In Part Three of a series of interviews with the director and cast of Prince George’s Little Theatre’s Brighton Beach Memoirs, meet Sophie Speciale (Nora).
Joel: Tell me a little about yourself and how you started acting?
Sophie: I have been acting since I was about eight. I realized I really enjoyed theater when I attended classes at the Children’s Theater of Annapolis. I later joined a theater company for kids at Compass Rose Theater where I further developed my love for acting. I also love working behind the scenes almost as much as I like being on stage. For as long as I remember I have loved to put on plays and make films with my friends and family. Every summer I attend Filmsters Academy in Annapolis and I have learned a lot about filmmaking. I would love to go to college to study film and/or theater. Entertainment is in my blood, I come from a long-line of family who have worked in the industry. My grandfather was a television producer and my great grandfather was TV personality, Ed Sullivan . Entertainment is in my genes.
What made you become interested in Brighton Beach Memoirs?
My mom told me about auditions for Brighton Beach Memoirs and I read the script. I immediately loved the play and connected with the character Nora. I also liked the fact that my mom went to school with the actor (Johnny Silverman) who starred in the play on Broadway and later starred in the movie as Eugene. Once I decided to audition, she showed me the movie and I knew I had to be in it.
What character do you play? Describe your character.
I play Nora who is an ambitious 16 year-old dancer with dreams of Broadway. Nora is independent and likes to be in the spotlight. Although she seems to have it all together on the outside, she struggles on the inside. She is trying to figure out how to cope with the loss of her father and feels abandoned by her mother.
What do you find interesting and challenging about your character?
I like that I can relate to Nora because we are the same age. As a teenager, I know that the teenage years can be challenging. Nora has to cope with a lot throughout the play. Losing her father clearly has an impact on her and she feels very alone and unwanted by her mother. The most challenging thing for me about playing Nora is that we have very different personalities. She is an extrovert and wears her emotions on her sleeves and I am more of an introvert and tend to be more shy.
What do you like most about Brighton Beach Memoirs?
I love the humor in this play and that it is about family. Since the play is semi-autobiographical, I like seeing a glimpse of Neil Simon’s life growing up in 1930’s Brooklyn through the eyes of Eugene. Most of all, I love working with the cast and crew. We have been rehearsing since June and have really bonded. I have really enjoyed being part of a second family.
How do you think the audience will react to the play? What will they enjoy?
I think the audience will love the humor and seeing how the characters interact with one another. I think there will be a lot of laughs but there will also be poignant moments where the audience will be drawn into the characters’ struggles. Hopefully, the audience will leave smiling and feel like they were fully entertained.
Brighton Beach Memoirs plays from August 29-September 13, 2014 at Prince George’s Little Theatre (PGLT) performing at Bowie Playhouse – 16500 White Marsh Park Drive, in Bowie, MD. For tickets, call (301) 937-7458 and press 1, or purchase them online.
Meet the Director and Cast of PGLT’s ‘Brighton Beach Memoirs’: Part 1: Director Ken Kienas.
Meet the Director and Cast of PGLT’s ‘Brighton Beach Memoirs’: Part 2: Annalie Ellis (Laurie).