Since the age of 5, Ellen Brown has been studying the performing arts.
And now, at the age of 12, she has landed her first “professional” role in one of the most popular musicals of all time.
Cast as Louisa von Trapp in “The Sound of Music,” Ellen takes the stage later this month as the mischievous 13 year old, who is also a bit of a daydreamer.
“I like singing, dancing and acting, and this production combines all three,” Ellen told The Log. “I like playing Louisa and I also enjoy the other kids. My favorite song is ‘So Long, Farewell,’ because we get to dance and there is a lot of fun choreography.”
Douglas Henderson, an account relationship specialist at The Log who plays Franz the butler in the production, said the children contribute high energy and keep everybody laughing.
“They know their lines, they sing well and are prepared for rehearsals,” he said. “Ellen shows that she has studied the arts and is a performer in every sense of the word.”
A seventh grader at Destin Middle School, Ellen is no stranger to the stage. She has also participated in children’s theater camp, Robin Hood with Missoula Theater Camp, through the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation, as well as school and church plays.
“I have been in the Nutcracker put on by the Destin School of Music and Dance five times,” Ellen said. “I have been a mouse, soldier, gingersnap, a party girl in the party scene and the Russian dancer.”
Auditions can sometimes be a scary event, especially for children. Nancy Kruzek, director of The Sound of Music, told The Log they sang as a group and also sang a short solo from “Do-Re-Mi,” in addition to reciting lines and learning some marching/dancing presentations.
And Ellen faced it all like an old pro.
“It was a fun learning experience,” she said. “I had never done a full audition like this, but I wasn’t nervous. There were a lot more kids there than I expected, but my mom told me just to get up there and have fun, so I did.”
Ellen’s parents, Jerry and Alexandra Brown, and 10-year-old sister Clara, are supportive of her new “career.”
“I am happy she is enjoying herself,” Alexandra told The Log. “She loves to sing and dance and likes to be on stage. This is our first experience with a full production like this one. Stage Crafters is doing a wonderful job teaching the kids, and I think the show is going to be fabulous.”
When not performing, Ellen sings with the worship team at Grace Lutheran Church and is very involved in the youth group. She also enjoys water sports and snow skiing and is on the yearbook staff at DMS, now learning photography by snapping photos for the yearbook.
“I like science, I’m in the Beta Club and I really like to be with all of my friends.”
Family life has changed during rehearsals, and her parents miss having her home in the evenings.
“But it is worth it, Alexandra said. “She is happy and keeping up her schoolwork so I can’t really complain.”
Ellen definitely wants to perform more for Stage Crafters and also in high school and college.
“I would like to perform in Annie because I like the story, Matilda the Musical because it is new, and Mary Poppins or Wicked because of the costumes and dancing.”