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On Stage with ... Lindsey Giddens Stewart

joe.bellacomo@albanyherald.com
Lindsey Stewart sings during rehearsal of Theatre Albany’s production of “Little Women” Tuesday night.

joe.bellacomo@albanyherald.com Lindsey Stewart sings during rehearsal of Theatre Albany’s production of “Little Women” Tuesday night.

— When “Little Women” opens on stage Thursday at Theatre Albany, the musical will feature a new face to Theatre Albany, Lindsey Gidden Stewart.

Stewart is no stranger to Theatre Albany operations — she was stage manager for the award-winning “The All Night Strut” that opened this season and has advanced to Southeastern competition — but she hasn’t performed with the theater.

Stewart says, however, that when she heard a musical based on the iconic and largely autobiographical Louisa May Alcott novel was being performed by Theatre Albany, she decided to end her acting hiatus, going for her first on-stage role since high school.

Stewart, who is in her fifth year teaching English and working with theater at Deerfield-Windsor School — and in her eighth year overall as a teacher, spoke with The Herald last week about playing Jo March and getting back out in front of the lights:

Albany Herald: Tell me a little bit about the character that you’re going to be playing in “Little Women.”

Lindsey Giddens Stewart: I play the role of Jo March, who is the second-oldest march sister. It’s kind of her story. She has this big desire to be a famous writer and it goes into their life and how close they, and finally she leaves to go to New York to try to be a big writer. None of her stories really work out until she finally sits down and writes the story of her and her sisters, and then she finally becomes the writer she’s always wanted to be.

AH: Is this a book that you’ve assigned in your class before?

LGS: It is not. I’ve never used “Little Women” in class. I’m familiar with the story from growing up, having read it. I’m familiar with the musical and had already fallen in love with the music. when mark said, “We’re going to do ‘Little Women,’ “ I jumped at the chance to figure out a way to be in it.

AH: Is it safe to say that Jo is your favorite character in it?

LGS: Oh, yes, she is definitely my favorite character. She’s very spunky and outgoing and has these big passions for what she wants to do with her life. So I kind of relate to her a lot.

AH: Are you frequently in Theatre Albany productions?

LGS: I’m not. I stage-managed the show in “The All Night Strut” back in August. This is actually the first show I’ve performed in.

AH: Any butterflies associated with that?

LGS: I’m trying not to think about them right now (laughs). We only have a week until it opens, but I’m sure I will.

AH: I apologize for bringing them up then.

LGS: I did a lot of theater in high school and this is the first show I’ve done since I graduated. It’s been a while.

AH: Did you do a lot of musicals when you were in high school?

LGS: I did. I went to Deerfield-Windsor and we had a big musical every year and I was in them from seventh grade through 12th grade.

AH: Is that your favorite? Do you prefer that over drama or comedy? If you’re going to act, which do you prefer to do?

LGS: I like musicals, because I like to sing. I like acting in general. I like the challenge of different parts, whether it’s a funny character or a dramatic character ... whatever the part might be. I like to pretend.

AH: The character in the story, is she a teenager? A young adult woman?

LGS: The story spans over about a two-year period. We figured out, I think, that she’s about 18 when it starts, so about 20 when it ends.

AH: How do you feel the story stands up now? Is it something that’s a positive role model type thing for young girls? What are your thoughts on the story itself?

LGS: I think Jo is an extremely amazing role model for young girls because she lives in a world in a time period when women were supposed to grow up, get married, be a wife and take care of the household and that’s not anything she has a desire to do because she has these dreams and goals for her life that she wants to accomplish. She doesn’t need to be the stereotypical housewife. She has the fire within her that she wants to make something big of herself. She’s willing to go out and do it when everyone else says she shouldn’t.

AH: Is there a favorite part of the play that you’re going to be performing, any scene that just really sticks with you?

LGS: There’s a song at the very end of Act I. It comes right after her best friend comes in and proposes to her and she turns him down because she says that’s not what she wants. Then, she sings this passionate song about how she’s ready to find her way and figure out who she is, that she wants to be astonishing. She wants to go out and astonish the world. And she’s finally going to go do it.

AH: Anything you’d like to add?

LGS: This has been so much fun for me, mainly because the cast is absolutely phenomenal. We all work very well together and play off each other very well. It looks like it’s going to be a fantastic show.