Amazing Things in Small Packages
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “big things come in small packages.” Well … amazing, intelligent, talented things also come in small packages. I’m referring to the remarkable youth cast who are an integral part of this year’s Christmas Show.
Andrea McCormick, AMT’s Artistic Director, told me that what impressed her most about the youth cast is how smart and enthusiastic they are, and how quickly they learned during rehearsals. Andrea said that while she would be teaching one group, the others were always paying attention and picking things up as she went along.
There are a total of 42 youngsters who take turns performing during the run of The Christmas Show. I had the opportunity to meet four of them, and found out that these mature-beyond-their-years kids really have it together!
The seasoned theatre veterans I met were [from left in photo] Erin Mary Lynch (age 11,) Gretchen Enterline (12,) and siblings Brady Norgaard (7,) and Sydney Norgaard (8.) Erin Mary, Brady, and Sydney have all performed in previous AMT shows. Erin Mary and Sydney are also concurrently performing in Jonah at Sight & Sound Theatre.
I asked the kids why they wanted to be in The Christmas Show. Sydney spoke right up and told me she was in last year’s Christmas Show, that it was really fun, and that she liked getting to know the cast. When I asked the group if they were scared when they auditioned, they all admitted to being a little scared, but I have a hard time believing this fearless foursome would be scared of anything!
A highlight for all four is participating in the energetic “12 Days of Christmas,” a number completely reminiscent of most chaotic holiday family gatherings. During the “family meal,” the girls all enjoy eating Swedish Fish candies (a perfect prop substitute for cranberry sauce,) and Brady is thrilled that he gets to eat a whole cupcake during every performance.
Of course, no live show would be complete without a few “mis-cues.” Brady recalled having someone step on his foot, losing his shoe, and having to crawl under a table to retrieve it. Gretchen and Sydney ran into each other when Gretchen dropped a pom pom, and Erin Mary had to improvise when she opened a gift box that held a prop she hadn’t rehearsed with.
To wrap up our conversation, I asked “what’s the very best thing about being in the show?” The unanimous reply was how much they enjoy learning from and being inspired by the adult singers and dancers they perform with. Gretchen said it best – “I really look up to them. This is just an awesome experience.” Pretty impressive stuff from four “small packages,” all of whom have big dreams of continuing in the theatre … in addition to being a fashion/costume designer, a Broadway star, a theatrical wig designer, and a New York theatre director. I have no doubt that Erin Mary, Gretchen, Brady, and Sydney will accomplish everything they set their minds to!
Donna Haefner is a member of American Music Theatre’s Marketing Department. She can be reached at dhaefner@AMTshows.com.