Young Mequon resident, Hannah Engel, 13, will appear in First Stage’s premiere play TO THE PROMISED LAND playing at the Todd Wehr Theater at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts January 25 through February 10.
Set in late 1960s Milwaukee, the play seamlessly weaves together the story of Ruth, a young African-American girl reeling from the loss of her brother during recent Civil Rights actions, and that of Golda Meir, Israel’s first female prime minister, who had spent her formative years in Milwaukee. As Ruth draws on Golda Meir’s autobiography for inspiration a story between Milwaukee’s African-American and Jewish communities is shared as we follow both characters on their path to her own promised land.
Hannah has been involved in theater since she was five years old. She started performing with First Stage two years ago and has been involved with the summer Academy classes for the last four years. Some of Hannah’s past roles include Cecile in A HUNDRED DRESSES as well as JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT and HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL. Her favorite role so far is her current role as Goldie in TO THE PROMISED LAND because she is such a strong calendar and different from other characters she has previously played.
“I love acting because when I am on stage I get to become someone other than myself. Each character I play has a different personality and it is a blast to see the world through that character’s eyes,” Hannah said. “I love working with the people at First Stage from the directors to the designers and other actors.” She finds the process of watching the show coming together very exciting. “First Stage is wonderful for young actors because the teachers and directors push us to try different things and step out of our comfort zone. Through First Stage, not only have I become a better actor, but also a better person,” Hannah added.
“The play is about the journey of a young person searching for truth while struggling with the tests that come with life in an urban setting,” said Director Sheri Williams Pannell. “TO THE PROMISED LAND serves as a catalyst to encourage dialogue about Milwaukee history and witness how one moment in time can impact the life of an impressionable young person,” she continued.
According to Hannah, “From my experience in TO THE PROMISED LAND, I have learned that even though sometimes you feel like giving up and there is no where else to go, you need to keep going and stay hopeful because you can accomplish anything if you really try.”
TO THE PROMISED LAND runs through February 10. For more information, visit www.FirstStage.org.
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