My name is Allison Rowe and I am the Enchantress who comes to the Prince’s door and offers him a rose in return for shelter. He refuses, I reveal myself to be a beautiful enchantress, then I curse him, the castle and all who dwell within it. Kind of a harsh punishment if you ask me, but it begins the amazing story of Beauty and the Beast, so I can’t complain. I am also a featured dancer, so I am a napkin in all the ensemble castle scenes and one of the wolves who chases both Belle and Maurice. I also play a role in the ensemble as a villager, where I am a dressmaker. AKA: I have lots of really quick costume changes. Wish me luck.
I grew up watching TONS of Disney movies as a kid, including Beauty and the Beast. But I’d never seen any performance of it but the movie. There are whole songs and scenes added to the musical that make the story so much deeper and richer, and really enhance your connections to the characters. I’m finding new character motivations, new backstories, new experiences that have changed the way I see the whole story. It’s amazing. Especially in my prologue part as the Enchantress: in the movie it is just a bunch of shots of a stained glass window. I actually get to bring her to life, which is amazing.
However, it is also really challenging to bring a stained glass Enchantress to life. I don’t really have a lot to base her character on, since she only appears briefly in the movie. But for our production, the Enchantress will appear throughout the show in various castle scenes. So I have to develop a character for her, find her motivations and develop layers of her psyche that have not been specified in the script or movie. Challenging? Yes. Exciting? Definitely.
I’ve been participating in Homestead musicals since I was a freshman, and I’ve gotta say I’ve become addicted. During musical season, I go through my school days so anxious for time to go faster because I just want to get to rehearsal. I love the ability to be creative and express whole new sides of myself. Its really an amazing experience, and I couldn’t finish out my senior year without one last musical.
Every day I begin rehearsal by leading stretches. This is really fun for me, because I get to pull from all the warm-up exercises I’ve ever learned in my dance classes to create a series of warm-ups that apply to everyone in the cast. For example, I’m not going to make everyone in the cast try to do the splits: that would be ridiculous. I like pushing people to get stronger and better, so that we can all become great, making our production that much better. I’ve also been leading Flex Day “Flex Days,” where anyone can come to the weight room for 30mins to 1hr after rehearsal on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I’ve been a part of many sports teams, and each has emphasized the importance of conditioning and strengthening to enhance your performance. Why can’t the same apply to theatre?
I’ve been involved with performing for a long time: I’ve been dancing and performing in recitals for 15 years. But I first got into theatre when I was in 4th grade, when I participated in North Shore Academy of the Arts’ (NSAA) production of High School Musical. I played a brainiac. Yup, I wore a lab coat and danced around singing “Stick to the Status Quo” and loved every minute of it. I stayed with the same group and performed in Pirates of Penzance Jr. as a daughter. I took a break from theatre for a little bit after that, but my love was restored when I auditioned for Brigadoon my freshman year of high school, and the rest is history.
While I love the musical, it’s not the only thing I do! I played Varsity volleyball at Homestead, and was a captain my senior year. I also played club volleyball, but decided not to do it this year so I could have more time to enjoy time in the musical and with my friends. I also take 5 dance classes each week at Academy of Dance Arts: ballet (2 classes), tap, jazz, and modern. I’m a part of the Rube Goldberg team and Interact Club as well. But I do all these things because I love them, and although it sometimes makes me crazy, I wouldn’t change it for the world.
What’s the last thing you do before you step out on stage / the curtain goes up?
The past two years (and in this one too), the dancers have always been one of the first people on stage. So while the orchestra is warming up and we are waiting nervously in the wings, we always get in a huddle and psyche ourselves up for the performance, whispering about all the amazing stuff we are going to do once we get out on stage. We say all sorts of dancer clichés and swear a lot, anything to get ourselves pumped up and energized. Right before the curtain opens, we do some kind of cheer to break out of our huddle, and get in our spots to take the stage. It’s one of my favorite pre-show routines.