Sophie Messina, Social Media Coordinator
So Sophie, your first appearance on stage was technically in utero. Your mom choreographed CLT's first Into the Woods in the summer of 1997. What was the first show you appeared in or worked on?
My first actual show on stage was with Seussical Jr in the Summer Youth Program. My first backstage job was working on 9 to 5 running the Spotlight.
You have performed on stage quite a bit, but you have also been working behind the scenes. What are some of the roles you have performed backstage?
Spotlight, of course, and on the past few straight shows I have worked as Assistant Stage Manager and Props. For Boeing Boeing, I have been promoted to stage manager. I have also prompted for a few shows and just recently, I was approached to be CLT's Social Media Coordinator. What about that position appealed to you?
I was asked by Danielle Eaton, CLT's Marketing Chairperson, during Prelude to A Kiss and I was really excited to do it. I think Social Media is key for marketing nowadays. It is becoming the primary way that most people get their information, both patrons and actors alike. I think it is a better way for people to see the "behind the scenes aspects," too. It's easier to show that online - rather than on a poster or in the newspaper or other print media. We can capture more information and potentially reach a larger audience.
You are currently a student at USM. What are you studying?
I am a psych major with a theater minor. I hope that the theater minor will help me with both tech and backstage capacities as well as on stage opportunities. We need the younger generation to get involved here so that we can continue the quality and standards of our productions. What do you hope to do for work once you graduate?
Oh goodness. Well, I would like to be a mental health counselor but also hopefully still doing community theater. I don't know if I will still be here in LA because a lot depends on where I go to grad school. If things work out, I would love to be back here! What kinds of things do you like to do when you are not at the theater?
I am pretty much always at the theater - or it certainly feels like it. I am part of my school's jazz ensemble and I do several performances around L/A, including a 60's concert at the Franco Center. School takes up the majority of my time but I get to stay involved in the theater through social media. What has been your favorite role at CLT and why?
Performing on stage had always been my favorite. In high school, I was a part of at least 3-4 shows a year and it really helped me to learn and to try new things. Now that I've graduated and am getting older, I'll have more opportunities to take on larger roles and step out of my comfort zone. I love being involved in social media and speaking up for my generation. I feel it's a really important thing that the youth of CLT are looked at seriously and have a chance to be a part of a show in different ways. I have tried a little bit of everything over the past few years, which I really like. I hope to continue to challenge myself that way. Do you have any favorite behind the scenes moments to share?
I love taking pictures of shows in general and with every show there are moments that are permanent and special to me. My first actual role with CLT was Hairspray in 2014 and I played Penny Pingleton. That show was a lot of hard work but it also got me to challenge myself and become the performer I am today. Recently, I was the Dragon in Shrek and that felt really important to me because I got a chance to really showcase my voice. It was also the last show I did before going off to college so it was also important performing with people I consider special in my life. Do you have any dream roles or positions that you hope to perform some day?
For dream roles - Sophie in Mamma Mia and Cathy in The Last 5 Years. Backstage, I would like to be on the Board and maybe even be President some day. If I could be part of the directors program someday, I would absolutely take that chance, but I'm still a few years off. Why do you think community theater is an asset to our communities?
I think CLT is important because we have a wide variety of talented people who don't want to do this for their work life, but they do want to perform and produce. Theater is an important part of their lives - and they both want and need to share that. It is multi generational, too - you can do it at any age! It also integrates many artistic skills and combines it with a great variety of people - and the best part is that we become a family. Everyone involved becomes important to us and we enjoy working together again and again. CLT also has the ability to provide affordable entertainment right here in our own communities.