There’s something about Elise

As you may know, the 573 Magazine is involved with the movie that has been shooting in the area this past year. The independent film Interview A Monster, a comedy, is set for release mid- 2017. The film, starring Tom Green, Les Stroud, Stacy Brown Jr., David Graham and local girl Elise Edwards, is classified as a low budget film. Filming has been taking place in Cape Girardeau, Jackson, Fredericktown, Ste. Genevieve and the studio at 573 Magazine and is slated to complete filming late this year. The experience has been incredible and the outpouring of help from the above mentioned towns has been humbling to say the least. With help from Southeast Missouri University, city governments, local businesses like Crown Valley Winery, Buchheit Stores, Sabreliner Aviation, Midwest Health Care, Denny Motors, Channel 12…, city and county police, Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce, and countless individuals… the film is truly a community effort on a regional scale. With the help provided, the film has a very expensive looking production value and for that all the producers say thank you all for your help. The goal being to attract other 5 million dollar productions into the area. Trust me — you want that.

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During this last year I’ve become friends with the most incredible young lady. A quiet, down-to-earth young lady on a path to something big without the big head—if you know what I mean. A talented stage actor with experiences like a lead role in the St. Louis Muny production of Fiddler On the Roof and currently working on A Christmas Carol at the St. Louis Repertory Theatre… She also has a lead role in Interview A Monster playing side-by-side Les Stroud and other cast members of the film. To say she’s been holding her own is an understatement. Meet Elise Edwards — there’s something about Elise.

I’m Elise. I live in Cape Girardeau and am a 7th grader at St. Paul Lutheran School in Jackson. My parents are Dr. Tim and Lisa Edwards and I have a younger sister and brother. I love YouTube, being silly, musicals, my dogs Root Beer & Dr. Pepper, my pixie haircut, politics, and Little Debbie Snack Cakes. I strongly dislike spiders, tornado warnings, scary movies, knives, super cold weather, and when snow gets in my gloves. I have been singing and performing since I can remember, but started singing in church when I was five for my brother’s baptism. I started taking voice lessons from Marlene Creech-Dudley at age seven and dance lessons at age eight. It was around then that I got my first role as ‘Mollie’ in SEMO’s Annie and started competing in local Heartland Talent Showcase competitions. After several years of doing well in those, singing more in church, and being cast in additional SEMO plays and musicals, my mom decided to take me up to the St. Louis Muny to get the experience of a professional theatre audition. That was three years ago and everything changed after that.

573: Tell us about your stage acting at the Muny.

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In 2014, I was cast in Seussical The Musical at the Muny as part of the youth ensemble following a two-day audition of hundreds of children. I was so excited!!! Getting to move up to St. Louis and rehearse with big Broadway actors and directors for three and a half weeks was so amazing and inspiring. It made me realize that that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to be able to sing, dance, act, and make people happy! I got to return to the Muny last year to perform in Oklahoma and again, this past July, as ‘Bielke’ in Fiddler On the Roof. It was so much fun and such an incredible experience to have that responsibility of being a professional performer. I learned SO much!! What most people don’t know, is that every child and teen must go through the audition and callback process every year which requires dancing, singing, and some acting. The older you get, the harder it is to make it into the Muny. That is why I now take 4 to 5 hours of dance a week up in St. Louis and continue my vocal lessons with Mrs. Marlene and my choir teacher, Matt Palisch. You have to work hard to keep your skills up. Also, some of the professors and students at SEMO’s Conservatory of Theatre and Dance are very helpful. They rehearse lines with me and give me good advice to help get me acting-ready for an audition I may have.

573: Do you get scared going on stage in front of all those people?

Interesting enough, I don’t. I never ever thought about being nervous until my dad told me before my first show in Annie to not get nervous and I said “Huh, am I supposed to be?” True story. I think it’s way more nerve wracking to sing in front of a small group of family and friends or an audition panel than to perform in front of 11,000 people a night at the Muny.

573: What’s the most special thing that has happened to you while working?

I got to meet and perform in front of Mr. Sheldon Harnick who is the lyricist and co-creator of the Fiddler On the Roof musical and other classics this past August. He is 93 years old and was honored by the Muny. It was such an awesome and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to sing his songs in front of him and get to tell him how special his songs and lyrics were after the show. I kept wondering that night on stage how many times he had seen his musical!! He told me I did a great job, which was a very nice compliment!

573: What would you like your future to be like?

I really want to stay active in theater and dance while in jr. high and high school and hopefully focus on doing more acting if I can. Since playing Cassie in Interview A Monster, it has made me realize that, even though both are hard, film acting and stage acting are very different from each other. I want to get more of these experiences like being in local plays, commercials, or another movie someday. Even though it can be a tough field, I still hope to major in musical theater when I go to college. My mom always says, “Well, someone’s gotta do it, so why not you?” and “You don’t know unless you try.” Obviously, I would really love to make it to Broadway or act in more movies, but for right now I’m focusing on the present and having fun. I will be rehearsing almost daily in November for A Christmas Carol at the St. Louis Repertory Theatre. It opens after Thanksgiving and runs through Christmas Eve. It’s the Rep’s 50th anniversary so it should be a cool show. I can’t wait to get up there!

573: How did you like working with the ducks?

Ha ha. I think the ducks really respected and loved me……because I had the bread. :)

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