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‘New York Spectacular’ actresses Jenna Ortega and Lilla Crawford

Lilla Crawford and Jenna Ortega who are starring

Lilla Crawford and Jenna Ortega who are starring in "New York Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes," with Kidsday reporters, from left, Jasmine Alicea, Zeina Zahoori and Megan Roman. Credit: Newsday / Pat Mullooly

We had the amazing opportunity to meet Jenna Ortega and Lilla Crawford, who share the role of Emily in the upcoming show “New York Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes,” taking place at Radio City Music Hall. We showed up just as they were ending their rehearsal and we went backstage. As we were walking around to meet them, we saw how all the lighting, the sound and props were being managed. There were people working on the stage and in the middle of the audience seating. We actually interviewed the actresses on the steps in the lobby of Radio City. Both Lilla and Jenna were very kind and had personalities that made us comfortable talking to them. We really enjoyed the experience and think because of them and the Rockettes, the show is going to be a summer hit.

Here is part of our interview with them:

Can you tell us what the show’s about?

Jenna: The show is about a family who is visiting New York and while the family is trying to get on the subway, the kids get separated from the parents. So as the kids are looking for their parents they meet the Rockettes and the Rockettes help them discover the magic of New York City. And we visit all these wonderful landmarks very touristy places.

Lilla: If you’ve never been to New York, or if you’ve never seen a big show before, this is like the perfect family friendly, really fun show. So many elements can be really cool. Really fun, like a party.

What’s your favorite part of the show?

Lilla: I love 42nd Street. I think that’s become one of my favorite numbers. “Singin’ in the Rain” is adorable.

Jenna: “Singin’ in the Rain” is my favorite because the stage has rain, which I’ve never seen before.

Lilla: It’s like real water. It downpours. The Rockettes wear these LED jackets that sync up with the lights on stage and it’s super meticulous, and they’re like very clean and sharp. The music is great in that number.

For the character you play, is there something that helps you get into it?

Lilla: She’s very similar to the standard American teenager, I feel like, which is kind of what we are. She’s cool.

Jenna: I’m not sure. If you’re talking about roles overall, what we do to get into character I would say just study it, like, notice her little movements because in script they have these little descriptions where it says, character flips hair, character ignores it. If you take those little bits and kind of put them all together and do them repetitively so you kind of get a feel of what the character does. I feel that you get a better feel for their attitude and the way they act. We just kind of do that with all our characters.

Is there anything you like most about the show?

Lilla: I don’t know. I think what’s so cool is that it’s kind of hard to choose. All the numbers are different, which is really nice. And they’re all so great.

Jenna: I feel like there’s a dance number for everybody and a scene for everybody and one that everyone can relate to, everyone can laugh at. One that everyone can have fun with.

Did you guys take any dance classes?

Jenna: I never danced before in my life.

Lilla: But you were a cheerleader so that’s like similar.

Jenna: Yes, I did cheerleading for two years.

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