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The Scarlet Pimpernel : Broadway's Most Intriguing Musical.

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Interview with Alison Lory

Those of us fortunate enough to have seen the original version of The Scarlet Pimpernel remember Alison as the young girl, Chloe, who sang "Lullaby" so poignantly in the prison scene. That solo has since been removed from the show, but you can still hear her sing it on the OBC CD. Alison and I spoke a bit about what it felt like to land a Broadway role fresh out of college and how she's grown personally in the past year and a half.

NR: Where did you grow up?

AL: I grew up in East Windsor, New Jersey, which is fifteen minutes from Princeton.

NR: I believe you went to college in Pennsylvania?

AL: Yeah, Muhlenberg.

NR: Where's that in Pennsylvania?

AL: Allentown.

NR: That's not too far from here. Did you come into the city a lot?

AL: Well, as a dad worked in the city and he would take me in once in awhile. But, I really didn't feel comfortable coming in by myself until I was near the end of school.

NR: When did you decide to perform?

AL: Professionally?

NR: Yeah, when did you decide, "This is what I want to be when I grow up?"

AL: Well, I knew when my dad took me to see Annie when I was five. I know everyone went through that, but, I didn't really stick to it until my last year of college.

NR: What convinced you then? Were you doing a lot of shows in school?

AL: Yeah, I got my Equity eligibility from doing summer stock at my school. I just thought, "It's time to do this" and I got lucky right away.

NR: That's great. Did you get this job right out of college?

AL: Pretty much.

NR: That's terrific. What degree did you receive in college?

AL: I have a B.A. in Drama and a certification in Elementary Education, so I'm a teacher.

NR: Really? Did you think about teaching instead of doing this?

AL: I did, but I knew that this passion was a lot greater than teaching and I knew it wouldn't be fair to not allow myself to go for what I really had a passion for. But, when I did student teach, I loved it, and I used a lot of theater in my student teaching. That sort of inspired me. In one of my field work placements, I took a boring social studies lesson and turned it into a play. They loved it. There were a lot of songs, a lot of music, and a lot of interactive stuff, and it went over really well. My cooperating teacher and my school really loved it because I was always on my feet and I was always making things really clear. That was one of the most satisfying things in school.

NR: That sounds wonderful.

AL: I remember that one of the kids had a really bad learning disability and I gave him the lead. He memorized all his lines. He did so well, so it was important.

NR: Super. Did you audition for other shows before Pimpernel?

AL: Yeah, I auditioned for whatever was in town.

NR: What was your audition for this show like?

AL: My audition for this was totally hysterical. It was a hoot. I went in there and I sang "Silent Night" like a little girl and I tried to make myself look as young as possible - really, really young, because I knew that they were looking for someone to do the "Lullaby." So I just sang like a little kid and had three call backs after that. I danced and I sang a Celine Dion song for my call back. It was totally fun. It was one of those things that just made sense. I just did it. I didn't think about it. That's probably why I ended up getting it.

NR: You weren't obsessing about it at all?

AL: Not at all. In fact, I was planning on starting a Master's at N.Y.U. in Educational Theater and I was just going to take a few credits there. I have to say that it took a month from the time they called until I got my contract. Until my name was on the dotted line I couldn't believe it. I really thought I was going to start my classes.

NR: What did it feel like when you finally got here? Was it what you expected?

AL: Yeah, everything just fell into place and felt very natural. Working with these people is just a dream. Working with so many talented, wonderful, great people is really great.

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Interview conducted and photographs by Nancy Rosati.

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