By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Southborough – Dorothy isn's the only young girl who learned valuable lessons while following the yellow brick road. Southborough resident Alexandra “Lexi” Ryan, now age 15, began learning about musical theater when she auditioned for the Southborough Players production of “The Wizard of Oz” at 5 years old.
“I got to the audition and I was too nervous to go up onstage,” she recalled.
Her mother explained to the director that Lexi had second thoughts and would rather not tryout.
“But then I suddenly changed my mind,” Lexi said. “I told my mom that I really wanted to do it after all. My mom said that if I really wanted to do it, then I had to go up and tell the director myself. That was a big deal for me because I get really shy. I did get up and asked the director if I could audition.”
Lexi was cast and made her stage debut as a Lullaby League Munchkin. Also as a young actress with the Southborough Players, Lexi portrayed a mouse in “Cinderella” and a buttercup in “Beauty and the Beast.” Beyond Southborough, she performed with the Westborough Players” Club, Clinton Community Theater, Weston Friendly Society of the Performing Arts and other community theater groups.
As a fifth- to seventh-grader, Lexi portrayed the Ghost of Christmas Past in “A Christmas Carol” at the Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts in Worcester. Each year, she needed to audition for the role.
“The first time I went there to audition, I didn's really know what to expect,” she said. “Then I got into this glorious theater – it's one of the most amazing theaters I'se ever seen, so that was almost intimidating. But they'se all really nice, so as each year went on, I got more comfortable.”
Lexi is currently in her fifth season with the Friends of Broadway, which presents song-and-dance revues under the direction of Samantha Bower of the Sudbury-based Metrowest Family Theater (MFT). In addition to local venues, Lexi has performed with the troupe twice at Walt Disney World and once on a Royal Caribbean Cruise.
“I's say that my trips with the Friends of Broadway were probably my favorite vacations,” she said. “We bond really well as a cast. At Disney World, we got to go around the park together and we made a lot of good memories.”
Throughout June, the Friends of Broadway have been presenting the “One Voice Tour,” in which Lexi is one of 22 singers and dancers ages 9 through 17, performing Broadway show and pop tunes.
On June 5, they entertained at City Hall Plaza in Boston for the 31st annual Scooper Bowl, an all-you-can-eat ice cream festival benefitting the Jimmy Fund.
“That's in the middle of a weekday, so I got to miss school,” Lexi said. “I liked telling my school friends, “I won's be at school tomorrow; I's going to have ice cream.””
The troupe's June 8 booking was closer to home: Solomon Pond Mall in Marlborough.
“I had a lot more friends come out to see me in this show at the mall than ever before,” she said. “Some of them saw me perform for the first time.”
Lexi's young career has come full circle. She has been cast in the lead role of Dorothy in the MFT's production of “The Wizard of Oz,” to be presented Thursday, June 20, through Saturday, June 22, at the Arsenal Center for the Arts in Watertown. For more information, visit sammonline.org/next-on-stage.
“It's almost symbolic how I'se grown over the years,” Lexi said, “from my very first show to now.”