Kylie Dryden has been around Summer Stage for most of her life. Kylie’s mother Melissa, a Summer Stage staff member, has been bringing Kylie to Summer Stage since 2007 when Kylie was seven years old. Through the years, Kylie has become a part of Summer Stage even though she was too young to perform. Kylie received awards for being an usher before she was part of a Children’s Theater cast!
This year, Kylie made her Children’s Theater debut in A Year with Frog and Toad. She will be entering the eighth grade in the fall. We took a moment to sit down with Kylie to hear about her Summer Stage experience so far.
How does it feel to be part of a Children’s Theater cast after so many years?
Kylie: It still hasn’t really hit me that I’m in Children’s theater yet; it’s still kind of weird that I’m in it after just hanging around.
You’ve been here for such a long time. What made you want to keep coming back and be in a show once you were old enough for Children’s Theater?
I think it was like the people and the staff. They are just so loving and they don’t judge anyone. Everyone is just so nice to one another.
What is your earliest memory of being here?
I think it was Mulan in 2007, it was the first show that I ever kind of stuck with. Jackie Serratore was the music director and I kind of just stuck to her. She was one of my very first friends on staff here.
How many shows have your seen? Every one since Mulan 2007?
Yeah. [It is estimated that Kylie has seen more than 45 Summer Stage productions before even joining a Children’s Theater cast.]
What was your favorite Mainstage show in that time?
Hairspray. It’s probably the most fun that I’ve seen or that I remember.
What was your favorite memory of your first Children’s Theater show that you were in [A Year with Frog and Toad]? What did you love about it?
Even though we had different groups in the show, we all knew everyone – we all knew everyone’s name. We were all friends. No one was left out at any time ever. I think that was the best part of it.
What advice can you give to the kids that are the most shy in your cast? What advice can you give to them looking back on your time here when you were getting to know everybody?
I would say just be yourself. Don’t be afraid of anything. Once you start with once friend, you can expand with everyone they know. Don’t be afraid of anything.
What is your favorite thing about Summer Stage?
I would say the magic – everything they do onstage. Like for Ursula in Little Mermaid, once she grew, I said, “Wait how did they do that? She’s taller than she was!”
Can you talk a little bit about your experience with Frog and Toad – the rehearsal process from the first day of auditions up to now.
I know it wasn’t a long time, but it just feels like auditions were forever ago. I was nervous, but it was great. Everyone in the room didn’t care how good you were or how loud you were. No one made fun of you if you messed up, and we got to laugh about it afterward. During rehearsals, we made a lot more friends, and we changed a lot of things from the first time we ever learned it. We are proud that it’s such a great show and that everyone loves it.
Are you going to miss it?
Yeah. All the seniors are graduating.
How does it feel to be the dance captain in your first show?
I don’t know. It’s weird. Joanne [McBride – Choreographer] always has us practicing, and she always volunteers me for her, and it’s just cool. It’s good to feel like I’m helping other people learn it, remember it and stuff like that.
Can you tell us anything about your brothers? Both your brothers were involved in Children’s Theater. Andrew was in Shooting Stars.
Andrew was in The Wizard of Oz, and he was Uncle Henry, but that’s all I remember about that. Andrew was also a Shooting Star, and he was always having fun no matter what happened. It just looked so much fun and everyone was so nice, and I just wanted to be a part of that family.
What have you learned as a result of being in your first show?
Be yourself. No one’s going to judge you, and just always have fun. On stage, you may get nervous before, but just know that you are going to be fine. Everything exits your mind once you’re onstage. Always have something on your face no matter what happens and you’ll be fine.
What’s the craziest task you’ve ever had to do at Summer Stage?
I think it was painting for tech last year because that was the first thing I’ve ever had to do for tech really. It was very different. It was cool being down their getting to know all the tech kids, and that’s great – getting the performers to know the tech kids because it’s just to different worlds coming together and that’s just great.
What would you say to somebody who has no prior knowledge of Summer Stage?
I would say that it’s great family place. If you just want to come see that shows, you can bring you whole family. Everyone’s going to love it no matter what age. It’s just a fun place to be yourself and have fun.
Who has been your biggest inspiration at Summer Stage that you have looked up to, as in the performance sense?
Jackie Serratore. No matter what part she’s playing, she always really great and confident, and really funny no matter what she’s doing.