Monday, November 12, 2012

BACT Spotlight On - Actor/Educator

As we prepare for the holiday season, we are excited to bring back one of our most popular shows from last year: Pinkalicious, the Musical!  We thought it would be fun to interview Pinkalicious herself, or rather the very talented actress who plays her: Katie McGee.  In addition to being a performer, Ms. McGee is also one of the educators for BACT's Youth Education Program (YEP). We asked her about both her life on-stage and her life as a drama teacher.

BACT: Let's get right to what everyone probably wants to know. What is it like to play Pinkalicious? In what ways are you like or different from her?

Katie: Playing Pinkalicious is a delight! It is very similar to a crazy sugar rush - spaz, crash, and return to normal. I relate to Pinkalicious in a lot of ways. The relationship Pinkalicious has with her little brother, Peter, is very similar to the relationship I have with my little brother. Like Peter and Pinkalicious, we were very close growing up. Much like Pinkalicious, I was (my brother would argue that I still am) a bit of a bossy boots. Also similar to Pinkalicious, I love the color pink. When I was a kindergartener, I went through a phase where I would only wear pink. Red was a big wardrobe no no. Unlike Pinkalicious, however, I have always loved my greens. Yum!

BACT: Pinkalicious, the Musical was one of our most successful productions. Why do you think kids relate to Pinkalicious so much?


Katie: I think one of the biggest draws is the magic. She turns pink! And then red! Pinkalicious brings to life all of the wives' tales our parents told us. "Don't cross your eyes Tommy or they will get stuck that way." "Don't eat all of your Halloween candy Susie or your teeth will fall out." Also, many of the audience members know the story of Pinkalicious before they see it. Therefore the dramatic irony builds each time Pinkalicious eats another cupcake. There is something very suspensful about knowing a character's fate and watching them ignore your warnings.

BACT: We're getting ready for the return of Pinkalicious to the BACT stage this December. Will it be easy to jump back into the role? Will there be any new challenges the second time around? What are you most looking forward to about doing the show again?

Katie: Since closing, Pinkalicious has followed me around like a shadow. The kids I nanny for frequently request Pinkalicious living room performances. (I thought these requests would fade, but here we are in November and it is still happening!) Thanks to them my lines are pretty solid. I will, however, need to dust off my pink tap shoes and start practicing my footwork! I am most looking forward to reuniting with the cast and crew. They are a hoot!

BACT: You also help out with BACT's Youth Education Program. Can you describe what you do?

Katie: This semester I have been helping lead Montclaire Elementary first and second grade students on pirate adventures and jungle explorations. It is the BEST. BACT's curriculum is based in process drama. Teachers and students are in role (playing news reporters, jungle explorers, pirate captains, etc.) throughout class. While in character, students are asked to help teachers solve problems and make discoveries in real time. For example, last week I played a starving hunter. The student jungle explorers were asked to help me come up with alternatives to hunting. They concluded that they would help me plant crops and loan me some of their food. They were so sharp and generous!


BACT: What do you enjoy most about working with kids, specifically as it relates to theatre and dramatic arts? What have you found most rewarding about working with children?

Katie: Such a hard question! Many aspects of the job are extremely rewarding. Most recently I have enjoyed watching students make discoveries about human relationships. For example, last week I was participating in a pirate tableaux with a few first grade students. I was cast as a timid crew member opposite an evil pirate captain. I put on my best scared face and made eye contact with the "captain." I watched the lightbulb go off in the captain's head. As she observed my frightened face, her face got meaner and nastier. She discovered that our emotions and demeanor generate a reaction from others. Awesome!

BACT: Many teachers say that they learn a lot from their students. Is this true for you? What have you learned from your students?

Katie: I am constantly learning from my students. The teaching I do inspires a lot of what I do onstage. The biggest lesson I have learned happened while I was working as a music director for a student production of Peter Pan. It was someone's birthday and cookies were getting passed out backstage. One of the second graders was getting into costume and asked if either my co-director or I could set a cookie aside for her. We both said yes and immediately forgot to do it. Later while apologizing to her, she stopped us and said, "Guys, it's just a cookie." Now whenever I get worked up over something I say to myself, "Katie, it's just a cookie!" 

BACT: What advice would you give to any young actor who wants to one day take the stage (perhaps to play the next Pinkalicious or Peter)?  

Pinkalicious (Katie McGee) and Peter Pinkerton (Evan Boomer)
Katie: Start now! Pets, friends, stuffed animals, parents all make great audience members. Some of my best performances happened when I was five and performing for my dog Bob. The more you practice acting and storytelling, the better you get.

BACT: Great advice, Katie! Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to share your thoughts with us! We wish you the best with your students, and break a leg on the return of Pinkalicious, the Musical!

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on the great success of the shows!! I'm an event planner and I remember looking into bringing Pinkalicious to my CA town years ago when the NY musical was trying to garner national interest. Can someone please email me at to discuss possible 2013 dates?