30 August 2009

Cast Member gabs about her role as town gossip

The architecture of Main Street, U.S.A. at the Magic Kingdom and Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards in Disney’s Hollywood Studios is magnificent, but these buildings cannot speak for their towns themselves. In order for these sleepy streets to come alive the must be filled with people, and not just guests, residents of these thoroughfares must also be present, and so Streetmosphere characters were born.

In the February 25, 1999 issue of Eyes and Ears, Steve Langlois sat down with Rae L’Heureux to discuss her role and about becoming a Streetmosphere character in the article Cast Member gabs about her role as town gossip. The article is full of some wonderful insights and some great history of Streetmosphere, you can read the full article below.
Since actress Rae L’Heureux walked into Disneyland Park at the age of 13, she has always wanted to play a part in a Disney theme park show.

“I thought it would be the coolest thing to work there, because everyone seemed to be so happy with what they were doing,” Rae said. “When I got that phone call to join Entertainment, I was like, ‘Wow’.”

Rae plays Tabitha Quidnunc, town gossip and “Woman of the Year” on Main Street, U.S.A., part of the Magic Kingdom Streetmosphere entertainment.

Magic Kingdom Streetmosphere characters, such as the town gossip, the socialite and the mayor on Main Street, U.S.A. and Ben Franklin in Liberty Square, interact with guests walking through the par, as well as perform at events and conventions. All four Walt Disney World theme parks, as well as Downtown Disney Pleasure Island, feature this kind of live, spontaneous human entertainment.

“We enhance the guests’ experience as they travel down Main Street, U.S.A.,” Rae said. “We’re townspeople. We live there, and we talk to the guests as if we either know them or they’re visitors.

“There’s nothing scripted for what we do,” Rae said. “We have a basic idea of people that live in town, where we know over at the car bard there’s a guy named Horace that runs the car barn and Mayor Weaver runs City Hall. Crystal Arts, we, that’s owned by Crystal, and she’s a dear girl and invites me for tea every day.”

For Rae, the best part of her job is making magic with her guests.

“The guests feel special when we’re able to single them out and talk to them, because most people love to play,” Rae said. “If I give them a name, like ‘Willamena Biggs, how are you? I haven’t seen you since the Main Street Beauty Pageant,’ nine times out of 10 the people will be like, ‘Oh, we’re playing! This is cool!’ and so they want to start a conversation. It’s really great to see people play with you and become a part of it.”

Walt Disney Entertainment holds auditions for these and other kinds of roles in major U.S. cities every year.

Streetmosphere performers usually have acting experience in film, television and/or theater. According to Rae, background in improvisation is also important for talking to guests on the street.

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