Scarsdale Teen Stars in Appropriate on Broadway
- Category: The Goods
- Published: Sunday, 11 February 2024 13:39
- Joanne Wallenstein
We’ve been following Alyssa Marvin for years, so when we found her name in the Playbill of “Appropriate” on Broadway, we decided it was time to catch up. Turns out that Alyssa has been very busy since she booked her first off Broadway show at the age of six and then toured Asia in “Annie” at eight. She made her Broadway debut in Gray House in 2023.
Now 15 years old, Marvin plays the role of Cassidy, a precocious tween caught in the drama of a dysfunctional family dissembling their father’s dilapidated plantation home in Arkansas. Cassidy appears alongside a veteran cast that includes Sarah Paulson, Corey Stoll and Ellen Fanning. As the story progresses, the characters become increasingly unhinged in their attempts to right their wronged relationships and salvage anything that’s left of the estate.
It's an intense drama to watch, and we assume an even more difficult play to perform, especially when you’re only 15. We reached out to Marvin with some questions about her career and the play and here is what she shared.
How did your parents recognize your passion for acting and how did you develop your talents?
When I was around four years old I went to see my first Broadway show (Annie) and I desperately wanted to be ON the stage! After that, my mom signed me up for local theater classes near Scarsdale at Random Farms Kids Theater and Sandbox Theatre, where I developed my love of performing. Since then, I’ve done many shows locally as well as professionally. I booked my first off-Broadway show when I was six, at eight I toured Asia in Annie directed by Martin Charnin, and then went on to tour the United States and Canada with School of Rock during 4th and 5th grade. During middle school, I worked on an off-Broadway musical called Trevor: The Musical, which is now streaming on Disney+! Earlier this year, I made my Broadway debut in the psychological thriller Grey House directed by Joe Mantello. Outside of working, I think training is essential. I train constantly - I take voice lessons, multiple acting classes, and dance classes in the city each week.
Tell us about your education - did you attend Scarsdale Schools initially? And what are you up to now?
I have been in and out of Scarsdale schools since I started working during elementary school. When I’m not working on a show, I go to Scarsdale schools. For example, I did the first half of 9th grade at SHS before I booked Grey House. When I’m working, I do a fully asynchronous online program called Laurel Springs that works with my theater schedule. Child performer laws require schooling every school day, so I either school at home doing my online program or do it with tutors at the theater (depending on how many hours I am there for on a given day). I’m currently taking a full course load online similar to what I would have taken in 10th grade at Scarsdale - chemistry, algebra and even two AP classes. It’s definitely a challenge to keep up with school and perform eight shows a week, so I try to do my assignments whenever I can like backstage before the shows.
Describe your daily schedule on a day the show is on. How do you get to and from the theater - and what time do you finish at night?
Normally, I start the day doing school work at home, if it’s a single show day. In the late afternoons, I usually head to the city to have a voice lesson, dance lesson, or acting class before my call time at the theater. I arrive at the theater about 45 minutes before the show - say hello to my castmates, get ready, warm-up, maybe do a school assignment. Depending on the train schedule/what time I have to be there, I either take the train to the city or my mom, dad or grandma drive me in. Post-show, I usually get picked up by one of them since it's late at night. On two show days, I basically spend the entire day/evening at the theater!
How long is the run for Appropriate?
Appropriate is running at the Helen Hayes through March 3rd.
How do you get new roles? Do you have an agent?
Lots of auditions! I have an amazing agent, so that’s how I receive auditions. Nowadays, the first audition for a project is usually a self-tape, which I do at home, but more projects are starting to return to in-person auditions for the first round (for theater especially). For Appropriate, my initial audition was in person (my mom picked me up at sleep-away camp and drove me to New York City for it) and all the call-backs were also in person.
Some of the content in Appropriate is inappropriate indeed! Tell us about your reaction to it. Is it tough to be a teen in the midst of a very grown-up and dysfunctional family story?
While some of the content in Appropriate can be tough to swallow, the message of the show is so powerful and important, and those hard parts are necessary to achieve the maximum impact. Being a teen in such an intense show can be difficult, but the entire cast and creative team is so supportive, so it was easier to navigate the hard subject matter with them by my side.
How have you spent your summers?
If I’m not working on a show, I go to French Woods Festival, a performing arts camp! I’ve been going there for many years (on and off depending on work), and I love it. I often self-tape auditions at camp and sometimes have to come home for them, but it works out great since it’s a theater camp, so I have plenty of people to prep with for auditions. This past summer I had expected to be working on Grey House on Broadway all summer, but when the show unexpectedly closed during July, I went to French Woods for three weeks in August. The summer before I had planned to be there for six weeks, but I booked a job while there, so I came home after three weeks to work on the project I booked. So we never know for sure what I’ll be doing each summer!
Do you take acting lessons or have an acting coach?
I take acting classes regularly for both theater and on-camera acting. Additionally, I have dance and voice lessons every week, so I can stay a well-rounded performer.
Do you miss anything about just being a student at SHS?
The thing I miss most about being a student at SHS is seeing all of my friends every day. However, I feel very grateful that I am able to stay connected to the community through the drama club and its members, so I get the best of both worlds.
What are your hopes for the future? Do you know whether or not you’ll head to college or pursue your career in NYC?
I’m not entirely sure what I will do in the future, but I know that I love acting and will certainly want to keep pursuing it on stage and screen. I’m also interested in law and psychology, so I would love to study those subjects too. I definitely will go to college and continue to act professionally!
Who are some actors that you admire or serve as role models?
I feel so lucky to be a part of the amazing cast of Appropriate, and I really admire all of the adult actors. They are all so masterful and committed to what they do, and I feel so grateful to get to learn from them every day, both on and off-stage.
What advice would you give to other kids who wish to become actors?
A piece of advice I would give to other kids who want to become actors is to always be persistent. You will receive a lot of “No’s” in this business, and it’s important to not let them get to you. Keep doing what you love, and trust it will all work out in the end.
(Update February 13: The show is transfering to the Balasco Theatre and extending through June 23 and Alyssa is staying with the show.)