When she was 8 3⁄4 years old, Alessandra Baldacchino auditioned for the Broadway musical 'Fun Home' in New York. Alessandra— who had been acting, dancing, and singing since she was 5—was too young for the role and didn’t get it. She tried again when she was 9 1⁄2. “When I auditioned the second time, I wasn’t too nervous,” she says, “I was like, I can do this, I know I can.” She was right. Alessandra started out as the understudy, and now plays Small Alison full time in the touring show. It’s a pretty great job.
Alessandra had to cut her hair for the role— six inches!—but that’s not exactly how she transformed into her character. Every time she’s on stage, she works hard to feel like Small Alison, not Alessandra. “Even between my scenes, I talk to myself as the character, so when I’m on again, I am her,” she says. “And then when we’re taking bows, I am myself again.” She does not have to make herself cry in this play, but she can do it. She’s working on doing it faster.
On the days she performs, Alessandra spends her whole day at the theater: She arrives at 8 am, and then rehearses, has school lessons (with a teacher and other kids from the show), and takes a quick dinner break. Then, it’s time to go on stage. Alessandra has never forgotten a line, but she came close: “I was on the stage and there was silence. I realized, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s my line!’” she says. “I didn’t forget what I was supposed to say—I just forgot to say it!” She didn’t get in trouble, though. “I said to myself, ‘Just move on—it happened and you made it.’”
Fun Home is a story about a family and has kids in it, but it’s not a show for kids. Alessandra’s mom talked to her about the grown-up parts beforehand so she would know what she was talking and singing about. “I didn’t really think about any of the serious stuff before, in life,” says Alessandra, “But once I got into the show, I understood more. And the show meant more to me.”
The show means a lot to other people too, and Alessandra gets fan mail all the time. “It’s really nice and generous,” she says. Somebody even made Lego figures of the characters. “I have a little Lego dude of me as Small Alison,” says Alessandra. “I love it!”
When she’s finished with Fun Home, Alessandra wants to take on other acting roles, maybe in TV or movies. (She would really like to be on the show Stranger Things.) In the meantime, she’s touring all over the country for six months. Maybe she’ll even visit your hometown!