Young Beauty and the Beast cast member Nick Ramirez (Chip) said he was interested
in finding out more about some of his castmates so we’ll call this blog entry “Chip Wants
to Know”. Here are the questions Nick wanted to ask them:

When did you first have an interest in acting?

Bailey Wolf (Belle): Well, I have four siblings so everything in my family was rowdy and
crazy and dramatic! The first time I remember “performing” was my siblings and I would
watch the scene from The Little Rascals where they sing L.O.V.E (L is for the way you
look at me…) and the “big move” was the girl would twirl in and sit on the boy’s knee.
We did that scene over and over and over! (And yes, it’s on tape!).

Justin Douds (Lefou): I did not really take an interest in acting until later in life, but
once I did my first show, I became completely hooked, and now I can’t take a break! My
first Broadway show was Jersey Boys, which I saw in 2011 when I was 26. I have
always loved to sing and have performed many times for people, but it wasn’t until I saw
that show in New York and saw how much fun the actors seemed to be having that I felt
it would be something I could try.

Payton O’Keefe (Ensemble): In 5th grade, I got a small solo in the Christmas show
and then auditioned for the show the next year and got one of the lead roles. I never
really thought I would love theater until those shows. I was always a sports guy. 

Why did you join Theatre and how old were you?

Bailey: I think I started because my older sister was singing and doing theater and I
wanted to be just like her! I was around 10 maybe when I started.

Justin: I joined theater at the ripe old age of 30, so I could have never played Chip! I
joined because I felt like I had been working very hard at my job but I needed to find a
way to do more fun things and to meet more people. Theater has definitely provided me
with lots of fun stories, neat experiences, and great friends.

Payton: I started really doing theater in my 8th grade year when I was 14.

Zoe Alexandratos (Mrs. Potts): My brothers were doing children’s theater when I
started doing the clown thing with my dad as a five-year-old, but you had to be 8 years
old to be in Children’s Theater of Arlington shows at that time. I was dying to do a CTA
show. Finally, I had my chance — both of my brothers tried out for Peter Pan, and I
tagged along. I guess the director knew me and allowed me to audition, too, even
though I was only seven. I got cast as one of the Lost Boys, the one who shot the arrow
at Wendy. I loved it so much! I was pretty much hooked from then on.

What was your first show & where?

Bailey: I was in a production of Dear Edwina Jr. when I was in 6th grade at West Middle
School. I played the main character’s little sister, Katie Spoonapple! 

Justin: My first show was Fiddler on the Roof, and just like Beauty and the Beast, it
was with Damascus Theatre Company on the Historic Stage in Olney. I played the
student Perchik, who comes to the village of Anatevka in order to spread his
revolutionary ideas and ends up falling in love. Beauty and the Beast is actually now my
5th show with DTC!

Payton: My first show was my 8th grade show, Peter Pan. I was cast as Peter Pan and
that’s when I really started to pursue acting. It was performed at the historical Olney
Theatre. 

Do you have any tips for young performers?

Bailey: I think the most important thing when you perform is not being self-conscious.
There are a million different ways that any character can be played so just stay true to
what you think that character should be doing and don't get lost in being embarrassed if
you have to be silly, or laugh or cry, etc. Just commit fully to what you're doing and once
you know your part, just have fun with it!! 🙂 

Justin: Well, I was never a young theater performer (unless you consider 30 to be
young, in which case thank you, I agree). But once upon a time I was a young piano
and vocal performer, so I guess I can give one piece of advice: don’t turn down
opportunities to perform if you have the time and you have the desire. Life is a collection
of experiences and memories, and when I look back on my childhood, some of the most
fun and unique opportunities and connections came about because of my decision to
take the stage. So get yourself out there and start figuring out what you love to do, and
then do it as much as possible!

Payton: When people tell you that you can’t, prove them wrong believe you can. 

Zoe: A few, first, keep on dreaming and never give up. You don’t have to be a famous
star to be a successful actor and make a living doing what you love. I kept being told I
couldn’t really do acting as a career, and sadly, I believed that, so I didn’t keep pushing
as a young adult. I wish I had. Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t do it! Second, always
keep learning your craft — take classes, get coaching, work on new skills. Third, don’t be
a diva — be kind to EVERYONE involved in the process of theater: your cast mates, the
production staff, every person who moves a piece of set or sews a costume or even
hands out programs. Theater is a team effort, and even if you are the “star”, it’s only
because of the work of an enormous team of hard-working, usually under-appreciated,
people. You couldn’t do it without them. And finally, have fun! If it’s not fun, it’s not worth
all the struggle. So enjoy the magic of theater!