Coming full circle with Jennifer Medure, who plays Grace in “Annie”
Often in life we go the full circle. When I was 7 years old, my mother treated me to my first theatrical experience at what was then the Alhambra Dinner Theatre. I remember very clearly being captivated by the spectacle of the singing, dancing, costumes and lights. It was magical, and I was enraptured. A spark was lit within my soul, and my love for musical theatre began. Now, more than 30 years later, I find myself on that very stage, creating the magic that I fell in love with so long ago. That is my first full circle moment.
This April, when I heard that the Alhambra was holding auditions for Annie, I immediately knew I would audition. You see, when I was 12 years old, I went to my very first audition at the Alhambra. The director was Tod Booth. The show was Annie. Unfortunately, I did not make the cut for the 1988 production of Annie. But now, as an adult, and with years of education and experience under my belt, I felt I might have a better chance. I mentioned to my kids that I was going to start preparing for the audition, and to my joy, my 12-year old daughter asked if she could also audition. A few weeks later we were notified that I would be playing the role of Grace, and that my daughter (whose name is Grace), would be playing the role of Tessie, the orphan! We were ecstatic! Just as it was in 1988, the 2017 production of Annie would have Tod Booth as the director. That was my second full circle moment.
The third full circle moment came when I recalled that the famous actress Ann Reinking originated the role of Grace in the movie production of Annie. As a teenager, I had the privilege of attending Ms. Reinking’s musical theatre summer camp and working with her for two summers. She has always been an icon for me, and now here I am, 20-something years later, stepping into her musical theatre shoes and embracing a role I watched her in as a child.
Rolling back even further in time, and as my fourth full circle moment, some of my fondest early memories of my dad include us singing “I Don’t Need Anything But You” together, as I stood on the top of his feet and he danced with me across the living room. To me, my dad had all the qualities of Daddy Warbucks~ the stern but tender disposition, the firm work ethic, and even the bald head. As I look at my daughter’s relationship with her dad, I realize that they share a similar bond. Her father also has a strong work ethic, and is tough on the outside with a heart that melts for his children. Oh, and he’s bald too.
Being a part of this performance of Annie at the Alhambra has truly been a gift. As my final full circle moment, I will share with you what is the most important part of this experience for me. As I mentioned earlier, my mother was instrumental in developing my love for musical theatre. She introduced me to what would become my life’s passion, she drove me to countless hours of dance classes, paid for costumes and lessons, took me to Broadway for the first time, and offered her unconditional love and support for me on my journey. She cultivated my dream. Now, as I have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to share the stage with my own daughter, I see that the love and support that my mom gave to me is the same love and support that I give to my daughter. As I watch my sweet girl on the stage with stars in her eyes and a song in her heart, I can see the beautiful passion for musical theatre coming full circle.
I am truly blessed to be a part of this production. Many thanks to Tod, Lisa, Cathy, Shain, Craig and the cast and crew of Annie. The memories Grace and I have made with all of you will last us a lifetime. And maybe, just maybe, in another 30 years or so, there will be another generation that will keep this love of musical theatre for our family coming full circle.