You may know Molly Jo Hall from her work with Lyric Arts’ education programming, or her roles in multiple productions on the Main Street Stage, or from her performance as a gorilla in this past year’s Halloween Parade (could you tell it was her?). Learn more about Molly Jo before you see her perform in the Cabaret variety show.
LA: What was the first show you were involved with at Lyric Arts? Molly Jo: My first show at Lyric Arts was Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in 2011. I was cast as Mrs. Potiphar, "wailing woman,” Apache Dancer understudy, and Gad's Wife–which was the role where I was cast opposite of my now husband, Ben.
LA: How has Lyric Arts changed your life? Molly Jo: It gave me a place as an actor, choreographer, and teacher to test the waters and learn to develop my skills in a safe, educational, and honest environment.
LA: What is the best part about being in a show at Lyric Arts? Molly Jo: A professional and fast rehearsal process and an intimate work space on stage. The thrust stage makes for fun and creative staging that is constantly being used for different shows in different and unique ways. Not to mention, as a semi-professional theater, Lyric Arts provides large productions at a high quality level that are available to the performing community of all levels, beginners and experienced.
LA: Without giving too much away, what do you feel are the "wow" elements of the Cabaret? Molly Jo: There are some pretty incredible vocalists in this production, and some numbers may surprise you and show your favorite Lyric Arts performers in a new light.
LA: What three words best describe Lyric Arts? Molly Jo: Growing. Opportunity. Intimate.
LA: What is a dream show that you’d love to see produced on the Main Street Stage? Molly Jo: Musicals: West Side Story, Company, Next To Normal or The Last Five Years. Straight Plays: The House Of Blue Leaves, The Diary of Anne Frank or A Streetcar Named Desire
LA: What has been your favorite experience at Lyric Arts? Molly Jo: Being a pastor's daughter myself and playing the role of Ariel Moore in Footloose, a far more rebellious pastor’s daughter, was incredible. With the show being a rather long run filled with high-energy dance numbers, emotionally raw scenes with a complex character, and vocally strenuous numbers, that show was emotionally and physically draining. I refer to that show as Performance Boot Camp. I was able to grow as a performer in dance, vocally, and as an actor.
LA: Please tell us a little bit about yourself? Molly Jo: I was born and raised in the Twin Cities and I am the youngest of three sisters. I started singing in the church choir and continued all through school including college. I graduated with a BA in Children and Family Ministries with a minor in Theatre from North Central University. I'm currently working as a nanny, a workshop instructor for the Lyric Arts education program, and performing and choreographing throughout different theaters in the Twin Cities area. I was married last May to a wonderful musician and teacher, Ben Schrade, and we live in Anoka.
LA: Can you give us a clue to which number you’ll be performing in the Cabaret? Molly Jo: I am a princess, a murderer, and a scientist.
LA: Do you ever get stage fright? Molly Jo: I do, I do. There are two times for sure. First, waiting in the wings to go on stage. I am always worried I'm going to forget something. The second would be before EVERY audition. I believe Chorus Line said it best: "God, I hope I get it!"
LA: What is your biggest acting goal? Molly Jo: I would like to continue performing as long as I can in theaters throughout the Twin Cities area. I would love the chance to work at the Children's Theater Company. I hope to someday make this a family affair. We could be like The Family Von Trapp.
LA: What are your favorite plays? Molly Jo: West Side Story, Les Miserables, Funny Girl, Jekyll and Hyde, Little Women, 'Night Mother, Of Mice And Men, Our Town, and Twelve Angry Men
LA: Can you share any special ‘tricks of the trade?’ Molly Jo: Being unkind gets you nowhere. I believe a director and fellow actors care just as much about your character offstage as they do about the character you're playing onstage. Challenge yourself constantly, be humble with roles you get and don't get, and thank God for all the open doors you've been given.