From The Get Down to Anastasia on Broadway, these young actresses are lighting up both screen and stage. Shot by Rebekah Campbell.
CREDITS: Spring Awakening (National Tour, 2008) Carrie (MCC Theater, 2012), Mamma Mia (Broadway, 2012), Upcoming: Anastasia (Broadway)
Christy is also an accomplished singer/songwriter and has released three independent albums.
When it was announced that Anastasia (yes, the forthcoming live musical version of the1997 animated film) would make its way to Broadway, we at Constellation found ourselves asking: Who would play this iconic role?
For the answer, look no further than Christy Altomare. Just talking with Altomare, one can immediately gage her curiosity, intelligence, and beauty: She’s the perfect woman to embody the title role. Altomare broke onto the scene as Wendla, another young woman on a journey—albeit a very different one—to self-discovery in the national touring company of Spring Awakening. An accomplished singer/songwriter, Altomare then appeared as Sophie in the Broadway production of Mamma Mia before making the switch to playing Imperial Russia’s most captivating princess. Her career thus far sounds like every little girl’s dream.
As Altomare explains, the new musical is actually a hybrid between the 1956 Ingrid Bergman film of the same name and the animated movie. The path that led Altomare to Anastasia is also something of a Cinderella story: “There were readings and workshops before I was attached to the project, before I even went in, but for the most part the core of the script was the same. I auditioned for the show; the entire creative team was there, and they called me back to perform with Derek, who I knew from before. I worked with him Off-Broadway on Carrie. When I entered the room, I felt so excited and honored to sing those songs, even just for a few minutes. The next morning they told me I got the part.”
The show includes 19 new songs and five classics from the original. It had a pre-Broadway run this past summer at Hartford Stage, where Altomare got to work with geniuses—"it made the whole thing [feel] almost [like] kismet in a way. Everyone was so positive.”
Now the New York City-based actress is just waiting for the big moment when Anastasia premieres on the Great White Way this April. Sounds like a star is about to be born.
Christy wears a Tibi blouse and Mokuba ribbon as choker.
CREDITS: The Perks of Being A Wallflower (2012), Disconnect (2012), The English Teacher (2013), Jamie Marks is Dead (2014) The Knick (Cinemax, 2014-2014), Sweet, Sweet Lonely Girl (2016), The Crucible (Broadway, 2016) Upcoming: The Accidental Wolf
Audiences first met Erin Wilhelmi when she made her Broadway debut as Mercy Lewis, one of the young followers of Abigail (Saoirse Ronan) in Ivo Von Hove’s startling Broadway revival of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible in spring 2016. “Ivo’s approach to rehearsals is so different from any other work I have done before. At the first rehearsal, all of the actors are off-book, which is actually very freeing.” Van Hove is known for his imaginative and provocative restaging of classic works, paired with his focus on the text, an approach that allows his actors to feel a sense of gratification in their roles. With her porcelain skin and baby blonde hair, Wilhelmi fit the part of a young, alleged witch seamlessly (and sometimes terrifyingly). She learned a lot from the production, sharing the stage with such talents as Ben Whishaw, Ciaran Hinds, Tavi Gevinson, and Ronan, who she says “is really like any other girl. You’d never know she was a two-time Academy Award-nominated actress.”
Wilhelmi’s first role straight out of university was opposite Emma Watson and Logan Lerman in the cult hit, The Perks of Being A Wallflower. The film proved to be a unique experience as it was written and directed by Steven Chobsky, the novelist behind the book of the same name. Wilhelmi’s fierce talent has seen her portray a blind girl in the stand-out short, Like Sugar on the Top of My Lips, and, more recently, play the lead role of Adele in the upcoming feature Sweet, Sweet Lonely Girl. She describes the film as a “a modern gothic horror entwined with a complex female relationship.” Wilhelmi equates it to the 2014 film, My Summer of Love, starring Emily Blunt. Thus far, the film has played to festival audiences from Barcelona to Austin. With a bright future ahead of her, Erin says, “I feel so lucky just to get to act. It never feels like my job.”
Erin wears a dress by Rebecca Taylor, shoes by Jill Stuart, bra by Annie Bing, and stylist’s own belt and pin.
