An Andover teen has traded in her orphan status for a seafaring pirate adventure. On stage, that is.
Megan Fischer, 14, who played the lead role in “Annie” at Children’s Theatre Company of Minneapolis last year has once again been cast as a lead, this time, in CTC’s upcoming world premiere of the musical “Buccaneers.”
CTC commissioned playwright Liz Duffy Adams to write the original, swashbuckling story with music by composer Ellen Maddow. Adams’ work has played at top regional theaters across the country.
Megan, who received high praise for her role in “Annie,” this time around plays Enid Arabella. Enid is a smart, 10-year-old, head-strong, take-charge-kind-of girl with a creative flair, who imagines herself playing with pirates.
But when her dreamworld turns into reality, Enid soon realizes that dealing with pirates is more difficult than she had first thought.
Playing Enid is a new experience for Megan.
“This is not like any character I’ve played,” she said. “She’s so creative. I love that I get to be scared. I like to change it up.”
For about the last four weeks, Megan has been in rehearsal at the theater six days a week from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., with breaks. When school starts, rehearsals will continue at night.
“It’s a lot of fun. I love it,” she said.
Set in the early 1700s, first on a beach and then on a pirate ship, “Buccaneers” centers on Enid who is captured by the king of pirates Johnny Johné. Expect a tale of buried treasure, Enid’s plight to fend for her family and how the feisty young lady takes on insurmountable challenges.
To prepare for the role, Megan analyzed Enid’s character. She watched a DVD of the movie “Pride and Prejudice” to get the language down. Proper English. Not slang. She, along with the other children in the show, perused packets of information on pirate terms. They underwent music, dance and fight training. They watched videos of ships at sea and set sail to the St. Paul Science Museum to check out its current exhibit “Real Pirates.”
“Megan brings her gorgeous singing voice – strong and clear and powerful – to the role and an ability to channel deep emotion,” said “Buccaneers” director Peter Brosius, also artistic director at CTC.
Brosius describes Megan as sweet, with a great sense of humor in the rehearsal room. But she easily morphs into a hard-headed, opinionated young lady when her bravery is put to the test by an encounter with swashbuckling pirates.
“It’s fun to watch the fiery side of her come out,” he said about seeing her inhabit the character of Enid.
Acting in fourth grade
Megan is an incoming ninth-grader at Andover High School. This school year she plans to take two classes online. Physical education and government. The move will give her insight into whether online learning is for her. It would free up her schedule to become more actively involved in theater, she said.
Megan has appeared on a number of Twin Cities stages and on “A Prairie Home Companion” radio show. She began auditioning in fourth grade at local theaters and churches. By fifth grade she was front and center on St. Paul’s Ordway stage playing little Susan Waverly in Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas.”
Besides Annie and Enid, some of Megan’s favorite roles were Mary Ellen in “American Family” at Park Square Theatre in St. Paul and Carrie in “A Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas” at Lyric Arts in Anoka.
Brosius directs a “wonderfully rich script” full of surprises in “Buccaneers.” He basks in the joy Megan brings to the character.
“I think audiences are in for a treat,” he said. “She’s thoroughly compelling. Watching her lead her crew to victory over Johnny Johné is thrilling.”
Megan is the daughter of Jenifer and Mike Fischer.
Jenifer, whose maiden name is Goor, is a graduate of Coon Rapids High School and is a special education paraprofessional at Coon Rapids Middle School.
Megan has honed her acting and dancing skills from her experiences at various theaters.
She studies voice with local teacher Judy Bender (for two years).
For Megan, the best part of acting is being a different character.
“It’s fun to not be yourself for several hours,” she said.
And what about Megan’s aspirations for a career in theater?
She plans to stay with it as long as possible. If she lands in the business that would be “really cool,” she said.
“But I don’t know. I’ll just play it by ear,” Megan said.
Children’s Theatre Company presents world premiere “Buccaneers,” a swashbuckling pirate musical by Liz Duffy Adams and Ellen Maddow, directed by Peter Brosius.
It will be performed Sept. 14-Oct. 21 with tickets costing $10-$56 at 2400 Third Ave. S., Minneapolis.
For more information visit www.childrenstheatre.org or call box office at 612-874-0400
Elyse Kaner is at [email protected]