If you've been to The 5th Avenue Theatre lately, you were probably treated to a lovely adaption of The Secret Garden starring my latest interview subject, Bea Corley. Bea played Mary Lennox in the show, which wrapped last week. I have the honor of working with Bea's mom, and asked if I could share a little bit about theatre life and dreams of this bright young talent.
Tell us about your acting background:
My interest in theatre began from attending a LOT of theatre with my family. Neither of my parents have theatre experience, but they really love going to theatre. My oldest sister (I have two older sisters) began acting and it quickly led to some professional theatre. She played Jane in Village Theatre’s Mary Poppins a few years ago and it was so amazing to watch her in such a great show that I became interested in going to auditions with her. I did many youth productions, and then my first professional show was a small role in Les Misérables at Village Theatre. One of the actors I met in that show became my voice teacher. She encouraged me to audition for The Secret Garden.
What is your favorite part about playing Mary Lennox?
I like that Mary’s character changes over the course of the show. She starts out as a brat, for good reason since many things in her life have gone awry, but by the end of the show she heals many broken people and brings her new family together. I love that Mary, not an adult or a magical nanny, is the heroine. Often in shows, it is the kids who are saved, but this time the girl saves everyone and also herself.
What would be your dream role?
I would like to play one of the Schuyler sisters from Hamilton. I have the whole show memorized so I am ready! I also want to play Éponine in Les Misérables. Once I improve my tap dancing I want to be in Singin’ in the Rain too!
What are some of your favorite plays?
Singin in the Rain, Hamilton (even though I haven’t actually seen it), Les Misérables, and Mary Poppins
Who inspires you, and why?
I really like Emma Watson because she had a lot of success as a child, but seems like someone who has handled it well. I like that she pushes for strong roles for girls. I also admire Lin Manuel Miranda because he took a crazy idea of using hip-hop in musicals (In the Heights and Hamilton) and had huge success by sticking with his idea. Finally, I look up to the entire cast at The Secret Garden. They are all very talented and have been very supportive of me as a new actor.
What are some of your favorite reads?
I have read the Harry Potter series multiple times. That is my all-time favorite. I also like realistic and historical fiction. My favorite reading at school is American History. I love to read baking cookbooks and watch cooking shows.
What are your favorite things about Seattle?
I have lived here all my life so it is hard to know what I am missing, but I do know Seattle has a lot of great theatres!! My life would be so different if I didn’t grow up in a city with all these wonderful theatres. I attended a few shows on Broadway and I really think what I have seen here is just as good (but I still want to work on Broadway someday!). I also like the mild weather and easy access to coffee. I already drink coffee even though I am only 12. That is what happens when you are raised in Seattle.
Thanks, Bea & Sara!