For Jessie Zovak ’20, being a triple threat means singing, acting, and… free throws? Jessie, who plays the title role of orphan Oliver Twist, sings in Women’s Ensemble while also being a standout Cubs Varsity basketball athlete. Early in pre-production, she often came straight from two hours of practice in the gym to Oliver! rehearsals.
“Honestly, everything I do helps the other things I’m in,” said Jessie. “In basketball, I have to do moves, and dance and coordination comes into that. Everything crosses over and helps my performance.”
Mia Pippert ’21 last acted in middle school. She says the rigors of playing Mr. Sowerberry in Oliver! has been a challenge.
“I’ve never had to sing before and do so much rehearsing,” said Mia. More familiar playing sports than Victorian undertakers, Mia was at first reluctant to tell even her boyfriend she was in the show.
“I play a disgusting character and I don’t know if he’s ready to see that side of me,” Mia said.
Mayfield’s extended family welcomes Ryan Liddy, brother of Kaetlyn Liddy ’17, back to Pike Auditorium. Ryan played Rapunzel’s Prince in Mayfield’s 2019 production of Into the Woods, but he returns in a very different role as the menacing Bill Sikes.
“Bill Sikes is a fun character—it can be sort of a little much for some people, but I kinda like it,” said Ryan. “I’m not very good at being threatening. That's stretching my acting skills, but I love the songs.”
And the production is pleased to showcase Russ Maloney as Mr. Bumble. When not wearing a tricorn and bullying orphans, Russ is married to Mayfield’s college counselor, Lynn Maloney. No novice thespian, Russ brings a lot of stage experience, having played in high school productions of Hello Dolly!, The King and I, and The Pirates of Penzance (as the Pirate King!). Russ said it was especially fun knocking off the cobwebs.
“One thing that I'm enjoying—and feel is part of my responsibility being in the musical— is being able to have a positive influence on the students,” said Russ, who’s doing his part in “teaching from the stage.”
“I find it inspiring to see how much effort Maryanne, Andrew, Phil, Denise, and Christin have put into making the production great and in helping the students reach their potential,” said Russ.