GREENFIELD — Brynn Elliott and “Baby Louise” have at least one thing in common.
The Mt. Vernon Middle School sixth grader and the character she plays in Footlite Musicals’ upcoming production of “Gypsy,” are both in show business.
But that’s about where it ends. In “Gypsy,” Baby Louise’s rise to fame comes only after her sister flees the theater, leaving Louise to star in the show.
For Brynn, such accolades come from years of hard work.
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At 12 years old, the budding performer is a regular presence on stage at venues around central Indiana, from singing the national anthem at Indianapolis Indians games to performing her most prestigious role to date as Young Cosette in the Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre’s 2014 production of “Les Misérables.”
Her current undertaking is the role of Baby Louise in “Gypsy,” which showcases the ultimate stage mom, Rose (Susan Smith) who pushes her two daughters, Baby Louise and Baby June (Rogue Salyers) toward stardom in the 1920s and ’30s. Baby June is Mama Rose’s favorite, but it’s Baby Louise who becomes the star.
As an aspiring performer who sees herself following a career on television or on the stage, Brynn constantly challenges herself. She was attracted to the part of Baby Louise because the introverted and withdrawn character was so unlike her.
“It was not in my comfort zone — playing a shy girl,” she said.
Those who have worked with her say it’s hard to imagine anything that isn’t in Brynn’s comfort zone.
As a kindergartner, Brynn attended CrazyLake Drama Camp in Greenfield. She was cast as a robot, which directors thought might be a challenge for the young actress. But Brynn — dressed in her silver box, silver leggings and silver makeup — was spot-on, delivering lines in a stilted, mechanical style with the herky-jerky walk to match.
Brynn enjoyed it so much that she enrolled for a second session as soon as the first session ended.
In addition to her burgeoning skills as an actress, Brynn is gaining some renown as a singer with the help of Musicality Arts’ voice teacher Lynne Mlott. Mlott meets with Brynn once a week for voice and piano lessons. And it’s Mlott who does the legwork to schedule public appearances for her students, including Brynn, at charity functions, sporting events or any organization looking for vocal entertainment.
Brynn has been a soloist at Create for the Cure, an event that benefits childhood cancer research, for the last two years. In 2015, she was the junior division grand champion in the talent show at the Hancock County Fair and has been a featured entertainer at the Greenfield Idol competition.
Mlott speaks highly of Brynn’s skills as a vocalist and her four and a half-octave range.
“Brynn is an exceptional child. She makes me look forward to her coming in every week,” Mlott said.
Brynn has supportive parents in Brian and Renita Elliott and access to some intensive training. Brynn has had several Skype sessions with an acting coach from Walker Clark Studios out of New York City. The coach emails her a monologue and then works with Brynn on “cold read” skills for a future audition where she doesn’t get an opportunity to preview and rehearse reading from the script ahead of the audition.
She also has traveled to New York City for vocal training sessions with Bob Marks, a nationally known vocal coach who has worked with clients such as Lea Michele from the television show, “Glee,” Britney Spears and the children who star in Broadway’s “School of Rock.”
The goal for a three-hour session with Marks is to come away with at least one audition song suited to Brynn’s age and vocal range.
Elliott said Marks is impressed with her daughter, saying she could find work in the Big Apple.
“A lot of his students are on Broadway,” Elliott said. “He loved working with her, but he wished we would try things in New York.”
The Elliotts were not averse to traveling to New York for performance training, but going on tour with a traveling Broadway show is another story.
“She didn’t want to be separated from her family,” Elliott said, “and we agreed.”
As for comparisons to Mama Rose from “Gypsy,” Elliott laughingly objects: “I don’t know enough about theater to be a stage mom!”