Molly Rushing, an actress from Watson, has had the same dream since she was a young girl and now after 19 years of training, that dream will finally be realized on a Broadway stage in New York City, today as she performs in the new show, “Anastasia,” at the Broadhurst Theatre.
“Molly was one of those kids who could sing before she talked and dance before she walked. Music was everything to her and it still is,” mom Jill Rushing explains. “Although Molly was extremely shy as a young child, she was never too shy to pick up a mike and sing a song in front of a crowd. She began singing for church at the age of four.”
“When I was a kid, I was always singing and dancing around the house and I would tell people that when I grew up, I wanted to be a singing dancer,” Molly said.
“It wasn’t until my first trip to New York that I really understood what Broadway was,” Molly said. “When I saw ‘Phantom of the Opera’ on Broadway, I realized that there was a place where people could sing and dance for a living.”
After that trip, Molly began focusing on her skills of acting, dancing, and singing with the dream that one day she might make it to Broadway.
Her training included singing with the Livingston Parish Children’s Choirs, taking dance lessons at Jean Leigh Dance studio, and later the Dancer’s workshop. She began auditioning for shows at the Baton Rouge Little Theatre and became a company member of the Baton Rouge Ballet Company. She also trained and performed with the Livingston Parish Gifted and Talented programs in both voice and theatre.
Her training continued at her college, Oklahoma City University, with a degree in music theatre. One of the reasons she chose OCU was because it was the alma mater of one of her role models, Kristin Chenoweth, a Tony and Emmy Award winner.
After graduating, Molly moved to New York and began auditioning for regional and Broadway shows.
Some of her highlights were playing Jenny in “Babes in Toyland,” at the famous Avery Hall In Lincoln Center and Ella in “Cinderella” at the Gateway. She also performed in several regional shows in and around New York and was part of a regional tour.
Molly’s big break happened last spring when she auditioned and was chosen to perform in a new show, “Anastasia” in Hartford, Connecticut, under the direction of Tony Award winner, Darko Tresjnak.
During the run of the show, the news came out that the show would move to Broadway! Molly still had to re-audition in the fall of 2016 and signed her Broadway contract in November.
“This was a very exciting time for our family,” Jill said. “It was so thrilling to see Molly reach this goal that she had been working towards for such a long time! There were lots of tears of joy when the news came out.”
Publicity for the show Molly is now performing in describes it like this, “From the twilight of the Russian Empire to the euphoria of Paris in the 1920s, the new musical, ‘Anastasia,’ is the romantic, adventure-filled story of a brave young woman attempting to discover the mystery of her past.”
“I am not the lead in this musical,” Molly said. “I am in the ensemble, but there is a moment where we see Anya grow from a child to a teenager.”
“I portray her as a teenager in the opening number, but then the show moves forward 10 years and the role is played by our leading lady, Christy Altomare,” she continued.
“I am thrilled to be a part of this show as I grew up watching the movie and singing its iconic songs,” Molly said. “I am also honored to understudy the lead character.”
“That means in addition to learning my own track in the show, I get to learn the leading role of Anastasia and perform it if our lead actress is ever sick,” she said. “I consider that an amazing honor and responsibility.”
“Anastasia” will have its red-carpet premiere on Apr. 24 and has no ending date in sight, Jill said. Tickets are now being sold through October. She suggested AnastasiaBroadway.com as the best source for tickets.
A product of a large and supportive family, it is a sure bet that they will all be going up to see the show. Mom and Dad will be in New York to see the show during the premiere. The rest of the family and many friends will be heading up to see the show this summer.
“Sometime this summer, 30 family members and friends – some of the people who helped Molly reach where she is now – are going to New York City to see her perform,” Jill said.
Molly Rushing has had training from many excellent art programs and teachers in both Livingston Parish and Baton Rouge. She wishes to thank the following programs for helping her achieve her dream: the Livingston Parish Children’s Chorale, Barbara Walker, Melanie Rushing, Regina Walker, Live Oak United Methodist Church, Melanie Rushing, South Live Oak Choirs, Patty Davis, Karen Ryland, Livingston Parish Gifted and Talented Voice Program, Livingston Parish Gifted and Talented Theatre Program, Walker and Toups Summer Theatre, Barbara Walker and Dinah Toups, Jean Leigh Dance Studio, Diana Jones, Dancer’s Workshop, Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre, artistic directors Molly Buchanan and Sharon Mathews, voice teacher, Terry Patrick Harris, piano teacher Melanie Rushing, Baton Rouge Little Theatre, now Theatre Baton Rouge.
Tommy Comeaux is the Lifestyle editor at The Livingston Parish News. He can be reached via email at TommyComeaux@gmail.com. You can also follow him on Twitter, @tommycomeaux.