Two young girls to share role of Lulu in WAITRESS at Shea’s

Feb 6, 2018

Two young local students will be making their debut in the Tony nominated musical WAITRESS. The show opens Tuesday night at Shea's Performing Arts Center in Buffalo. WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley had a chance to speak with the young actresses about clinching the audition for the role of Lulu. 

Meet kindergartners Isabella Maritato (left) & Sophia Vandettee (right). They will alternate the role of Lulu.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Meet kindergartners Sophia Vandettee and Isabella Maritato. They are five-year-olds who attend Big Tree Elementary in Hamburg and St. Gregory the Great School in Amherst and will be alternating the role of Lulu. Both were selected among more than 40 local girls at an audition last month at Shea's.

“I said ‘Hi momma’ and then ran and jumped into her arms. I like ran into a lady’s arm and said ‘Hi momma,’” Sophia and Isabella explained their auditions. 

“We were lucky enough that Sophia and Isabella came to audition and by all accounts, they were wonderful and there was really no question who our Lulus would be,” explained Jennifer Orr, public relations at Shea's.   

The character Lulu is the daughter of the main character in WAITRESS, Jenna.  Jenna, a waitress, is a pie making expert. She dreams and plans to leave her loveless marriage and is inspired by her daughter Lulu. As the show tours the nation, the character Lulu is cast locally in each market it is performed.    

WAITRESS playbill outside Shea's Performing Art Center on Pearl Street.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

“It’s definitely exciting. WAITRESS, since it debuted on Broadway, has just been a huge, huge hit,” Orr noted. “Isabella will be performing Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday. Sophia has Thursday, Friday and Saturday, so they split it up. Both of the girls go to the same performing arts school, but this is the first time that they’re meeting in person and it seems like they are fast friends.” 

“I’ll say Isabella and you’ll say? Sophia. What’s your favorite color? Purple. Do you know what my favorite color is? No. Blue,” chatted Isabella and Sophia as we gave them our WBFO microphone to talk with one another.

Isabella Maritato (left) & Sophia Vandettee (right), both five, talk about clinching the role of Lulu in WAITRESS.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

“What do you want to be someday when you grow up? Do you know yet?” asked Buckley.

“No,” Sophia responded.

“Yes, a teacher – a dance teacher,” Isabella responded.

“I go to Academy of Theatre Arts, which is something that you learn how to dance,” Sophia added.

The young actresses tell us they didn’t tell their friends and classmates about their stage role.  

“I didn’t tell my friends yet,” replied Sophia. “I didn’t, but they know because Mrs. Abbott shows pictures of me and Sophia on the smart board and tells my class that I am going to be on the stage,” Isabella answered.    

Isabella Maritato (left) & Sophia Vandettee (right) inside Shea's.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

The cast of the Broadway tour arrived in Buffalo Monday. The young, local actresses will rehearse their role on the day they appear in the show.  

“They’re pros, you can tell, so it won’t be too tough for them,” Orr remarked.

Although the role of Lulu is limited to acting, Isabella and Sophia showed off their dancing talents while conducting media interviews at Shea's.

The young girls jumped up on the stage and twirled each other around in the excitement, knowing they will be performing with an off-Broadway professional cast in WAITRESS.       

Kindergartners Sophia Vandettee (left) & Isabella Maritato (right) show off their dance moves on the Shea's stage.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

“Are you excited about being on the big stage?” Buckley questioned.

“Yes,” responded Sophia.

Asked if they’ve seen other shows at Shea’s both responded.

“Lion King,” said Sophia. “I’ve seen The Nutcracker, The Little Mermaid and Sesame Street Live,” Isabella replied. 

You can see the young actresses perform in WAITRESS February 6-11.