If you’re planning on seeing “Mamma Mia” at the Springfield Little Theatre, be on the lookout for some familiar faces. The production boasts longtime Nixa resident Leigh Anne DePriest, Nixa High School alumni Kayleen Rose Spear and Jose DelaTorre, and Ozark High School students Kayla Lindsey, Ashley Mallonee and Madelyn Baum. The show, which started on Sept. 15, continues through Oct. 8.
Ozark sophomores Lindsey and Mallonee are finding that balancing school work and the play is a hard commitment.
“We have to be at school at 8 a.m., we’re there all day, we need to get to rehearsal early to do our makeup and warm up, and we don’t get home until 10 p.m.,” Lindsey said.
“And then we have homework until midnight,” Mallonee added.
“And then we do it all over the next day,” Lindsey concluded.
Baum, an OHS senior, is also working hard to balance school with her theater obligations, but her schedule is radically different. Baum is an intern at the Springfield Little Theatre.
“I had to get special permission to block up part of my schedule so I spend half my day here, every other day,” Baum said
Baum uses her free time to prepare for her future.
Spear and DelaTorre are having a much easier time managing their schedules. Spear graduated from Drury University in 2015, and DelaTorre is taking a year off from Drury.
DelaTorre and Spear did theater while in high school. DelaTorre said the highlights of his time were “Little Shop of Horrors,” “Grease” and student directing “Metamorphoses.” Spear was in “Pirates of Penzance,” “Into the Woods,” “Singin’ in the Rain,” “Sweeney Todd” and “Noises Off,” to name a few.
DePriest is the most tenured of all the Christian County actors. Originally from Marshfield, she had quite the journey to get to her current home in Nixa. She spent 12 years performing with touring companies after graduating from Missouri State University.
“It was still SMSU when I went there,” DePriest said.
After her time on the road, she settled down in Nixa to raise her family.
“I like living in Nixa a lot,” she said. “Now I do theater for fun,”
This will be DePriest’s fifth production with SLT. She finds that its productions are much more professional than a lot of other community theaters.
Everyone is excited to be doing “Mamma Mia.” Getting to sing ABBA makes for a fun show, and they get to perform with their friends.
“It’s one of my favorite shows,” Baum said. “I have posters all over my room of shows, and this is the first time that I’m going to be in a show that I have a poster of.”
“Plus, we get to be in a show with Kim Crosby,” Mallonee said.
Crosby originated the role of Cinderella in the original Broadway production of “Into the Woods.”
“It’s like doing a show with Beyoncé if you’re a theater person,” Lindsey said.
While DePriest is in Nixa for the long haul, that’s not the case for the rest of the cast. Spear will be moving to Kansas City after the show ends.
“It’s nerve wracking, going all in on your dream,” she said of her attempt to become a professional actress.
DelaTorre has the opposite plan, and intends to finish college, move back to the Nixa area and teach.
Just a month into her senior year, Baum’s plan is still a work in progress. She knows she wants to go into arts administration and non-profit management. She is leaning toward Drury or Lindenwood, but she’s keeping her options open.
Mallonee is a swimmer, and is actually more passionate about swimming than theater.
“I know that I want to swim in college, and keep with that,” she said.
Lindsey said that she’s interested in fashion and makeup, and plans to go to California to study these things while enjoying the more professional theater scene.
They’re all following the advice DePriest gave to varying degrees.
“If you want to go to college, go to college and get your education. Then get out of town. Get out of Springfield, because if you want to make it as a professional, you can’t do it here,” she said.