by Angie Mack Reilly (c) February 9, 2017
It was January 2nd and I was conducting auditions for the North Shore Academy of the Arts (NSAA) Jr. Stagekids production of “Annie KIDS”. This would be about the fifth time that I was going to be directing this show. Over my years of being a children’s theater director, I have been privy to “more than your average” renditions of the song, “Tomorrow”. I have seen countless numbers of little girls in dresses hoping to be that dream role of ” Little Orphan Annie”.
After seeing about 25 children audition that night, one of the last to come in was a confident brown haired girl with deep brown eyes and eyebrows named Sydney. She was wearing street clothes and LED Light Up Shoes. She confessed that she had just heard about the Annie auditions that day.
My audition assistant and I listened to Syd sing. She had a “pop” sounding voice and did a monologue that captured the emotions of anger and sadness pretty well. When asked what role she was hoping for, she replied, “Annie or Daddy Warbucks”. In an upbeat voice, she went on to say that she would be happy with any role. Her “team spirit” was impressive.
“Anything else you would like to share with us?” I asked while organizing my audition notes.
“Um. Yeah! I am going to be on MasterChef Junior in a few weeks!”
My audition assistant and I just looked at each other. Our jaws proverbially dropped. We weren’t expecting to hear THAT at the end of a long night! Maybe we could expect to hear something like that at auditions in a place like Chicago or Dallas. But in Grafton, WI? Tiny Midwestern, Packer-loving village of just over 10,000 people?
“How did you get that?” I asked.
“Well, I auditioned and they kept calling me back!”
When Syd left the audition room, my assistant and I looked at each other and laughed, “Whaaaaaaaaaat?????”
Long story short, we cast Syd as the oldest orphan, “Duffy”, in “Annie KIDS”. The show will be at the North Shore Academy of the Arts on March 27 at 5:00 and 6:15 pm.
Syd is going to be featured on MasterChef Junior’s 5th Season which premiers tonight on FOX at 8/7 c. BE SURE TO SUPPORT THIS WISCONSIN GAL by tuning in and supporting #sydthecookingkid
Out of the THOUSANDS of children who auditioned for this season, Syd was one of 40 culinary contestants to make the final cut.
About being on the nationally televised show, Syd has coined her own feelings and term as being “nervouscited”.
Particularly exciting about this season is that the young culinary experts will be serving up dishes to Michelle Obama, Martha Stewart and the Muppets to name a few.
Contributing to her rapidly rising fame, Syd was featured in the MasterChef Junior 2017 #superbowlcommercial . You can see her in pigtails shaking the oil off of some fries eight seconds into this commercial. Not bad for a 10 year old from West Bend, Wisconsin!
(“Props” to the producers of the commercial for doing a take on “It’s a Hard Knock Life” from “Annie”!)
You also might have seen her featured on REAL MILWAUKEE yesterday telling @Rob_Haswell and @WakeupKoglin how to assist her in the kitchen.
Syd’s mom, Angela Neuser, who is an elementary education teacher admitted to me that she was scared of the show’s icon, Gordon Ramsay, more than Syd was. But when she saw her daughter’s first interaction with “Hell’s Kitchen” celebrity chef, she knew that Syd would be OK. She believes that Syd’s basic cooking skills, fun and creative personality, and ability to accept constructive criticism will only help her on the show.
“We do a lot of cooking at home. But it’s Syd’s own creativity that caused her to experiment and bring her cooking to the next level.”
Syd’s signature dish is Angel Hair Pasta with Onion and Green Pepper Marinara.
You can follow Syd’s personal journey on her “Syd the Cooking Kid” Facebook page.
Be sure to support her using the hashtags #teamsyd and #sydthecookingkid on @MasterChefJrFOX The show will be airing every Thursday for the next several weeks.
CONTACT Angie Mack Reilly at firstname.lastname@example.org
PHOTO CREDIT Michael Becker / FOX. © 2017 FOX Broadcasting Co.