Talking With: Gabby Hertz

May 25, 2022

Children’s theater has a certain reputation
sweet, tame, predictable.

But this ain’t your mamma’s children’s production, folks.

 “Game of Tiaras” is a rollicking romp through fairytale-ville with more melodramatic mayhem than you can shake a cardboard sword at. We sat down with director Gabriella Hertz to learn a little more about the show, selected for the seventh-grade and older set.

“Game of Tiaras” is part of the Froelich Young Actor’s Guild theater camp, a Matthews program that has been operating since 2008 (formerly the Peanut Butter and Jelly Players.) The young actors camp gives students an opportunity to discover their inner divas through a series of rehearsals and dramatic gameplay, which culminates in two nights of performances at the end of the month. If you want to know more, check out our Children’s Theater page. But don’t wait too long–registration closes on Saturday, May 28!

MOH: Four words. Describe your show. Go!

GH: Ridiculous. Hilarious. Shocking. Entertaining.

MOH: If the Brothers Grimm sat down with the creators of “Game of Thrones” and Monty Python to develop a script, I feel like “Game of Tiaras” is precisely the story they would have come up with. Why did you choose this particular play to produce?

GH: I felt like this script would really engage the 7th-12th graders! It has some dark humor, sword fighting, and references to contemporary culture. 

MOH: There are some familiar characters–Cinderella, Belle, the Snow Queen–but they aren’t your garden variety princesses. They’re sassy, dangerous, irreverent… Do you have a favorite line of dialogue?

GH: Absolutely. This little monologue is delivered by Cinderella when she is trying to intimidate the Snow Queen… “You should be. You should be very scared.You think I got to the top of the mountain by being all sweetness and light? I am Cinderella, queen of nightmares. I am the darkness in your soul, the moment of doubt that keeps you crying in the corner, I am death made of flesh – I will rain fire upon you and tear your kingdom asunder like a child ripping wings off a fly.”

MOH: That was…intense. You have a big job ahead of you, training young performers how to access their inner…queen of nightmares. How does directing young actors differ from directing a show with adults or college students?

GH: You know, I’d say the biggest difference is that children’s theatre is more fun and rewarding! Since young actors come in with varying levels of experience, we get to play a lot more learning games. Furthermore, I love seeing young people find their place in the theatre and grow in ways that they may not have expected. 

MOH: What do you do when you’re not doing theater?

GH: Wait… You guys do things other than theatre? Well, on the occasion I am not up at BH or MOH, I am usually walking my beloved dog Koda around town or hanging out with friends. 

MOH: How do you feel about garden gnomes?

GH: Garden gnomes are the knights of the night. They truly do not get enough credit for everything they do. Those little guys protect our lawns and homes. Bless them. 

MOH: You’ve been doing theater for a long time. Give us a little background. How did you discover your passion?

GH: Picture it, Gillette, Wyoming 2011. My music teacher suggested I join this summer camp called Performing Arts Workshop. Admittedly, I hated it at first because it was hard work. However, over time, I remember starting to think I really belonged in that space. After the first performance I just felt so alive and awesome. I’ve been doing theatre since.

MOH: What’s the best piece of theater advice you’ve ever received?

GH: You’ve got to live in your mind forever, so make it a nice place to be. Be kind, patient, and loving to yourself. 

MOH: I don’t want to suggest that actors are a suspicious bunch but, let’s be honest, there are a few things that can land you a bad case of stink-eye. Like saying “good luck” before a performance. Do you have any pre-show rituals that you rely on for…er…good luck?

GH: I learned this preshow ritual from my high school. Before the house opens, all the cast and crew get in a circle, put their left arm over their right, join hands, and chant, “ONE FOR ALL AND ALL FOR ONE THE BEST DANG SHOW WE’VE EVER DONE. BREAK A LEG, GIVE EM HELL, IF YOU MESS UP, I WON’T TELL! GRRRRRRRRR.” It’s pretty intense.

MOH: What’s the most useless talent you have?

GH: I can fill my mouth with air, push air to the top of my cheeks, and make chipmunk noises. 

MOH: Chipmunk noises? That’s nuts!

GH: … *sigh*


Thanks for visiting with us, Gabby! We can’t wait to see “Game of Tiaras” when it premieres at the Matthews on Saturday, June 25 at 7 pm and Sunday, June 26 at 2.

Good lu–

Uh…we mean…break a leg!

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