CREDITS: Billy Elliott on Broadway (2008-2010) The Americans (2013-present)
At only 19 years of age, Holly Taylor is most recognizable as Paige, the daughter of Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell in The Americans. But she had a full career long before that: for two years, she performed eight shows a week as a ballet girl in the Broadway production of Billy Elliot. Taylor has been dancing since she was three years old. “Performing on Broadway was my dream since I was about four,” she says. “I came home from dance class and told my parents, I'm going to be on Broadway, and somehow it actually happened.” She was just 11 years old at the time.
A few years later, Taylor is still captivating audiences in The Americans, the Cold War drama that continues to surprise at each turn. Holly believes that one of the biggest differences between teens then and now is the comparative lack of social media and access to technology: “I like playing a teen in the ‘80s! It's definitely different, but I appreciate that there was a time where people could interact without cell phones and Tweets and Facebook likes. Life was more disciplined, and you had to be responsible for your actions.” Taylor, who has grown up alongside her character, Paige, is grateful to the writers, who she says have done an amazing job shaping her character season after season.
Taylor finds the prospect of more female filmmakers sharing their work exciting: “I'm seeing more and more females doing amazing work behind the camera. On The Americans for example, we have always had multiple female directors since Season One, and it's so refreshing to see how they interact with the script and characters. I was inspired by Emmy Rossum when I read an article about her directing experience on Shameless.”
She also admires Emma Watson, another actress who started her career as a child, who has since used her fame to connect with and fight for women everywhere.
Taylor wears a t-shirt by Gap underneath a dress by Rebecca Taylor.
CREDITS: Julie Taymor’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2013), Punk Rock (MCC Theater, 2014), Theatre For A New Audience’s King Lear (2014) and Pericles (2016), Wilde Wedding (2017)
Lilly Englert first came to our attention as Cissy Franks in Punk Rock, playwright Simon Stephens’s ode to theatrical angst (and violence), in MCC Theater’s production. Of the experience, Englert says, “Anything written by the incredible Simon Stephens is a gift to the actor.” But she had been honing her skills long before that, with a knack for playing some of Shakespeare’s pluckiest heroines. It’s not surprising given that the first play she remembers seeing was the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Romeo and Juliet at age six.
New York audiences were first introduced to the British-born Englert as Hermia in Julie Taymor’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, for which she received rave reviews. She has since gone on to appear in Theatre for A New Audience’s King Lear (as Cordelia) and as Marina in Pericles, directed by the legendary Trevor Nunn. “He started with such a profound understanding of the text and the play and his creativity comes from that. Every choice that we made as actors had to be justified by the words; he was a very supportive and caring director. I feel very fortunate to have worked with him,” she says.
Next up, Englert will make her film debut in Wilde Wedding opposite Glenn Close, John Malkovich, and Patrick Stewart. We’re already on the edge of our seats.
Englert wears a dress by Jill Stuart and Mokuba ribbon.
CREDITS: Some of Us Had Been Threatening Our Friend Colby (Short, 2015), The Interestings (Amazon Pilot, 2016), The OA (Netflix Series, 2016), Upcoming: The Empty Man, Untitled Emily Dickinson Project, Blood Surf
Sasha Frolova, a native New Yorker, fell into acting by accident, as an extension of her already established artistic prowess. An up-and-coming visual artist, Frolova already felt at home in front of the camera, as a muse to New York’s crop of rising feminist photographers. While she did not actively pursue acting during her childhood, her unique sensibility, intelligence, and Russian doll looks led her to book the first audition she went on—almost unheard of in this industry.
This pivotal audition landed her a part in Chris Rubino’s short film Some of Us Had Been Threatening Our Friend Colby, featuring in-demand cinematographer, Reed Morano (“It was so cool to see her doing her thing with all the camera equipment”) and co-starring fellow actresses Ariane Rinehart, Lizzy Cappuccino, Nicole Patrick, and Esther Zynn, and written by Ruby Rae Spiegel. When Frolova considers her career thus far, she realizes, “I’ve been very lucky.” We catch up with her while she’s packing for her next adventure: filming in South Africa. She’s booked a role in the feature The Empty Man, which IMDB bills as the story of “a troubled ex-cop [who] searches for a missing girl.” Frolova can’t say much, but she hints at an exciting story and teases, “I play the girl.”
