Jessica Pappalardo, a junior at Kennett High School, has appeared in several community theater productions since her freshman year. She has worked with both Arts in Motion and M&D Production and has appeared in “Grease,” “Bare,” “Rent” and “Ordinary People.” Pappalardo is also in the Kennett High Glee Club and was in the top five placing video that was entered into FOX 23's Glee For All competition. She can currently be seen in “The Wizard of Oz.”
When did you get interested in singing and acting?
It all started in elementary school. Acting was kind of a big thing at my elementary school. We didn't have really big productions, but I started getting into that more because my home room advisor was actually the drama teacher and she saw that I had a big interest in it. The community theater really started my freshman year. I tried out for “Grease” with Arts in Motion and that's kind of where it all started from there.
Do you want to pursue that as a career?
I think pursuing it as a career would be really tough. Of course I would love to. It would be like a dream, but I don't know if that is really my place.
Do you think you will continue to perform throughout your life?
Definitely. I definitely love to. I've just started, so I hope this is just the beginning and I'll do a lot more in my life.
What was your first experience like doing community theater?
It wasn't that tough. Arts in Motion helped a lot because it was a school play, so you had a lot of your friends there. Diving right into it, especially since “Grease” was a very big production, it was kind of intimidating at first, but once you get more into it it gets easier along the way. That first experience is really scary, but I got used to it.
Do you have a preference for musical theater or straight drama?
I've actually done all musicals up until “Ordinary People,” which was in the fall. That was my first drama. I like musicals I think more because I enjoy singing more. A drama was definitely a little more harder, but I enjoyed it just as much.
“Ordinary People” is obviously a very heavy show and you obviously played a very dark character, so how did you approach that?
A lot of it was personal experience. Not saying I want to kill myself, I've never wanted to do anything that heavy. With all acting you take it from yourself, your personal life, your background and I haven't had such a perfect life, not that anyone has. I took a lot from my own life and I put it out on stage.
What has this last show, “The Wizard of Oz,” been like?
“The Wizard of Oz?” Oh gosh. I love doing M&D plays. This was really fun. It is a lot different, well, not entirely different, but it is different for an M&D production because it is a very popular play. I'm Glinda and I've never really played a happy role. My past characters haven't been the most peppiest and jovial, but this one was a lot of fun because I could just smile all the time and have fun with it instead of crying or anything.
It must be freeing to do something like “Wizard of Oz” where you can go as big as you want and it is OK.
Yeah, there is no over-the-top. Over-the-top is good. Always just have a bunch of facial expressions. You don't have to hold back, and I love that.
How would you compare Arts in Motion and M&D? I imagine it is a different experience with both.
I think it is more like the directors are different. Arts in Motion works more with students and it is kind of more of a starting point. I started with Arts in Motion, which is good because they've helped me and they've always been helping me. I enjoy doing plays with them. M&D is more where you have to start branching out and you have to kind of do more with yourself. I don't know how to describe it, but it goes Arts in Motion and then M&D is where you really start opening up as an actor.
What do you hope to do when you get out of school?
I'm not quite sure yet. I've looked into, recently, music management and merchandising and I think that's where I am going to try and start. I'm actually going to visit colleges in New York over April vacation and hoping that I'll find something that I like there.
Are there any schools you are particularly looking into?
Nazareth, Syracuse, I don't know yet. University of New Haven in Connecticut. There are so many choices.
Are there any other acting jobs on the horizon? Have you auditioned for anything?
I am in the KHS Glee Club. That's fun. I think that's all. I was thinking of joining chorus. I might do a dance for a gym credit next year. But other than a career, I think community theater is all I have so far.
How's the Glee Club been? Were you in the video?
I was in the video. We went to Good Day Maine and it was an awesome experience. You'd think you'd be close to students, but once your in team and you compete together, we'd go out to dinner, and we'd have the greatest time. It is starting up next month and we are going to get new people in it and I'm really excited.
You do think, where ever you are, you will try to do community theater?
I think so. I get out all my emotions. I've met so many people. I'm friends with a lot of actor. I've met a lot of talented people. I'd really like to. I'm really glad I got into this and I just want to continue with it.