An Interview with Moira Felish, playing Susan and Mrs. Dewey in the 2014 Young Artists’ Program’s production of MILL GIRLS

Moira_Felish_crop1. Where are you from?
I lived in Wilmette for eight years, but recently moved to Glenview.
2. How did you hear about TMTC? What made you decide to audition?
 I first heard about TMTC when I auditioned for an awesome music video directed by [Founding Artistic Director] Jessica Redish for Jess Godwin’s song “Greater Than,” about standing up against bullying. I heard about auditions for Mill Girls through Jess Godwin and thought that working on a new musical would be an amazing opportunity. I was inspired by how hard these girls worked and wanted other people to be inspired as well.
3. What should audiences take away from Mill Girls? What should they take away from your character specifically?
I want audiences to learn these girls’ stories. I want audiences to be aware of the fact that these girls worked incredibly hard despite very harsh circumstances. This is a very important part of American history, and you can see the impact that it has on women’s rights today. My character, Susan, has to choose between caring for her younger sister and standing up for her rights and what she believes in. I hope that audiences learn that you if you want change, you have to make it happen.
4. In what ways are you similar to/different than your character?
I am similar to my character Susan  in that I have a sister who means the world to me, and I am also very passionate about the world around me. But while Susan is more interested in the politics of the world around her, I am interested in the different people that live in our world and how we can treat each other with respect and solve world issues together. My other character, Mrs. Dewey, is quite the contrast of me. She is a lot older and therefore wiser. She knows who she is, while I am still trying to figure that out. But we both care deeply about those we love.
5. What’s your favorite memory of TMTC so far?
My favorite memory so far is when everyone was in the lobby during a break and we sang “Through the Window” together. We’re obsessed with Diana’s music and could literally sing it all day.
6. If you could have dinner with a famous historical figure, who would it be and why?
I would love to dine with Sylvia Plath. I love her poetry and other writing and I admire how she sees the world. She is an inspiration to me and often how I get through any struggles, whether they be writers block or a fight with a friend.

7. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from your time at TMTC?
At TMTC, I’ve learned a lot about being a professional while working. This particular show has taught me about Viewpoints as well, which is a really cool way to think about movement. The most important lesson, though, would probably be that you need to use your time wisely and be productive!

An Interview with Peter Merikoski, playing Tommy, Charlie and Asa Hutchinson in the 2014 Young Artists’ Program production of MILL GIRLS

1. Where are you from?
I am from Wilmette.
2. How did you hear about TMTC? What made you decide to audition?
I heard about TMTC from a friend and wanted to audition because it seemed like a unique opportunity.
3. What should audiences take away from Mill Girls? What should they take away from your character specifically?
I think that audiences should realize the struggles that the mill girls had to overcome. It’s important to learn what their lives were like, and to recognize their hard work and determination.
4. In what ways are you similar to/different than your character?
Charlie is a peddler, and I think I share his determination and patience. Tommy is the bobbin boy, and he is very hard working, but probably not so happy with where he is in life. He wants to have more power, while I don’t really feel the need to have more authority.
5. How do you spend your days before rehearsal?
I am a camp counselor at the Wilmette park district. I work with kids whose ages range from 3- 5. It’s a lot of fun.
6. What’s your favorite memory of TMTC so far?
My favorite memory so far are of the Viewpoints exercises. They are fun, and I think they have helped me grow as an actor.
 7. If you could have dinner with a famous historical figure, who would it be and why?
I would want to have dinner with George Washington Carver because he had an extremely difficult life and still made many great discoveries
and inventions. I also love peanuts (which he researched a lot), and we share the same birthday as well.
8. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from your time at TMTC?
I’ve learned how important it is to work as an ensemble and that the show can only happen with all of us working together.

An Interview with Trevor Ross, playing Nathan in the 2014 Young Artists’ Program production of MILL GIRLS

Trevor Ross1. Where are you from?
Park Ridge, IL.
2. How did you hear about TMTC? What made you decide to audition?
My girlfriend has done the program, and she sent me the link to audition. I thought it would be fun!
3. What should audiences take away from Mill Girls?
The audience should take away that you should always stand up for what’s right, no matter the outcome.
4. Tell us about your character. 
Nathan is a smart kid who wants to do well in society, and appreciates the help he receives from his sister to get where he wants to be.
5. What’s your favorite memory of TMTC so far?
My favorite memories of YAP so far are from working on Viewpoints and being able to interact with my castmates.
6. If you could have dinner with a famous historical figure, who would it be and why?
Vivaldi. He’s my favorite classical composer.
7. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from your time at TMTC?
I’ve learned how to improve my acting and to fill the stage with presence.

 

An Interview with Melissa Wickland, playing Juliet in the 2014 Young Artists’ Program production of MILL GIRLS

Melissa Wickland1. Where are you from? 
Schaumburg, IL.
2. How did you hear about TMTC? What made you decide to audition? 
My voice teacher, Mary Legere, told me that she had students who had gone through the program and said it was a wonderful experience.
3. What should audiences take away from Mill Girls? What should they take away from your character specifically? 
Audiences will hopefully have a better understanding of what the girls went through during their time working at the mills. The one thing I
would like the audience to take away from Juliet is the responsibility and strength that she had in having to work after other hardships in her life.
4. In what ways are you similar to/different than your character? 
I feel I am similar to Juliet because I consider myself a friendly and welcoming person who cares about the people close to me.
5. How do you spend your days before rehearsal? 
Summer School…I am taking US History.
6. What’s your favorite memory of TMTC so far? 
My favorite memory so far is the process of creating the musical as we go. We have input on our characters since it is a new musical.
7. If you could have dinner with a famous historical figure, who would it be and why? 
I would like to have dinner with Eva Peron. She was a strong woman who had a hard life and the ambition to change it.

