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What you need to know for 06/28/2017

Local star heads to Broadway

Local star heads to Broadway

The Clifton Park native is heading to the big apple to preform in a Broadway production of the music
Local star heads to Broadway
Ella Dane Morgan, 5, is starring in her first Broadway play this fall. Morgan is pictured in Clifton Park November 3, 2016.
Photographer: Cady Kuzmich

Ella Dane Morgan has dreamed of performing as far back as she can remember.

Now, the Clifton Park 5-year-old’s dream is coming true, as she gets ready to perform in a production of the musical “Waitress” on Broadway in New York City.

The arts have always been a major part of Morgan’s life. She began dance lessons at age 2 and discovered her love for the stage. She also took part in a drama camp two summers ago, where she was the youngest camper, according to her mother, Laura Morgan.

“She was clearly in love with acting,” she said.

Ella’s path to Broadway began when her family, who lived in Texas before moving to Clifton Park in 2015, was visiting friends and family in North Carolina in April.

“I had a chance to catch up with a good friend [Lee Wilson] who also happens to be a great photographer,” Morgan recalled. “As we were catching up over coffee and talking about our kids, I told Lee about how Ella always says she wants to be on stage. Later in the conversation, I said maybe sometime in the future we could see how Ella would be in front of Lee’s camera.

Q&A with Ella Dane Morgan:

Q. What’s the toughest part of your job as an actress?

A. Clog dancing because you have to move your feet so fast.

Q. What is your favorite musical?

A. “The Little Mermaid” and “Frozen.” I met Elsa at a diner, but she controlled her ice powers.

Q. What is your favorite movie?

A. That’s really tough. “Frosty the Snowman.” “Night at the Museum.”

Q. What are a few of your favorite books?

A. “Peter the Cat.” “Tinkerbell.” “Fancy Nancy.”

Q. What kind of music do you like to listen to?

A. The Steep Canyon Rangers. Taylor Swift.

Q. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you want to go?

A. Disney World and Disney Land!

Q. Where would you like to see yourself in 10 years?

A. [Shrugs] High School. Wow. Playing soccer and still acting.

Q. If you could meet anyone in the whole universe, dead or alive, who would you choose?

A. God, Tinkerbell and George Washington.

“Lee’s response was, ‘What are you doing Saturday?’ ”

The photo shoot produced some great images, Morgan said. And a friend encouraged her to send the photos to talent agencies in New York City.

“Without her encouragement and insight, I don’t know if I would have taken that next step,” Morgan said.

In August, Ella auditioned for the part of Lulu, the daughter of lead character Jessie Mueller in the Broadway musical “Waitress.”

Now through Dec. 18th, she will be performing four times a week.

“The nice thing about her schedule is that, in theory, she gets to spend half the week being a normal kindergartner and half the week as a little Broadway actress,” Morgan said.

Though it’s no easy feat to make up missed work from school, Ella is excited to catch up and enjoys doing homework. And the other students greet her excitedly whenever her mother drops her off at school.

“That made mommy’s heart grow a couple sizes,” Laura Morgan said. “They were so happy to see you.”

“I think my heart grew, too,” Ella replied. “Probably as big as my tummy.”

In addition to her love of acting, Ella is also involved in gymnastics, dance, tae kwon do and voice lessons.

Morgan’s mother sat down with her daughter before they decided on the role to discuss whether she was ready to handle so much responsibility and so much commitment.

“I’m so proud of the way she is handling herself through all of these new experiences,” Morgan said. “I worry all the time about her growing up too quickly, but I’m also excited about the life experiences she’s getting to have, the confidence she’s gaining and the opportunities that may arise for her future.

“Most of all, I also love seeing her excitement and joy in the moments before she heads out to stage to do something she truly loves.”

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