Stories & Cast Interviews
Meet Gabriella & Brian Uhl ... A Family Affair!
A very talented Father- daughter duo work together here at WBT. Brian Uhl is the Trumpet player in the ANNIE Orchestra and Gabriella plays Kate in the show. What fun to share this experience!
Brian Uhl (c) with his trumpet
Brian: I grew up on a pig and corn farm in Northwest Iowa. I was the youngest of 6 children. My high school band director, Mr. Perry, was a great trumpet player and he inspired me to pursue a career as a trumpet player. I remember knowing about “Annie” when I was a kid in the 1970s and 1980s. I actually had the opportunity to work with Charles Strouse, the composer, and play music from the show several years ago as a member of the West Point Band.
Gabriella: My first acting experience was at a summer theatre camp in my town, Cornwall, by Riverside Theatre Arts. I was in the youngest group, and we played the orphans in “Little Girls” while a high schooler played Miss Hannigan! The first role I got by audition was Molly in Annie, Jr. at Random Farms Kids’ Theater.
I started dancing at Dance Design School in Cornwall when I was 3 years old and in preschool. I still study there – ballet, tap, jazz, and this year I’m taking pre-pointe and modern, too. I started taking voice lessons with my older sister’s voice teacher, Ilene Reid, when I was 5.
Brian: I’ve worked on several shows at the theatre, starting back in 1998. I love that, even 20 later, I still feel like part of a family here.
Brian: My kids have the movie version of Annie with Carol Burnett and Bernadette Peters. Movie musicals have been a big part of our family life – we started showing them to our kids when they were very young and they are still favorites to watch together. They are are a great way to expose more people, who might not get to see quality live performances, to the art form.
Gabriella: My grandma got us the old version of the movie Annie, the one with Bernadette Peters and Carol Burnett in it, so I’ve seen that. I got to be Molly in the show at Random Farms in 2015. I love doing the dance in “Never Fully Dressed.” When the adults joined us in rehearsal, I couldn’t believe how amazing the show was! I watched them and felt like I was watching a movie or something – I couldn’t believe I was part of that, too. The best part of being in this production has been making new friends, who I hope to have forever.
Brian: My favorite shows that I’ve played for are “Newsies” and “Hello Dolly.” We enjoyed the recent revival of “On the Town,” and “Wicked” was one of the most beautiful shows I’ve ever seen. I don’t think I’ve seen a Broadway show that I haven’t liked!
Gabriella: Some of My favorite shows are “Wicked,” “Newsies,” “Matilda,” and “Singin’ in the Rain” are my favorites.
Brian: I’m an award-winning apple pie baker! I love to bake. I like traveling with my family and being active outside.
Gabriella: When not on stage, I like being with my friends, reading, going to dance class, vacation with my family, and playing with my brother and sister.
Brian: I don’t have any music on my phone, but right now in my car, I have classic rock (Boston, Journey, Steve Miller Band), and the soundtracks to “Hamilton,” “Newsies,” “Wicked,” “Matilda,” and “Something Rotten.” When my wife’s in the car, it’s all 80s, all the time and I don’t mind that!
Gabriella (c) as Kate in Annie
Meet Kaylin Hedges as ANNIE!!
Kaylin, who plays ANNIE in the Sunday Performances, is nine years old, one of the youngest members of the cast!!
Kaylin was born in San Antonio, Texas and since has been moving around due to her father being in the army. "We just recently moved to Valley cottage New York to be close to NYC to pursue Broadway."
As far as the family in the industry, no one has ever pursued the same dream, but her mom, Hailey, is a singer. Her younger sister Emalyn is also just beginning to follow in her big sister's footsteps performing in her first production in August along side Kaylin in Annie Warbucks the sequel to Annie.
Kaylin With Michael DeVries (Daddy Warbucks)
Kaylin started performing when she was really young, always singing and dancing, then the musical Matilda was performing in the Thanksgiving day parade and she was hooked. She auditioned for her first show at age 6 and portrayed a sheep in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. The following year, she re-auditioned and landed a lead role in the show.
