Disney Live in town on Saturday (PHOTO GALLERY)

Cierra Sanford stars as Doc McStuffins in Disney Junior Live on Tour. (Special Photos)

Cierra Sanford stars as Doc McStuffins in Disney Junior Live on Tour. (Special Photos)

ALBANY — Somewhere backstage, Cierra Sanford checks her hair and makeup one last time, adjusts her costume, and says a short prayer. Taking a deep breath, she steps out on stage and hears the adoring cheers of excited youngsters catching a first glimpse of one of their favorite celebrities — Doc McStuffins.

Sanford stars as the beloved doctor for toys and stuffed animals in Disney Junior Live On Tour! Pirate & Princess Adventure, which will be in Albany on Saturday.

Now in the midst of its national tour, the live show also features popular stars such as Mickey and Minnie, Peter Pan and Captain Hook, Sofia the First, and Jake and the Never Land Pirates.

Produced by Feld Entertainment Inc., the show brings characters from hit Disney Junior television shows to the stage, often giving young fans their first theatrical experience.

In this original storyline, Mickey and Minnie lead the audience on an exciting adventure through the magical world of Enchancia, where Sofia and the entire kingdom are preparing for the annual friendship festival.

The adventure continues in Never Land, where children never grow up and where Jake and his swashbuckling friends battle Captain Hook.

Doc McStuffins appears in a special interactive pre-show where children and their parents sing along with Doc as she provides tender love and care. In an exclusive interview with the Herald, Sanford spoke about her experience bringing the animated celebrity to real life.

A native of Detroit, the 22-year-old has been performing in various productions since she was 7 years old and joined Feld Entertainment in 2013 as the face of Doc McStuffins.

“I really enjoy playing this character, because she is a great role model for kids,” Sanford said. “I think a lot of children aspire to be doctors, and she is a good example for them.

“One thing I really appreciate about the show is that its lessons are basic and common for kids. Yes, it has good morals, but it also emphasizes important things such as staying hydrated, brushing your teeth and not being afraid to seek help from a parent when you have a problem.”

Though the cast often does multiple shows a week, Sanford said they always find ways to keep it fresh and fun.

“Because it’s a live show, it’s always different. You never know exactly what may happen out there on stage!”

Sanford plans to continue with the tour for another year or so before heading back to school to obtain her nursing degree. But performing will never be far from her heart.

“My favorite memory on stage is from a performance in high school,” Sanford recalled. “It was a very challenging piece, but the applause we received at the end brought tears to all of our eyes. That was one of the moments I knew I wanted to perform for the rest of my life.

“My dream role would be a part in a Broadway production of Lion King — that would be amazing.”


Cierra Sanford (Special photo)

Sanford’s favorite part about the Disney live show is being able to connect with young audiences and seeing the excitement they get from watching their favorite stars come to life.

“I love being a part of this show, and I hope that audiences can see my passion through every step and breath I take on stage,” Sanford said.

“I want them to know that I’m in love with what I do.”

Her advice to aspiring young performers?

“Do not ever stop. If you love to do it, continue until you have nothing else to give. Even if you have no audience, dance for you. No one else. That’s when you’ll enjoy it most and learn who you are, not even just artistically.”

Disney Junior Live on Tour! Pirate & Princess Adventure will be Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Albany Civic Center. Tickets start at $15 and may be purchased at the Civic Center Box Office at (229) 430-3804 or online at www.ticketmaster.com or by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3001 or (800) 745-3000.

To find out more about the show, visit disneyjuniorlive.com.