Lyric Arts had a chance to interview Rebekah Olson, who is performing as Pepper in Annie. Read on to hear what she has to say about her experience thus far.
LA: Tell us a little bit about why this particular play interested you?
RO: Annie interested me because it is iconic. I knew I wanted to be in a show this fall, and what better production to be in then one that inspires people?
LA: For those that are unfamiliar with Annie can you tell us about the show?
RO: Annie is about an optimistic little girl who was orphaned and finds a better life for herself, even though it was not the one she was expecting.
LA: Talk about the character v(s) that you play in Annie. How have you developed this character?
RO: I am Pepper a.k.a. the bully orphan. The thing that helped me develop her personality the most was figuring out what her back story was. She is a very cold, closed off character, but only because she doesn’t trust people. If I was thrown into an orphanage that young, I wouldn’t trust anyone either. Having other people fear her works because then she does not need to let anyone in.
LA: Why should people come and see Annie?
RO: Because it is phenomenal. One night during rehearsal we were talking about why we chose to audition for Annie and several people said it was because it was the first show they had seen when they were little and it inspired them. Not only is the choreography, humor, and staging outstanding, but the message infuses hope into your life.
LA: Talk about your fellow cast members, how do you see their characters developing? Any that you are particularly amazed at?
RO: The characters I have seen develop the most are the ensemble. No matter how short or seemingly minimal there part is, they have all put thought into every movement in word, and the ensemble makes our show top notch. The character I am most impressed with is Miss Hannigan. I have had the honor of working with Caroline, who plays Miss Hannigan before, and I don’t understand how so much talent is squeezed into one person.
LA: What do you feel are the “wow” elements of Annie?
RO: Although I believe that every single actor is important, our main little miss. Reagan is by far one of the most talented little girls and that is a huge blessing to have our leading lady be able to carry the show so professionally. Not only do we have an amazing lead but our choreography is stunning, and the costumes are spot on.
LA: What is your favorite aspect of the show?
RO: Annie is known for its dance numbers, and boy do we have dance numbers. I am not a trained dancer, but I do it anyway! The choreography that Jeff gave us captures the characters feelings, and the joy that we as actors get from it transfers right to the audience.
LA: Tell us what is something that you are particular excited about this show coming to together? For example, a certain scene, costumes, set, lights, etc?
RO: I am particularly excited for Easy Street. It is my favorite number in the show and Alicia, Adam, and Caroline do it justice.
LA: What is your favorite musical to watch?
RO: Les Miserable. Absolutely. 100%. All the way.
LA: What is your favorite thing to do around the holidays?
RO: Sing, of course. My grandma makes a mean Christmas dinner so I’m normally where the food and people are.
LA: Which do you like better Annie the movie or the stage version?
RO: I love the 1982 version of the film because of Carol Burnett, but as an audience member, I think that the stage version has more of an impact.
LA: Where and how will you have the energy to do 24 shows?
RO: In real life I am the oldest of the orphans, so I think I can suck up plenty of excess energy from my fellow orphans.
LA: To date what is your favorite role that you have played and why?
RO: My favorite role is actually one of the smaller roles I got which was Townsperson 2 in Rapunzel Uncut here at Lyric Arts. I enjoyed it because we were all equal in role size, we were able to perform for a ton of kids doing things from chase scenes to dance breaks, and we had a lot of fun.
LA: What is your dream character to play on stage?
RO: This is a tough one. I would love to play Eponine in Les Miserable, any of Sutton Foster’s roles, or Kim MacAfee in Bye Bye Birdie.
LA: Please tell us a little bit about yourself?
RO: I’m 15, I’m a sophomore, I am the worlds most extroverted homeschooler (true story), I have 3 amazing older sisters, 2 of which are married, a fantastic mom and dad, an insanely large extended family, my passion is singing, I have been acting for 5 years, I have a hamster named mouse, I have a Ukulele name kaffebønne (coffee bean in Norwegian), I don’t like pickles, and my favorite State Fair food is deep-fried candy bars.