Ever since Fiona MacPhail could talk, music has meant the world to her. Over the years her love of all things music proved to be a true passion, which has landed her many prominent theatrical roles and has shaped her life. In the interview below, 16-year old MacPhail shares a bit about her most recent role as Velma Kelly in “Chicago the Musical,” showing Nov. 15, 16, and 17 at the Neil Shapiro Center for The Performing Arts.
What do you love about playing Velma Kelly?
Velma is a really interesting character to play because she is such a strong woman, but she becomes weak when her title is threatened. Portraying someone who still maintains their self-confidence and ego while internally is becoming insecure and desperate, is pretty difficult to depict.
What do you love about being on the stage?
My favorite thing about performing is being able to reflect the emotion that I am portraying onto the audience. Performing alongside people you love is a sort of warmth that is unparalleled. It is my favorite thing in the world when people approach me after shows and performances and tell me that I made them feel something, because to me, that is what theater is all about.
How did you get involved in theater?
I really got invested in theatrical performances in middle school. When I was in the eighth grade, I did the production “Seussical the Musical,” which was just the beginning of my path in musical theater. It opened up a door for me, which has led me to finding a deep passion for theater in my future. My parents have been pushing me to do theater my whole life, but I really found that performing was my end game during sophomore year of high school because the group of people I was surrounded with made me realize how meaningful it is to create with people that you love. Performing in “Rock of Ages,” “Faustus,” and “Dinner Theater” made me have this realization because the people that stood next to me and who supported me made the experience surreal.
Who are your musical role models?
My musical role models are Blondie, Stevie Nicks, and Billy Joel. I see any musician who values their work over publicity as reputable. I don’t really have any specific theatrical role models, but I do look up to any actor who has pushed past any self-doubt and just continued doing what they love, even if it means taking risks and compromising other aspects in life. I think that pursuing your dreams is a requisite, so I admire anybody who has taken gambles in the pursuit of their purpose.
What are your theater goals for the future?
I hope to continue in theater and music in college and as a career because I have never found anything that amounts to what the performing arts means to me. My ideal future path would be moving to New York and going to a performing arts college in the area. I have always loved New York and wanted to move there to do theater since I was in middle school, so I hope that I can accomplish this goal and succeed at doing what I love.