When local, soon to be middle schooler, Gianna Mow, found out she was cast as Rapunzel in Performing Arts Workshops’ youth adaptation of “Tangled”, her first thought was, “what do I have in common with Rapunzel?” But after digging into the role she was surprised and delighted to find that, as she puts it, “I actually have a lot in common with her! I love to cook – she loves to cook – I love to read books – so does Rapunzel. I love to paint and draw like her. And she’s known as the princess with the long, magical hair.” As a young girl of color, Gianna says, “I’ve struggled with my hair my entire life but now I have long hair too. It’s been hard to figure out the right hair styles and products for my hair – I’ve gone through thousands of dollars worth of different products to find the ones that are just right.”
She also points out that she was very happy and overjoyed to be cast as Rapunzel, saying, “I almost cried when they handed me my script. I was so excited that I asked to go to the restroom and I called my mom immediately to tell her the good news.” Mom, Margie Mow, echoes that sentiment saying, “we are so excited and so proud of her.”
“The teachers have all been so nice and helpful with our choreography and singing,” says Gianna. “They’ve been so helpful answering all of our questions about our characters or costumes – I’ve learned a lot.” Although she hasn’t officially taken singing lessons, her Mom has been surprised by her natural singing voice and her uncle, who is a New Orleans jazz musician and a member of the band, “Trumpet Mafia” (who will play the Hollywood Bowl this summer – not too shabby!) has been helping her rehearse her songs.
Being the lead has its challenges but Gianna says, “I really enjoy it – the little girls kind of look up to me, which is really nice. And although it’s been hard pulling an entire show together in two weeks – learning our lines, the choreography – it’s challenging, but I’m up to the challenge.” She’s amazed at how much she has grown in her acting in just two weeks and is thrilled to perform the show for an audience. “I’m excited for all the friends and family members to see all the hard work that each of us has put into the production and we’re trying to just make it the best it can be.”
“Rapunzel” will be Gianna’s third show, her first being “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” at the San Gabriel Mission Playhouse in 2019. In February of this year, Gianna played Sour Kangaroo in the 5th grade musical “Seussical”, afterwhich the budding thespian says, “I wanted to expand my theatre knowledge and experience and some friends recommended I get involved with Performing Arts Workshops.” So she has been participating in their summer camp. She really appreciated their “audition” process because instead of having nerve-wracking auditions, she says the teachers and directors simply observe and ask them to sing things throughout the day. After a few days, they announce the cast. “In my opinion, it’s a lot less stressful,” says Gianna.
Gianna not only knows a few other South Pasadenans in the cast but is thrilled to be in a show with her younger sister, Kinsley. “That is another thing we really like about this program is that I’m able to do this with my little sister,” she says, “this is the first production that we’re doing together.”
Gianna, who is also a budding visual artist, is excited to start South Pasadena Middle School where she hopes to continue pursuing both art and drama.
Performing Arts Workshops production of “Rapunzel” will be held for family and friends of the cast members only.