Parkite in Pioneer Theatre Company’s "White Christmas"
November 26, 2010
When 12-year-old Parkite Alexia Ioannides completed her audition for the only child role in Pioneer Memorial Theatre’s production of Irving Berlin’s "White Christmas," choreograher Dirk Lumbard gleefully yelled, "Terrific!"
"I sang ‘I Was Born to Entertain from ‘Ruthless the Musical’ and I read my lines," Ioannides told The Park Record. "I don’t know if he was happy that I was the last one to audition or if it was the end of the day."
Ionnides, who prefers to be called Ally, auditioned for the role of Susan, the granddaughter of General Wavely, who will be portrayed by Dick Decareau in the play, based on Michael Curtiz’s 1954 movie starring Bing Crosby.
"Susan is very intelligent," said Ioannides, who is a student at the Madeleine School Choir in Salt Lake. "She has a dream to be on Broadway and loves her grandfather. The scenes with the General and her is the real sweet tender moments in the play.
"He is a retried general and he bought an inn in Pinetree, Vt.," Ioannides said. "The inn is not going well. No tourists. He’s got so many bills. I see that and want to help him. But I’m also a little scared of him because he is so stern."
This isn’t the first time Ioannides has worked with director Paul Barnes. He directed her in last year’s production of "A Christmas Story."
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In fact, Barnes called Ioannides, who also has performed at the Egyptian Theatre in "Annie Jr.," "Willy Wonka" and "Charlie Brown," and asked her to audition for "White Christmas."
"He called 10 girls to audition," Ioannides said. "So I had to prepare a song. And they gave me some lines that I had to work on."
The audition was held on a Friday, and the family waited all day Saturday for some news, said Ioannides’ mother Chris.
"We had assumed there wasn’t a call back," Chris Ioannides said. So Saturday it’s pins and needles all day. And as the hours passed, I’m thinking ‘Oh, Ally, I’m so sorry. They should have called this morning and it doesn’t look good. I know you thought it went well and it probably did, but they found someone else.’"
The good news came on Monday.
"We were car pooling to Salt Lake and the phone rang," Ally Ioannides said. "My mom didn’t want to answer the phone because she was driving. And she didn’t know the number that was on the caller-ID.
"So she listened to the voice mail and started screaming and scared my friends who were carpooling with us."
While Ioannides appears throughout the musical, she gets to belt out the reprise of the song "Let Me Sing When I’m Happy."
"Early in the play, I hear Martha, one of the general’s concierge, who used to be on Broadway, sing it," Ioannides said. "And I sing it later.
"It’s different for Susan, because she is usually is quiet and intelligent. But when she sings the song she belts it out and calls herself ‘Broadway Sue.’"
Ioannides also loves her costumes.
"I have seven costumes," she said. "One of my favorites is a red velvet dress that I wear in the last scene where everyone sings ‘White Christmas’ and the snow is falling.
"I also have to do a quick change in the middle of the show," she said. "I have to change from cropped jeans, a plaid shirt and Keds into a nightgown with slippers in just a few seconds. So the shirt has snaps, instead of buttons. I snap that off and the pull the nightgown over my jeans and then slip off my shoes and slide on the slippers. I do this covered by one of the curtains. then I get a pushed back on stage."
Ioannides’ said her favorite part of the movie is different in the play.
"I love when they sing ‘I Love Snow,’" she said. "But it is very different in the play. The harmonies and words are different. So it’s not my favorite in the play.
"But absolutely I love ‘I Love a Piano’ in the play," she said. "I’m not in the scene, but It’s a tap number with the full ensemble, and I just I love it. I love tap. I love watching it and I love doing it."
Normally, Ioannides would be on tour in Italy with her school, singing at cathedrals this year, but she opted to stay home so she could be in "White Christmas."
"Right now I couldn’t ask for anything more," said Ioannides, who does her homework during rehearsal breaks and in the car going to and from Park City and Salt Lake. "There is nothing I’d rather be doing. I love this theatre. It’s like my home."
The Pioneer Theatre Company will present Irving Berlin’s "White Christmas," Friday, Dec. 3 through Friday, Dec. 24. Evening performances Monday through Thursday begin at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday evenings performances start at 8 p.m. Matinees from Dec. 4-Dec. 23 begin at 2 p.m., with a special noon matinee on Friday, Dec. 24. Tickets range from $34-$54 and are available by calling 801-581-6961 or visiting http://www.pioneertheatre.org.