She started singing in chorus in fourth grade, and performing in musical theater about the same time, but the stage bug bit even earlier.
“I was in our kindergarten play and I always say it was love from there on out,” LaVerdiere said.
Starting Friday, she’s in Community Little Theatre’s production of “Into the Woods” in Auburn.
In addition to singing and acting, LaVerdiere is teaching herself piano and ukulele. Clearly multi-talented, she should also win the award for Best Use of a Study Hall Ever . . .
Name: Alison (Ally) LaVerdiere
You’ve been singing and acting since fourth grade — what’s a role or performance that stands out? The first one was probably when I was in seventh grade. We did a show called “Clockwork” and it was the first non-musical I’d ever done. The entire play took place in the living room of this crazy family and they all keep getting killed one by one. My character, Frieda, was essentially the crazy old aunt. I remember in one part a family member that none of us liked had just died and we said we all had to practice being sad, so I went and sat in a chair and said I had to practice my crying. However, that crying was just me making a series of ridiculously terrible faces for a solid 10 minutes. The audience thought it was hilarious, so I loved it.
The other role would have to be when I was Lady Macbeth my freshman year. Frieda may have been my introduction to character acting, but Lady Macbeth was my gateway to dramatic acting. There is a scene toward the end of “Macbeth” where she is feverishly rubbing her hands while sleepwalking because she believes there is blood on them. That scene, which is pretty much a monologue with a few interruptions, shows an array of emotions ranging from giddiness to blind rage to utter fear. Freshman year was a very hard time in my life and getting to perform that scene became almost therapeutic for me. That was when I came to the real realization of just how much of an impact the performing arts can really have on a person.
Is there a role or venue that makes you think “Some day . . . “? One word: Broadway! Any Broadway stage, I think, is a major goal of any serious actor. In fact, one time I got to walk on a Broadway stage and I started singing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” under my breath so that I could say that I’ve sung on a Broadway stage! As for roles, I have a bucket list of roles I want to play before I die, some of my favorites being Miss Hannigan from “Annie” and Rosemary from “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.” And of course Elphaba in “Wicked,” but I think every musical theater geek has wanted to be in that show at some point in their life!
What made you choose Temple? I actually hadn’t even heard of Temple until my junior year of high school. I, along with four senior boys from my school, got to go down to Nashville to be a part of the All-National Choir in October of 2013. Our conductor was Dr. Rollo Dilworth, who also happened to be a world famous conductor whose pieces we had done in my high school choir. I learned that he was the head of the music education and music therapy departments at Temple University in Philadelphia. I had never heard of music therapy up until then, but I enjoyed working with him so much that I did some research on Temple and music therapy and fell in love with both instantly.
The key to getting so many scholarships: For my second semester of senior year, I had a period I couldn’t fill with any classes so I just took a study hall. Not wanting to waste a relatively unneeded free period, I made it my goal to fill out one scholarship every study hall. Of course, that didn’t end up quite happening, but that goal pushed me to work hard.
As for getting scholarships, my advice would be to do as much as you can do in high school without losing your mind. And make sure that you’re doing a wide variety of things too. I played a sport, did theater and music, was in National Honor Society and did other activities. The more diverse you can make yourself, the better. (Editor’s note: She earned six scholarships, three of them music-related.)
Looking forward to in college? I’m so excited to be in a place with so much diversity and culture. I’ve always felt that I belonged in a big city, so I am beyond pumped to be in Philly. As for college itself, I’m excited to be able to focus my studies on something like music that I have so much passion for. And food trucks. There are a lot of food trucks at Temple, so definitely the food trucks.
The big unknown about college? Living seven hours from home is definitely going to be different. I think just the whole transition of high school to college is definitely going to be the hardest part.
How are you teaching yourself ukulele? And why ukulele? I went to Hawaii a few summers ago and my parents told me that they would buy me one souvenir. We walked past a ukulele store and I knew that was what I wanted. I mostly have just taught myself by looking up how to play chords and then using those chords in songs. If anyone out there wants to learn to play an instrument but doesn’t know what, I highly recommend the ukulele because it’s pretty easy to learn since it’s so small and the strings are nylon, not steel like on most guitars.