WILMINGTON — Marian Carolee Hamilton took the stage for the first time when she was only 5 years old.
The Murphy Theatre in Wilmington held auditions for the “Murphy Kids” portion of their annual Christmas show, and both Marian — and her brother Shepherd, then 7, who joined in on the fun — had no idea that this would be the beginning of a whole new world.
Both were fascinated when Director Timothy Larrick gave them a tour of the theatre — and the kids were hooked from the start.
Every Saturday Timothy worked with the Murphy Kids on their song and choreography and taught them stage directions.
“He’s always been so wonderful with the kids in the cast,” said the two kids’ mother, Aileen Hamilton. “They all adore him!”
For Marian in particular, the stage lights on opening night ignited a fire in her eyes that continues to glow brightly.
Following the Christmas show, Marian received her first role as Juanita/Baby Angel in the Kids & Company Summer production of “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever”, a play by Barbara Robinson directed by Ken Lydy.
Kids & Company was also a wonderful experience. It gave Marian a feel for what it’s like to memorize lines from a script, to the commitment to spending long afternoons at rehearsals, and working with props and costume changes.
“The entire Kids & Company staff is amazing and dedicated to putting on a fantastic show!” said Aileen. “Everyone has a great time — the cast, the directing team, the audience.” (She and her brother are disappointed they won’t get to audition for Kids & Company’s 2018 summer production, “Disney’s Mulan Jr.”, due to prior commitments, but they’re telling all their friends about it and encouraging them to try out.)
Marian told Mr. Larrick when she returned for the most recent Christmas show (“A Cartoon Christmas”) that one day she hopes to be on Broadway.
Shepherd continues to stay busy with Cub Scouts, but when scheduling allows, he’s able to share the stage with his little sister from time to time. Their favorite production together was when he played the lead role, Aladdin, and she, Iago, in the musical “Aladdin.”
The kids also got to share the stage with their dad, Craig Hamilton, who is inspired by them. He joined the most recent Murphy Christmas show cast with the kids last December.
It was way out of his comfort zone, but the kids were his biggest cheerleader and he enjoyed getting to do this with them.
“I love how the Murphy Theatre Christmas shows often include members of an entire family,” said Aileen. “What a great way to bond, and a lovely Christmas Tradition they can enjoy doing together every year!”
Marian then enlisted in voice lessons with Andrea Bell at For a Song and a Story in Wilmington. (Her brother also has had voice lessons with Miss Andi, and also takes guitar lessons there.)) At the time she started working with Miss Andi, Marian was already cast in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”, and wanted to hone her singing abilities.
“Miss Andi has given Marian such a confidence about performing as a soloist, and singing her little heart out,” said Aileen. “For such a tiny little person, she has a big voice! She’s always sung with an ensemble, but with their first voice recital, Miss Andi helped her discover that she also enjoys taking the stage by herself and has no worries about singing in front of a huge audience. ”
Marian has since been cast in semi-professional theatre companies, including a major role in “Seussical the Musical” and just wrapped up with the musical “Mary Poppins.”
She has also performed in a variety of musical showcases including Blanchester’s Variety Show as a soloist in their recent ’50s-themed production,.
She has enjoyed meeting new people and making lots of new friends of all ages along the way — the small towns of Wilmington and Blanchester and the community within all continue to contribute to her successes.
Marian is humbled and thankful for everyone who has supported her as well as all the help and encouragement she receives to press onward toward her biggest dreams. She was recently cast as one of only four kids joining an adult cast in her very first professional theatre Job, playing a Munchkin in Cincinnati’s Clovedale Center for the Performing Arts fall production of “The Wizard of Oz” Oct. 25-Nov. 18.