Adorable ‘orphan’ from La Grange on stage
At the far left, Marieclaire Popernik, 7, of La Grange appears as Molly, an orphan in the Paramount Theatre's production of "Annie" through Dec. 30 in Aurora. | Photo courtesy of the Paramount Theatre
When: 8 p.m. Dec. 28 and Dec. 29 and 5 p.m. Dec. 30
Where: Paramount Arts Center, 23 E. Galena Blvd., Auora
Tickets: ParamountAurora.com, or (630) 896-6666
Updated: January 28, 2013 6:20AM
LA GRANGE — Marieclaire Popernik, 7, is juggling second-grade homework with four performances a week as Molly, a young orphan in “Annie” at the Paramount Theatre in Aurora. She attends LaGrange Highlands Elementary School.
Q. What do you do playing Molly?A.
I scrub the floor and then do a back flip on a bed. I sing and jump on a bed and then have to get into a laundry basket. Miss Hannigan blows her whistle really loud at me, but it doesn’t hurt my ears. I also do a little dancing.
Q. How did you prepare for your role?A.
We practiced for three weeks, and the show opened before Thanksgiving.
Q. How often do your perform, and how do you balance that with school?A.
I’m in the green cast, and we have shows four times a week. I have to miss school, because some shows are during the day, like at 1:30 p.m. It’s pretty fun to miss school, but not on Fridays. Our teacher lets us bring things to show and tell. I miss that. I spend a lot of time in the car. It’s one hour there and one hour back.
Q. What else have you done on stage?A.
I played Gretel in “The Sound of Music” at Drury Lane. I did 44 shows from October to January last year. It was during Christmas and Santa came to some of the shows and gave out candy canes and bells that the reindeer wear.
Q. How did you get started acting? A.
I saw “Beauty and the Beast,” and the one who played Gaston inspired me. My mom asked me if I wanted to audition for an agent, so I said the Pledge of Allegiance and sang “It’s a Hard Knock Life” from “Annie,” and that’s how I got to be Gretel.
Q. Your agent also got you an audition for an episode of “The Mob Doctor” on the Fox network. What role did you play?A.
That was kind of scary. I played a little girl in a doctor’s office, and I had to pretend I was injured. They put a thing around my neck, and it was kind of choking me. I had to pretend I was sweating, and they put some stuff on my face.
Q. What was it like shooting a TV show compared to a stage production?A.
There wasn’t that much speaking. The doctor and the director were super nice. My mom was there, and she got to listen to me. It was nice to have her nearby. I had to do 200 takes. It was always “just one more time.” It was so hard.
Q. What else do you like to do besides acting?A.
I like to do sports, skiing, roller skating, swimming, gymnastics and tennis. I take ballet and tap and voice coaching. I also go to catechism, because I’m making my first communion at St. John of the Cross. I love gym at school, and I’m in Girl Scouts.