Meredith Garofalo is no stranger to a large audience. In fact, literally ‘thousands’ of people have tuned in to both see and hear her in the past 5 years!! While we, her TV audience, have had the pleasure of seeing HER, Meredith does not often get the chance to see her AUDIENCE! Thursday night, September 12th, Meredith is trading in the camera for a LIVE Audience. The Manatee Players is presenting the musical “Grease” and Meredith has been chosen to play the role of ‘Rizzo’.
Just one glance at Meredith in-costume, and it is immediately apparent why she won this role over all the other hopefuls who auditioned. When I first became aware that Meredith was auditioning for this part, my first reaction is that she should be ‘perfect’ for the role! I knew that she could ‘look’ the part, but I also knew that side of her that is all energy, part ‘sass’, backed up by an expressive voice that would live up to the challenge!
Singing has been an integral part of Meredith’s life since she was a child growing up in Ohio!! However, it wasn’t until she saw the Sound of Music and witnesses the emotionalism of the curtain call, that she began to think about the possibilities of live Musical Theatre!!! Meredith’s 1st and only experience was in high school as part of the ‘chorus’. She then went on to focus on her education and ultimately gained recognition as a professional meteorologist. Now Meredith is with the Manatee County Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast, and although this position has its own demands, she now has a little more flexibility to pursue her theatrical ambitions!
When asked about what the the most ‘challenging’ thing about playing ‘Rizzo’, Meredith replied that it was “really about BECOMING Rizzo” & understanding the true character. Despite the tough exterior exhibited by Rizzo in the play, recognizing that Rizzo just wants to be loved was the key to portraying her. Meredith credits the director, Jared Walker, with helping her through this discovery process.
In addition to having a fabulous & intuitive director, Meredith is joined on stage by a cast of approximately 30 people!!! Given the high school theme of the play, most of her fellow actors are very young!! Meredith commented how much she was enjoying working with everybody and that she enjoyed ‘being 27 going on 18”!
Well despite Meredith’s advanced age of ‘27’ (just have to grin here), Sarasota & Bradenton Theatre audiences have many years to look forward to seeing her perform for us!!! Unless she is whisked away to Broadway, I’m already thinking of the possibilities! While singing has always been the ‘motivating’ factor in Meredith’s pursuits, maybe the acting bug will prove to unveil yet another avenue for her talents.
Find out for yourself, as Grease will be at the Manatee Players (www.manateeplayers.com) from September 12 through the 29th. If you haven’t been to the theatre yet, you are in for a treat. This recently completed facility is incredibly designed allowing for ALL 364 seats to have a fabulous view of the stage.