Sasha wears a dress by Bill Blass, denim by Grlfrnd, boots by Tibi, and a Mokuba ribbon as headband.
Stefanée Martin is an actress based in New York City and Los Angeles. She is a recent graduate of the American Conservatory Theatre, where she earned an MFA in Acting. Currently, she plays Yolanda on Baz Luhrmann's The Get Down.
Yolanda (my role on [The Get Down]) is such a joy to play! She is a young woman living in the Bronx during the late ‘70s. She is a fantastic and loyal friend to Mylene and Regina and a no-holds-barred sister to three brothers. She's in on everything in the neighborhood due to her hip, inviting disposition and the fact that her parents own a salon/barbershop, through which every person in the neighborhood enters at one point or another. I think the story of Yolanda for part one of The Get Down is about her opening her eyes to her own potential and seeing a world beyond the Bronx.
Baz and CM (Catherine Martín) had a huge book collection in our rehearsal space, which we called “the dojo,” so there were a plethora of visual and literary resources. I loved reading the New York Magazine 1976 issue story, “Tribal Rites of the New York Saturday Night” by Nik Cohn. I have a Yolanda Kipling “bible” where I write down everything [about] Yolanda and work on scenes.
Working with Baz is completely unique. He is like a Renaissance painter creating massive, sprawling works of art everywhere he goes. I can't even describe him without breaking into a simile. He can really only be described through poetry. Working with him was freedom—because he let us be us. He wanted to capture life, not an imitation of it. He wanted us to be bold and take risks. He trusts his actors to truly develop our characters and for us show him who they are, rather than for him dictate the characters he developed in his head. He wanted to learn from us.
I love that acting isn't about hiding, but about planting your feet firmly on the ground, and being completely transparent as you stand in your truth. —Stefanée Martin
Stefanée wears a sweater by White + Warren, a dress by Jill Stuart, sneakers by Converse, and a bra by Gilly Hicks.
The Get Down is now streaming on Netflix.
CREDITS: An Idle Dream (Director/Actor, Short, 2010), Teenage (Documentary, 2013) A Telephone Call (2014), Ziegfeld’s Midnight Frolic (2015, Off-Broadway) Upcoming: Cecile (Short)
Syrie Moskowitz is something of an artistic gypsy. Currently based in New York City, the young multi-disciplinary artist left home at a young age and headed to Europe. She specifically traveled to Hungary to pursue her passion and connect with her heritage. She also holds roots to the American South, originally hailing from the rural hills of Tennessee. It is that Southern grace mixed with a European sensibility that makes Moskowitz so magnetic. She calls photography her first love (she is a fourth-generation photographer) and her work with that art form, along with filmmaking, led her to acting. She appeared in A Telephone Call, both in its iterations as a theater piece and as a short film, which was directed by Actor’s Studio legend, Avram Ludwig.
Moskowitz, whose classic beauty and strength bring to mind the film stars of Hollywood’s yesteryear, frequently finds herself drawn to period pieces, like the immersive theater production, Ziegfeld’s Midnight Frolic, in which she played Ziegfeld girl Olive Thomas, whose death remains a mystery in entertainment history. This production led to a fascination with the Ziegfeld Follies—now, she is pursuing her own project based on the subject. Moskowitz is also a director herself, having founded her own production company and she’s directed a few shorts and music videos. When it comes to directing, she feels that “the best directors have an understanding of actors.” But she also inspires others through her work: She is a muse to prolific fashion photographer Ellen von Unwerth, with whom she frequently works..
Moskowitz also reveals that she’s currently at work on a debut album, and calls music another one of her core passions. She’s heavily inspired by folk music, and describes her sound “as if Tom Waits walked into an electronic club and a Victorian doll was singing in the corner.”
Is there anything this woman can’t do? ★
Syrie wears a dress by Jill Stuart and a Mokuba ribbon as choker.
Photographer: Rebekah Campbell. Stylist: Mary Kate Steinmiller. Hair: Holly Mills at Tim Howard Management. Makeup: Sara Glick. Photographer’s Assistant: Morgan Maher. Stylist’s Assistant: Raquel Silver. Shot at The 9 Studios, New York City
Interviews compiled by Jaclyn Bethany. These interviews have been condensed and edited for clarity.