It’s a life on stage for Allison Spratt Pearce
Local actress currently stars in SDMT’s “White Christmas”
By Nina Garin 05:00p.m. Dec 16, 2014 – Union Tribune
San Diego has lots of holiday traditions, everything from December Nights to “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” And a new one that’s emerging is San Diego Musical Theatre’s (SDMT) staging of “White Christmas.”
Now in its third year, the musical adaptation brings La Mesa actress Allison Spratt Pearce to the cast. Spratt Pearce, who also works as a singing teacher at Grossmont College and the University of San Diego (USD), stars in the stage version of the classic Christmas movie, which this year celebrates its 60th anniversary.
The production runs tonight through Sunday at the Birch North Park Theatre.
Since moving to San Diego from New York City in 2010, Spratt Pearce has had many memorable roles in local theater. She tells us about her life on the stage.
Q: Please tell us about SDMT’s “White Christmas.” Do you have a personal connection to it?
A: I grew up watching it on Beta (videocassette)! It holds such nostalgia for the past few generations. The show’s mix between Irving Berlin’s gorgeous music, incredible dancing and singing, and wonderful direction brings together the perfect holiday show for all ages. There really aren’t too many shows that you can take anyone from the age of 4 to 100. And if you’re under 4 or over 100, you can come, of course, too.
Q: When did you first become interested in acting?
A: When I was born, my birth announcement was a stage ticket. I think that sums it up.
Q: What inspired you to pursue it as a career?
A: Acting, singing and dancing were the only things that made me feel alive as a kid. I grew up watching my aunt on Broadway and knew I had to follow in her footsteps. My aunt, Victoria Regan, was in the original production of “42nd Street” on Broadway. She also was in “Grand Hotel” on Broadway and on tour. She is huge in the ballroom community; she was a ballroom champion for many years. My idol.
Q: What are some roles you’ve played in San Diego?
A: First experience was “Cry-Baby” at The La Jolla Playhouse, then when I came back from USD grad school I was lucky to be in many productions at The Old Globe: Jane in “Emma,” Katerina in “Amadeus,” Phoebe in “As You Like It,” Viola in “Twelfth Night,” Reno in “Grinch.” Then back at the Playhouse to play Victoria in “Sideways,” and Debbie in “Old Jews Telling Jokes” at the Lyceum. And for SDMT: Maria in “Sound of Music” and Betty in “White Christmas.” I’m starting rehearsals as Eliza in “My Fair Lady” at Cygnet Theatre.
Q: How do you feel about the theater scene in San Diego?
A: I think it is wonderful, truly the best of both worlds as far as lifestyle and opportunity.
Q: What do you say or how do you win over someone who doesn’t like musicals?
A: This is a great question. Many of my close friends are not musical theater lovers. I think when they come see a show with people they know in it and are told a bit about the process — everything that goes into making it happen — it’s very intriguing. They see the backstage, costumes, pit, wardrobe, wigs and lights. I believe people realize that it’s not just about folks singing and dancing, but about the magic that it takes to put together a story to provide entertainment.
Q: What’s the most challenging part about being on stage? What’s your favorite part about it?
A: The most challenging part is keeping it fresh and new and staying healthy. When there are no understudies, there’s a bit of pressure to really be in good health, which can be hard when you have a family, jobs and other responsibilities. My favorite part is allowing people to escape and be entertained for the two hours and 45 minutes that we have them.
Q: Do you have a favorite Christmas memory?
A: Being with my family, period. That is Christmas to me. We have been all around the world at Christmas time and it always feels special because I’m with them.
Q: You’re also teaching singing and acting. Please tell us about it.
A: I teach song performance at Grossmont College and acting to non-majors at USD. It is a true passion of mine to share my experience and the incredible education that I received with others who want to learn more — not just about being an actor, but learning the tools and skills that an acting class can provide for everyday life. It helps my students find their voice, confidence, courage and freedom within themselves.
Q: What are your favorite musicals or plays?
A: “Cabaret,” “My Fair Lady” and any Stephen Sondheim show.
Q: Do you have a dream role?
A: Dot in “Sunday in the Park with George.”
Q: What is the best advice you ever received?
A: For the business: always remember, there is only one you.
Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to find out about you?
A: I moved every two to three years the first 13 years of my life. My dad was a Marine. I loved the life! I think that’s why I adapted so well to the touring life.
Q: Please describe your ideal San Diego weekend.
A: I think it will be this weekend; it’s my dad’s birthday. They are coming to the show and my whole family will be here. Breakfast at The Mission, Fiesta Island with the dogs, napping with my daughter, perform “White Christmas” for them, and then a great dinner and wine (after the show) at Cucina Urbana. Dessert to follow, always!