UC-CCM proudly presents LES MISERABLES opening this Thursday. For the next five days we’ll spotlight various members of the cast with an interview. Today we’re joined by Emily Schexnaydre who plays “Madame Thenarier.”
1. Tell us about your theatre background.
My background in theatre literally started in the womb. Having theatre parents has been the best thing that could ever happen to me. In 2000 my parents founded Center Stage Performing Arts Academy in Gonzales, Louisiana. There were NO performing arts centers before CSPAA. They started it for their little girl who couldn’t stop singing in dance class. I grew up taking classes and then eventually I got my teaching award and began choreographing and teaching my own classes. During high school I attended the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA). It helped me to prepare my audition material for college and offered many performance opportunities out of the spotlight of my parents.
2. How did your journey take you to CCM?
I auditioned for CCM January 9th. After my audition I returned to New Orleans to rehearse for 110 IN THE SHADE. I was tapping on a slick concrete floor and within a matter of seconds I broke my foot. I still had unified auditions in Chicago to worry about, competition team at CSPAA, not to mention getting around from day to day on crutches. I was crushed. Three weeks later I got a call from my mom who was in tears. She told me I had been accepted to CCM!!!! I crutched as fast as I could, with tears in my eyes, and hugged my NOCCA director. It was seriously one of the best days of my life!
3. You’ve been featured in “Three Penny Opera” and “Carrie.” How does your role in Les Miserables compare to those experiences?
I consider myself a physical comedian. That’s my FAVORITE kind of work! THREE PENNY OPERA was an awesome opportunity where I got to explore my love for comedy and character. Ms. Gardner in CARRIE was far more serious but she had her little quirks that made it fun. “Madame Thenarier” is a ridiculous character with extremely real and justified feelings. It has been an amazing experience creating a believably comedic character in a show with life or death situations. I think you’ll find that Matt Hill and I have found a happy medium of comedy and survival.
4. Do you have any favorite moments or things we should watch for from others in the show?
The voices in this show are literally unbelievable! You will be seeing seniors for the last time at CCM and you will also be seeing some new faces stepping up in the cast. I am constantly blown away by the talent we have tucked into the chorus of this show. Our understudies are brilliant and are constantly working to learn the role just in case. Our cast is very colorblind and I think it brings something new to the roles that have become stereotypes over time.
5. What’s next for you?
Next is Showcase! Come see our Senior Showcase March 15th (5pm and 8pm) in the Patricia Corbett Theatre.
UC-CCM will present LES MISERABLES opening Thursday, February 27 through Sunday, March 9th. Tickets – if any are available – can be found here. Emily Schexnaydre is from Gonzales, Louisiana. At CCM, she has been seen in The Threepenny Opera (Lucy), The Civil War (u/s Martha), Spring Awakening (Anna),Out of This World, Oklahoma! and Chess for which she also served as dance captain. She performed in the premiere of Into a Lamplit Room as part of CCM’s Kurt Weill festival. She has also been seen at Center Stage Performing Arts Academy as Vivienne in Legally Blonde and Ms. Sandra in All Shook Up.