Two little girls, strangers to each other just a month ago and now best friends, will become authentic stars this week as they perform in the Broadway musical hit, Waitress, at the Straz Center's Morsani Hall.
Both Lucy Capri, 5, of Tampa and Madeline "Maddy" Bokor, 4, of Brandon will share the role of Lulu, the daughter of the musical's main character, Jenna, a waitress and expert pie maker who dreams of finding a way out of her small town and loveless marriage by winning a $20,000 prize in a pie-baking contest.
When they appear onstage midway through the play in alternating performances, their moms will stand backstage, filled with pride.
Just a few weeks ago their daughters outshone dozens of young girls who auditioned for the role. The Waitress company casts the character of Lulu in each tour location.
Maddy, who has played the violin since she was 2½, has performed before small audiences but never appeared in a play. She visits the Straz Center's Patel Conservatory twice a week for lessons.
When she came "skipping out" of her Waitress audition in March, her mother, Kimberly Bokor, had no idea she would be picked.
"When we got the email, I realized our lives were about to get interesting," Kimberly Bokor said.
For Lucy, the audition process was familiar. She had previously performed in various theater productions, as well as short films, commercials and voiceovers.
Lucy came out of her audition all smiles (not in tears), but when she got to the car, she started to cry.
"She said, 'I wanted to show them the 'crazy legs' dance (the dance the little Lulus do on Broadway). 'They didn't ask me to do it. I don't know if I'll get the part,'" explained Heidi Capri.
Since the audition, Lucy and Maddy have spent hours practicing their two lines, "Hi, Mommy" and "A lot," as well as their song and dance parts.
In the first scene Lulu is supposed to be sitting on a kitchen counter, so Maddy has practiced sitting on her family's dining table.
Lucy saw the cast of Waitress perform a song on the Macy's Day Parade when she was 3. In this song, the little character she will soon portray, performed.
That's when Lucy said, "I could be Lulu! Momma, can I?"
Now, Lucy will actually get her wish.
Kimberly is not sure whether Maddy will want to continue acting.
"She is only 4. I don't know if she knows the right questions to ask to pursue this," Kimberly says. "This was not something we expected."
So far, stage fright is far from either of the girls' minds. Instead, they are excited to be staying up hours past their regular bedtimes.
When not on stage, they will be provided a cot to rest — and lots of snacks and games — while they wait for their stage call.
"They are so excited," Kimberly said. "It's an experience of a lifetime."
The girls have become best friends since winning the Waitress audition.
They even appeared for their Tampa Bay Times interview in matching outfits — pink shirts, pink hair bows, denim overalls and decorated sneakers.
When visiting each other's homes they like to play with Maddy's chickens, an Ameraucana named Strawberry Shortcake and an Olive Egger named Anna Green Eggs, and with Lucy's two cats, Drake and Marley.
Once Lucy and Maddy complete their Broadway acting gig, their parents are taking them to another Broadway musical, The Sound of Music, which will play at the Straz in June.
Until then, they will continue their home schooling programs and "getting dirty" in their backyards during science lessons.
Contact Sheila Mullane Estrada at email@example.com.