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BWW Interview: Chatting with Miss Minnesota Elle Mark on Musical Theatre!

Elle is the current Miss Minnesota who performs musical theatre songs for the talent portion of competitions.

BWW Interview: Chatting with Miss Minnesota Elle Mark on Musical Theatre! After two years of working in the field of public health, Elle competed for the title of Miss Minnesota and was crowned on June 25th, 2021. Elle now travels the state of Minnesota, promoting both the Miss Minnesota Organization and the Campaign to Change Direction.

For her talent for her local, Miss Minnesota, and Miss America, Elle sang musical theatre songs.

I chatted with Elle about her talent and interest in musical theatre.

What inspired you to want to sing and perform?

For as long as I can remember, my family has been involved in the arts. Whether it was singing in church or taking dance classes with Community Education, my parents encouraged my sisters and I to stay in touch with our creative side. Once they got me on a stage, it was nearly impossible to get me out of the spotlight! Being onstage forces me to be present, and I enjoy taking on new personas while performing. Plus, I enjoy using my gifts to bring joy to others!

What was the name of your song and why did you choose that song in particular for your talent?

I sang "Times are Hard for Dreamers" from Amelie the musical on the Miss America stage. The first time I heard the piece, it was stuck in my head for days. Not only did it have a catchy melody, but I loved the message of continuing to pursue your dreams regardless of the setbacks you face. The lyrics really resonated with me and reminded me of the journey I had to take to get to where I am now.

Who were your musical influences?

I grew up in the era of Glee and was inspired to take singing more seriously by everyone of the cast members. I am grateful that the love for singing was fostered by my musically gifted parents and sisters. I would be remiss if I didn't give a shout-out to my choral directors from grade school through high school. It hurts my heart to think there are students who don't get to experience the types of arts education I did. It teaches so many invaluable lessons beyond just the ability to sing or make music.

Did you ever participate in any musicals? If so, which ones?

I auditioned for my first musical at the ripe age of 13 and, much to my surprise, I was cast as a townsperson in Oklahoma! for my local theatre. Since then, I have been in Fiddler on the Roof (Shprintze), The Wedding Singer (ensemble / Cyndi Lauper), Phantom of the Opera (Corps de Ballet), All Shook Up! (ensemble), HMS Pinafore (ensemble), The Pajama Game (Gladys), and Hairspray (Penny Pingleton). I also served as Assistant Director in a local production of Urinetown.

Do you have a favorite role in a show that you played?

Playing Penny Pingleton in Hairspray felt like getting to perform as my alter ego. I love her quirkiness, but I more so admire her courage. Getting to transform throughout every show with her was nothing short of a dream come true.

What is your favorite musical?

My mom used to play the Wicked soundtrack for us in the car when I was a kid. I fell in love with the show before seeing it. When my parents surprised me with tickets to the tour for my 12th birthday, I cried! It was so magical and I still get chills listening to the music today.

BWW Interview: Chatting with Miss Minnesota Elle Mark on Musical Theatre!

What is your favorite musical song to sing?

There's something about "On My Own" that will forever tug on my heart strings. It's impossible for me to sing it without getting teary-eyed, and there's nothing quite like hearing it simply nailed by another performer. I will say I never had as much fun performing as I did in singing "Without Love" in Hairspray, but it's an odd song to sing out of context.

What is a dream role you have?

Before getting to play Penny Pingleton, I always told people I had three dream roles; Penny from Hairspray, Sandy from Grease, and Elle Woods from Legally Blonde. I'm fairly certain that I would never leave the theatre if I had a chance to play Elle. She was an inspiration to me before the movie became a musical, then even more so when she hit broadway.

What was the first professional show you saw?

When I was in 5th grade, my godparents took me to see The Sound of Music at the Ordway in St. Paul, MN. Though I had been to other shows, this is the first one that I remember thinking, "I could do that someday". It sparked something in me and I signed up for my first theatre camp the following summer.

What is a show that you're still hoping to see?

My list of "want to see" musicals is ever-growing. I have yet to see Hamilton, but I am also super excited to see Six someday. Quite honestly, I'll never say "no" to seeing any show!

Thank you so much Elle! We look forward to seeing what you do next!

Photo courtesy of Paula Preston Photography, Miss Minnesota Organization, and Miss America Organization

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