She aspires to be like Sutton Foster, Kristen Chenoweth, and her mom. She has danced since she was 2 years old in classes.
She first heard of Annie when, last summer, she auditioned for the national tour, got to the finals for the role of Molly, but did not receive the part. She also auditioned for the Flat Rock, NC production and had no luck till, finally, Westchester Broadway Theatre gave her the best opportunity!
Kaylin has never watched the show or the movie before being cast so it was all new to her and she has enjoyed more than anything finding her own Annie! "Being able to make this character come to life, within me, has been a true gift! I love every single moment!"
Her favorite part of the show is, "Hard Knock Life, because, I get to dance and share the stage with the orphans and just have fun!" Her 2nd favorite is, " I Don't Need Anything But You, because, it's just pure joy both in the show and in real life to be with Michael/Daddy Warbucks and the happiness we share for that song is awesome!"
At home, she dances and sings to Easy Street and her goal is to know it by the end of the run and, hopefully, when she's older, that she'll get to play the role of Lily St. Regis or Grace!!
"Omg, I love Sunny!!!" She doesn't have a pet and with all the moving, the family has never had a chance to get a pet, so it is amazing for her to come to the theatre and bond with Sunny! She loves it, "Working with the dog teaches you to really roll with it because sometimes she doesn't always do the same thing and you can't freak the show has to keep going and do your best always no matter what happens around you!"
"My Favorite Shows? Matilda, Wicked, Dear Evan Hanson, School Of Rock, Legally Blonde, Annie, of course :) and anything really on Broadway bahaha!!
When I'm not on stage, I mostly spend time with my family! And prepare for what's next :) "
Kaylin & her sister with their dad before his last deployment May 2016
Kaylin as Gladys at Cape Fear Regional's production of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.
Aubrey Sinn on Easy Street.
"I grew up in a few places around the Midwest/East Coast. I was homeschooled from 4th grade until I went to college. My mom told me senior year of high school I couldn't audition for another show until I finished my college applications!"
Singing has been a part of her life since she was a child; her parents met singing in the Choral Arts Society of Washington, D.C. That meant Aubrey was singing along with her family’s beloved Christmas albums at home, and in church and school, long before she showed interest in acting.
"My parents met while singing, so part of it might be genetic. Then when I was a kid I saw a production of How to Eat Like a Child and I remember wanting desperately to be onstage, doing what they were doing."
She studied acting at Grand Rapids Community College, and credits instructors Tom Kaechele and Mark Amenta for honing her skills. thirteen years ago, she moved to New York City to attend New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, graduating as a drama major.
In 2012, Aubrey had a role in “Legally Blonde” here at WBT (center). Then in 2013, she appeared as Maria in our production of “The Sound of Music.” (with Matthew Shepard as Captain von Trapp)
“I love Rodgers and Hammerstein. I grew up listening to ‘Oklahoma,’ ‘The Sound of Music,’ all that old-school musical theater. ‘The Music Man,’ ‘My Fair Lady’ – that’s my jam. My mom always liked that stuff. It has a special place in my heart.”
This is my 4th show at WBT but even the second time it already felt like coming home. I love the staff here. I also love the wide variety of work I've gotten to do here: I've done contemporary musicals, very traditional musicals, I've understudied multiple roles in one show, and I've gotten to play the hero & the villain. This is what I love about being a performer!
As Lily St. Regis (left) performs "Easy Street" with Adam Roberts and Susann Fletcher.
"Annie was the first musical I ever auditioned for when I was 8 years old! I had never taken a dance class so I remember being very confused every time they said "ball-change" during the dance call. I was so sad when I didn't get cast - if only my young self could see me now!
