Katie Maupin has a dynamite personality on stage and off that consumes the entire stage. From being the Candy Man in Willy Wonka Jr., to the Evil Stepmother in Cinderella, to Little Red in Into the Woods, to Lucy in 13: The Musical, Katie has shown she can portray a diverse amount of characters. Katie can be seen as Jane Banks in Hillbarn’s Mary Poppins.
Q: Walk me through your first show experience.
A: My first show was Willy Wonka Jr. with Hillbarn Conservatory. I started it with one of my friends, and I didn’t know anyone else. I went to the first rehearsal, and I just stayed by my friends side because I didn’t know anybody else. My friend knew a lot of people in the cast, and she was talking to her friends, and I just was right next to her. As rehearsals went on, I made a lot of new friends, who are still my friends to this day. Opening night came, and I was pretty nervous, but after the nerves calmed, and I got more comfortable with what I was doing, I just had a blast. It was just a great experience because it brought out the confidence in me, and I made great friends.
Q: You’ve been in four Conservatory shows, and two MainStage shows, what are the differences and similarities?
A: The similarities I would say are they’re both a lot of fun. I never thought I would connect with the adults in the MainStage shows the same way, as the kids in Conservatory shows, but I did. You gain friendships, everyone is really sweet to each other, and it’s like a family. The differences are MainStage has a lot of shows, and Conservatory is just one weekend. MainStage is very tiring, the rehearsals go much later, and are pretty much every night, and rehearse on Saturday’s from 11-4. With the Conservatory, it rehearses twice a week for two hours.
Q: You are playing Jane in MainStage’s Mary Poppins, what’s it like being that character?
A: It’s so much fun because I love the show. It’s a great show, and it’s exciting! When I first auditioned, I went home immediately, and searched Mary Poppins, the musical on YouTube. I watched it, and I knew right away Jane is who I want to be because she’s very stubborn, but when it comes down to it, she’s a lot of fun and super sweet. It’s not hard for me to portray that because I would say in a sense I could be kind of stubborn at times.
Q: What musical are you currently obsessed with?
A: Oh gosh, I have two. I am obsessed with Tuck Everlasting because it’s a great story, and I love all the characters. The music is great, and I love everything about it. Also, I love Newsies. I really love the message it gives that you have to fight for what you want, and I’m a big believer in that, because if something isn’t treating you fairly, and it doesn’t feel right then you should stand up for it or nothing else will change. Newsies music is great, it’s a very dance-heavy show which I love.
Q: What is auditioning for a show like?
A: Auditioning for a show, which I’m sure you can imagine is very nerve-racking. I always get nervous before auditions because you can’t just walk in, sing your song, do your monologue, and walk out. There’s a lot of preparation that comes with it, you have to sing your audition songs multiple times, figure out how to incorporate the feeling into it, and find out how you can be the best you can at your audition, so you can get what you want. It’s really nerve-racking, but for me, as I begin, I get more comfortable with realizing this is what I’m doing and this is what theatre is. After it’s done you feel very accomplished.
Q: What makes you want to be in a Hillbarn Conservatory class or production?
A: The programs are great; I know I’ve learned a lot from just my first show. I learned so much. I didn’t even know what downstage and upstage were. I learned that. From doing four shows, I’ve learned so much. I’ve done the Improv class. I used to think Improv was not my thing. I did not like it, I was always super nervous about doing it, I never wanted to volunteer to play games because I was too scared I’d do something wrong. The Improv class taught me a lot. It made me more confident in myself, and after that I’m more comfortable with it. So the conservatory teaches me a lot.
Q: What was the first show you’ve ever seen on stage? What did you think of it?
A: It was not a musical, It was a ballet. I saw The Nutcracker at the Fox Theatre in Redwood City. I’m not going to lie, I was very bored with it. I couldn’t sit still, I wasn’t into it, and there was no talking. When I first saw it, I walked out of the theatre, and my parents asked, “Did you like it?”, and I was like “Meeeeh.” Then I saw it again recently, I love it. I pay more attention to it, and I know more about it.
Q: How has doing theatre helped you in life?
A: Theatre has made me much more confident in myself. I used to not be super confident in everything I did like ordering something at Starbucks. Now I can do that. It not only helped me with public speaking, but also people skills because you have to learn how to cooperate with directors, choreographers, cast mates, and everyone involved in the production.
Q: What has been your favorite part you’ve played?
