Brandeis’ Tympanium Euphorium will be performing “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” through March 22. The Brandeis Hoot was lucky enough to interview Jessie Eichinger ’17, who will be starring as Marcy in the production.
Eichinger has been performing in musical theater since she was seven or eight years old, one of her earliest roles being Gretel in “The Sound of Music” in a local theater in her hometown, where her mom, aunt and grandma worked in the box office. The theater was having auditions for “The Sound of Music,” and her mom asked her if she would like to go, and Eichinger told her yes. Her mother asked her if she could sing, and she was able to show her that she could match notes on the piano. According to Eichinger, she “never left the theater” after getting the part.
Eichinger has a hard time answering what was her favorite show she has ever been in. “All of the parts I’ve played have been so rewarding,” she says. She lists Sarah Brown from “Guys and Dolls,” Chuckie from “Rugrats” and Penny from “Hairspray” as some of her favorite roles, but if she was forced to choose a favorite role she would probably say Penny, because it was different from anything else she had ever done and it helped her develop a new type of character.
According to Eichinger, every show probably has a dream role in it for her. However, she cites Natalie from “Next to Normal” and Cathy from “The Last Five Years” as her dream roles of the moment.
“I like [‘Spelling Bee’ because] it’s funny and focuses more on character development than plot. You learn so much about the kids and the adults as well, and the audience really grows to love them. It’s also incredibly difficult musically and I don’t have much experience with harmonies, so I’m learning a lot and it’s really helping me grow. Personally, I like working on something so unique with such a talented cast that I am so lucky to be a part of, and working with a wonderful prod staff.”
According to Eichinger, her favorite song in “Spelling Bee” is “Pandemonium” because it is so chaotic. She said that although the show is about a competition, Pandemonium is the one number where the kids are all united by a common difficulty or annoyance, “going completely crazy.”
Her favorite part of the Brandeis performance arts programs is the people. She told us, “Once you join the UTC in some capacity and make friends, you are family there. There is just so much love from everyone involved that it really is so comforting and everyone is just so silly together. In ‘Spelling Bee’ rehearsals, we are just so crazy and comfortable with each other, it’s so nice.”
If you haven’t already caught Jessie performing in Thursday’s performance of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” you still have a chance to see her perform Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. or Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m.