By Stephanie Ila Silver-Silberstein
The snow may be falling outside, but the sun will be coming out on the Broadway stage of Annie throughout this holiday season. The classic show is an absolute must-see for theatregoers of all ages. The timeless tale of hope and optimism combines Christmas, New York City and songs we all know and love into the perfect holiday treat. My 6 year-old son and 4-year old daughter loved every second of this fantastic production and I’m sure they will cherish the memory of seeing their first Broadway show forever. I had the unique opportunity to chat with Kirsten Wyatt, the actress playing Lily St. Regis, and she shared her thoughts on what it means to perform in this classic show, especially in its final weeks on Broadway.
BN: Annie has a special place in many people’s hearts. What is your personal connection to the show?
KW: My grandma gave me 3 original cast albums when I was very young. One was The Sound of Music, one was West Side Story and one was Annie. I would sing every song on that album! Then I owned the movie on VHS and watched it so much, I learned every word of dialogue, every dance move, every lyric. When I was thirteen, I was in my community theatre’s production and though I didn’t get to play Annie, I did play Duffy. So being part of the Broadway production is so thrilling… It’s truly a dream come true.
BN: From rehearsal to performance, what has your overall experience been like working on this production?
KW: Working with Clarke Thorell (Rooster) and Faith Prince (Miss Hannigan) has been incredible. Since we weren’t part of the original cast, we stay true to the original direction of James Lapine but find our own dynamic and have our own chemistry and special moments on stage. It’s kind of like staying in the lines of a picture in a coloring book but choosing your own colors within those lines. I was totally stage-struck when I met Faith Prince. I once played the part of Adelaide in Guys and Dolls, a role she’s famous for, so performing with her has been especially meaningful for me.
BN: How has the approaching closing date of the show affected your experience?
KW: This is my 9th Broadway show, so I’m familiar with the reality that all shows must close at some point. But I think the fact that Annie is closing in January has really boosted our morale. We really want to go out with a bang and cherish each performance and savor each moment on stage. And I’m so glad we’re performing during the holidays. It’s such a great opportunity to make an impact and share in the holiday joy and beauty of live theatre.
BN: What is your favorite part of the show?
KW: I love performing “Easy Street”. There are so many little details and moments that Clarke, Faith and I look forward to in that number. And I love watching the dogs! Sandy is played most often by Sunny, who is 3 and making his Broadway debut. Annie will be Mikey the understudy’s final Broadway show. I love seeing them on stage!
BN: What are some of your favorite roles that you’ve played? How does originating a role differ from performing a classic role like Lily St. Regis?
KW: I loved playing Miss Adelaide in Guys and Dolls and Charity in Sweet Charity. But there’s nothing quite like originating a role and creating it from the ground up, as I did with the role of Anna/Alison in Broadway’s High Fidelity.
BN: Any final thoughts you’d like to share with our readers?
KW: Annie is a very special show. It’s about hope in the face of cynicism. The story of Annie is timeless and even though it takes place in the past, its messages are quite applicable to our world today. There’s an energy exchange that happens in live theatre… the performers and the audience are all experiencing it together and it’s simply magical. It’s why I love live theatre so much and will always be a musical theatre girl!
Thank you so much, Kirsten Wyatt, for sharing your thoughts and experiences with the readers of BeautyNewsNYC!
Don’t wait until “Tomorrow”! Catch Kirsten’s wonderful performance as Lily St. Regis and the rest of the fabulous cast of Annie now through January 5th at the Palace Theatre on Broadway! For more information and to buy tickets visit http://www.anniethemusical.com. And to learn more about Kirsten Wyatt, visit http://www.kirstenwyatt.net.