Part of a series in which we interview our teachers and staff to learn more about them and get their insights into the world of performance. This week’s interview is with Miss Frankie, who teaches improv and is currently directing “The Little Mermaid Jr.”
Frankie: I have been at PAA since the summer of 2013 for the summer intensive, Willy Wonka Kids!
How many years have you been working in the performing arts?
F: My first performance was as an anxious porcupine in a play about hunter-gatherer folklore more than 14 years ago. I worked as a teaching assistant and summer camp coordinator for a theatre company in south Denver, starting 10 years ago. My professional acting career began 6 years ago with Performance Now Theatre Company and doing party entertainment.
What is your performance background?
F: The majority of my theatre experience is performing in musicals and in stage management. I have performed in nearly two dozen musicals including Into the Woods, Seussical, The Little Mermaid, Evita, and Little Shop of Horrors. My stage management and tech credits include Les Miserables, The Wizard of Oz, Pocahontas, Annie, Honk!, and Oliver. I have studied vocal performance, dance, and acting for 10 years. I was also the recipient of BroadwayWorld.com’s Best Actress in a Play for Spark Theater’s Laura in 2013.
What is your favorite role or production you’ve been involved in?
F: My favorite production would have to be a tie between Little Shop of Horrors and Seussical. I’ve been in Seussical twice and it’s an amazing ensemble experience and such a blast to perform. Little Shop of Horrors was one of my dream shows and it was an incredible experience to perform it in front of audiences.
What is your top piece of advice for aspiring performers?
F: Be comfortable with rejection and be open minded when you’re given a role you didn’t expect. There is more rejection in this business than there is success. It’s not something you should take personally, but rather, be motivated to seek out other roles. I’ve been cast more as roles I didn’t think I wanted, which turned out to be incredible experiences.
Always keep an open mind and learn what you can from other performers, directors, and stage crew. People involved in theatre come from a variety of backgrounds and have so much to teach you. No matter how old you are or how much experience you think you have, there’s always some amazing performance opportunity you never knew was there.
What do you think makes PAA special or unique?
F: I think PAA concentrates on the development of students’ character, not just an emphasis on performance. It is an invaluable program that encourages families to support theatre and youth performance, not to simply glorify certain roles or aspects of a show. Students can learn many aspects of theatre production, beyond performance, and well-rounded actors are far more valuable.
What is your most embarrassing performing arts moment?
F: I was in the ensemble of Beauty and the Beast, doing a tango number with the cutest boy in the show. When he spun me around, per the choreography, my hairpiece got caught on his wrist cuff. When he tried to pull his arm away he instead yanked me to the ground and I fell flat on my back in front of the audience.
What is your favorite quote?
“Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise, risking more than others think is safe, dreaming more than others think is practical, and expecting more than others think is possible. It is the commitment to high quality performance that produces outstanding results of lasting value. Excellence is believing in continuous improvement and never being satisfied with anything being less than it can be. It is quality as a way of life”
Anything else you want to share?
F: I learned a mantra from someone several years ago that matters more in the performing arts than most other industries:
Love what you are doing,
Love who you are doing it with,
And love who you are doing it for.