Eagan seventh-grader enters spotlight in ‘Pippi’
Still in middle school, Claire Hoffman is already a star.
The seventh-grader at Eagan’s Black Hawk Middle School landed a featured role this spring in the Minneapolis Children’s Theatre Company’s production of “Pippi Longstocking,” which opened in April and runs through June 10.
With about 10 shows of “Pippi” staged each week – a total of 70 shows in all – Hoffman has been logging long hours for her part as Annika in the professional-caliber production, so much so that she’s had to reduce her class schedule at Black Hawk to accommodate the demands of being in the cast.
On Fridays, for example, when the show is staged twice, she attends school for an hour in the morning, heads to Minneapolis for the first show, then heads back to Black Hawk in the afternoon for two more hours of school. After that, it’s back to Minneapolis for the second show of the day.
“It’s pretty tiring, but it’s a lot of fun and there’s a lot of energy there,” she said.
“Pippi” marks the second big role on the Minneapolis stage for the young actor, the daughter of Greg and Amy Hoffman of Eagan. After trying her hand at acting for the first time in a school play in the fall of 2010, she took the leap to the Minneapolis Children’s Theatre stage last spring, scoring an ensemble role in “Annie.”
It was an audition-call email for “Annie” sent to all Minneapolis Children’s Theatre season ticketholders – Hoffman’s family has been attending plays at the venue since she was 2 – that prompted her to try out for the show at the Mall of America, singing a portion of the musical-theater standard “Tomorrow” in front of the “Annie” directors and choreographers.
From that audition, she was chosen to fill one of 10 available spots in the cast, from a total of 450 girls who tried out.
Hoffman hopes her roles in “Pippi” and “Annie” are just the beginning. Eventually she’d like to be a PA, or performing apprentice, with Minneapolis Children’s Theatre, which involves acting in all of the shows in the theater troupe’s season. She has her sights set on bigger goals as well.
“I know it’s a long shot,” she said, “but I would like to be on Broadway when I’m older.”
For show times and other information about the Minneapolis Children’s Theatre production of “Pippi Longstocking,” visit www.childrenstheatre.org.