BWW Interview: Madison Nelson of HAIRSPRAY at Town Theatre
Madison Nelson is currently playing Tracy Turnblad in HAIRSPRAY at Town Theatre. Madison is a busy sophomore at Lexington High School, but she took some time out to chat about playing Tracy and performing in Columbia!
How long have you been working with Town Theatre?
My first show I did at Town - I was 8 - I did the kid version of A CHRISTMAS CAROL called BAH, HUMBUG!. I mostly do Christmas shows there. I've done A CHRISTMAS CAROL and BAH, HUMBUG!, and I've also done INTO THE WOODS JR. with the Town Teen Troupe.
What's your favorite part about playing Tracy Turnblad?
It's just her attitude towards everything! She's so confident in herself, and just her knowing what's right and her fighting for it - it's a great feeling. I think a lot like her and I'm very open minded, so I just love the way she does it. I'm a teenager, too - I'm the exact same age as she is, a sophomore in high school - so I can really relate. It's a lot of fun.
What's your favorite number in the show?
It would probably have to be "I Can Hear the Bells". She creates this whole fantasy in her head of what she wants to happen in the future and I think it's just so funny. It's about any teenage girl's fantasy about a crush they have on someone. It's my favorite because it's a lot of fun to perform and to see people's reactions.
What are some of the other shows you've done?
During the process of HAIRSPRAY, I was in another show at my high school - BEAUTY AND THE BEAST - and I played Mrs. Potts. I've done things at Columbia Children's Theatre (ANYTHING GOES - Reno Sweeney) and at Workshop Theatre (HAIRSPRAY JR. - Edna) and INTO THE WOODS JR. (The Baker's Wife).
What was it like playing Edna?
I've always been typecast as mother parts! Edna is usually played by a man, but they wanted it to be played by a woman, so I got to do what I wanted with it and it was a lot of fun!
Why Is HAIRSPRAY a good show to do now for Town Theatre?
It's a great show to reach all kinds of audiences. People my age would love to see it - i think any age. It reaches out to a variety of people, and I think they'd all love to come and see the show.
How have audiences responded to the show so far?
There's some audiences that are really active and follow along with the story and laugh a lot, and then there's some that you have to bring along, and that just makes me work harder because I want to get a reaction.
What's your favorite thing about being on stage?
The first show I ever did - BAH, HUMBUG! at Town - I was the shyest kid. I wouldn't talk to anybody. I was the kind of kid that would just hide behind their mom and not talk to anybody. Being on stage let me try being someone else and brought me out of my shell. Now, I'm an extrovert, I'm really good at making friends, and I've been introduced me to a whole world of new people. All of my closest friends are in theatre. I'm so glad I did that show. I really like pretending to be someone else. It's just something different.
Do you plan on pursuing a career in theatre?
I definitely see myself minoring in theatre in college - I want to major in nursing - but if I ever have the opportunity I would love to do it as a career.
Do you have any advice for people who want to get into making theatre?
I say absolutely, because you meet so many people, and you get to learn all these new things - like improv - and it's a lot of fun. The people you meet are people that might stay with you the rest of your life. I thoroughly recommend it.