Campus Celebrity: Alyssa Beasley to Perform in "Lizzie" on Aug. 25

Summer is coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go out and see some amazing theatre! The Music Theatre of Madison’s LIZZIE premiers Aug. 17-26 at the Fredric March Play Circle in Memorial Union, with a special 10:30 p.m. performance on Aug. 25 featuring their understudies, such as the extremely talented Alyssa Beasley. Beasley is a UW-Madison student going into her senior year as a civil and environmental engineer, who also happens to have a passion for musical theatre. Since May, Alyssa and the rest of the cast have been putting in a lot of rehearsal time to get their show up on stage. Come check out their show and get the opportunity to experience the rock musical.

Photo by Brett Williams at Music Theatre of Madison

 

Her Campus: What is LIZZIE about?

Alyssa Beasley: LIZZIE is about Lizzie Borden, the alleged axe murderess from the year 1892. Her life story and inner turmoil, which ultimately led to the murders themselves, are told in the form of a rock musical. There are four characters: Lizzie Borden, her sister Emma Borden, the maid Bridget Sullivan, and Lizzie’s lover/confidante Alice Russel.

 

HC: Who will you play?

AB: I am understudying for the roles of Bridget and Alice, but I will be performing as Bridget on Aug. 25 at 10:30 p.m.

 

On top of understudying for the roles of Bridget and Alice, Beasley will be performing as Bridget in "LIZZIE" on Aug. 25.

Photo Courtesy of Alyssa Beasley

 

HC: What is something you and your character have in common?

AB: I relate to Bridget because she is very sly. She is always plotting and never ceases to have a trick up her sleeve! I relate to Alice’s fierce loyalty to the ones she loves.

 

HC: What is something about understudies that most people don’t know?

AB: Most people don’t know that understudies get very little time to rehearse, if at all. My fellow understudy, Julia Luebke, and I have been fortunate enough to get a sing-through and a full run-through of the show before going on stage—most understudies don’t even get that. There are a lot of watching and note-taking that go on behind scenes!

 

Actresses of LIZZIE understudying for other roles.

Photo Courtesy of Alyssa Beasley

 

HC: If you could play any character in LIZZIE other than Bridget, who would it be? Why?

AB: Ah! This is such a difficult question! I have a total obsession with Emma Borden. I think she is such a fascinating character, and she is just so hardcore and unyielding— I love her energy. However, Emma is way out of my type and vocally not my style. Lizzie would be the most realistic character for me to play, acting- and vocal-wise, because [her character] fits my vocal range the best out of all four women (except for some of her crazy high belting notes… I can’t wait for you to hear Meghan Randolph as Lizzie). I am also in love with a lot of Lizzie’s songs, especially the beginning of “The Soul of The White Bird”.

 

HC: What is it like working with all women (cast, directing, costuming-wise, etc.)?

AB: It is such a wonderful experience! Theatre rarely has enough roles for women, let alone a cast entirely comprised of women. There are even fewer women involved in the technical aspects of theatre, and it is very refreshing to see a ton of women stepping up and contributing to this show with everything they have. There is a deep sense of community throughout this cast and crew.

 

HC: How much did you know about Lizzie Borden before you were cast in LIZZIE?

AB: I knew essentially nothing. I learned about Lizzie Borden from a museum in St. Augustine, Florida. I also did some research before I auditioned.

 

HC: What kind of message do you think Music Theatre of Madison's (MTM) LIZZIE sends to its audience?

AB: While the subject matter of LIZZIE is very dark and very heavy, I think it ultimately tells the story of loss and recovery. Each character displays extremely dynamic shifts throughout the process of the show, and the most profound thing that I have seen in rehearsals is recovery and growth. While this musical is taken to the extremes with costumes, lighting and the obvious plot point of murder, many of the themes and struggles these characters face are what we see and encounter every day. For some crazy reason, this show inspires me to grow as human beings when faced with compromising circumstances.

 

HC: How long have you been performing?

AB: I have been singing since I was four and performing in musical theatre productions since I was 12. Music, both instrumental and vocal, has always been a part of my life, and the acting has been more of a recent obsession.

 

HC: Have you performed with the MTM before?

AB: I randomly auditioned for the reading of Nightmare Alley the day I found out the auditions existed. I wasn’t prepared at all, and I sang a song from the show that I had just closed. Surprisingly, I ended up being cast, and that was a great start to something that I never would have expected. That summer, Meghan Randolph, executive director of MTM, emailed me asking if I wanted to play the role of The Minister in A New Brain. The Minister is a male role, but the man who was originally cast dropped out, and she asked if I would step in for him. It was such a great experience with a ton of amazing people!

 

HC: Why should everyone come see LIZZIE?

AB: "LIZZIE" is unlike any show you’ve ever seen. Not only is the music is wildly complex and incredible, it showcases so many genres. The characters are wonderfully developed and so carefully crafted by each of the leading ladies who portrays them. The ladies themselves…all of these women are such powerhouses and are so unique and talented. This is easily the most talented cast I have every worked with in terms of scope, instinct and experience. The dedication and hard work definitely shows. Technically, this extremely complex show is perfected by the intricate costumes of Jenni Schwaner-Ladd. It’s a crazy-awesome rock musical entirely composed of women! Who wouldn’t want to see that?!

 

If you want to see Alyssa and the rest of the cast of LIZZIE, tickets are available at the Memorial Union Box Office.