As a young child, Abi was forever changing costumes. One minute she was an angel with wings, the next she was a crowned princess, the next she was Snow White, then a ladybug, and on and on. I should have known then that she was destined for the stage. At four years old the child loved playing hostess in her gold gossamer dress and red headband with feathers (the headband with feathers went with the Indian costume her father made for her, but she liked to mix & match).
Abi’s life seemed to epitomize Shakespeare’s words, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts…”
I didn’t become a “stage mom” until Abi was around eight, when she auditioned for and was cast in The Little Princess, performed by the theater troupe, ACT! For Youth. As a former director once said, “AFY is not ‘youth theatre’ but professional theatre that happens to have children in it." That was the beginning of many seasons of acting; hours, weeks, and months of rehearsing for theater productions; a moment or two of catching the brunt of directors’ fury; of connecting and bonding with fellow actors; of living for the countless cast parties after shows.
A Little Princess cast
Productions are done entirely by the youth community, and involve actors and a technical crew. They build the set, and a few are assigned to assist the costumer, make-up artist, and hair stylist. Some have even designed costumes and illustrated posters and program covers. They run the sound and lights, and set up the lobby displays. Of course, they are supervised and instructed by full time paid professionals: a performing arts director, and a technical director. For musicals, a choreographer and music director are also hired. ACT! For Youth offers 4 shows each year at the Edna Boykin Cultural Center, a 1919 Vaudeville theater in downtown Wilson North Carolina. Each show runs four days, musicals run for two weeks.
Another theatre Abi has acted with is Missoula Children’s theater: a touring troupe. Her theater productions to date: A Little Princess; Seussical the Musical; The Mouse that Roared; Charlotte’s Web; Jane Eyre; High School Musical; Miracle on 34th Street; The Little Mermaid; and To the Castle.
She starred as Tot in Tot and the Grudge, a mini-musical performed at the Arts Council by a team of homeschoolers. She’s also acted in church productions.
Seussical the Musical
cast & crew
Miracle on 34th Street
There is magic in the theater,
In the theater there is magic.
And truly blessed are those
who are able to share
their talents with others.
Break a leg!