least, enjoy the show!

Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Amelia:
Thank you so much for letting me do this interview! I hope everyone has a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Photos by Larry McClemons and Aileen Pangan

Meet Miss Clavel (Yellow Cast), Ella McHugh of Madeline’s Christmas

We are excited to perform our final weekend of Madeline’s Christmas! To celebrate, we’re happy to introduce you to Ella McHugh, who plays Miss Clavel in the yellow cast of Madeline’s Christmas!

What other roles have you played in Encore’s past show productions? What is your most memorable one and why?
Ella:
My first role was as a unicorn and the prince’s lieutenant in Cinderella three years ago. I have also been the Magic Mirror in Snow White, one of Olivia’s friends in Twelfth Night, and Mrs. Carmichael in A Little Princess. My most memorable role is being a part of Godspell. It was lots of fun and I became really good friends with everyone in the cast.

I have also been on backstage or front of house crews for Cul de Sac, The Best Haunted House and The Jungle Book. It’s great being on crew. You get to build stuff and paint things. I’ll be on the crew for Sherlock Holmes, coming up in January.

What other classes and camps have your participated with Encore, do you have a favorite experience to share?
Ella:
Godspell was the performance for the Musical Theater Intensive last year. This was a class where the students learn all about being a part of a musical from auditions to the performance. I started taking after school enrichment classes with Encore in around 3rd grade and have taken classes or signed up with camps every year since then. For the past three summers, I have participated in Stage Door, a three week camp that puts on a musical. Last summer’s musical was The Little Mermaid.

In your own words, how would you describe Miss Clavel?
Ella:
She is a motherly figure towards the girls and tries to keep them all safe. She does her best to help them, as when they get sick. But it doesn’t always go as she wants. She reminds me of my kindergarten teacher because she is trying to teach all the kids to be respectful, but we were only kindergarteners so we didn’t always do what she said.

What do you enjoy most about playing Miss Clavel?
Ella:
I like working with Kelsey, the director, and the other kids in the show. It’s nice having the role double cast because you have someone else going through the process with you for moral support.

Do you find any fun challenges playing the role, and if so, what are they?
Ella:
Sometimes pronouncing the French is difficult. But now I can say, mes petite filles which means “my little girls”.

What are some tips about being in the audience can you share for first- time theater goers coming to see the show?
Ella:
Have fun and enjoy the show, but remember to be a respectful audience member.


Remaining shows:
Friday, December 1, 2017 at 7:30 pm (LIMITED SEATS LEFT)
Saturday, December 2, 2017 at 11 am (LIMITED SEATS LEFT)

Saturday, December 2, 2017 at 3 pm (SOLD OUT!)
Sunday, December 3, 2017 at 3 pm (SOLD OUT!)

Photos by Larry McClemons, Rosemarie O’Connor and Aileen Pangan

Meet Madeline (Blue Cast) Miranda Tonsetic of Madeline’s Christmas

Double the fun! With a three-weekend long run, we have two actors cast as Madeline. We’re so delighted to introduce you to Miranda Tonsetic, who plays Madeline in the blue cast of Madeline’s Christmas!

Can you describe your first experience with theater? What sparked your interest?
Miranda:
When I was little, my mom used to take me and my brother to shows at Glen Echo, and I would be like “Wow, that’s so cool, I want to do that!” My first experience was when I did a local theatre camp and we did the Rainbow Fish, and I was the Rainbow Fish’s Mom, as a 6 year old! I was so excited to perform the show!

What encouraged you to audition for Madeline’s Christmas?
Miranda:
What encouraged me was that I was like Madeline. I feel like I’ve heard that before, and then I remembered vaguely watching the movies and reading the books, and I thought it would be a really fun musical to do. Musicals are my favorite type of show to perform.

What other roles have you played in Encore’s past productions? What is your most memorable one and why?
Miranda:
In my first show Much Ado About Nothing I played Balthazar, and the Sexton. In Hansel and Gretel I played the baby troll, in Treasure Island I played Anne, (a female pirate), in the Best Haunted House Ever I played Madge (a cheerleader), in A Little Princess I played Jessie, and in Night At the Wax Museum I played Violet Sneed.

The most memorable one was probably Violet Sneed, because she was such a fun character to play (evil characters are the best) and also I lost my voice during that show so I had to just power through and do the best I could, but it was okay since I was surrounded by so many awesome people in that show.

