Preschoolers share role in local production of Tony-nominated musical

Preschoolers share role in local production of Tony-nominated musical
Whitney Shillingford and Bailey Dorman

Look out, Hollywood, your next big “little” star may come from Jacksonville.

Two young girls, Whitney Shillingford of San Marco and Bailey Dorman of Orange Park, were chosen to share the role of Lulu in the musical “Waitress,” a Tony-nominated show brought to Jacksonville last month by the FSCJ Artist Series.

The girls alternated the small role, which included dancing and a few lines, in the last scene during the six-day run March 12-17 at the Times-Union Center for Performing Arts.

According to Whitney’s mother, Cindy, the four-year-old student at Southside United Methodist Preschool loves to sing and dance. “This is her first audition and first role. I think it’s an incredible experience for her and one that she will cherish for a lifetime,” said Cindy, a pediatric nurse married to Wolfson Children’s Hospital’s chief of Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery, Dr. Michael Shillingford. “It was great to see her confidence and independence shine during the audition process. She gets excited about practicing her lines and dancing to the soundtrack.”

It was also the first audition and role for Bailey, 5, who attends Andromeda Preschool, but she’s an apple that hasn’t fallen far from the tree. Her mother, Hope, an English teacher at St. John’s Country Day School, has a passion for theater and has been in quite a few plays in the past, so she broached the idea with her daughter.

“Our younger daughter is definitely a showboat and will want to pursue the arts in some way,” said Chris Dorman, a worship minister at First Christian Church of Orange Park. “As parents we are excited and nervous. Excited for this opportunity and experience but nervous that something may not go as planned on such a big stage.”

Rehearsals were not rigorous for the two young stars, and they enjoyed practicing their lines with their siblings. Whitney’s younger brother loved being involved and Bailey’s older sister had fun helping her learn her lines.

By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

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