Sofia Herr embodies Alice-young and old-in Bright Star

From Tanya in Mamma Mia to the star of Bright Star Alice Murphy, Sofia Herr has portrayed a vast array of characters. Sofia brightens up a room with her flamboyant personality and she is very encouraging and kind. Portraying characters close to her adventurous and carefree spirit like Alice, from Bright Star, comes easily and playing high maintenance and flirtatious characters like Tanya, from Mamma Mia, are more of a challenge. Sofia proves that she is an experienced actress. 


Bright Star will be an exciting venture for Sofia and the entire wonderful cast. The musical is being performed as a video portrayal of play due to Covid 19 restrictions. This year’s musical is a folk story, set in 1945 which flashes back to 1923. This year Sofia, transformed into a 16 year old from 1923 to a 38 year old from 1945, as the lead Alice. 

When Alice was younger she was very carefree then a life altering event occurs and she becomes more calloused and reserved.  “It is about a woman [Alice] and her relationship with this boy [Jimmy Ray] and how it has affected her. In her life she becomes very successful, she and the boy even have a child together. She loses that child and it’s about her struggles with that,” said Sofia. 


Since the musical was recorded this year a new set of challenges emerged for the cast and crew. Sofia talks about how performing in front of a camera affected her performance. “It was 100% harder to perform in front of a camera without the reactions and positive reinforcement from an audience. It’s definitely a strange experience finishing a big number with just a blackout and silence,” said Sofia.


Getting into character can be hard, but Sofia researches about the character she is portraying and learns everything she needs to bring her character to life. Since the musical is in two different time periods, and the character grows in different ways, Sofia had to harness both versions of Alice to portray her correctly. “I read a lot about the character and watched a couple of productions on YouTube to find some inspiration as to how I was going to make the part my own. The most important part to me was distinguishing between the personality of Alice when she was young and when she is an adult. To motivate my action onstage, I had to understand what had happened in Alice’s life up until that point to drive her to behave the way that she does,” said Sofia.

Sofia has been performing and doing theater ever since she was five years old. “My parents signed me up for a summer camp at Stage Right and I just really loved it. I have been doing theater there ever since. Then I started with the school district doing theater in the eighth grade,” said Sofia. 


     Since Sofia has been doing theater for so long she has gotten to play many different characters. Her favorite role she has done is Tanya from Mamma Mia. “One of my favorites was probably Tanya, last year in Mamma Mia. It was really fun because I love Abba music and it was really fun to build a relationship with Morgan Reilly and Julia Huczko. It was fun working with them and getting closer with them,” said Sofia.


Outside of theater, Sofia makes art through drawing, painting, and ceramics. “Besides art and theater, I also like reading, jewelry making, and I recently got into crocheting. My favorite jewelry that I’ve made would probably be the necklace and earrings that I made using beads that I made from polymer clay. And my favorite crochet piece would probably be a little bumble bee,” said Sofia. Sofia is a very creative and artistic person. She creates wonderful art pieces and is a great singer on top of her acting skills. 


Sofia has been accepted into an art school and hopes to get a career dealing with art in some way. “In the fall I’ll be attending The School of the Art Institute of Chicago to pursue a BFA in Fine Arts,” said Sofia.  Although she doesn’t really want to pursue theater as a career, she isn’t opposed to doing a cabaret or a few community shows. “I think it would be fun if the opportunity came up to do a show or a cabaret, but right now I see it as a hobby and a way to make friends. But I won’t be devastated if I don’t do it after high school,” said Sofia. 

With her senior year coming to an end, Sofia will perform in her final musical Bright Star. Sofia is closing her musical theater chapter of her life and starting a new chapter by going off to college. “I’d say the feeling is very melancholy. I really couldn’t ask for a better senior show. I think Alice is my favorite role I’ve ever played, and it challenged me so much and made me grow as a performer for sure. Theater has always been a part of my life ever since I was little, so I think it’s going to be strange to not have the opportunity to be performing on stage anymore. I’m sure I’ll find my way back to performing in some way, shape, or form, but I’m at least glad to say I was able to end with a bang. It’ll be sad to end this chapter of my life, but I’m still beyond excited to start fresh in a new city and meet new friends along the way. I’ll never forget my years that I spent performing with the drama club, and I’ll cherish the memories I made on that stage for the rest of my life,” said Sofia.

Sofia Herr brings Alice Murphy to life as a Bright Star. (Jess)