Exclusive Interview: Alli McGinnis

Alli McGinnisToday, we are very fortunate to have an interview to share with Alli McGinnis. Ms. McGinnis is in the ensemble and is an understudy for Glinda on the 1st National Tour of the show. She also is an avid blogger about natural beauty products and lifestyles as well as inner and outer beauty. Click here to read her blog! Check out our interview below.

What was your first professional acting job and what did you learn from the experience?

My first professional paid acting job was summer stock at Bucks County playhouse. I was cast in several shows/roles over an entire summer and then asked to stay on for a few more shows into the fall. I had the time of my life. It was right after my sophomore year of college and I was living and breathing musical theater. Rehearsing a show in the afternoon and then performing another show at night. Often the best way to learn is by doing and over that short period of time I was in about eight productions and I grew as a person and actor with each one.   It was non union and we were getting paid just enough to get by, but I didn’t know any better and was loving life. I learned more those four months than I had ever learned in any class or show before at that point in my career. I also made some life long friendships that I still hold near to my heart today.

How did you come to audition for “Wicked”? What was your experience like? How did you react when you were offered the part?

My first audition for Wicked was a year before I got the job. I had an appointment in Los Angeles (singing and reading sides from the show) and was told by the casting director Craig Burns from Telsey casting in New York that they loved my audition and I was now on a list and on hold for when the part opened up next. A year later I received a call that they wanted to see me again. I went in and sang, read, and danced for them all day and by the end of the day I found out I got the job.  I had four days to pack up my life and join the First National Tour of Wicked. The first phone call I made was to my voice teacher Eddie Sayegh. I kept thanking him for all he had done for me and couldn’t get much else out through my tears of joy. I of course then called my family and I think they were even more excited than I was, if that was even possible.

What was rehearsal for Glinda like for you personally? How was your first performance in the role?

Rehearsing for a show that is already running is very different because you learn the entire show on your own with a dance captain and the production stage manager. It’s a lot of work to understudy a lead role while being in the ensemble every night. I have never worked so hard in my life, but it has all been well worth it.
I was extremely lucky to make my Glinda debut at the famous Kennedy Center in D.C. What a dream come true. The first performance is kind of a blur. My fellow cast mates describe it best…”it’s like you were just shot out of a cannon”. That’s exactly what it feels like.

What are your favorite costumes to wear in the show?

The costumes in Wicked are absolutely incredible. As Glinda I feel like a princess in every dress and in my ensemble track I have amazing costumes as well, my favorite being the famous tight fitting emerald city mermaid style dress (aka the umbrella girl).

What has been your favorite city on tour thus far? Why?

Alli McGinnis as Glinda, with Dee Roscioli as Elphaba

Alli McGinnis as Glinda, with Dee Roscioli as Elphaba

It is amazing to live your dream while traveling throughout the U.S. D.C was a fantastic city that I had not spent time in before. The theater is breath taking and the city has so much history and beauty. I love exploring each city by foot and it was so easy to do that in D.C.

What is a typical schedule for your day like while on tour?

We are very fortunate to sit in each city for about a month or sometimes even more. As an understudy I am often in rehearsal with new cast members before they are put into the show. When not in rehearsal or at the theater I start my day off with a workout. I switch off between cardio, yoga and pilates. Then I have lunch, answer emails (busy work), have a small snac,k and head to the theater. Our weekend schedule is very demanding as we have five shows between Friday-Sunday so I almost always go home directly after the show (have another snack) and rest up for the next day. We only have one day off a week and usually I do some kind of site seeing activity. I love the outdoors so usually I try to incorporate that.

Have you seen – or maybe even been involved in – any funny onstage bloopers or mishaps you’d like to share? 

Yes! My second show on as Glinda the bubble got stuck on my grand entrance. All you could see were my feet. They had to reset and start the show over. Nothing like live theater!

We know you are also an avid blogger – tell us about your blogging work.

The past several years before Wicked I worked as a national makeup artist and account executive for a couple of cosmetic companies while perusing my acting career and performing nights and weekends. I started writing a beauty blog about a year ago. I am very passionate about living a healthy/green lifestyle and I write about inner and outer beauty. Most the beauty products I write about are natural/organic. My blog had to go onto the back burner when I joined the tour, but I am just now finding the time to get back into it.  http://allimcginnis.blogspot.com/

What are some dream roles for you?

Clara in Light in the Piazza, Amalia in She Loves Me, Cathy in The last Five Years and  Mary in Mary Poppins just to name a few.

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