One of the most delightful performers that I have the pleasure of working with in a long time is Cassidy Fraley. After seeing her perform in “Mary Poppins” and in the upcoming “Mamma Mia,” I think showgoers will agree.
Following are thoughts that Cassidy wants to share about her life in the theatre.
Q. How did your theatre experience begin?
A. In the fourth grade, my mother tried to convince me to go to a children’s theater arts camp, and I did not want to go. It wasn’t until I starred in the fourth-grade “California Gold Rush” musical as the narrator, Becky, that I agreed to attend the camp. They were doing “Mulan, Jr.,” and I was cast as Grandma Fa. So I guess it began with Mrs. Barnes’ masterpiece on striking it rich, but I think it’s important that people know that I was Grandma Fa.
Q. What made you want to make your career in theatre?
A. Since I started doing theatre in the fourth grade, I was hooked on making people, smile, laugh and cry — sometimes all three at the same time. I guess I am one of the lucky ones. I knew very early on what I wanted to do with my life, and I have had people backing me every step of the way. It was either theatre or pediatric oncology, and clearly theatre was the more sane choice. There truly isn’t anything like it.
Q. What has your higher education in theater been like?
A. In 2015, I started attending Texas Christian University studying towards a BFA in theatre with an emphasis in musical theatre. My sophomore year, I fell very ill, dropped out of school and never looked back. I would have graduated this year with the class of 2019. For me, the best education that I have received is being submerged in the real world. College, while important, was simply not my thing.
Q. What was your first professional job in theatre?
A. My first professional job was in Winchester at Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre. It was the most magical summer of my life and set a great example for me of what it meant to work in a field as collaborative as theatre is. We did three shows – “Oklahoma!,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Hairspray.” I was in the Ensemble of “Oklahoma!” and “Beauty and the Beast,” and I was Tracy Turnblad in “Hairspray.” Every night, the cast got together and played beach volleyball in the common area of the dorms we were housed in. Pure magic.
Q. What is the favorite role that you have performed to date?
A. Tracy Turblad in “Hairspray”
Q. What would be your favorite future role?
A. Dream roles are too many to name – Mrs. Lovett in “Sweeney Todd,” Elphaba in “Wicked,” Natalie in “Next to Normal,” Ursula in “The Little Mermaid,” the list goes on and on....
Q. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
A. Performing for a living with no necessary supplemental income
Q. What’s next for you after summer theatre?
A. I will be going back to NYC, working as a cookiologist, volunteering with my favorite non-profit (Backpacks for the Streets), auditioning and spending time with the people that make living in a difficult city far away from everything I know — the easiest thing to do in the world.
“Mary Poppins” continues through Saturday with performances Wednesday at 3 p.m., Friday at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
“Mamma Mia” opens July 12 and runs through Sunday, July 21.
Call 434-572-8339 for tickets or purchase online at prizery.com.