You may have crossed paths with Ally over the years as she has been involved with Quick As A Wink since the theatre’s very beginnings. “My first involvement with Quick As A Wink was all the way back in 2003 in their very first production,” Ally says. “As a child, I played one of the farmer’s children in Act One Scene One of Glory Days, which was performed outdoors in downtown Windsor. I remember wearing a white dress that felt extremely hot in the sun, but I was having so much fun that I didn’t even mind! After that, I lost touch with the theatre for many years. I became involved in other activities, and Quick As A Wink slipped off my radar until one of my good friends, Alex Hare, participated in 2008’s You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown. The performance was so impressive that it rekindled my interest and inspired me to audition for 2010’s King Island Christmas, where I was cast as the Newlywed Wife. I then went on to work as a Quick As A Wink summer student for four consecutive years, which was so fulfilling and brought so much joy to my summers. I also had the opportunity to play Flotsam in 2016’s The Little Mermaid, worked backstage on both 2014’s The Secret Garden and 2018’s The Drowsy Chaperone, and am now on the Board of Directors!”
After so many years of QAAW involvement, Ally has accumulated numerous favorite memories of her time with us. “It would be impossible to pick just one favorite moment because I have enjoyed them all,” Ally says. “I loved goofing off with Amanda [Mullally] and Kerry [Lawrence] during Little Mermaid by nicknaming our evil trio [of Ursula and her eels] ‘The Squid Squad’. I loved playing improv games with the participants of our musical theatre camp and laughing so hard I struggled to breathe. I loved having the opportunity to work alongside such wonderful people, including my close friend Kelsey Van Blarcom. One of my most rewarding moments, however, has been chatting a previous camp participant who told me that she had had the opportunity to coach a friend on a monologue since I had last seen her and that she had tried her best to channel me when giving feedback. I have never felt more touched, and I sometimes tear up just thinking about it!”
Though there are many things about theatre that Ally enjoys, there is one particular moment that keeps calling her back to it. “My favorite thing about theatre is one oddly specific moment that sounds really weird when I try to explain it,” she says. “I love the ability to work and connect with my cast mates throughout the entire theatre process, but the moment I am constantly chasing is what happens backstage right before a show begins. The audience doesn’t see it, but the entire cast and stage crew is often ready and waiting in the wings right before the curtain goes up, and there is this magical sense of shared excitement between everyone back there. You are not allowed to talk, as your mic may be on and you don’t want the audience to hear you, so instead everyone is mouthing sentences to one another, making hand gestures, and doing silly dance moves along to the overture while trying not to giggle. It’s this great moment of connection and shared expectation of what is to come later in the evening, and I love it every single time.”
There any many roles that Ally hopes to have the opportunity to play in the future, though she doesn’t believe all of them are attainable. “Honestly, I feel grateful every time I am given a role, regardless of what it is, haha!” Ally says. “I would absolutely love to play Veronica in Heathers, though I don’t think that will ever happen since she and I are so drastically different, and I’m not sure that my vocal range would allow it. Regina from Rock of Ages is also a favorite, since she is just so silly and fun, as well as Tracy Turnblad from Hairspray. Oh! And Natalie from Next to Normal!”
When she’s not hard at work on projects for Quick As A Wink, Ally has a series of other hobbies and interests that keep her busy. “I am absolutely obsessed with board games,” Ally says. “Few things make me happier than sitting around with a group of friends for a friendly game of Carcasonne, Ticket to Ride, or Munchkin. I’m also passionate about social justice and am constantly trying to better myself and widen my mind through reading and attending training sessions on approaching differences and social issues. I like to practice self care as frequently as possible by colouring and meditating. Truthfully, though, I spend a lot of time my time engaging with pop culture. I love listening to the podcast Welcome to Night Vale, and I watch a lot of Netflix. Like, a lot of Netflix. Just a whole lot of Netflix.”
If you want an opportunity to see Ally perform, you’re in luck; she is playing the role of Gertrude McFuzz in QAAW’s production of Seussical, which opens June 1st! “I am so excited to be playing Gertrude because she just radiates this positivity and optimism,” Ally says. “Even when she feels down, she smiles through it and picks herself back up so quickly. She’s such an innocent and genuine character, and I see a lot of myself in her, so she has been an absolute pleasure to play. I cannot wait to share her with an audience next weekend!”
Thanks so much for your contributions to QAAW, Ally! We are so happy to have you as part of our Quick As A Wink community!
Do you have someone you think deserves to be highlighted in our “Spotlight on …” feature? We are always looking for suggestions on who to feature! Send us an email or Facebook message with the name of your suggestion.
New “Spotlight on …” segments are posted every weekend. We hope you join us next week to celebrate another valued QAAW community member!