Baylor Theatre debuts ‘Amélie’

"Amélie" is the story of a sheltered French girl finding her way in the world. Photo courtesy of Tess Wilson.

By Matt Kyle | Assistant News Editor

Baylor Theatre’s production of “Amélie” debuted Wednesday night at the Mabee Theatre in the Hooper-Schaefer Fine Arts Center. The musical has performances lined up until Oct. 9 and tickets can be purchased online through Baylor Theatre’s website.

Amélie” is a musical based on the 2001 French-language film of the same name. The musical follows Amelie, a shy and sheltered girl living in Paris, as she begins to forge connections with people for the first time in her life. She begins helping various people and along the way, falls in love for the first time.

New York, NY graduate student Cassie Nordgren is the director of the show, which is part of her thesis for her master’s degree in directing. Nordgren said the constant movement and visual storytelling of the musical spoke to her due to her background in musical theater and dance choreography.

Nordgren also said she liked how “Amélie” doesn’t follow the typical structure of a musical.

“It is written more like a play than a traditional musical,” Nordgren said. “Because it doesn’t have a traditional musical plot structure, you don’t really know how or what’s going to happen. So that gives you a sense of magic. It requires you to use your imagination.”

Nordgren said the show is different from the movie due to moving the film from the screen to the stage and making it a musical.

“The character Amelie in the movie doesn’t say very much,” Nordgren said. “It’s all in her face. Subtle views of her facial expressions tell everything you need to know but you can’t do that in the play. So she has full on songs. She has the most lines.”

Granbury senior Kaitlyn Bailey is performing the lead role of Amélie in the production. Bailey said she wanted the role because she related to Amélie’s introverted nature.

“She was never taught how to connect with people,” Bailey said. “The entire show, she’s just trying to figure out how to make these connections, even though she’s so used to being alone. There’s multiple numbers where it just goes over her anxiety that’s going on in her head.”

Frisco junior Sophie Dryden plays Georgette in the production but is also an understudy for the characters of Amélie, Amandine and Philomene, which means she studies those roles as well and could substitute if needed.

During rehearsals, Dryden said it was challenging splitting her attention between her cues as Georgette and keeping an eye on the actors she was studying. Dryden said she has enjoyed playing Georgette because it required her to get out of her comfort zone.

“Each character in that cafe has a personality and their own little quirks,” Dryden said. “Georgette is a hypochondriac. So constantly throughout these scenes, you’ll see her sneeze or throw out her back or do something. She’s afraid of getting sick. That was so fun and challenging for me, because how do you play a hypochondriac when you’re not afraid of getting sick all the time?”

Dryden also said she loves how “Amélie” ends without a “happily ever after” moment.

“It’s definitely a hopeful ending. But it’s not set in stone, which I think is so interesting, because the audience themselves and the characters get to decide on their own, what happens afterwards,” Dryden said.