Analise Scarpaci, Broadway Actress.
[Interview Date: November 8, 2020]
Lydia Hillard in Mrs. Doubtfire on Broadway, A Christmas Story, Matilda.
What was it like for you on March 12, 2020 when Mrs. Doubtfire abruptly stopped their previews? Can you describe the week leading up to the day the shutdown began?
It was completely unimaginable. To be honest, I think the news hit me harder, because I was so completely distracted by the excitement of our show! We were rehearsing, and then in tech, and had started previews on that Monday only for them to stop on Thursday. I was so unaware. I knew there was a virus, but never in a million years did I think it would cause us to shut down our show. The full cast was at the theater, and I was in my dressing room with my dressing roommate Charity Dawson, all of the kids, and Maria Dalanno who is in our ensemble. All of a sudden, I open Facebook and see the headlines, then my phone starts blowing up with texts. I had to turn my phone off to avoid getting overwhelmed, but I was still ridiculously in denial, and waited for our producer Kevin to officially announce it. When I left the theater, I was a mess.
Did you initially anticipate that Broadway and other theatre productions would be closed for this long?
No. Not in the least. I mean, I was so clueless that I didn’t even think we’d be closed at all. It’s insanely crazy to think that we’re not going to return after all of this time! I miss my Doubtfire family so much!
There have been many Zoom reunions during this time of quarantine. In what ways have your company stayed connected during this time?
We had a huge Zoom on what would have been our Opening Night on April 5th! We actually ran the show from start to finish! We laughed and cried, and it honestly still didn’t feel real! Since then, we’ve been meeting once a month to catch up and just see what’s going on in everyone’s lives. Our Doubtfire family is so, so special and seeing them on my computer makes me so happy.
What have you been doing over the past several months to stay sane? What has helped you the most?
My guitar is my best friend. I’ve really been focusing on getting better at playing guitar, working on my writing, and I also just started taking piano lessons. Music has helped me in ways I can’t even imagine, especially during the first few months of quarantine. I’ve also developed a love for teaching. I teach tap on Tuesdays and Saturdays on Zoom at Dance Molinari. I’m also helping with the creative team for Kids of The Arts’ winter production of Annie! Teaching has been amazing for me as well! It makes me so happy to bring a touch of performing into these kids’ lives, even if it is through a different medium. I’m also back at school which has been keeping me very busy. I’m in my Junior year in Pace University’s Musical Theatre Program, so I’m learning to adjust to this online performing thing.
What has been the hardest thing about the past months since the shutdown?
My anxiety. I’ve always had bad anxiety, but it took me a very long time to come to terms with the fact that I’m sort of grieving this huge loss, in a way. The loss of going to work, the loss of my first apartment, the loss of this life that I had wanted for so long that was suddenly put on-pause. Also, the uncertainty of everything in our world makes me anxious. I have my good days and bad, and it’s something I will forever work on.
What positives, if any, do you think have come out of this time of quarantine?
100% my music, school, and spending time with my family. I’m so happy that I’m able to have the time to work on my music and improve my skills on guitar, with songwriting and learning the piano. I’m also really thankful that I’ve had this time to work towards getting my degree. I now have the opportunity to get a full year of school under my belt while I’m not working. This way, when I do go back to work, I won’t have a heavy class load, and I’ll be able to graduate by May of 2022, which is so exciting! I’m also really grateful that I get to spend this time with my family. We, as everyone has, have had a very rough year so I am glad that I am here with them every step of the way and I’m glad they are always here for me.
What is your biggest concern right now?
I don’t know if I have any concerns. I know we’ll be back; it’s just a matter of when. I just hope “when” isn’t when I’m 30. Haha.
What do you miss the most about Mrs. Doubtfire and live theatre in general?
Oh my, do I miss being on stage with my family. I miss every single thing about it, down to pressing the elevator button to get downstairs and then walking up the stairs to my dressing room. If I had to choose one thing, it would be sharing the stage with my Doubtfire family and watching our joy of being with each other bring joy to our audiences. We have an extremely tight bond, a very different bond than I have experienced with my other shows, so I cannot wait to be surrounded by all of that love.
What’s your favorite theatre memory?
Ever?! I have so many, but my favorite memory of Doubtfire, thus far, is a two-parter. We were teching our opening number in Seattle, which required a lot of pauses for lighting. In the middle of the number, I sing alone at centerstage, which is still an insane concept for me to grasp. When we got to tech that moment, I had to stand at center for a long time. And all of a sudden, I hear Jerry Zaks on the god mic say, “How does it feel? Take it all in.” I was so overwhelmed with joy. It was the most spectacular feeling in the world. I felt the same way when we teched it again at the Sondheim. It was everything I had hoped for and more.
What is the thing you’re most excited to do when live theatre is back?
I cannot wait to perform every single night again. I also can’t wait to perform in front of people instead of my computer, or Brady Bunch squares, or my window!
What advice do you have for young Broadway hopefuls during this time?
I know this sounds crazy, and it seems like this is never-ending, but we are going to be okay. Theatre will never ever die and neither will our love for theatre. We just have to be patient and focus on our own creativity for now. This way, when we do return, all of our creative minds can explode into the universe and create magic.
Favorite Broadway Musical BILLY ELLIOT!
Favorite Broadway Play Picnic by Inge, Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams, and Indian Summer by Gregory S. Moss (which was off-Broadway)
Favorite role you’ve played Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar (Senior year of high school) and Lydia Hillard :)
Dream role Fanny Brice! And also Mama Rose ;)
Favorite Movie Musical I’m a sucker for Grease. I also love Grease 2, because it’s incredible, in every way. But it’s a tie between The Music Man, Hello Dolly and Annie (1999).
Movie that you think should be a musical A League of Their Own (I want to play Mae Mordabito SO BADLY). Also, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Lena has a special place in my heart.)
Favorite Broadway Theatre Ritual and/or Tradition I always make the sign of the cross before I go onstage. I do it before every show. I also love doing the ensemble’s choreography while I’m backstage at Doubtfire :)
Favorite NYC Restaurant DaTomasso on 8th Avenue and 54th Street. Best Italian around.
Favorite Theatre Superstition I always say, “Break A Leg,” and I never walk underneath a ladder!
Favorite Dressing Room Item My wall of women who’ve inspired me: Patti LuPone, Bernadette Peters, Liza Minelli, Barbra Streisand, Saoirse Ronan, Lady Gaga, and Sara Bareilles.
Rehearsal bag staple A sweatshirt, because I’m always freezing. And Listerine spray, because I’m sort of addicted to it. Haha.