With Oliver! officially opened we are only a couple of features away from finishing up our interview series: Getting To Know Fagin’s Gang! Today’s feature is Ayden Woo, a multi-talented, hard working young lady. Ayden has been doing theatre for as long as she can remember and works exceptionally hard at all that she does. I asked Ayden how she liked being a part of Oliver! and she answered, “It’s very fun because there are a lot of kids in there and so you can make friends really easily and you can learn from the adults.” Ayden found out about the audition from the website and was encouraged by Mr. Allen and Ms. Suzanne. She told me she sang “I’d Do Anything” for her audition and had a great time doing the dance portion. She remarked that favorite song to perform is either “Consider Yourself” or “Pick A Pocket,” and said she likes “Consider Yourself” because “It’s very busy and you have to run and I like running!”
Ayden has been doing shows for quite some time and initially started because of her older sister Eryn Woo. Ayden was told by Eryn to audition, so she went in there and just fell in love with the choreography and costumes. It all started with The Wizard of Oz at South Carolina Children’s Theatre when she was just 6 years old and played a Lullaby League Munchkin. Next up was The Best Christmas Pageant (also at SCCT) where she played a baby angel. After that was Ayden’s first show at Greenville Theatre, A Christmas Carol. Her sister Eryn had already done shows here at Greenville Theatre at the time, so that was Ayden’s introduction to the theatre. She played a messenger
girl in A Christmas Carol, delivering the information to Scrooge that Marley had died. I asked her what she liked about doing shows at the Greenville Theatre. She responded, “I liked it because there’s a green room and couches, the dressing rooms are colorful, and I liked working with the people here. I liked Mr. Allen, Ms. Suzanne, Ms. Kimberlee, and Mr. Tim.” After A Christmas Carol was Knuffle Bunny at SCCT where she played Trixie, Knuffle Bunny’s owner. Kim Granner, who directed the production, raves of how Ayden’s audition was so surprising and she really impressed them all when she auditioned. She told me, “I really liked it because I got to play an 18 month old which was cool.” She said her dad helps her a lot when she has to memorize lines for productions and he helped her a lot for Knuffle Bunny. Next up was Miracle on 34th Street when she was 9 years old, and she played Susan. She told me, “That was very fun too.” Then she was a part of Seussical at SCCT where she played JoJo. This
was one of her absolute favorite roles and she actually cut her hair for the part. Since JoJo is a boy Ayden decided it would just be easier to go to a boy cut for the part and she donated her hair when she chopped quite a bit off. “That show was very fun, it was very colorful. I would do that Seussical and Knuffle Bunny again if I could,” she said. Next up was Ragtime back at Greenville Theatre. She was a member of the ensemble and told me, “It was a lot of fun and a little calmer since there weren’t a lot of kids. I liked how all the different types of people came together and became friends.” She was then a part of Madagascar at SCCT where she played Skipper the agent penguin. “That was very fun because Skipper is kind of weird and a spy, sort of, so we got to do some spy stuff,” she said Madagascar was followed by Shrek at SCCT where she played Young Fiona and Baby Bear. “I watched the movie a lot and I’ve used Fiona’s song for a lot of auditions so when I did the show it was easier,” she told me. She also mentioned that she would like to play adult Fiona some day when she is older. This leads us to present where she is currently performing in Oliver! here at Greenville Theatre as well as Frog and Toad at SCCT where she is playing a mouse, mole, and young frog. This show will open at the end of March so Ayden has been putting in countless hours of outside work to get herself ready to join the show. There is also a unique show story that Ayden experienced earlier in the process of Oliver! At SCCT, they were putting on a production of Mr. Popper’s Penguins at the beginning of February and had a cast member call out severely sick for a show. Kim Granner was directing the show and called Ayden’s parents to see if she could come and fill in for the role. Ayden came in that morning and learned the role and performed it for the closing matinee performance. She was a true professional and saved a show! Some of Ayden’s dream musical theatre roles include Oliver in Oliver!, Regina George in Mean Girls, and Anastasia in Anastasia. She said it would be fun to play Regina George, a mean girl on stage who wears a lot of pink. At the Greenville Theatre, Ayden has worked with almost all of the cast previously in various shows and has known a couple people since she was born.
Besides theatre, Ayden loves doing gymnastics and her parents first put her in a gymnastics class the day after she learned to walk. However, sometimes the unexpected can happen. Towards the end of February, Ayden broke her wrist in a gymnastics class working on a back handspring. She said, “It has been more difficult to do some of the choreography and to wear my costume.” She also told me that after she broke it, she never thought for one minute that she shouldn’t do the show. “The show must go on!” she told me with a grin. Her cast will come off in 6 weeks and the sling in 1 more week and trust me, she can not wait! She told me that gymnastics has really helped with her work in theatre, helping her have more control over her body when dancing and also she has been able to incorporate some of her skills into productions. It also helps her pick up choreography faster. Ayden also loves eating french fries and we spoke about her favorite fry is either a Chick-Fil-A waffle fry or a crispy, crunchy, golden french fry. Ayden’s parents own the popular restaurant Saskatoon on Halton Road in Greenville so Ayden knows a thing or two about quality food. She told me, “I help out by bussing tables and help seat people sometimes.” She also highly recommends that they eat dinner at Saskatoon before coming to the see the show at Greenville Theatre! Ayden also loves to sleep, and due to her busy schedule, spends most of her weekends sleeping to catch up on the hours she has lost during the week. Her motto: “Sleep when you can, eat when you can, and go to the bathroom when you can! Whenever you see a bathroom you gotta go because next thing you know, you might end up on a island and need to go to the bathroom and you should have gone before!” Ayden also does more than just live theatre, she has actually been a part of a lot of commercials for a multitude of companies covering all sorts of subjects such as Piedmont Natural Gas for the “share the warmth” campaign, Better Homes and Gardens, a How To Raise Children Segment, and she did a maple syrup commercial which she greatly enjoyed because she was able to drown the pancake in syrup!
Ayden was also a part of something pretty awesome called a ‘Wow Woo Wednesday.’ In 5th grade, Ayden auditioned for the news and created her own segment where she covered vast array of topics such as weather, news, fun themes, and things relevant to school. She covered some really creative topics like ventriloquism and introduced a duck named Pato She told me it was hard because she had to get up a lot earlier and every week write, memorize, and present her segment. She really enjoyed doing this and was sad to let it go when she graduated from 5th grade.
To finish up the interview I asked Ayden what word she would use to describe the show Oliver! She told me, “thrilling.” She said that the whole show is thrilling and Oliver finds himself in situations that make you worry for him and don’t know if the people he is with are good or bad. Because of this you are on the edge of your seat waiting to see what happens which is thrilling.
There are only two more weekends left in our run of Oliver! so hurry and call our box office at 864-233-6238 or head to our website www.greenvilletheatre.org to secure your tickets today before we sell out!