BWW Blog: Abigail Shapiro - Sister, Sister Act

Sister, Sister Act

Hello Broadway World! As you may know, my sister and I have been performing at 54 BELOW, and today, I'm going to tell you a bit about our experience. When I first heard about the opportunity to perform at the famed supper club 54 BELOW, I was thrilled! Both my sister and I have always wanted to do some kind of "sister act" together professionally (well, at least more professional than the shows we subjected our parents to in our living room growing up).

I had many ideas for this show, and I wrote them down as soon as I could. Once I started writing, it seemed practically impossible to stop! I researched the venue, so I could get an idea of the stage. I interviewed Milly about personal experiences and things she would like to include in the cabaret. We sat down together and created a lengthy list of our favorite songs, songs we related to, or songs that had a special meaning for us.

As we glanced at the list we had completed, there was one song that did indeed call out to us: "Live Out Loud" from A Little Princess by Andrew Lippa and Brian Crawley. The two of us always aim to "Live Out Loud" and we want to help others have their chance to realize their dreams, too.

In fact, we had decided to support an organization called No Bully with our cabarets and our upcoming CD. No Bully visits schools across the U.S. with a goal to end the issue of bullying. Milly and I could both personally relate to their cause and are passionate about the topic. We want to stop harassment in and out of schools, so everyone can Live Out Loud.

During our shows at 54 BELOW we were honored with amazing performances from guest stars. At our first performance, we played host to Lesli Margherita, who Milly had worked with in Matilda The Musical and has the most perfect comedic timing, and Andrew Lippa, the composer of our show's namesake and my absolute favorite musical A Little Princess. For our second show, later in May, Andrea McArdle joined us on stage-the original Annie! Both of us were quite excited to be working with her because she's a person who inspired us from a young age. Our third show featured Sophia Gennusa and Bailey Ryon, two of Milly's fellow original Matildas. We all performed "We Got The Beat" by the Go Gos. I had taught them a routine through a video taken on my iPhone, I had emailed them the lyrics and we conversed by text. We had learned practically everything electronically, which was a bit of a challenge. But they rocked that stage!

In addition to having the opportunity to perform some of our classic favorite songs, I also worked closely with producer Van Dean to create a rewrite of "Anything You Can Do". We reimagined it as Matilda meeting Annie with Milly and Andrea acting out each of their original roles. What an incredible experience seeing them embody these characters all over again, and to words I had helped write!

Over the course of our shows, Jillian Caillouette also joined us for a performance. She was a finalist this year and last in the National High School Musical Theatre Awards and received "Best Actress In A Leading Role" twice. Milly and I had seen her receive her most recent award when we hosted the Connecticut High School Musical Theatre Awards this year. We brought her into our show so we could give her the chance to "Live Out Loud."

The beautiful 54 BELOW venue offered us an experience we will remember for a lifetime. Our cabaret also gave us a chance to record our very first live album that we've been hard at work on, and I can't wait to see how it all comes out. It will be released on September 9th, quite soon! We will be promoting it at our upcoming performance once again at 54 BELOW on August 28th ( Not many kids our age have so many opportunities like this. To me, it still seems unreal. Both of us have learned how lucky we are to have the chance to "Live Out Loud" and we hope we're able to share it with everyone for years to come! Well that's all for now Broadway World. Hope you've enjoyed this blog!

-Abigail Shapiro

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