When Phillipa Soo was growing up in suburban Chicago, she would climb onto her parents’ coffee table in her pink tutu to perform. There, before a rapt audience of her brother and stuffed animals, she’d belt out Aretha Franklin songs at the top of her lungs.
The performer has come a long way from a tabletop in Libertyville, Ill. Just two months after graduating from the Juilliard School’s acting program in 2012, she made a much-heralded debut as Tolstoy’s Russian heroine Natasha Rostova in the pop opera “Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812.” By the end of the following year, she was playing Eliza Schuyler Hamilton in “Hamilton,” a role that brought her a Lucille Lortel Award when the show was off-Broadway and later a Tony Award nomination.
Now comes Soo’s chance to indulge the shy and introverted side of that little girl in the tutu. She is wide-eyed and mischievous, silly and sweet onstage as Amélie Poulain, the Parisian waitress with an impish grin belying her shyness, careening through Montmartre secretly doing good deeds for others and, finally, for herself. Based on the 2001 French film that made Audrey Tautou a star, “Amélie, A New Musical” is set to open Dec. 16 at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles prior to a Broadway run next spring.
“When I first saw the film in high school, I automatically related to the character of Amélie and felt close to her,” says Soo, who also known by the nickname Pippa. “There was a lot of magic about the film that lifted people, and I definitely felt that as well. I was a young person trying to go out into the world, and so was she. I kind of always wanted to be her, and this was a great chance to do that.”
what are your top ten (twenty?) shinee moments?