Actress Molly Rhode, currently appearing as Edna McCarthy in First Stage's holiday production of THE BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER took a break from performances to reminisce about her long history with this production.
Molly: I was thirteen and in 7th grade. I played the pageant narrator, Mindy. I think that the first production was the largest show First Stage has ever cast. There were more young people than they’d ever had before in one play. It was a bit of a milestone. Just one group of kids. Pretty intense for us, and very exciting.
First Stage: Tell us about the other productions of PAGEANT that you did here.
Molly: When I was a freshman in high school, I did an intern stage crew position on BCPE. The second time I performed in the show was 2003. I played Irma Slocum and did the choreography. This time I'm Edna McCarthy and again I did the choreography.
First Stage: How have you changed and how has First Stage changed over the years?
Molly: As a teenager, I learned so much from the adults I got to work with. Many of those actors became mentors. I always love working at First Stage because of the full-circle experience of it. I hope that now I'm able to give back a little, as one of the grown-ups. Back in 1990, First Stage was much smaller. There was no MYAC. There was no Theater Academy. All of the offices were in the basement of the Marcus Center and there were only a handful of full-time employees. It's incredible now, to go to rehearsals at MYAC and walk past the offices and see so MANY people. It's a much bigger company now. The Academy has reached so many young people. It's staggering, really, the ripple effect. First Stage has made an enormous impact on so many families.
First Stage: Going on your third production of THE BEST CHRISTMAS PAGAENT EVER, does it ever seem to get repetitive?
Molly: Not at all. It’s hilarious. It’s been six years since the last one; I forgot so many things. It makes me laugh over and over again, every time.
Photo of Molly Rhode as 'Irma Slocum' taken by Mark Frohna