A: Oooh, my favorite part I’ve played would have to be Lucy in 13, the Musical because 13 in general is a great show, it’s so much fun, and playing Lucy is a lot of fun because I got to be somebody who I really wasn’t. I got to act like this crazy person, who is mean, and it was a lot of fun being the bad guy. I’m not like that in real life, so I got into it.
Q: What was your favorite show you’ve been in?
A: To Kill a Mockingbird because it was my very first MainStage show, and everybody was so welcoming, and kind, we all treated each other with respect, and I felt really safe in that environment.
Q: What’s your dream role and why?
A: My dream role is Winnie Foster in Tuck Everlasting because she’s very adventurous, kind of a rebel, and different.
Q: What is something you look forward to at Hillbarn Conservatory?
A: I’m really excited about doing the Improv Night because I loved the improv classes and ever since then I love it. I love not having to read the words on a page, and you can just be as creative as you want instead of following specific lines given to you.
Q: What’s it like getting ready for a show?
A: Oh gosh, it is so much fun! It’s very exciting because when you are getting ready, it’s the moment you realize, “This is happening, you’re going to be doing the show on stage in front of all these people and they’re going to be watching you.” The process of getting ready is sometimes kind of a hassle because you have to do your hair, put your makeup on, and everyone else is doing it too.
Q: Does doing shows motivate you to do things to improve your talents such as voice lessons, acting classes, and dance?
A: Yes, defiantly. I’ve taken dance lessons before I’ve done theatre since I was three, but I started taking vocal lessons after my third show. It made me want to do that because it made me want to improve and do everything the right way. I wanted to learn how to sing without damaging my voice, Kind of the same with dancing, although I took dance before theatre, after I did theatre, I wanted to stick with dance for sure because I wanted to do things the choreographer says I need to do for shows easily.
Q: What would you say to someone who hasn’t done a show, and was thinking about auditioning?
A: I would say go for it. I would tell them, you’re going to get nervous, that’s inevitable. But it’s something you want to do, then go for it because everybody is very welcoming, and it’s a very safe place; you can be who you want to be. After you do auditions, you’ll have a blast.
Q: Why should people your age do Hillbarn Conservatory?
A: Like I said, I learned a lot from it, it teaches you about theatre, and it’s just so much fun, because you meet really great people. I’ve met people my very first show, who are now my best friends.
Q: What has been the most important or valuable thing you’ve learned here at Hillbarn Conservatory?
A: I’m not sure, I’ve learned so much, but if I had to choose it would be just be yourself. Be crazy, be funny, be who you want to be. It’s ok to be yourself especially in theatre because it’s a safe place and nobody is going to judge you for it.
Q: Do you still get nervous after doing all the shows you’ve done?
A: Oh yes, yes. Although it’s happened before and I know nothing is going to mess up because I’m always prepared, I do get nervous because there are tons of people here watching you, and they came here and paid money, to see a great show. It makes me really nervous because in the even that you do mess up, which is very unlikely, these people who came to the show will all know it.
Q: Even though you are exhausted from all the rehearsals, is it hard to turn off being tired when you get on stage?
A: For me before I go on stage, I am usually exhausted, but the minute I step on the stage, it all goes away. There’s so much energy, and so much excitement, you can’t be tired.
Q: What person would you love to be on stage with?
A: Actually, I would want to be on stage with Xandra. She’s just so much fun, I’ve never seen her on stage, but I’ve seen her “perform”, and she just always has so much energy and is extremely talented, and would be so much fun to be on stage with.
Q: Do you see yourself doing theatre as a career?
A: Yes. Defiantly. I defiantly do because it’s something I really, really enjoy, and it’s probably my favorite thing to do. Ever since Willy Wonka, I knew this is what I wanted to do for a career, and I could very much change my mind later on, but theatre is something I really want to do with my life.
Q: Describe the moment when you first enter the stage.
A: It was really exhilarating. It was crazy because that was when I process what it was like, and it filled me with so much energy, and it made me really happy.
Q: Do you have any hidden talents no one really knows about?
A: I can hang a spoon off of my nose, and I can hang one off of my chin. I found that out when we were up, out at my grandparents for dinner one time. It was my mom, my sister, my grandma, and grandpa. We were hanging around the table, and we started hanging spoons off our noses, and it was my second try, and I got it. I was really surprised. My mom said, “well, can you hang it off your chin?” and I did it on my first try.
Q: Any final thoughts?
A: Come see Mary Poppins November 25th through December 18th