Broadway debut. To any actor, they're two of the most glorious words in the English language.
Those words apply to Alison Lory, making her premiere Broadway appearance tonight as part of the ensemble of The Scarlet Pimpernel. Not that this is her first professional assignment. Lory's regional credits include such musicals as The Sound Of Music and Of Thee I Sing. Her favorite role to-date is Eve in The Apple Tree's Diary Of Adam & Eve segment.
The purity of that role carries over to her latest assignment, as Pimpernel's Chloe, a child praying in jail. Says Lory, "I identify with the fact that Chloe is at peace with herself and is just trying to get through this situation the best she can. She's just so pure. So honest. Everything just comes from her heart. She even sings, `I just hope when I die, the angels look upon me.'"
And what angels were looking after Lory when she got her first Broadway role? "I auditioned because I knew the conductor, Ron Melrose, who suggested I go through the auditions. I went to the open call. I was just an alternate, so if they didn't get to my number, I wouldn't have even been seen. But I waited all day, got seen, they called me back weeks later, put me through two more auditions, and I got the part."
Continued Lory, "I went a little avant-garde with my audition and sang "Silent Night," because the role is a little child. In the first call-back, I sang "Silent Night" again, this time for [director] Peter (Hunt) and [composer] Frank (Wildhorn). The second callback wanted to show more of a pop range, so I sang Celine Dion's `Power Of Love.'" Asked whether her work on the road prepared her for the pressure and excitement of a Broadway opening, Lory said, "Actually, it's been surprisingly similar to the regional work -- even high school plays. Not to minimize what we're doing, but the previous experience has helped so much. Theatre is theatre, and the best training possible is to get out there and do it. To be in class is one thing, and important, but there's nothing like going out there and doing it."
Composer Wildhorn has been helping maintain that spirit with his positive attitude, says Lory. "Frank's funny . . . he's always asking, `are you having a good time? Are you having fun?' That's so wonderful and supportive. In this type of show, there are serious, poignant moments that can't be taken lightly, but mostly the show doesn't take itself too seriously. It's pure entertainment. There's a recent tendency in theatre and TV to always make deep psychological points.. Everything has to be a big issue. This is just an old-fashioned, fun musical. And that takes some of the pressure off getting a new show off its feet. For opening night and every night, for me the idea is to have no negative spirits and a big smile, just to enjoy every second of it."