Not only does Annelise bring a new face to the Parkway Playhouse stage, she brings a beautiful new voice. Trust us, if copyright laws didn’t prevent us from giving you a sneak “listen,” we would provide clips as proof. You’ll just have to come hear her for yourself. What we can do, though, is help you get to know her a little better…
PP: We’re thrilled to welcome you to Burnsville, and like all small town front porches, we have to ask: So… where are you from? Where do you study theatre?
Annelise: I am originally from Jacksonville, North Carolina where I studied voice under Catharine Koonce and Charles Coakley. I also studied dance at Dance Theatre of Jacksonville for ten years, where I was on a competition dance team. During my senior year of high school I began taking dance again at South Eastern Dance Academy in Wilmington, North Carolina. During high school, I was able to play “Annie” in Annie, “Princess Fiona” in Shrek the Musical, and “Gabriella” in High School Musical: the Musical.
This is my first time performing at Parkway, but I have worked hard to get myself into the theatre world here in Western North Carolina! I am a BFA Musical Theatre Major and Dance Minor at Western Carolina University, so most recently I have been working on mainstage productions through the university. During my Sophomore year, I played “Shira” in Resident Alien, which is a new musical written by our previous Musical Theatre program head, Katya Stanislavskaya. I was also a part of the “Tribe” in Hair directed by Terrence Mann. Briar (Clyde) was also a part of the “Tribe”, so we really got to know each other before the show even started!
PP: When you found out you’d been cast as Bonnie, did you do a lot of research into the real life Bonnie, or did you just rely on what was in the script and bringing that to life?
This cast and creative team has done so much research to make this show possible. When Briar and I found out that we were going to be playing Bonnie and Clyde we were constantly texting each other back and forth with little tidbits of information that we would read. Most of my personal research came from reading the book Go Down Together
by Jeff Guinn, which is basically a biography of Bonnie and Clyde’s life before and after they met each other.
I also watched the Bonnie and Clyde original movie, and HBO series on Netflix! This cast has been great about sharing the information that they have learned with each other, and we have a Facebook group where we post our findings. We want this show to touch our audience, but we also want for it to be historically accurate.
After reading so much about Bonnie, I have fallen in love with her story. I feel obligated to not let her down, and portray her story as accurately as possible. Her biggest dream in life was to be famous for her poetry, acting, and singing. Imagine how she might feel knowing that there is now a musical written about her!
PP: How has it been working with this cast?
Annelise: This cast has been a complete joy to work with. Everyone is so supportive of each other, and this experience has been extremely refreshing. When Briar and I found out that we were going to be working together, we ironically weren’t really that close of friends. These past couple of months we have basically become attached at the hip, and have really gained the trust in each other that it takes to play these roles. There is a lot of ice cream and late night line-running behind what the audience will see onstage!
Briar is an incredibly talented actor, and I find more comfort in singing on stage. Briar enjoys the scene work, and I enjoy the music. We balance each other out well, and push each other where the other one is weak which creates a really great on-stage chemistry between the two of us.
I have also had the pleasure of working with Christine and Luke, who are absolutely hysterical in this show. They constantly keep rehearsals light-hearted and fun, and I love the scenes where Bonnie, Clyde, Buck, and Blanche are all together. I have also enjoyed getting to work with Trissa and Karen, after previously working with them in Seussical at ACT. Our director, Dwight Chiles, has been so incredibly supportive and has walked with me through this whole process. His patience with me as I figured out who Bonnie was has been remarkable.
This cast is so talented that I leave rehearsals some nights completely overwhelmed by how lucky I am to be surrounded by such amazing artists. I can’t wait for there to finally be an audience to see the magic!
PP: We know you haven’t gotten through tech week yet, but you’ve enjoyed working at Parkway Playhouse?
Annelise: One of my favorite things about acting at Parkway Playhouse is the atmosphere that the theatre has. Parkway is such a gem in these Western North Carolina mountains, and I am so happy that I get to make art here.
One of my favorite things to do during rehearsal when I’m not needed on stage is to walk backstage and see all of the signatures written on the walls. There are signatures that date back to the 60’s and 70’s. Seeing everything that actors before me have written on the walls is so incredibly humbling, and makes me feel like I am a part of something so much bigger than myself.
So, let’s show Annelise the greatest part of acting at Parkway Playhouse: the incredible audiences!
Call 828.682.4285 to purchase tickets or get them ONLINE.
Bonnie & Clyde, our first musical of the summer, opens on Saturday, July 8 at 7:30pm and is followed by the traditional Opening Night Party. Sunday’s 3pm performance is followed by a short opportunity to ask questions of the actors!