The idea of doing something with her life other than theater never really occurred to Julia Franklin.
“I didn’t have anything else to choose,” said Franklin, a Loudonville native who is playing the female lead in the Park Playhouse production of “Singin’ in the Rain,” which opened Wednesday night at Washington Park in Albany and continues through July 25.
“This is something I always knew that I wanted to do, and I know it was the right decision. I still look forward to rehearsals every day.”
‘Singin’ in the Rain’
WHERE: Park Playhouse, Washington Park, Albany
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, through July 25
HOW MUCH: Lawn seating is free; reserved tickets are $18-$16
MORE INFO: 434-2035, www.parkplayhouse.com
Theater fans in the Capital Region don’t need an introduction to Franklin. Her career started soon after her mother, Lisa, took the family to a performance of Park Playhouse’s “The Music Man” when she was just 7.
Since then she has been in shows throughout the Capital Region, including the New York State Theatre Institute, the Schenectady Light Opera Company and Park Playhouse, playing the young daughter in “South Pacific.”
“Park Playhouse was the place where my Mom first said to me, ‘you know, you can do this,’ ” remembered Franklin. “I said, ‘I can.’ Ever since then it’s been my dream.”
Franklin and her dream are doing quite well. After graduating from The Academy of the Holy Names in Albany in 2009, she went on to get a degree in musical theater from Pace University. Since graduating from there in 2013 she has been quite a busy actress.
“I got a job on a cruise ship right after graduation, and then I’ve been doing shows all around the country,” she said. “I’ve kept pretty busy, so that’s great, but it’s also so nice to come back home and to enjoy being back in Albany.”
Franklin’s acting passion runs in the family. Her mother is also a local actress and is part of the cast of “Singin’ in the Rain,” and a brother, Charlie, is also a Pace University graduate and currently with the national tour of “The Book of Mormon.”
Her sister, Emily, is a student at Pace University and is spending her summer working at the Mac-Haydn Theatre in Chatham.
George, meanwhile, her youngest brother, is 15, a student at LaSalle Institute in Troy, and like his siblings is also immersed in musical theater.
In “Singin’ in the Rain,” Franklin plays Kathy Selden, a character made famous by Debbie Reynolds in the 1952 Hollywood movie with Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor. The story is set in Hollywood in the 1920s.
“It was a beautiful movie, and our script is pretty true to the film,” said Franklin. “Our cast all got together and watched it, and I love Debbie Reynolds. It was great listening to podcasts with her talking about making the film, and how old she thought Gene Kelly was. I’ve watched a lot of her other movies just to get a feel for her. She’s awesome.”
According to director Michael LoPorto, Franklin is a natural to play the love interest of Don Lockwood, played in this production by New York City-based actor Andrew Boetcher. Michael Cefalo portrays his sidekick, Cosmo Brown.
“Kathy is a very honest and open human being who radiates generosity,” said LoPorto.
“You just like her. Julia is the same way. She has all those qualities. She’s also local and while we like to use local people, she got the part because she’s awesome, not because she’s local.”
“Julia and I have a lot of chemistry and she’s very fun to work with,” said Boetcher, a native of Columbia, Maryland and a 2010 Penn State graduate.
“I hadn’t met her, but we got together a little bit before rehearsals because one of her best friends started going out with one of my best friends. We’re very open with each other. We get along great.”
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