The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.

The Northerner

The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.

The Northerner

The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.

The Northerner

All things “Amélie” with SOTA student lead and director

Hailey Roden
Rehearsals of Amélie took place earlier this month. Now, the show is fully underway at The Carnegie in Covington, Kentucky. The show still runs this weekend until March 23.

Explore the mind of Amélie, a shy and quiet young woman whose mind lives loudly.  Learn how an 11-person ensemble tells Amélie’s extraordinary story in the Tony-award winning musical that’s appearing on stage this month. 

The musical—based off of the 2001 film with the same name—is SOTA’s second mainstage musical of the 2023-2024 touring season. Chloe Esmeier, a senior musical theatre and public relations double major, is stepping into the leading principal role as Amélie at The Carnegie theater, which runs from March 15-23. 


Q: How long have you been performing for?

A: “I started dancing when I was three. My first one was in first grade but outside of school, I started performing in sixth grade. My first show was “Les Miserables” and I was little Eponine. After that, I got into The Children’s Theater of Cincinnati, I did the dance team and started voice lessons. I’ve just been performing ever since then.”


Q: Where are you from? Did you grow up in this region? 

A: “Yes. I grew up in Lakeside Park in Crestview Hills, Kentucky.”


Q: How many shows have you done total?

A: “I’ve done four to five a year since I was in sixth grade. I would say probably around 50 shows. Oh my gosh, that’s a lot of shows, I have not thought about that.”


Q: How would you say this show differs from all of the other many shows you’ve done? 

A: “This show has been a challenge because of the French dialects and because it is based off of a movie. I think that there’s a lot of inspiration to draw from different pieces. It’s been a challenge to find my perfect blend of that while also bringing myself into the character. The French dialect has been so challenging, because you have to alter your regular speech. When you sing you have a very specific placement and that has to change with the dialect. But, it has been really fun to work with the cast and have all those challenges still.” 


Q: Who is Amélie, the character you play in the show? 

A: “I think that Amélie is an introverted, quirky girl who just wants to help out other people. I think that because of the way she was sheltered growing up. She wants to experience things outside of her imagination and everything else in the world.” 


Q: What do you hope for audience members to understand about the show when they come to see it?

A: “I think that this is one of the most challenging shows to watch from an audience perspective, because it is so jam packed with information and subplots. I’m hoping that audiences can fully immerse themselves in it and let go of anything that’s happening in the outside world for them, and just let themselves enjoy the show.” 


Q: What’s next for you after the show? 

A: “I auditioned for around over 100 things, companies, shows and whatever that may be, so it’s whatever I booked from that right now. It’s like a big audition season, so I actually do not know where I’m going to be, as there are some offers floating around, but I want to wait until I have one that I really, really enjoy.” 


Director of “Amélie” and area coordinator of the musical theatre program in SOTA, Jamey Strawn, is helping bring the vision of the Tony-award winning musical to life.


Q: Can you talk about a few of the things you do as the director of the show?

A: “It’s my job to basically come up with a vision for the show, and to oversee all the different departments as they fulfill that vision, either technically, through the acting or musically.” 


Q: SOTA has been on tour for the 2023-2024 season. What’s it been like to direct this show in The Carnegie versus the performance spaces at NKU?

A: “Well, it’s a wonderful opportunity to be on tour while we’re renovating our Corbett Theatre. It’s a wonderful challenge for the students to go into a different space. Everything from the dressing rooms, to how to get to the stage or how to work on the stage is all different. It’s a nice experience to try a different place, and it kind of prepares them for when they go into a situation where they’re touring a show from city to city. It’s kind of a great educational tool that way. Carnegie specifically, it’s a very intimate theater. It’s wonderful because the audience is so close and very intimate from an acting point of view. You really have to be detailed as an actor, because the audience will see everything. And it’s a fun challenge, actually.”


Q: Are there any specific challenges that come with the show?

A:  “Oh, yeah, absolutely. It’s got a bazillion props. Michael Hatton has done a great job as our prop designer. There are so many handheld props in the show, so it’s difficult for the actors to remember, ‘I’ve got to carry all these things. I’ve got to make sure I have all this stuff when I’m going to go on stage,’ so that’s kind of challenging on one level. The music itself is beautiful, but it’s quite challenging. The Daniel Messé score is wonderfully wistful, but the ensemble has a lot to do and there’s group singing all the time and challenging harmonies as well.” 


Q: How does this show compare to other shows you’ve directed at NKU?   

A: “It’s an ensemble show, meaning even though the show has a title character named “Amélie,” the show sort of centers around everything that she generates in her mind. It’s kind of like watching her stream of consciousness as she creates and imagines all kinds of scenarios. So that’s kind of fun, but the ensemble supports that. We have 11 people in the cast that play multiple people.”   


Q: What do you hope audience members understand about the show when they come to see it?

A: “I hope they find the whimsy. I hope they find the joy. It is a celebration of love in a lot of ways. I’m hoping that they’ll follow Amélie’s story and sort of celebrate the choices she makes along the way.” 


Q: Are there any special moments in the show that the audience should keep their eye out on?

A: “Well, I don’t want to give anything away now, come on! Just kidding. Elton John makes an appearance in the show, which is kind of fun. I would say to really pay attention to the details. There’s a lot of easter eggs from the movie if you’re a fan of the movie from 2001 that the show is based on. We’ve put in a bunch of easter eggs from that. You’ll see some gentle nods towards moments in the movie.” 

“Amélie” runs March 15-23 at The Carnegie located in Covington, Kentucky. For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit