Lyric Arts had a chance to interview SALLY KIMMES, who is performing as FRANCIS PERKINS 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?
SK: My daughter played Miss Hannigan in middle school and I was hoping to follow in her footsteps! I enjoy playing “evil” or “naughty” characters since I am always so nice and cheerful in real life!
LA: For those that are unfamiliar with Annie can you tell us about the show?
SK:Annie is about an optimistic little orphan girl who is determined to find her mother and father. She wins the lottery, so to speak, when she is chosen to spend two weeks at Christmas in the home of wealthy industrialist Oliver Warbucks. But she gives more than she receives when she opens his heart to notice the simple joys in life.
LA: Talk about the character v(s) that you play in Annie. How have you developed this character?
SK:I get to portray the historical figure Frances Perkins, first female member of the Cabinet under F.D.R. She was the Secretary of Labor and is responsible for establishing social security. She is an amazing woman to study! I keep finding out new things to inform my character such as she studied economics and sociology and earned a master’s degree – a big deal for a woman in the early 1900’s!
I also play a dog catcher, homeless person, and servant at the Warbucks’ mansion. I develop these a little more each time I interact with the rest of the ensemble members. I am a compassionate person by nature, so I can often feel how others are feeling, which is extremely helpful on-stage! I can authentically react and respond to my fellow actors!
LA: Why should people come and see Annie?
SK:It is going to be a stellar show! You won’t believe you are sitting in small town Anoka. The talent in this show is simply amazing! The characters are all so genuine in their own ways. And couldn’t we all use a little of Annie’s optimism in our world these days???
LA: Talk about your fellow cast members, how do you see their characters developing? Any that you are particularly amazed at?
SK:I love watching all the different groups interact on stage! Hannigan, Rooster and Lily are hysterical! The orphans are magical! Annie, Warbucks and Grace – what fun to see them become a loving family as the show progresses. I play numerous roles with my fellow chorus members and when I look into their faces and interact with them – there is such intensity!
LA: What do you feel are the "wow" elements of Annie?
SK:The big numbers and the quiet moments and the juxtaposition of the two.
LA: What is your favorite aspect of the show?
SK:The optimism that Annie brings to everyone she encounters. I hope it will spill over into peoples’ everyday lives, as it has into mine!
LA: Tell us what is something that you are particularly excited about this show coming together? For example, a certain scene, costumes, set, lights, etc?
SK:I am excited to see my feet do exactly what the choreographer has requested and not whatever they feel like doing!!!!
LA: What is your favorite musical to watch?
SK:Billy Elliot - I saw it in NYC twice in one year!
LA: What is your favorite thing to do around the holidays?
SK:Bake cookies! My grandma's sugar cookie recipe is the best!
LA: Which do you like better Annie the movie or the stage version?
SK:I love Carole Burnett in the movie, but I must say I like the stage version better.
LA: Where and how will you have the energy to do 24 shows?
SK:With such an amazing cast, no two shows will ever be the same – we will change and evolve and deepen every night. There will always be a sense of anticipation – what is going to happen tonight?! That is what I love most about live theater!
LA: To date what is your favorite role that you have played and why?
SK:I would have to say Fiona in Brigadoon about a million years ago back in high school. It was the most complex character I have played. I would like to play that character again now that I am….wiser.
LA: What is your dream character to play on stage?
SK:Well, Elphaba, of course! I would love to play Billy Elliot’s grandma (her solo kills me every time)! And I am intrigued by Diana Goodman in Next to Normal.
LA: Please tell us a little bit about yourself?
SK:I am a school librarian in a preschool – 3rd grade building. I am John’s wife and Dariya’s mother. My daughter is running the light board for the show! I am a horrible housekeeper but an amazing baker…do those balance each other out? I am obsessed with knitting beautiful things!