Alecia Annacchino, a lifelong Greenfield resident and aspiring actor, is a cast member with this summer's Kohl’s Wild Theater at the Milwaukee County Zoo.
Annacchino, who graduated in May with dual bachelor's degrees in Theatre Arts and Communication from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, has several stage credits to her name, and joined the Kohl's Wild Theater for the first time this season.
This program provides conservation-themed theater performances using drama, songs, and puppetry to children and their families both at the Milwaukee County Zoo and within our community.
Greenfield Patch caught up with Annacchino for this week's edition of Names in the News.
Patch: Tell Greenfield Patch users about your Greenfield background. What do you like the best about the city?
AA: Believe it or not, I have lived in Greenfield my entire life. I grew up through Edgerton Elementary, and and followed quickly after. I've seen some of my teachers and mentors from the past who come to the Milwaukee County Zoo with their students this year, and now I am part of the Kohl's Wild Theater team that teaches both students and teachers! I have always tried to stay close to home and family in Greenfield ... and we made sure to have the occasional ice cream at Omega's. Wherever I go, Greenfield will always be home.
Patch: How long have you been an aspiring actor, and what got you interested in the profession?
AA: As a kid, I was well aware that I could easily make others laugh and I've forever loved seeing others throw their heads back and cackle, or snicker at jocular commentary. It took me a while to understand that theatre doesn't just happen on its own - the magic builds when everyone's work comes together cohesively ... when the components and proponents of a production blend together. In the midst of all of this, my pursuit is to tell tales and change minds. I wasn't really the kind of kid who knew that she wanted to be an actor right away, but after watching my two older sisters participate in Stage Crew for the Whitnall Players at a young age, I decided to follow in their footsteps a little bit by auditioning for them when I was a freshman in high school. I was very surprised to have been cast as Miss Casewell in Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap - and the theatre-fever has never subsided. After a number of positions both onstage and off, I am a proud recent graduate from UW-Parkside with a dual B.A. in Theatre Arts and Communication Cum Laude.
Patch: What has been your favorite role you've ever played, and why?
AA: Ask me this more than once, and you'll have a different answer every time because I can never decide! I've been very lucky to have experimented with characters that are clearly out of my "type": from Miss Havisham in Great Expectations to Pistol in Henry V, Feste in Twelfth Night, and Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn in The Music Man. Although I love contemporary and period pieces, I've become quite a Shakespeare fanatic, especially when I noticed a new trend in reverse-gender casting. In 2011, I had the opportunity to play Rosencrantz and Fransisco in the UW-Parkside production of Hamlet, directed by Gale Childs-Daly. The contemporary nature and adaption of our production allowed me to branch out of my type and develop a creative character with a deep back story, which was a wonderful experience altogether.
Patch: Tell us a little bit about the Kohl's Wild Theater and your role in it.
AA: I am absolutely overcome with excitement about Kohl's Wild Theater! This is my first opportunity to participate in children's theatre, but I'm finding that our plays are a huge hit with both children and adults. Kohl's Wild Theater has been made possible by a partnership among Kohl's Cares, the Milwaukee County Zoo, and the Zoological Society of Milwaukee. We provide entertainment and conservation education all in one through drama, comedy, musicals and puppetry to kids and families who visit the Milwaukee County Zoo. Our performances take place daily at the Milwaukee County Zoo: there are four different main stage performances at the Kohl's Wild Theater in the Family Farm, and two different Gathering Place performances during the day. You might also find some KWT actors greeting you with puppets at some of the exhibits as you tour.
Patch: If you had to choose just one reason why parents should bring their children to the Kohl's Wild Theater, at the zoo, what would it be?
AA: I've come to understand that one of the best ways to spread the word about anything is through young people. Parents should bring their kids to our performances because conservation and environmental awareness should start with those who are our future. Young people get excited about creating, altering and influencing. Our messages about conservation and environmental protection are delivered with humor, music and participation, which makes it easier for children to learn and retain information. We even have an “Education Station” right outside the theater that invites kids to review and quiz themselves on what they have just experienced. The whole family will leave the theater thoroughly entertained and inspired to learn more about the natural world as they travel around the Zoo. And hopefully families will want to come back and see another show.