Angie Blocher, the 8-year-old Abingdon girl who made her singing debut as "Little Cosette" in the Baltimore run of "Les Miserables" last winter, will reprise her solo in the Detroit production of the musical for one week before Christmas.
"To me, I can't believe it, but it doesn't seem to faze her. She's still playing with her Barbie dolls and just singing songs," said Bill Blocher, Angie's father. "This stuff just happens to us. Every time we turn around, something clicks."
Tara Rubin, one of four casting directors for "Les Miserables," called the Blochers late last month to see if Angie could fill in on the musical's road show while the child actress now in the role of "Little Cosette" took a brief vacation. Angie was offered, and has accepted, a 12-day contract from Dec. 13 to Dec. 24.
"It was a year ago in November that Angie did her first audition," said her father. "The good thing about all this is that we haven't really pushed it. The casting director at one point suggested we get an agent, but we didn't really feel that was the way we wanted to go. We just told them 'Yes, we'll help out again if you need us.'" Angie's stage career began as a lark, when her father took her to Baltimore's Morris Mechanic Theatre to try out for the play on Nov. 11, 1989.
Blocher, and his wife, Ann, had been looking for a way to encourage their oldest daughter in activities she enjoyed. The couple has two other children, Katie and Christopher.
When Angie's second-grade teacher at William S. James Elementary, Laurie Sentman, told the couple that Angie seemed to enjoy singing, they decided to take Angie to the audition for fun.
The three adults say they never dreamed that Angie, who had never taken singing lessons, would be one of two girls chosen from 83 applicants to alternate appearances in the part of "Little Cosette."
Angie's solo, "A Castle in a Cloud," comes 40 minutes into the first act of the musical.
The play is based on the novel "Les Miserables" by Victor Hugo. The story is about Jean Valjean, a man who spends 17 years in a French prison for stealing a loaf of bread.
After leaving prison, Valjean becomes the mayor of a town and befriends Little Cosette's mother, Fantine. Valjean vows to care for the child after Fantine's death and rescues the girl from the home of another family who has been mistreating her.
Angie performed so well in the nine-week Baltimore run that she was invited in August to audition for the Broadway run. Although she did well in the audition, she was not chosen for the Broadway role.
"She was upset and crying when we came back from New York. And at first we thought she might go to the Washington show to replace one of the actresses, but the other girl didn't get the movie part she was up for," said Blocher. "But Angie got over it very fast, and the next day was back to her normal self."
Blocher said it will cost the couple about the same amount Angie will make to travel to Detroit and stay for a week.
"But at least this is something additional that says 'Hey, you did a good job,' " said Blocher. "Even if we had to dip into our own pockets, I'd still want her to do it."