Miranda Wolf, the 11-year-old leading lady in the New Tampa Players' production of “Annie”, may be on the fast track to Broadway, but she does not want to go without her family.
Miranda will put a wrap on her role as Annie this Sunday at the . And then it is off to the Manatee Players theater group in Bradenton to put her mark on Brigitta Von Trapp in the “Sound of Music.”
Competitive acting awards, prize money and singing gigs have followed as fast as the praises and accolades for her spot-on performances – all after just two years of acting.
Lead roles and singing solos aside, her acting game is a family affair and that is the way Miranda likes it.
Miranda commends her great “Annie” cast. And as an animal lover, she is happy having a dog in the production. But her voice raises an octave when highlighting what makes her Annie role great: “My daddy’s in it, and I love when my family is all at the show,” said Miranda.
Since she is years away from her driver's license, Miranda's parents, Barb and Chris Wolf, act as chauffeurs and supporters, but they are actors and ensemble, too.
Chris Wolf is part of the “Annie” production. And the entire Wolf tribe, led by Miranda's 7-year-old brother, Maverick, were part of a 2010 Manatee Player’s production of “Oliver.”
“Maverick got us into 'Oliver' because the director wanted him to be one of the orphans and he wouldn’t do the show without mommy and daddy,” said Chris Wolf.
Both Barb and Chris appreciate Miranda’s prodigious talents, but revel in the quality family time that goes along with the act, too. And as Manatee County residents, the Wolfs cover a lot of ground.
Chris is up at 5 a.m., heading south to Venice for his quality control role at PGT Industries. After work, he swings back up I-75 and loads up the family for the trek through Tampa for “Annie” rehearsals and performances.
Their days end late but the active support and creative reunions bring the Wolfs closer as a family.
“The best part is the extracurriculars are not taking away from the family,” said Barb.
Generous laughter and sharp banter flow from the Wolf family mouths as they describe their travels. And the show does not stop on the theater stage. Miranda has joined Chris and Barb in the church choir at Trinity Lutheran in Bradenton, while knocking down her rendition of “Amazing Grace” in the process.
Starting next week, Miranda will be a sixth-grader at Manatee School For the Arts in Bradenton. Academic training? She is a straight-A student and has soloed in front of 700 students at school. Actor training? She has been under the tutelage of Cynthia Ashford at Spotlight Kids in Sarasota.
Miranda has seen her share of live plays but can’t decide on her favorite – just keep it PG. “I like them all,” she said. But keep any blood and aggression out. “I’m a very non-violent person.”
Miranda began appearing in talent shows at age 8, and recently took home both the Orlando regional and Hershey, Penn. national Access Broadway “Best Performer” awards. And she is hooked on the entire theater experience. “I love the Tony Awards,” Miranda said.
Stage fright is out of the question and her “Annie” director, Doug Wall, took note of her stage presence. “Incredibly talented, most likely Broadway bound. She has the passion and the talent,” said Wall.
And Miranda is developing the thick skin necessary to survive the pitfalls of an artist. The New Tampa Players' audition was her third attempt to win the role of Annie.
“I kept practicing. I’m a perfectionist,” said Miranda.
“She’s very confident in everything she does. We’re there supporting her and that’s what gives her so much confidence,” said Barb Wolf.
The “Annie” experience for Miranda is being nurtured by Wall’s talent-laden production, and it does not hurt that approximately half the cast is kids – and don’t forget the dog.
“It’s been a really great show ... a great, great cast,” said Chris Wolf.
Although she has not officially been to Broadway, Miranda has aspirations for the big stage. But for now, the Tampa Bay theater circuit will remain her training ground and source of enjoyment. And when asked, her driving force appears grounded.
She likes “building a connection with the people in the theater, and having so much fun on stage.”
A simple formula for success, and Wolf family principles.
More “Annie” Information
Address: 14013 N. 22nd St.
Remaining Show Times: Today (Aug. 20) at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; tomorrow (Aug. 21) at 2 p.m.
Ticket Prices: $10-$14 and can be purchased online via EZTicketLive.
Phone: (813) 386-6687