 

An Interview with Becky Keeshin, playing Amanda in the 2014 Young Artists’ Program production of MILL GIRLS

Becky Keeshin1. Where are you from?
I am originally from Highland Park.
2. How did you hear about TMTC? What made you decide to audition?
TMTC has been a huge part of my growth as a performer, In 2009, I contributed to the workshop for happyfoods, the Young Artists Program show. Since then, I have performed in YAPbook ‘11, at the TMTC Gala in both 2011 and 2013, and I’ve trained with Founding Artistic Director Jessica Redish. After completing my freshman year of college, I wanted the chance to apply the new skills I’d learned in a professional and engaging environment.
3. What should audiences take away from Mill Girls? What should they take away from your character specifically?
Audiences should take away how important this story is to American history. The events and stories behind the Lowell mills are incredibly
fascinating, and made a huge impact on women in the working world, as well as women’s rights. The show provides great insight into what
young women went through to make their mark on the world. My character, Amanda, puts her best foot forward to make a better life for
her family and herself. I hope audiences take away from Amanda’s journey what the girls had to endure and what they did to make their
voices’ heard.
4. In what ways are you similar to/different than your character?
We’re both driven, and desire to work hard and always try our best. I am also a little sister to older brothers, just like Amanda!
5. How do you spend your days before rehearsal?
Before rehearsal, I spend my days as the head Musical Theatre counselor at the Improv Playhouse’s Summer Camp. I also work at a
boutique in Lincoln Park.
6. What’s your favorite memory of TMTC so far?
So far, my favorite memory has been learning the song, “What I Earned.” The song is fun and stylistically challenging, and everyone had
a lot of fun learning it.
7. If you could have dinner with a famous historical figure, who would it be and why?
Eleanor Roosevelt. She was fierce! It would be amazing to discuss the women’s movement and her feminist thoughts and ideas, especially on
the period Mill Girls takes place in.
8. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from your time at TMTC?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that, there are so many ways to look at one thing. If I see a moment, line, or lyric with a certain intention,
Jess, Diana, or another cast member might see it in a completely different way. I’ve learned that it is incredibly important to be open and
willing to explore all the meanings and ideas within the piece because we all learn from one another.

An Interview with Emily Wronski, playing Harriet in the 2014 Young Artists’ Program production of MILL GIRLS

Emily Wronski1. Where are you from? 
Born in Evanston, grew up in Wilmette.
2. How did you hear about TMTC? What made you decide to audition? 
A friend had been emailed information about it and passed it on to me. I wanted to be part of a show this summer, and this seemed like a cool opportunity.
3. What should audiences take away from Mill Girls? What should they take away from your character specifically? 
One important thing I’ve learned is how much I take free time for granted. These girls had 14-hour work days and very little alone time. I
hope audiences walk away wanting to work harder and make better use of their time.
4. In what ways are you similar to/different from your character? 
Harriet is more grounded, while I like to have a lot of fun and try new things. We both work very hard and have a lot of goals and passions.
5. How do you spend your days before rehearsal? 
Three days a week, I am a summer camp counselor for girls aged 6-7.
6. What’s your favorite memory of TMTC so far? 
I have enjoyed learning what it is like to be a part of creating a new musical.
7. If you could have dinner with a famous historical figure, who would it be and why? 
My idol is a singer/songwriter named Amanda Palmer, so I would want to have dinner with her.
8. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from your time at TMTC? 
To try to learn from every opportunity or activity life throws my way.

 

An Interview with Grace Goble, playing Lucy in the 2014 Young Artists’ Program production of MILL GIRLS

Grace Goble1. Where are you from?
I’m from Park Ridge, IL.
2. How did you hear about TMTC? What made you decide to audition?
I was actually in Erika’s Wall at TMTC previous to this, and my sister Livvie participated in YAP in 2011 and 2012. I had a great experience here in Erika’s Wall, and Livvie had a great experience in YAP, so I decided to audition.
3. What should audiences take away from Mill Girls? What should they take away from your character specifically? 
Mill Girls has taught me not only about the history of the Lowell factories and these girls’ stories, but also the fact that there are going to
be things both positive and negative that will come out of your actions. My character, Lucy, can teach people that sometimes it’s difficult to
balance your priorities. Lucy has to decide between working through her illness to make money and then participating in the turn out, or trying to get healthy while not getting paid.
4. In what ways are you similar to/different from your character?
I believe Lucy is slightly more shy and quiet than me. I’m always the one to be talking loud or cracking jokes. One thing we share is not
wanting to be seen as “the young one” or “the little sister.” I’m my own separate person.
5. If you could have dinner with a famous historical figure, who would it be and why?
I would like to have dinner with Martin Luther King, Jr. I’d like to ask him his feelings on more current day controversial topics.
6. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from your time at TMTC?
One lesson I’ve learned this summer is how everything fits together. The cast needs to have a good feel for each other so that their
movements can be cohesive. Those movements also affect your singing and speaking. When you are in motion and working your body, you’re
forced to also work your whole voice.
–Grace Goble, A Factory Girl for the Lowell Offering