Back in the stage with Chicago actress-Lillie Cummings

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 ♪ I’m jist a girl who cain’t say no,

I’m in a turrible fix I always say “come on, le’s go”♪

– Ado Annie

Lillie Cummings at Paramount Theatre
Lillie Cummings at Paramount Theatre

In the show “Oklahoma!”, Lillie Cummings was Ado Annie, a flirtatious, energetic yet innocent young woman, who can’t say “no” to the men around her. After the shows, she enjoys spending a quiet moment with herself: go for a short run or rest on the theater balcony.

“I am nothing like Ado Annie,” said Cummings, a Chicago-based actress.

Cummings said most people only see the glamour side of the actors when they are on the stage. There were numerous times, she had to run around, making quick changes or putting on makeup in the bathroom while trying to catch the trains.

“Every week is different,” said Cummings. Although the training is intense, and the rehearsals can be stressful, Cummings said she considers acting is more than a  job because every new role gives her a unique opportunity to experience a new adventure.

“I wouldn’t know what I would do other than this,” she said.

Cummings said it is hard to have a stable life being an actress. Sometimes, she would have one  or two shows in a day. Other times, she might not even know what production she’ll get involved next.

In addition to acting, Cummings also works at the front desk of a gym or as a part-time nanny.  There were definitely times she worried about making more money while doing the job she loves, but she had never thought about giving up acting.

While New York is considered as the dream stage for many actors, Cummings said she likes Chicago because everyone are “much friendlier.” In Chicago, actors may still be “compared and despaired” but it’s a much friendly rivalry.

Over the past few years, Cummings has played Eponine in the musical Les Miserables and Sally Simpson in the musical The Who’s Tommy directed by Jim Corti at the Paramount Theatre; Catherine in the Shining Lives: A Musical at the Northlight Theatre; Gertrude in the musical Seussical and Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz directed by Rachel Rockwell at the Marriott Theatre; and more.

She was also the Soloist at several events/productions including Godspell, Whitman, and Broadway in Chicago Summer Concert. Cummings said her favorite genres are classic and rock, and it is also common for an actor to be able to speak multiple dialects, in which she knows British English (PR, Cockney), Southern, Midwestern, Russian.

To see Lillie Cummings at her upcoming shows:

  • Schoolhouse Rock Live, Role: Shulie, direct by Morgan Madison at Emerald City Theatre
  • R&J/Midsummer, Ensemble, direct by  David H. Bell at Chicago Shakespeare Theater/Chicago Symphony Orchestra

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