ORR Alum to Star in ‘Miss Saigon’

A great many things happen to Old Rochester Regional graduates after they bid farewell to their high school years.

Take Jillian Zucco – an ORR graduate who received her diploma last spring who is already making great strides. Already known as a performer with the music groups The Varsity Girls and Showstoppers, post-diploma she is making her mark as a singer and actress in Marquee Theatre Productions’ Miss Saigon.

She is performing in the Southeastern Massachusetts premiere of Miss Saigon, set to take place at Bristol Community College in Fall River next week.

After months of rehearsals, Ms. Zucco is gearing up to star as Kim in the show, which chronicles the relationship between a Vietnamese woman and an American soldier during and after the Vietnam War. As one of the younger performers on the set, Ms. Zucco leads a cast of actors and actresses from her home in Mattapoisett to Providence.

“When we first started Marquee, we wanted to prove that younger talent could perform right alongside veterans of the stage, and we’ve done it better with this show than any other. I’m so proud of the hard work they’ve put in,” said Executive Producer Mark Velozo.

Ms. Zucco said that despite her varied experience in theatre, being in her first post-high school professional production is a new challenge.

“This is a little more professional than ORR, although ORR was an exceptional club,” Ms. Zucco said. “This is a very demanding role musically and very powerful.”

Ms. Zucco said she auditioned in the fall, and has been participating in rehearsals since late September for the big opening day.

At the onset, “I didn’t know a lot of the songs,” Ms. Zucco said but soon she came to master the music of the “beautiful show.” This production of Miss Saigon will be accompanied by a full 16-piece orchestra.

For someone looking for a light-hearted show, though, Ms. Zucco warned that the storyline of Miss Saigon is rather heavy.

“It’s not a happy musical,” she said.

As her first production since high school, she said, “I forgot how much I loved musicals” and expressed a willingness to put her best foot forward.

To aspiring actors and actress, she advised putting yourself out there 110 percent at the auditions if you want to play the lead.

“When you are rehearsing, the bigger the better. If you are hesitant, you will not come through on the stage,” she said.

Of the upcoming production, Mr. Velozo is very enthusiastic about audience reception.

“We decided to pull out all the stops. We’re really excited to give our audiences a show that will absolutely blow them away. I can’t wait until everyone hears the amazing voices that we have in this show, and the acting is just as powerful!” he said.

Miss Saigon is scheduled to run at Bristol Community College in Fall River on February 9, 10, 11 at 7:00 pm and February 12 at 2:00 pm. Tickets are $18 for adults and $15 for seniors and students. To purchase tickets, call 508-678-7031.

By Laura Fedak Pedulli

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