I did watch the movie growing up! I think movie musicals can be a great way to introduce folks t the theater who don't have access to it or haven't been aware of it otherwise. To me, an important element of movie musicals is taking advantage of the medium - being faithful to the story, music, and spirit, but in a way that could only be done cinematically. What elevates the movie above being essentially a recording of a stage performance?
My dream role is to play Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd!
My husband & I live in Brooklyn with our two dogs - I love spending time with them around the neighborhood & Prospect Park or taking trips upstate to go rambling."
Celeste Hudson as Grace Farrell in Annie
I was born in NYC at Lennox Hill Hospital (where Beyoncés baby was born!) and mostly grew up in the Capital Region, upstate New York. I was lucky to always be involved with theatre and dance, and come into the city often to see shows.
My family was very supportive of the arts and my dad raised me and my sister on great music and movies- we watched all the old movie musical classics like On the Town and Singing in the Rain. I loved Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse for as long as I can remember. I grew up doing ballet and seeing theatre and fell in love with performing. Living the Capital Region there were wonderful community theatres and I performed in school shows. My mom (who used to work for Radio City Musical Hall) was an absolute rockstar in supporting all I wanted to do. My high school director Mr. Maguire (who was also an exceptional math teacher!) really inspired me in my love of being on stage telling stories. I had a magical voice teacher named Michael who made singing my favorite thing to do. My ballet teacher instilled discipline and a love to strive for grace and beauty. But when I brought a bunch of children I was teaching in a summer program to one of my high school shows, I knew I wanted to be a performer. The kids were so mesmerized, even by a little show in my school gym with folding chairs. They really believed in the magic and I knew that theatre was important to provide an entertaining escape, to teach and inspire and to suspend reality for a few hours.
I remember watching the movies as a kid, (Tim Curry, Bernadette Peters and Carol Burnett especially made me giggle) but I've never been in the stage production before now! I have performed previously with WBT in Showboat. I had such a lovely experience with both cast and crew, and I knew I couldn't wait to work here again. The people here are so wonderful and it's a treat to be able to work at a professional theatre so close to NYC (and my bed!)
I definitely think musicals being made into movies can be really successful, and can bring musical theatre to so many more people. I've really enjoyed a few adaptations, even if I notice and miss some changes from the stage show. Sweeney Todd and Phantom of the Opera are some faves where I've liked the movie adaptation, mostly because they are so visually exciting.
Dream roles? Oh, so many! Roles I've done that I'd love to reprise again and again: Queenie in The Wild Party and Aldonza in Man of La Mancha. I would love to play Florence in Chess, Sibella in A Gentleman's Guide To Love And Murder, Mother in Ragtime, Veronica in Heathers, Velma in Chicago, Dot in Sunday in the Park with George, Amneris in Aida, Sally Bowles in Cabaret, The Bakers Wife and Cinderella in Into the Woods. For a show currently running, a dream role is Natasha in Natasha Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812, and what a dream it would be to originate Meg in Hercules when it comes to Broadway!
I love teaching! I work at an amazing dance studio in TriBeCa called Dance with Miss Rachel, and it's incredible to watch these adorable baby ballerinas grow in confidence and creativity. We even teach a few songs from Annie in our "Future Broadway Stars" class. When I'm not working, I love to travel and explore, both in the city and out. I also adore eating delicious food! Whether brunching with my girlfriends or going out to my favorite Thai and Mexican restaurants or cooking and cuddling up with my boyfriend Mat- I definitely have a weak spot for yummy cuisine! Other guilty pleasures are listening to jazz music in the shower, searching online for dream apartments I can't yet afford, and watching John Oliver and UFC with Mat!
I love all kinds of music, especially unique female voices and writing like Kimbra, Marian Hill, and my all time favorite Kate Bush. Right now I've been humming a lot of Glass Animals and the theme song from Chewing Gum (so catchy!)
Celeste as a baby ballerina (age 4!) Teaching a Broadway class at DWMR
As Julie LaVerne in Showboat As Queenie in The Wild Party at NYU!