Another winner of the National Youth Arts Artist of the Year Award, Julia Davis is a staple at the Musical Theatre of Anthem. Some of her favorite roles in the past couple of years have been Cosette in Les Miserables, Jellylorum/Griddlebone in CATS, Cinderella in Into The Woods, Narrator in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Carrie in Carrie the Musical, and Ronnette in Little Shop of Horrors. She has won Upscale Singer’s Scholarship awards for both 2013 and 2014 and was runner-up for the statewide competition of “Call for Christine and Raoul” with Frank d’Ambrosio.
Next year, Julia will attend the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University to major in musical theatre. Can’t wait to see what this talented lady will do in the college, adult, and hopefully professional theatre world! Full Real Legit Name Julia Francis Davis Where were you born? Phoenix, Arizona What’s home like? Brothers? Siblings? Parents? Pets? 2 little sisters- Grace (14), Mary (10), 2 dogs and a cat, my parents names are Karen and Joe. They are all very supportive of me and my dreams! When and why did you start performing?
My 6th grade music teacher convinced me to join choir and audition for the school play. I played Gertrude McFuzz in Seussical the Musical, then figured I would audition at Musical Theatre of Anthem, where I’ve learned everything I know! First show you ever saw? Beauty and the Beast First Broadway show you ever saw? The Lion King Most influential show you ever saw? Why was it so influential? Phantom of the Opera is so influential to me because I find the show so incredibly beautiful. Most challenging acting experience? Why?
Definitely Carrie in Carrie the Musical, it was difficult at times to channel such a character with so much emotional turmoil. I had no real life experiences to pull into my performing, so I had to do my best to try and connect with and understand the character in order to perform her to the best of my ability. How does it feel to win a National Youth Arts award for Artist of the Year? I am incredibly honored and excited to receive this award. Performing is what I love most, so it makes me very happy to be recognized for it. This year, you worked pretty extensively with Musical Theatre of Anthem?
Can you explain what you like about them so much? I’ve learned so much from MTA. Every director who comes to the theatre brings something new and unique to offer. MTA has a very professional attitude and the directors will always push you to do your best, while still encouraging you in every way possible. I’ve learned vocal skills, acting skills, dance skills, and just all around performance skills during all my time at MTA. Carrie, the Musical is a pretty unusual show for theatres to do and in 2013, you got to play the title character. What was that experience like?
Why do you think more theatres don’t do Carrie? It was a really interesting experience to play Carrie. It was unlike any role I have ever played or most likely will play again. There were definitely moments where it was difficult or awkward to act as her character, but I feel like I grew a lot from the experience. I think a lot of theatres don’t perform Carrie because there are some sensitive and questionable subjects within the play. It is, however, a very powerful and moving story that I will always be grateful I had the chance to participate in.
MTA chose to do this show to highlight the effects of bullying and how it is so prevalent in our society, and to remind us all: “What does it cost to be kind? ” Cosette in Les Miserables is a pretty iconic character. What challenges come with playing an iconic character? How did you make her your own? I think it can be difficult to perform such an iconic character as Cosette. You want to play her as traditionally and as classically as possible, but also want to add some of your own performing techniques to the character.
I think I made Cosette my own by developing a relationship with the characters I interacted with outside of rehearsal, and being able to play off of that in my performing. Favorite character you got to play this year? I loved all of my roles this year… but I think my favorite would be Jellylorum and Griddlebone in CATS. It was a really unique experience, and out of my direct comfort zone. I really enjoyed playing a humorous character and it was fun getting to be a cat! Favorite person you got to play opposite of this past year? (Romantically or otherwise) Honestly, I had fun with and learned from each person I played opposite of this year.
Each character partner I had I had a completely different relationship with. I got to act out in anger at Cinderella’s Prince in Into The Woods after being the victim of an affair, sing a humorous Italian Aria with Growltiger in CATS, and pretend to be blindly in love with Marius in Les Mis! What is the Upscale’s Singers Scholarship? What did winning it entail? What was the process in applying? The Upscale Singer’s Scholarship is an audition in which you perform 1 or 2 songs for a panel and are rewarded money for voice lessons based on your rank. I was 5th place in 2013 and 2nd place in 2014.
Can you describe the Call for “Christine and Raoul” experience? The Call for Christine and Raoul was another audition where you sang a song from Phantom [of the Opera] and being the runner up, I was able meet Frank d’Ambrosio- the longest-running Phantom- go to his concert, and do a workshop with him! Dream role? My dream role is definitely Christine in Phantom of the Opera Theatres in Arizona you would love to work with, but haven’t? I would love to work with Arizona Broadway Theatre and Phoenix Theatre, and I’m hoping to audition there eventually!
Craziest stage experience (mishap, funny improvised joke, etc. ? During Into The Woods, after one of Cinderella’s falls, I dislocated my shoulder on stage and had to discreetly pop it back in in the middle of the performance. It was pretty painful and startling at the time but I find it funny now! Favorite costume you’ve ever worn? Least favorite? The wedding dress I wore in Into The Woods was so beautiful, I loved it. I can’t really think of a costume I haven’t enjoyed! Best youth production you have ever seen? I haven’t really seen a lot of youth productions… but one show I saw at MTA that I really regret not auditioning for was 42nd Street.
It was fantastic! What is your go-to audition song? Letting You Go by Jason Robert Brown Advice for young performers? Auditions? Behavior? Life? ALWAYS have a professional attitude, no matter who you are or what theatre you’re at or what role you are playing, give everything your all and be the very best performer you can be! Come to auditions completely prepared with an appropriate audition piece, and study the show and it’s music before you go in blind to an audition. Dress modestly and look nice and always have all your dance shoes with you!
Greet the directors and crew with confidence and kindness and give it your all! Favorite plays? I’ve always loved Our Town Favorite musicals? Phantom of the Opera Musical/play on Broadway currently you’re dying to see? Kinky Boots Secret guilty pleasure? I drink throat coat tea all the time Personal mantra(s)? Always take criticism as a lesson to better your performing, every critique is an opportunity to improve. Performer you would die to perform with? Anyone from Broadway How do you feel about the atmosphere of youth theatre around Arizona?
What do you like about it? What do you feel like can be improved? I think all the youth theatres bring something different to the stage, and from the few shows I’ve seen elsewhere I’ve been impressed! I think each theatre can learn from one another and continue to provide an educational and fun environment for each performer. What’s your “adult” plan? Keep performing professionally or…? I’m going on to major in musical theatre this year, and my dream would be to carry it on into my adult life and make a living out of it! Upcoming projects?
To go to college and start the new chapter of my performance life! Young actor/actress in the Phoenix area you’d love to perform with Anyone with dedication and passion! How do you feel about the atmosphere of youth theatre around Arizona? What do you like about it? What do you feel like can be improved? I think all the youth theatres bring something different to the stage, and from the few shows I’ve seen elsewhere I’ve been impressed! I think each theatre can learn from one another and continue to provide an educational and fun environment for each performer.