BWW Interview: Atlanta Girl Mackenzie Perpich Talks Returning Home as the ANNIE Tour Plays the Fox Theatre
Mackenzie Perpich is one of the most bubbly people I've ever talked to. Her joy for being on tour with ANNIE and uncontainable excitement about life can best be described as contagious. Returning to her hometown has this girl brimming with nostalgia, remembering seeing the ANNIE tour at this same theatre when she was little. With her passion for theatre coming full circle, Mackenzie could not be happier about coming home to the Fox Theatre in Atlanta. Note: a written medium cannot possibly convey the enthusiasm she naturally radiates, so make sure to read this in the most lively voice ever.
We're very excited to see ANNIE at the Fox Theatre this week!
I know! It's my hometown, so it's very exciting. It's kind of crazy honestly. It's one of those full circle moments, because I literally remember being probably 10 or 11 and seeing the ANNIE tour at the Fox when I was little, because we always went to the nutcracker and stuff like that, and I remember going to see ANNIE at the Fox! So it's crazy! It's going to be a very surreal, full circle moment when I'm actually there. And the Fox is just gorgeous. It's honestly the prettiest theatre ever in my opinion. Those twinkly stars? Those are the best! So I'm excited to be back there.
Which part of Atlanta are you from?
I'm from the Johns Creek, Alpharetta area. I went to Northview High School there, grew up there. Actually it's the only house I've ever lived in, so I'm Atlanta born and raised! It's still where I go home to. I've honestly been back a lot this year, because when we have layoffs and stuff, I don't have a home in New York anymore, so I'm like, "Going back to Georgia!"
And this is my first tour, so it's a learning experience. You learn how to get food and make food in weird places, and you learn how to use Google maps very well. Honestly, I can straight-up live out of a suitcase now. It's kind of insane how much stuff you don't need but you think that you need. And then you go on tour, and you're like, "Throw it all out. It's too heavy! I'm not lugging that around!"
That sounds like a great learning experience. What about sleeping on the bus?
Oh my gosh, so this is so fun- so there are seven orphans obviously, so seven little girls all under the age of 12, and they're only the cutest! You're going to die when you see them. And we each have a little sister, which is so fun! We did that the first week. I'm super close with my little sister and her mom. So they laugh at me, because whenever I get on the bus and I'm sitting near them, I'm like, "Ok Jackie, wake me up at lunch time!" and I've got my eyemask on and go to bed for five hours. It's insane! It's the glamorous life, let me tell you [laughs].
How has it been being on tour with little girls?
I think it's great. Honestly though, they just bring a different life to it all with their energy, which I don't understand. I'm like, "My goodness, I wish I was ten again!" As exciting as it is, and as much of an adventure as it is, it's still a job at the end of the day. But for them, it's not a job! They're on tour, they're in a different city, they're performing. Every young musical theatre girl's dream is to be in ANNIE. So it's awesome. I love it. I love it! They just bring a new kind of happiness to it. They're all the best. I love them. I can't say enough good things about them.
It sounds like it's really refreshing to be with little kids because they have such a different perspective on everything.
Yeah, they have that wide-eyed outlook... if we have to cut [the show] down because of the venue or whatever, we'll have the tracking in our head, saying, "Ok, this is what we have to do, here's the new track," and recently when we were doing that, one of the little girls just goes, "I'm excited to see Caroline sing that part!" And we're like, "[pause]Um...Exactly. Yes. Exactly." We're all coding it in our head, and they just put us in perspective sometimes! It definitely helps day in and day out for the craziness of it all.
And I'm sure being the swing can get very crazy for you. How is that going?
I've actually never swung before. So first tour, first swinging gig. I actually love swinging. I'm a dancer, so I kind of have that detail oriented brain. It's something that I've always wanted to try, and a lot of times with this business you can make a career out of swinging, just because a good swing is hard to find! I cover five tracks [people] in the show. So I'm an "onstage swing," meaning I'm onstage every night in some group numbers and some little fill-in stuff, so that when somebody's out, my swing track disappears, and I go in for their track.
Honestly, I don't think there's any better onstage training than being a swing, because you have to listen. You have to pay attention, you have to be aware of your surroundings, you have to know the show so well. So you know when you're on stage and you get that adrenaline rush just from performing, part of what makes us keep coming back for more? As a swing, it's like times a million! You're like, "Ok, I'm on stage, I'm doing it, but also not sure if I'm on track 8 or 10 right now. Where do I go? Do I have a line coming up? Nope, that's my other track, ssshhh! Don't say anything!" I usually get at least an hour or two of notice, so it gives me time to look over my notes or run over anything with someone, and do a little prep.
So have there ever been times when you accidentally started to say a line that wasn't yours, or do you always figure it out?
No, it's just constantly a thought process. At this point, you know the show so well, that it's just, you kind of see it's a big puzzle. Any show is. It fits together, kind of why they call them tracks, because they all coincide and live together somehow.
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MACKENZIE PERPICH (Swing) First National Tour! Favorite credits: Footloose, Once Upon A Mattress, Legally Blonde, working with Broadway Dreams Foundation and The ALLIANCE THEATRE. Recently, US premiere of Tim Rice's From Here to Eternity. Love to CTG, SY, Mike & Jean. @Mackperp, Deuteronomy30:19
ANNIE will play at Atlanta's Fox Theatre for five performances March 17 - 19, 2017. The performance schedule is as follows:
Friday: 8 p.m.
Saturday: 2 p.m., 8 p.m.
Sunday: 1 p.m., 6:30 p.m.
Tickets go on sale Sunday, January 8. Tickets start at $33.50 and are available by visiting www.foxtheatre.org/annie, calling 1-855-285-8499 or visiting the Fox Theatre Box Office (660 Peachtree St NE, Atlanta, GA 30308). Group orders of 10 or more may be placed by calling 404-881-2000.