Northeast Times

Her own true Love Story

— A play of pas­sion awaits hope­less ro­mantics at the Wal­nut Street Theatre.

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Wal­nut Street Theatre opens its 204th sea­son with the Amer­ic­an premiere of Erich Segal’s Love Story, the mu­sic­al. In­spired by Segal’s ro­mantic nov­el of the same name, and one of the most ro­mantic films of all time, Love Story runs through Oct. 21.

Most audi­ence mem­bers will re­mem­ber the theme of the show when Oliv­er Bar­rett IV meets Jenny Cav­illeri for the first time. They come from dif­fer­ent worlds. He was a Har­vard man, she was Rad­cliffe. He was rich, she was poor. But they fell in love. And as the audi­ence mem­bers con­tin­ue to reach for their handker­chiefs, the story un­folds.

Tak­ing the lead of Jenny is Al­ex­an­dra Sil­ber, 29, mak­ing her WST de­but. Raised in De­troit, she at­ten­ded the pres­ti­gi­ous In­ter­lochen Arts Camp throughout her child­hood, later en­rolling in the In­ter­lochen Arts Academy for most of her high school ca­reer.

“I al­ways knew I was a cre­at­ive per­son and ini­tially ap­proached per­form­ance through dance,” she said, “but later switched to theat­er per­form­ance.”

After gradu­ation, Sil­ber chose to hone her act­ing skills at the Roy­al Scot­tish Academy in Glas­gow. Dur­ing her fi­nal year at the Academy, a man who worked for An­drew Lloyd Webber came to the school to teach a class on how to au­di­tion for a role in mu­sic­al theat­er. One look at Sil­ber and he made a call to a cast­ing dir­ect­or in Lon­don. She was hired as the ing&ea­cute;nue in Webber’s play The Wo­man in White.

“It was that role that made me an in­stant West End star,” Sil­ber said. “The fol­low­ing year I was cast in the West End re­viv­al of Fid­dler on the Roof as Hodel, and next as Ju­lie Jordan in Ca­rou­sel.”

Later, after nearly a dec­ade abroad, Sil­ber de­cided to move back to the U.S., mak­ing New York her new home.

“I wanted to take a break and re­lax for awhile, but with­in three weeks I had an agent, a man­ager and nine months of work ahead of me,” she ex­plained.

The first role she un­der­took was in the Kennedy Cen­ter’s pro­duc­tion of Mas­ter Class. It was later re­moun­ted, giv­ing Sil­ber her Broad­way de­but. Since then, she’s amassed an im­press­ive list of cred­its, in­clud­ing Love, Loss and What I Wore, Hello Again and more. On film and TV, she’s made ap­pear­ances in Steph­en King’s 1408 and three Law and Or­ders seg­ments.

Her cur­rent role as Jenny brings much joy but also some chal­lenges.

“For ex­ample, Will (the act­or who plays Oliv­er) and I nev­er leave the stage. So hav­ing the abil­ity to keep go­ing all through the play re­quires a great deal of stam­ina,” she said. “Ad­di­tion­ally, vo­cally you have to be able to stretch your­self, while emo­tion­ally it’s im­port­ant to keep a lid on your emo­tions and not give any­thing away, be­cause the audi­ence doesn’t know ex­actly what’s go­ing to hap­pen with these people.

“So you must pace your­self throughout,” she con­tin­ued. “You must play it mo­ment to mo­ment. You have to fall in love and get mar­ried and live in the here-and-now. And once the tragedy does take place, you have to make sure you leave enough room for the audi­ence to be moved by it all.”

Sil­ber be­lieves that Love Story re­mains uni­ver­sal in its ap­peal be­cause “it re­volves around something all of us wish we could find — a kind of en­dur­ing and true love that all of us dream about.”

Sil­ber is quick to say how much she en­joys play­ing Jenny, but ac­know­ledges that one of her all-time fa­vor­ite roles was Hodel in Fid­dler on the Roof.

“She was the dearest role of all,” Sil­ber said. “She still feels like a dear friend that I don’t hear from any­more. I felt deeply con­nec­ted to her and I hope that one day we’ll see each oth­er again.” ••

For show times and tick­et in­form­a­tion, call 215-574-3550.End­Frag­ment 

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