Rapture, Blister, Burn

​Synopsis of Play

After grad school, Catherine and Gwen chose polar opposite paths. Catherine built a career as a rock star academic, while Gwen built a home with her husband and children. Decades later, unfulfilled in polar opposite ways, each woman covets the other’s life, commencing a dangerous game of musical chairs—the prize being Gwen’s husband.

With searing insight and trademark wit, this comedy is an unflinching look at gender politics in the wake of 20th-century feminist ideals.  “…intensely smart, immensely funny…RAPTURE more largely illuminates how hard it can be to forge both a satisfying career and a fulfilling personal life in an era that seems to demand superhuman achievement from everyone.” —NY Times.

My Experience

Photo of Rapture, Blister, Burn before opening

I auditioned for Rapture, Blister, Burn at Iowa Stage Theatre Company immediately after I had gotten back from training in Los Angeles. This experience was absolutely incredible. New to acting with ISTC, it was so fun and refreshing to work with a small cast of accomplished and seasoned Iowan actors.

My role, Avery, was part of this small powerhouse of women interested in understanding and challenging the roles of gender, femininity, and relationship. Through the lens of Avery, I created the comedic relief.

As the set picture shows, this production is dramatically messy. Much like relationships, Rapture, Blister, Burn was a roller coaster of challenges involved with love, lust, and yearning for difference. But little by little the play shows the need for acceptance and change as the actors literally pick up the pieces before the audience’s eyes.

Cloris Awards

At the end of August 2018, I was nominated for a Cloris Award for my performance as Avery. Which is a high honor for theatre companies within the greater Des Moines area. The Cloris Leachman Excellence in Theatre Awards, otherwise know as the Cloris Awards in an annual program created to enhance the visibility of local theatre companies and productions.

On this night, the awards celebrate every aspect of theatre from acting, directing, costumes, design, lights, etc. To win an award or not, the purpose is to showcase all the phenomenal creativity that happens within the community.

Although I didn’t win Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role, to be part of a community and celebrate the creative accomplishments of others was an incredible experience.

To learn more information about Cloris Leachman and the annual Cloris Leachman Excellence in Theatre Awards.

Ella Enchanted

Play Synopsis

Pictured: Maia as an Ogre about to sing song about eating Ella

Ella was given the “gift” of obedience as a baby by her wacky fairy godmother, Lucinda. As she grows into a teenager, Ella realizes how dangerous her curse of obedience could be.

Trying to find a way to break the spell, Ella encounters an evil stepmother and her two unpleasant daughters who take horrible advantage of the curse. Despite this, Ella saves Prince Char and his knights from an ogre, leading to a lasting friendship between the two.

My Experience

Being cast in a show at The Des Moines Community Playhouse felt like I had hit the big leagues. With The Playhouse being one of the oldest community theatres in the country, this company has a reputation of putting on theatrical masterpieces. Under the direction of John Viars and Katy Merriman, this show lived up to all the hype and magic.

Pictured: Maia in pink laughing at playing pranks on Ella with her older sister

In the production of Ella Enchanted, I was cast as Olive, Ella’s dimwitted step-sister. This production was so fun to work on, and helped to open so many opportunities within theater. Being part of this children’s show was an incredible experience and gave me the chance to show Iowa my goofier and lovable side.

Much like Rapture, Blister, Burn, my performance as Olive helped to nominate me for another Cloris Award, and a Playhouse Dionysus Award.

Broadway World

On top of the nominations, I received a special mention in Broadway World Magazine, a leading theatrical magazine that showcases talents from all over the country. Opening me up to larger theaters and national coverage.

Pictured: Maia in the middle as purple puppet giant

“With the show having a cast 7 it would be easy to talk about every member of the cast, but I’m going to narrow it down to a few performances that stuck out to me.”

“First is Maia Talarico as Olive, Ella’s dim-witted stepsister. She brought an energy to the sister that grabbed my attention every time she came onstage. Olive did this with the energy and facial expressions she brought to the character. Each time she was onstage, her face lit up. She is a great example of how a person can take a smaller role and make it one that people remember.”

-April 27, DC Felton

Cloris Awards

For a consecutive summer, honored to be invited to the Cloris Awards where Ella Enchanted was nominated for seven awards, and won three.

Pictured: Ella Enchanted cast and creative crew celebrating our win for Best Youth and Family Production.

Tinker Bell

Play Synopsis

Photo taken by Steve Gibbons

Everyone thinks they know Peter Pan. But until you have heard Tinker Bell’s side of the story, you really have not heard it at all!

When all the fairies in Neverland start dying, Tinker Bell comes to London to find a friend. There she meets a young boy named Peter Pan who has just run away from his family so he can be a little boy forever and have fun.

When Tink takes Peter to Neverland, all sorts of wonderful and amazing things happen: flowers grow, animals appear and pirates arrive. But as Peter brings more Lost Boys and the Darling children back to her island, Tink finds she doesn’t like sharing her friend with anyone else. Especially that Wendy girl.

This fresh and intensely theatrical adaptation of the classic story emphasizes play and fun as well as the complicated nature of friendship. A new, twinkling light shines on all the characters you love as J.M. Barrie’s story is reborn from this feisty fairy’s point of view. 

My Experience

Never in a million years did I expect to play such an iconic fairy as Tinker Bell. When I heard that the Playhouse was doing this production, I immediately changed my whole outlook and told everyone I knew that “I NEED to be Tinker Bell.” Unfortunately, not all of them believed in me. Nevertheless, I auditioned, and some how landed my dream role.

Pictured: Maia Talarico and new fan

At this point, I had done one other large children’s show, Ella Enchanted, but to be Tinker Bell meant there were many other challenges to face.

One of the main issues being the controversy of having such an iconic Disney character played by black woman. I knew some people would be skeptical, but all the doubt drove my passion to succeed and show everyone how possible it is for me, and anyone of any color to play a fictional role.

To say that this role was magical is an understatement.

The love, laughter, and silliness that I got each and every night from the children and adults that attended the performances was phenomenal. Even more so, I quickly began to realize that this role was bigger than anything I could imagine. Daily, I had little black and brown boys and girls come up to meet Tinker Bell. Parents taking pictures and showing their children that they can be whatever they want. And further proving that representation does matter.

Broadway World

Pictured: Adult cast of Tinker Bell Photo taken by Steve Gibbons

Once again, I was published in Broadway World Magazine.

“What brings the magic to this story to the stage is the outstanding cast. The cast is lead by Maia Talarico as Tinker Bell. She delivers another terrific performance that will make a believer out of everyone in the audience. Through the actor’s performances, we see the value of friendship through the relationships of the characters in the show.”

-Feb. 23, 2020 DC Felton