Spunk, Energy, Presence: Local Starlets Show What’s Inside in Hopes of Being Cast in ‘Waitress’

Auditions for a spot in the musical "Waitress" when it comes to Des Moines. (WHO-HD)

DES MOINES, Iowa  —  It’s an opportunity for little girls to perform on a big stage.

On November 2nd, the national touring company of Broadway’s Waitress the Musical held auditions for its upcoming stop at the Des Moines Civic Center.

Dozens of young hopefuls, between the ages of four and five-and-a-half, gathered at Des Moines Performing Arts’ Temple Theater for a chance to audition for the role of Lulu.

For some, it was all about a new experience.

“She stands on top of our fireplace and sings songs,” says Libby Waterbury, whose daughter Natalie was among those auditioning. “(She) forces us to be in pretend talent shows, so I think she has a little bit of the (acting) bug.”

Others hope it might be their child’s big break.

“It would just be a really exciting thing for her to get to do. To live up to, or live through my legacy and what I’ve done,” says another metro mom.

After a brief rundown of how the process will work, the actresses and their supporters wait their turn, which didn’t seem to bother the youngsters.

“She’s already making friends,” says Julie Sanderson as her daughter Chloe plays on a tablet with fellow auditioners. “She’s hanging out with people, so she’s not nervous at all.”

The tryouts were held inside the theater, so parents had to hold tight in the lobby.  Many couldn’t resist the urge to try and peek inside.

“I can’t see her. I can see everybody but her.”

“It’s a whole new experience for sure. This is her first audition. It’s a different set of nerves. You know, like I said, this is just, we’re here for a lark, it’s fun, no pressure. I’m just really curious how she’s doing,” adds Waterbury.

Inside, there’s a stage, plenty of bright lights, a few cameras, and friendly faces eager to meet the little stars.

The touring company’s associate director took a moment to get to know each girl, asking about their birthdays, siblings, Halloween costumes, and favorite animals.

Then the actresses finally got to show off what they’ve practiced. Each child learned a single line from the show and was told to run into the arms of a casting assistant.

Associate director Susanna Wolk says she looks for someone who is going to “stick to their guns and learn quickly. Someone who is energetic, spunky, who’s going to help us tell this really joyful story.”

And the talent in Des Moines did not fail to impress.

“It’s going so well. Oh my gosh, the girls are adorable, they’re all nailing it. I don’t know how I’m going to pick!” exclaims Wolk.

The production will take around 10 days to make a decision.  The two girls who are cast will alternate performances, each doing four of the eight shows during the tour’s stop in Des Moines.

Waitress hits the Civic Center stage December 5th through the 10th.