Our White Christmas show features two talented actresses as the Haynes sisters. These two sisters are a fantastic singing duo, and they just so happen to catch the eyes of our two leading men, Shad Olsen and Kyle McMillan (more to come on these two later!). With the opening of our holiday show right around the corner, let’s hear from the leading ladies themselves. First up, we’ll meet Ali Littrell Finstrom. Ali played Fantine in this past summer’s Les Misérables and she takes on the role Betty Haynes.
Duluth Playhouse: What inspired you to portray your character the way you did? Where do you find the influence and inspiration for characters?
Ali: Start with the text. I like to read the whole script and find the character in the dialogue. Shows that are well written have characters that jump off the page. Great writing leads to great characters. White Christmas is written this way. Have I seen the movie? Yes, of course! It is a holiday staple! However, I am not trying to copy Rosemary Clooney. I want my Betty to reflect me and my personality.
DPH: What’s it like to be working with a director like Michael Ferrell?
Ali: Working with him on this show has been absolutely wonderful! He adds professionalism and experience to the Playhouse and challenges all of us to push our creative boundaries. He is as fun and witty as ever and brings joy to the entire experience. I am fortunate to have worked with Michael Ferrell professionally at The Chanhassen Dinner Theaters back in 2003-2004. He was instrumental in the beginning of my professional career as an actor in the Twin Cities. I am forever grateful to him for his faith in my ability and encouragement to move forward in my career.
DPH: Ali, how long have you been acting? What made you start theatre?
Ali: My parents would always take my siblings and I to see shows when I was young. As many do, I started doing school shows, then community theater and then turned professional in 2003. Throughout my six years in the Twin Cities, I did multiple shows at The Chanhassen Dinner Theater and The Guthrie Theater. My husband and I moved to Duluth in 2008, and I had my first experience with the Duluth Playhouse as Maria in The Sound of Music in 2011. It has been wonderful to be a part of a community-focused theater and I am excited to see what the future holds for the Duluth Playhouse!
DPH: Ali, what is it like being sisters with Meghan on the show?
Ali: Being the oldest of five siblings and having three children of my own, I am very experienced in taking care of others. Betty and Judy have a great relationship in that Betty watches over Judy and Judy helps Betty lighten up. It is exactly the same with Meghan and I. I tend to watch out for her and she helps me laugh and see the humor in things. Meghan is a very talented young lady and it has been fun to see her be challenged and persevere over the last few months.
DPH: What is your advice for aspiring actors?
Ali: Work hard. Be humble. Always have a sense of humor.
Our performance for White Christmas is sold out for the entire run, BUT you do still have options!
1.) Call the Playhouse (218.733.7555) for show availability.
2.) Get on the wait list for the performance(s) of your choice. We have one for each night and will refer to this list if there are any cancellations. Season ticket holders already on the wait list with be called first, and we will continue down the list until the tickets are claimed.
3.) Show up before any performance and get on the Rush List. This starts one-hour before each performance (6:30pm for evening performances, 1:00pm for matinees). You must be present to get on the list. Any last minute no-shows or cancellations leave empty seats we can fill! (Insiders’ Tip: Rush lists gets busier the later the show goes, so the first weekend is always the best bet!)