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Lili Bookwalter

I can still remember my first audition at The New England Youth Theatre. It was held in a giant, empty high school auditorium (in the days before NEYT had a home,) and my footsteps echoed in the silence as I descended from the back of the room to the piano in front of the stage. 

I sang "The girl I mean to be" from "The Secret Garden", and "I'd do Anything", from "Oliver!" I can remember trembling as I recited one of Benedict's monologues from "Much Ado about Nothing" and then harmonizing with Alkie and Stephen, a funny, fuzzy-haired fellow that had showed up at my middle school a few weeks prior, scouting for talent.

That audition landed me my first NEYT role as "Lucy" in You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown (1999) and the same role in the revival production the following fall. It also opened a door into a fun and fabulous family, where I met lots of new friends and was always safe and free to be myself. Since then, I have taken a scene study class through the theatre (2002) and held roles as "Deputy Verges" in Much Ado About Nothing (2001,) "Mrs. Gilbert" and "Mrs. Blithe" in Tiny Tim's Christmas Carol (2003,) "Widow Paroo" in The Music Man (2004,) and "Mother Abbess" in The Sound of Music (2005.) My favorites have always been the musicals. Don't get me wrong- straight acting is fun, too... There's just something in the power of music as an expressive tool that makes my heart soar!
More than anything, theatre and singing have provided me with an outlet for success and personal expression. As a person who has always struggled in school, I have relied heavily on my other abilities to maintain confidence and a strong sense of self. NEYT's intimate setting, supportive, professional program and relaxed atmosphere are invaluable resources for the youngsters of our community.

I am currently pursuing a degree in Agricultural and Environmental studies, and enjoy canoeing, singing, hiking, drawing and reading. These days I mostly keep myself busy with college and taking care of various critters at home.

Though I have aged out of NEYT, I still find time to dabble in school and community productions, and most recently have recorded the female vocals for WTSA-FM's new station identifications. I look forward to returning to NEYT this winter to check out their latest production of Oliver!

--Lili B, age 20

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