July 23, 2008

Malone Thomas: One Step Closer to Her Dream

By Vanessa Fultz, Suwannee Democrat, Live Oak, Fla.

Jul. 23--When Malone Thomas, 19, started dance lessons at age 4, she probably didn't know those skills would benefit her in an acting career. Now, with five plays under her belt, this soon-to-be music theater major is one step closer to reaching her goal.

Doug Thomas, her father, remembers filming both his daughters -- Malone and Megan -- dancing after their mother bought them a trunk with costume clothes. The girls were 4 and 7 at the time.

"They really had a time with it," he said.

Malone, Megan and their male cousins who lived next door also put on plays for the girls' dad to film.

"I filmed productions, drama they put together around the swing set," Doug Thomas said.

One such play was a drama about pirates.

"I guess that was prophetic," Doug Thomas said, noting the popularity of pirate films today.

As a teen Thomas would act out scenes from the Lord of the Rings and rehearse the lines of Liv Tyler and Cate Blanchett who played Arwen Undomiel and Lady Galadriel in the movie. Not long after, she signed up for the drama program at Suwannee High School.

When Thomas auditioned for "Footloose" in 10th grade she came prepared to sing a cappella, but was reluctant to follow through because she wanted a non-singing role.

"Just try it," she remembers drama teacher Steve Johnson and band director Marc Lentsch telling her.

Thomas said their encouragement gave her confidence in her singing abilities.

She wound up dancing and singing a duet in the play. Her father accompanied her on the piano to help her audition for the part.

"(After performing in 'Footloose') she wanted nothing more than to be on stage and that was that," Doug Thomas said.

In 11th grade Thomas landed her first lead role -- the Baker's wife -- in the play "Into the Woods." She performed a series of monologues in "Talking Wiz" the same year. As a senior she played Mrs. Lovett in "Sweeney Todd."

"She approached that like it was a job," her father said, noting she memorized her lines and music perfectly.

Thomas expanded her vocal abilities in high school by taking voice lessons and singing in the jazz band.

Her latest performance was for the musical play "Oklahoma," staged recently at Lake City Community College. She played the lead female role, Laurey Williams.

Thomas said her favorite role so far is Mrs. Lovett because of the character's complexity.

"Laurey Williams was more like me," she said. "With Mrs. Lovett, I got to be a different person. She was kind of insane."

Now Thomas is preparing for the next act in life. She has been accepted to Jacksonville University and will begin in August. She completed her Associate in Arts degree at LCCC in the spring.

After finishing college, Thomas wants to pursue a career performing in musicals.


To see more of the Suwannee Democrat or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.suwanneedemocrat.com/.

Copyright (c) 2008, Suwannee Democrat, Live Oak, Fla.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

For reprints, email [email protected], call 800-374-7985 or 847-635-6550, send a fax to 847-635-6968, or write to The Permissions Group Inc., 1247 Milwaukee Ave., Suite 303, Glenview, IL 60025, USA.