Thursday, April 19, 2012

Catching up with the Cast of DIARY OF A WORM, A SPIDER AND A FLY

By Jenny Loeffler

Join the Worm, the Spider, and the Fly as they continue their successful run of DIARY OF A WORM, A SPIDER AND A FLY! This adventure is as delightfully absurd and joyously playful as the wildly popular books series. Who ever thought that we could learn so much about ourselves by looking in on the lives of a non-arthropod, an arachnid and an insect? Walk alongside the worm, the spider and the fly as they learn to overcome many of the same life challenges that we face and emerge with a better understanding – and appreciation – for who they are.

We had the opportunity to catch up with a few of the young cast members of DIARY – Kelsie Alling (Ensemble, Gitterbug Cast), Allison Yurkowitz (Fly Girl, Gitterbug Cast), Isaiah Reynolds (Spider, Boogie Woogie Cast), Cami Westlake (Ensemble, Gitterbug Cast), Annli Nakayama (Ensemble, Boogie Woogie Cast), Thomas Mazza (Worm, Boogie Woogie Cast), and Sam DeDecker (Ensemble, Gitterbug Cast) – and ask them what it’s like to be in the show and work with First Stage!

How long have you been performing?

Kelsie Alling : I have been performing for 3 years.
Allison Yurkowitz : I have been performing since I was 6 years old. I first began in summer theater camps.
Isaiah Reynolds : I started performing at the age of 5.
Cami Westlake : I've been performing in dance for four years and in theater for about two years.
Annli Nakayama : I’ve been performing since second grade.
Thomas Mazza : I have been performing for 4 years!
Sam DeDecker : I have been performing since I was in first grade.

What other shows have you been involved with at First Stage?

Kelsie : MY SON PINOCCHIO.
Allison : This is my fourth First Stage play. I was also in MISS NELSON IS MISSING, THE THIEF LORD, and THE NEVERENDING STORY.
Isaiah : This is my first show with First Stage.
Cami : I haven't been involved with other shows at First Stage before this year, and I am very excited to be in my first First Stage play!
Annli : ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY.
Thomas : I have been in THE NEVERENDING STORY as Bastian, IF YOU TAKE A MOUSE TO SCHOOL as the Boy, and THE MAGIC BICYCLE as Tigg.
Sam : I played Phillip in ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY and Gregory in MISS NELSON IS MISSING.

What can the audience learn from seeing DIARY OF A WORM, A SPIDER AND A FLY?

Cami : There are many themes to this musical, but one really stuck out to me. One being that everyone is different, but we need to embrace our differences. This shows when Fly, Worm, Spider, Ant, and Butterfly are all friends. They all have many differences, yet look past them and really turn out to be great friends!!!
Sam : The audience can learn that everyone is different and has a unique talent.

What is your favorite part about First Stage?

Kelsie : Growing as an actress and meeting so many wonderful people.
Allison : I love First Stage because of the fun I have when I act. You also become friends with the other actors.
Isaiah : My favorite thing about First Stage is how much fun I have with the staff and other actors, yet still having the experience of how a professional theater is. I also like working with the adult actors and meeting new people.
Cami : So far, my favorite part about First Stage has been getting to meet so many amazing actors, both kids and professional adults.
Annli : Singing and performing on the stage.
Thomas : My favorite part about First Stage is that you can always be yourself, no matter who you are, and people will accept you as you are.
Sam : Everyone is so nice to you and we are treated like adults, not child actors.

What is your favorite memory that you have ever had with Rob Goodman?

Cami : Although I have never personally met Rob Goodman, I have seen many First Stage plays since kindergarten, and know that he has founded a truly amazing organization.
Thomas : I remember that at my first cast party for THE NEVERENDING STORY, I talked with him and got a picture with him. I will never forget how nice he was, and even though I didn't know him, I knew that he was an awesome guy!

Do you have any advice for aspiring actors?

Cami : I would give the advice to just be yourself and try to step out of your comfort zone every once in a while.
Sam : Do as much theater as you possibly can because the more you do it, the more fun it gets.

What inspires you to perform?

Kelsie : Performing is my passion. Seeing and hearing the audience’s reaction feeds my passion. I like the idea of making hundreds of people happy.
Allison : I like the feeling of becoming another person on stage, being someone I’m not. To be able to sing and dance is also one of my passions. I sing and dance around the house all the time, and First Stage gives me the chance to do it for an audience.
Isaiah : The thing that inspires me to perform is the feeling I get when I’m on stage and how much fun I have on stage and during rehearsals.
Cami : Being able to use teamwork in order to reach a common goal really inspires me to perform. I love working with the cast, and I know the musical will turn out fabulous.
Annli : The thrill of being on stage inspires me to perform.
Thomas : My inspiration to perform is mainly from my family. They are so awesome and they're always telling to never give up. I just love making my little brother laugh when he goes to see my plays!

Come see these young performers’ inspiration come to life as they continue performing in DIARY OF A WORM, A SPIDER AND A FLY at the Todd Wehr Theater at the Marcus Center through May 13.

Tickets for DIARY OF A WORM, A SPIDER AND A FLY start at just $13. For more information, visit www.FirstStage.org.

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