Last Christmas Turkey star ‘loves what he does’

December 15, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

Life has been a crazy, wonderful time, all bundled up since February, for Liam MacDonald, who is currently playing the role of Young Braden in Theatre Orangeville’s The Last Christmas Turkey, on now until December 23.

“It’s so great to look younger than you are in the theatre,” said Liam. “Kyla and I are 14 and 12 and we’re playing much younger kids. Theatre people like that we’re mature but look younger.”

Liam’s youthful looks may have contributed to his remarkable rise to stardom in these past months, which began during the last Christmas show here at Theatre Orangeville, A Miracle on 34th Street.

“Jesse Griffiths asked me, ‘Have you thought about getting an agent?’  The agents from Talent House – an agency for television, film and theatre – came to see the show because some of their clients were in it.

“In February, Mom said, ‘You have an audition with Daniel Birnbaum at Talent House.’ A week or two after the audition, they called us to come to sign a contract of terms and commitment. Next week, there was audition after audition for commercials. I had my first call back and got sent off – ‘you’re out.’”

In spite of this rejection, Liam commented, “It was super cool just to get a call back.”

There was to come much more than rejections – an audition for a commercial for More Time Moms – the organizer wall calendars for moms – was his entree into the television and film world.

“Crazy family rushing around, then mom gets More Time Mom Wall Calendar and they’re all organized. Another one – crazy dinners and then she gets the More Time Mom cook book,” he explained, with some humour.

There followed a veritable whirlwind of successes for Liam, which he talks about with the rush as it must actually have been for him.

“After there was an audition for a TV non-union movie with Gaumont. It took two or three weeks filming. Then, I took July off and did Les Mis [with Theatre Orangeville’s Young Company].”

He was emphatic about adding, “Whatever else I did, Les Mis was the most amazing experience because of the cast and the crew. It meant so much to me.”

Success had its own demands: “We wanted to take our holidays in August but there were nine auditions and call-backs. I was supposed to be in a Folgers commercial but when I went in, someone stood up and said, ‘he looks just like…’ They took me to another place and I had no idea what it was all about.”

It was all about the Sony Playstation ad: Star Wars Battlefront II, which takes the characters through their youth, teens and adulthood playing this Rivalry Star Wars gaming between a male and female combatants of equal vigour.

“The ad is showing all over the world,” he informed us calmly.

“Two more actors were playing my older self and we looked exactly the same. Wayne McClammy [Hungry Man director] helped me discover who my character was.”

September came and “I started school and it was really great. I was just telling my close friends what I had been doing and was only in school half a month when there was an audition for Hallmark Christmas movie and getting a call that I’m doing that Christmas Next Door Hallmark  movie and 48 Christmas Wishes. Jenna Weir, who was a Matilda, and I really bonded quickly.”

Taking a breath, he continued, “Then, I got the call that I was auditioning for Mirvish – crazy. I had to memorize a song and realized this was for Fun Home. My confidence was low for that one but I got a call back and I got the role.”

“The last day of filming Christmas Next Door was the first day of rehearsals here. So, there was no break between.

“Even though I had done all those other things, I still wanted to come back to Theatre Orangeville. I thought, ‘I’m going to audition [for the Christmas play]. I’m not better than anyone else but this is home,’ My teacher and principal have very supportive.”

Liam is determined to “take a step back in January and February. I’m very privileged to be doing what I do. Rehearsals start in March [for Mirvish] and the shows begin in April. When I saw Matilda last year, I wanted to do a Mirvish production.”

He acknowledged, “The main thing is to stay humble and stay a kid.”

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