What do you enjoy most about playing Madeline?
Miranda:
She is not afraid of anything and won’t let anyone or anything, no matter how big, get in her way.

What similarities or differences do you have with your character?
Miranda:
We’re both pretty independent, and want to help others that are struggling, and we’re both pretty adventurous. A difference that we have is she has a lot more energy than me, how she can take care of all her sick friends is something I could not do, I would be out like a light before i could help all of them.

To get our audience excited for the production, can you describe the show in one word?
Miranda:
Exciting!

Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Miranda:
If you are discouraged that you have not been cast yet, keep trying and see what you can improve on, I didn’t get cast on my first audition, but I kept trying and got cast!

Thank you Miranda for sharing your Encore experience! Break a leg!

Just two weekends left of Madeline’s Christmas! Don’t miss out on this charming production!


Remaining shows:
Friday, November 17 at 7:30 pm
Saturday, November 18, 2017 at 11 am
Saturday, November 18, 2017 at 3 pm
Sunday, November 19, 2017 at 3 pm
Friday, December 1, 2017 at 7:30 pm
Saturday, December 2, 2017 at 11 am
Saturday, December 2, 2017 at 3 pm
Sunday, December 3, 2017 at 3 pm (SOLD OUT!)

Click here to buy your tickets today.

Photos by Larry McClemons and Aileen Pangan

Meet Madeline (Yellow Cast), Maggie Donnelly of Madeline’s Christmas!

Hip hip hooray! This is our first ever production of Madeline’s Christmas and we’re so excited for a number of reasons: #1 three weekends of shows, #2 it’s the start of our 50th anniversary season, and lastly, #3 we have 2 actors cast as Madeline! Meet one of them–Maggie Donnelly and learn about her experience at Encore and throughout the production process!

Can you describe your first experience with theater? What sparked your interest?
Maggie:
My first experience in Theater was Encore Stage and Studio’s summer camp, It’s elementary. My family always saw how dramatic I was as a smaller child, and thought I should foster those talents, into better use by doing drama. So my parents signed me up for It’s elementary and I did it for 5 years, and loved it.

What encouraged you to audition for Madeline’s Christmas?
Maggie:
The fact that Madeline’s Christmas was a musical was definitely one of the main factors of my choice to audition. I read the Madeline stories as a younger girl and knew them well. I also knew that being a young girl that I might have had a chance at being in the show, considering there are 12 young girl parts!

What other roles have you played in Encore’s past productions? What is your most memorable one and why?
Maggie:
My most memorable show was my first (and only) show, Snow White. I was a squirrel and part of the animal choir. Although, I didn’t have any lines, I still had fun, and it was an amazing experience.

What do you enjoy most about playing Madeline?
Maggie:
Some of the things I enjoy about playing Madeline, are the cast. The cast in Madeline is already like my family. This is my first show with most of the people and I am already so comfortable around them, like I have known them for years. I also love the staff. The staff is so helpful and friendly, they teach me all sorts of cool stuff, yet they don’t seem like teachers to me (in a good way). I also enjoy coming to rehearsal. When I come to rehearsal, everybody understands me there. I feel like I leave all of the stress about school, friends, or family, at the door and don’t have to think about it anymore. Lastly, I love playing Madeline, because she is strong willed and she won’t anybody stand in her way, but she is sweet and loving, and caring about everyone, and everything.

What similarities or differences do you have with your character?
Maggie:
I see a lot of similarities between me and my character, she is strong and persistent and is always seeking adventure, even when she is specifically told not to. She isn’t afraid of much, but will take care of anyone that needs her help. That reminds me a little bit of me, sometimes.

Thanks Maggie for sharing your Encore story! Break a leg!

Just two weekends left of Madeline’s Christmas! Don’t miss out on this charming production!


Remaining shows:
Friday, November 17 at 7:30 pm
Saturday, November 18, 2017 at 11 am
Saturday, November 18, 2017 at 3 pm
Sunday, November 19, 2017 at 3 pm
Friday, December 1, 2017 at 7:30 pm
Saturday, December 2, 2017 at 11 am
Saturday, December 2, 2017 at 3 pm
Sunday, December 3, 2017 at 3 pm (SOLD OUT!)

Click here to buy your tickets today.

Photos by Larry McClemons