Maya has been with Hillbarn Conservatory since last summer when she was a cheerleader in 13: The Musical, then joined the all middle school cast of Once Upon A Mattress as The Wizard. Maya always gives 100% on stage and her personality shines on stage. We can’t wait to see her in the next show she’s doing, Changing Minds!
Q: When did you know you wanted to do shows?
A: Ever since I was really little I’ve always known that I really wanted to be an actress or a singer, but the time I really knew I wanted to be an actress was 3rd or 4th grade after performing in a show.
Q: What was your first theatre experience like?
A: I did a musical show at my school and I got the lead, so I decided to go to Hillbarn and do shows there. It was a lot of fun.
Q: You’ve played different characters, what does it take to get into a character?
A: You really have to put yourself in the shoes of a character, and you have to vibe and understand the character. You have to read between their lines to really get the whole visual of what they’re really feeling and playing. Then you have to just completely be that character.
Q: Out of all the characters you’ve played what was your favorite?
A: I think might be the Caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland. It was such a positive character and I was always smiling
Q: What would you say is a character that is just like you?
A: I actually think it was the caterpillar because I really vibed with that character. I’m a really peppy person and I just really was like that as the caterpillar and I’m like weird but cool at the same time.
Q: You recently were the Wizard in Once Upon A Mattress, what was that like?
A: It was cheesy but so much fun. Especially all the songs. It’s not like a lot of shows that I’ve done where sometimes there’s a lot of down time, but everyone had something to do. It was pretty fun to do a fantasy show too, and I loved the experience.
Q: What makes Hillbarn different than other places you’ve done shows with?
A: Everyone at Hillbarn is nice. I did a show somewhere else, I can’t think of the name right now, but the place I did another show had people who were acting like they were better than everyone else. At Hillbarn you receive a contract saying you’d be nice to everyone and accept any role you’ve received, and I like that. I used to have bullies at other places, but because of that contract, I think Hillbarn doesn’t have one. Also their sets are really good at Hillbarn.
Q: What is auditioning for a show like?
A: When I want to do a show, if it’s for MainStage you have to have two different songs, but the conservatory they either give you a song, or you bring your own. Then you do a dance audition, callbacks which is reading and singing, and then after that you get the cast list.
Q: What was the first musical you’ve ever seen on stage? What did you think of it?
A: I don’t remember my first musical, but I’ve always gone to Hillsdale High School shows because my mom works there. I do remember the first show that stuck into my head was School of Rock and I really liked TriSchool’s Oklahoma!
Q: What musical are you currently obsessed with?
A: I haven’t gotten over the obsession of Dear Evan Hansen and Hairspray! I love Hairspray. It’s a good musical. I’ll go around the house just singing “Mama I’m A Big Girl Now”, and my mom would be like, “Maya, you’re not a big girl yet!”. I also obsess over School of Rock.
Q: What would you say is something you’ve learned about yourself by doing theatre or have learned doing theatre?
A: I’ve actually learned I’m a very chatty person. I never really realized it until I did theatre. Before theatre I didn’t think I had much of a personality, but then when I did theatre, I found out I actually did. It was fun finding my quirky, chatty, and weird personality.
Q: What is your favorite thing about being in a show?
A: It’s one of the most stressful things, but the most fun, tech week. I love tech week. I also meeting the new directors and cast members, but tech week is my favorite.
Q: What was your favorite show you’ve been in?
A: It has to be between Once Upon A Mattress, and Beauty and the Beast. Both shows were so much fun. Both shows had whimsical, costumes, and I just loved wearing them, and being transported into a different time.
Q: What’s a dream role of yours and why?
A: I’ve always loved, loved, loved Rizzo. I just think she’s so sassy, and cool at the same time.
Q: What should would you love to be an ensemble member of?
A: I think Annie. I would love to be in Annie. That or Little Mermaid. I remember seeing a Disney on Ice version of Little Mermaid, and I saw all these fish skating by, and I thought that’d be so cool to be a fish.
Q: Let’s just say you’ve won an award, what would it be for?
A: Probably for me being a very positive person. I don’t want to say this to sound conceded, but I could also win for having a lot of stage presence.
Q: Could you give me your best acceptance speech for an award?
A: Thank you everyone. I’m so thankful for this. I loved working with all of you. Thank you!
Q: What person would you love to be on stage with? This person can be from any time dead or alive.
A: I’d love to be on stage with Kristen Chenoweth.
Q: What is the one song you sing when you are all alone belting your face off?
A: Well, “Mamma I’m a Big Girl Now”, and “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Miserable.
Q: Can you talk about any show mishaps?
A: When I was in Alice in Wonderland, I came out as the Caterpillar, and had a bubble machine, and it broke on stage and it was leaking. So it looked like I was just carrying a bubble machine. I entered and awkwardly had two bubble come out of the machine and nothing else.
Q: What’s your routine that you go through before you go on stage? Do you have any specific warm ups or superstitious things you do?
A: First we warm up our voices, then I’ll shake everything to get my nerves out. Then backstage we do the secret good luck handshake.
Q: What do you want to do when you grow up?
A: I would love to be a lawyer, or an actress. If acting doesn’t work out for me defiantly lawyer.
Q: Do you have any hidden talents no one really knows about?
A: Um, I am pretty flexible. It’s really creepy. I can turn myself into a pretzel.
Q: What do you look forward to for your future theatre endeavors?
A: I’m taking a lot of dance classes. I’m hoping to be in Annie for the MainStage, and I’m totally looking forward to Changing Minds this summer!