Jul 25, 201209:01 AMDaily News
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Carlisle teen stars on stage
Theater is in Victoria Liebetrau’s blood.
Born to an actor and costume designer, the Carlisle native has been performing her entire life, and she’s known since she was the lead in her kindergarten play that acting is her passion.
She’s appeared in local productions at Messiah College and the Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts.
But this summer, Victoria, 14, is over the moon about her latest path to stardom—performing in Moon Over the Brewery at Totem Pole Playhouse in Fayetteville.
The theatre is nationally known for offering professional summer theatre, often featuring actors who have graced the small or big screens.
In Moon Over the Brewery, Victoria has a lead role. The play focuses on a young girl in a Pennsylvania coal mining town as she struggles to accept her single mother's need for romantic attachment. “I love it so much,” Victoria said. “I want to [act] all the time. All the people there are amazing, and the shows are so much fun.”
But treading the boards in a professional theatre was a bit more difficult than the rising Carlisle High School freshman expected. The crew rehearsed six hours per day for two weeks before opening July 17.
The play is directed by Carl Schurr, who Victoria has taken many notes from that she expects to use the rest of her life. She’s also taken plenty of advice from her parents.
Her father, Jon, and mother, Lisa, are both on the faculty of the Theatre Department at Dickinson College, and each has worked for Totem Pole in the past, as an actor and costume designer, respectively. As a costume designer, Lisa had Victoria in a baby seat or strapped to her back since she was a baby as she worked on costumes, so Victoria absorbed the backstage presence of the theater. “[Victoria’s] been performing since she was born. It’s hard to be in a theater family and not go down that road,” Lisa said. “She’s never been shy. She always had that performer air about her. She also has a real talent for visualizing the lines. Some people have that gift for visualizing those lines, and she has it.”
When the curtain went up on opening night, Victoria was a little bit nervous—but once she got on stage she, didn’t want to leave. “I have a short period where I’m not on, and I just wanted to get back on because I feel like the audience and I are old friends,” Liebetrau said. “I feel like that every night.”
Although some kids may struggle with working with adult professionals, Victoria thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the cast. “They’re so much fun,” she said. “They don’t treat me like I’m any different. They’re just a bunch of kids. They joke around with me, and they’re not afraid to make fun of me in a friendly kind of way.”
And the feeling was mutual.
“She's great,” said Totem Pole vet Rex Daugherty, who has a history of both teaching and appearing with child actors. “I don't treat her any differently than any of the others. Well, I'm a little hesitant to push her around on stage, which my character has to do.But other than that, she's just one of the cast.”
Victoria encourages young people to go to theater productions for a much different experience than with TV and movies. “It’s live theater, you get an experience you can’t get from a movie or anything,” she said. “The people are actually there talking to you and they work hard.”
The talented ingénue frequently invites her friends out to her performances, and they enjoy what they see. “You learn so much from it and many people find out they like it themselves,” Victoria said. “That helps it grow. It is very important that younger people start coming, because we’ll need a new crowd.”
Moon Over the Brewery plays through July 29 at Totem Pole Playhouse in Fayetteville. Tickets are available at www.totempoleplayhouse.org or by calling the box office at 888-805-7056.