Wonkybot.com talks to the incredibly gifted singer/dancer/actress and Birmingham, Alabama native Anna Bella Foster, named BroadwayWorld’s Best Local Actress, about her debut as ‘Princess Fabianna “FiFi” L’Hereux’ in the recent Spooky Troop The Musical workshop concert. The twelve-year-old rising star, who is a competitive dancer as well, also recounts her first time in a recording studio singing Stewart St John & Michael Plahuta’s haunting “Nevermore (The Scary Fairy Song)”, which was released on iTunes and Amazon Music.
Wonkybot.com: Tell us a little bit about yourself, your experience in musical theater and what projects you’ve done!
Anna Bella Foster: I am twelve years old and I am from Birmingham, Alabama. I have been doing musical theatre since I was eight and have been a competitive dancer since the age of six. Recently, I played Mary Lennox in Red Mountain Theatre’s production of The Secret Garden, and I was named BroadwayWorld.coms Best Local Actress in a Musical for my performance in that role. Also, I was Baby June in Gypsy, which I just finished up before working on Spooky Troop. Also, I played Tessie in Annie and Pinocchio in Shrek, Jr. Musical theatre is a big part of my life!
Wonkybot.com: And then here comes this brand new musical pre-show called Spooky Troop The Musical! What did you think when you first heard about it?
Anna Bella Foster: I love the idea of Spooky Troop and how these different species of monsters live in their own world. I thought it sounded really fun.
Wonkybot.com: Tell us what it was like landing the role of Princess Fabianna “FiFi” L’Heureux!
Anna Bella Foster: I was beyond thrilled when my mom told me that I landed the role of FiFi. I couldn’t wait to get the script, and I checked my email five times a day until they sent it to me.
Wonkybot.com: Can you tell us a little bit about your character and her role in the story?
Anna Bella Foster: The Demon King is planning to destroy the human world by using Princess FiFi the Fairy and he has her trapped in a music box. I love the idea that FiFi is powerful enough to destroy a whole world, but she would never use her power to harm others, unless under an evil spell. She is really a very kind fairy. She is very mysterious, and I love that.
Wonkybot.com: How did you get cast in the role?
Anna Bella Foster: My mom heard about the show and heard that Wonkybot Studios was casting some local kids. She submitted an audition tape to Wonkybot, and I got the role.
Wonkybot.com: What’d you do when you found out that you were going to be a part of Spooky Troop?
Anna Bella Foster: Of course, my first thought was WOW – this is going to be fun! I was cast only two weeks before the show, so I knew I had to dive right into it. I read the script and started to explore who FiFi was and how I would interpret what was on paper to a live stage.
Wonkybot.com: And how was the experience of working with the creators and composers of all the material? Usually people audition for plays and musicals and never meet or work with the people who actually created the material.
Anna Bella Foster: It was a one of a kind experience. I have never before been able to ask the creator of a character what he had in his imagination when he wrote a particular line or song. I love the idea of being able to get an answer to any question about character ideas.
Wonkybot.com: Was it difficult to learn the song in such a short period of time?
Anna Bella Foster: No, it really was not too difficult. Stewart, Michael and Todd were there to answer any question I had about the song, and I worked on it with my vocal coach. The creators had my voice in mind when they wrote the song, so I feel like it fit me well.
Wonkybot.com: What was the best part of the whole experience for you?
Anna Bella Foster: The best part for me was the actual performance, when all of us were up there together and playing off one another. Each of us were very in the moment and it felt as though we were those characters trying to save the world. It was magical!
Wonkybot.com: How long have you been singing?
Anna Bella Foster: My parents will say that I started singing before I was talking, but I have been studying voice since I was six.
Wonkybot.com: During rehearsals, you were involved in a photo shoot with the other characters in Spooky Troop. Tell us what that experience was like!
Anna Bella Foster: Yes! This was SO FUN! It was the first time we were together as a group and since we were in our costumes we all started experimenting on how we would talk to each other as our characters. We were in an amazing old home that fit the description of the haunted house in our script perfectly. We all bonded and are still friends today.
Wonkybot.com: What did you think when you saw the Spooky Troop trailer with all the photography?
Anna Bella Foster: I was blown away! The photographer was absolutely amazing, and she captured each of our characters perfectly.
Wonkybot.com: After the show you were in Atlanta recording the Scary Fairy song. What was that experience like? We heard that Stewart was writing new lyrics while you were in the studio — was that hard to learn on the spot?
Anna Bella Foster: It was so much fun hanging out with Stewart, Michael and Todd! These guys made me feel like a star! It was my first experience with recording music, and I actually loved that Stewart added to my song. I did not feel that this was too hard. I wanted it to sound good, so I felt that pressure, but Stewart gave me the lyrics, and I just went with it.
Wonkybot.com: What’s your favorite musical? Favorite movie musical?
Anna Bella Foster: There is no way to pick just one! I am a musical theatre fanatic! It is what is always playing on my phone, in my car, on my computer. I am sure my friends think that I am a little odd. I am probably what you would call obsessed!! Currently, my favorite musical is Hamilton, which I had an opportunity to see in January 2017 in New York. I also love the movie The Sound of Music.
Wonkybot.com: What’s your dream role to play right now? How about in the future?
Anna Bella Foster: I would love to play Little Red in Into the Woods. In the future, I want a shot at all the great roles, but especially Elphaba in Wicked, Eva Peron in Evita, or Eliza or Angelica Schuyler in Hamilton.
Wonkybot.com: There’s a plan in the works to bring Spooky Troop and Tara Tremendous to Birmingham. Do you want to continue playing Princess FiFi in future shows if that happens?
Anna Bella Foster: ABSOLUTELY!!! There is no question that I would love to continue playing FiFi. I feel that her character is only just beginning to take flight, and I want to be a part of her journey!
Wonkybot.com: Thank you Anna Bella for participating in this Q/A!