The Valley Youth Theatre became the first and only theater outside of New York to premiere “Freckleface Strawberry, The Musical” last Friday before its national tour in 2013.
Ahwatukee Foothills native and Valley Youth Theatre (VYT) alumna Kimiko Glenn, 22, traveled from New York City to attend VYT’s premiere of “Freckleface Strawberry, The Musical”. Glenn was part of the musical’s original cast in New York City from 2010-2011. She hosted a question and answer session after Saturday’s show with the young actors and their families and an Artistic Director’s Circle Reception honored Glenn on Friday. The musical is based off actress’ Julianne Moore’s children’s books.
“I loved the show, loved Kimiko and love the fact that she introduced me to the producers. Because of this relationship and based on the quality of our productions, we are the only theater outside of New York to mount this show until after it tours,” said Bobb Cooper, VYT’s producing artistic director, in an informational email.
Glenn is no stranger to the spotlight. She is one of the original members of the of the Ahwatukee Children’s Theatre, formerly known as the Ahwatukee Children’s Chorus.
“I probably started acting when I learned how to talk,” Glenn said. “I was kind of a crazy kid. I would run around with my dad’s camcorder and shoot bizarre ‘commercials’ for foot creams and furniture.”
The young actress also enjoys singing and began to sing after she got her first album, “Falling Into You,” by Celine Dion. Glenn said that she learned how to sing by imitating Dion’s voice. Eventually, her parents decided to let her channel all of her creative energy by allowing her to take voice lessons, and eventually join the theater.
At age 10 Glenn auditioned for and was cast as one of the seven dwarfs in “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” at VYT and “never looked back.” She starred in various productions at the theater such as “Wizard of Oz,” “Into the Woods” and “Beauty and the Beast.” She received four ariZoni awards.
Glenn attended Desert Vista High School and finished her education at the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan. She then attended The Boston Conservatory and was cast as Thea in the Tony Award-winning musical “Spring Awakening” and toured the United States and Canada for two years. Glenn later settled in New York City and was cast as Emily in “Freckleface Strawberry, The Musical.”
“The interesting thing about the musical was that it was an original cast in a new show which gave everyone the freedom to play,” Glenn said. “There was a lot of playing around, ad libbing and trusting each other.”
She said that every show was different because children are unpredictable. Glenn believes that the show was successful and fun to watch because the actors were part of a tight company that loved each other both on stage and off. She was extremely excited to see how VYT would treat the production.
“I always loved watching and performing in VYT shows because of the youthful energy and enjoyment we all felt,” she said.
This summer Glenn will perform in San Diego at the La Jolla Playhouse in the new Duncan Shiek/Steven Sater musical “The Nightingale.”
For more information about the production “Freckleface Strawberry, The Musical” and to purchase tickets, visit vyt.com.
Arselia Gales is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. She is a sophomore at Arizona State University.