Lisa G. Andreacchi returns to The Growing Stage having appeared in TGS favorites such as Frosty, Miss Nelson Is Missing and Narnia. We recently sat down with Lisa to talk more about returning to the role of “Eleanor” after appearing in the stage reading last season at TGS.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am a Colorado native but have lived in New Jersey for 20 years, that’s about as long as I’ve been involved with the Growing Stage too, mostly as an actor but also as a music teacher for their Summer Arts Day Camp. In addition to musical theater, I sing classical music and rock music too. I play tennis, ski and have two adult children; one of whom just got married this past October. I love being back at TGS, they are like family after all these years, and I truly believe in their mission. TGS is an institution that lives their mission every day, in every way and they make a big difference in the communities they serve in in the lives of children and families. It really is a privilege to be a part of that mission in my own small way.
Tell us about your role in Maddie & Eleanor.
I am fortunate to get to play Eleanor Roosevelt in Maddie & Eleanor. I get to learn a lot about this incredible woman, which is thrilling for me, and then I get to try to capture the essence of some of her most enduring qualities for the 90 minutes we get with the audience. A challenge to be sure, but also a very rewarding challenge, I feel.
Were you a fan of Eleanor Roosevelt prior to this production?
Yes, I had seen a few documentaries about her life and was very moved by her unprecedented courage, stamina, kindness, intelligence and leadership, especially for the time in which she lived.
What can audiences expect from seeing Maddie & Eleanor?
During the course of the play, we get to see a WWII Eleanor Roosevelt and a present-day young girl slowly build a relationship across the airwaves and see how their relationship influences one other in their own lives. It’s a very interesting idea the playwright had to connect them even though they are from two different time periods. The juxtaposition of having one of the most progressive thinking women of the 21st century meet and develop a friendship with a young modern girl I believe makes a strong point about how our belief systems as a society have progressed over the last 70+ years. Yet, one thing that remains timeless is the nature of friendship and the deep and powerful impact the love of a friend can have on our lives.
Do you have a favorite first lady? If so, who and why?
Yes, I have two: Eleanor Roosevelt and Michele Obama and for similar reasons. They were both first ladies who were strong, independent and progressive thinkers in their own right. They each challenged the social constructs of the times, and both demonstrated the highest moral and ethical standards in their role regardless of the challenges.
What’s it like getting to work with this team at TGS?
Fantastic! I am thrilled to work with this team of professionals! I look forward to seeing everyone at rehearsals and get to work to bring this beautiful, poignant story to the stage together. We will soon get to work with the playwright, Martha King De Silva, directly as part of our rehearsal process, and not many casts get to do that with a play they are performing.
Fill in the blank: Maddie & Eleanor is…
A WONDERFUL show with a big-hearted, timeless theme of the gift of friendship. Come on out and see the show!
Don’t miss Lisa and the entire company of MADDIE & ELEANOR, February 3-18!
About Maddie & Eleanor:
When Maddie Leonard returns home after her first day in fourth grade, she is fed up with school-yard bullies and flaky ex-best friends. As she turns to her beloved iPhone for solace, she gets an unexpected surprise with a magical visit by Eleanor Roosevelt. As Maddie and Eleanor navigate their budding relationship through old and modern technologies, they inspire each other, laugh with one another, and discover a universal truth: friendship transcends everything.