Today’s victim is the talented Kaitlyn Mayse, who will be seen as Belle in the Variety Children’s Theatre production of Beauty and the Beast at The Touhill October 21-23!
Q: What was your first experience in theatre?
A: My first experience in theatre was in the first grade. My aunt and grandma worked at Hazelwood Central High School and they needed another munchkin in their production of The Wizard of Oz. I instantly fell in love with the process and the storytelling. I was technically too young to be in the show at the age of 7 (you had to be in second grade), so I was only allowed to be a munchkin, even though everyone else was also in the poppy scene. I went ahead and learned the dance just in case though J. I would even go out after the show and sign people’s programs, so you could say the theatre bug bit me pretty hard.
Q: What is the best piece of career advice anyone has ever given you?
A: The best career advice I’ve ever received was from the incomparable Liza Gennaro, my dance professor at Indiana University. In reference to an audition she ran where many great people didn’t make the cut—“Don’t get depressed, get better.”
Q: Tell us about a backstage or onstage mishap you lived through.
A: The summer before my freshman year of college I played Serena in COCA’s production of Legally Blonde and in the montage scene where the seasons start changing, the Greek Chorus comes out and sings a song for Thanksgiving and then a song for Christmas. I had very long hair back then and as I was coming from backstage for Thanksgiving, my hair got caught in between the door frame and the hinge. When the door shut, my hair was clamped in it and I couldn’t reach the handle to free myself (it was a large door). So it was either hope someone opens the door, rip a huge chunk of hair (and maybe scalp) out, or miss my entrance. Luckily it was final dress and since there were other girls in that part, the show would continue, but the pyramid was missing its point. By the time the Christmas section rolled around, someone had opened the door and freed me. My director was baffled by the missed entrance at notes and started to chastise me. When she heard the story, she laughed out loud and said, “So you missed Thanksgiving, but made it home for Christmas.”
Q: What is your dream role?
A: Belle in Beauty and the Beast. Always has been, always will be.
Q: What is your current guilty TV pleasure?
A: I am obsessed with Jane the Virgin right now. I love the boundless drama and witty writing, but more importantly how progressive the show is as a whole, without making a big deal about being progressive. It is genius.
Thank you Kaitlyn- can’t wait to see you live out your dream in that yellow dress!!!
Grace Austin is an STL area director and educator.
See her work at gracemaustin.com
**DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed in this post are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of THE SCENE SHOP.