Who needs height when you have a big personality?

By Christian Mengel

December 17, 2012

"It's OK, I'm a midget" is a saying many cast members have heard while on the set of Missouri Western's production of "Annie." Ten-year-old Makayla and 8-year-old Bobbie Joe Tovey are small and embrace their height, but they are anything but small when it comes to being on stage. Bobbie Joe is a part of the orphan ensemble while Makayla will be playing the role of the mischievous orphan Molly. The actresses are taking after their father when it comes to being entertaining. He is a midget wrestler who appeared in the hit movie "Jackass 3D," and also has a show called "Half Pint Brawlers." Although most of his children want to follow in his footsteps and become midget wrestlers, Makayla has decided that wrestling isn’t for her. “I never fight back,” Makayla said. “I either want to be a singer or a gymnast.” The love of gymnastics was what first got the girls interested in performing on stage. They’ve participated in annual recitals for dance and acrobatics that have helped prepare them with a good stage presence. Because of their experience with tumbling, they may or may not (hint hint) do a flip or trick in a scene. Though their interests are similar when it comes to being on stage and performing, their personalities couldn’t be more opposite of each other. Lauryn Roberts, who plays Grace Farrell, is one of the adult actors who is around the two sisters often. She finds their different personalities to be helpful when working on "Annie." “Makayla is a diva, but Bobbie Joe is silent but deadly,” Roberts said. “She has a look, and sometimes Makayla gets too out of control, and Bobbie Joe shoots her a look. They kind of even each other out because Makayla can be very over-the-top, which is really funny, but when we have to get work done Bobbie Joe kind of brings her back.” Andy Tyhurst, who plays multiple roles in "Annie," believes that it’s the kids who are the stars of this play, and Makayla could be the difference maker who bumps this play up another notch. “She’s going to be the show stealer,” Tyhurst said. “She’s just so cute and loves attention that audience is just going to fall in love with her, like we all have.” The girls are both local to St. Joseph and attend Lindbergh Elementary School. Even though this is their first time acting in a play, this likely won’t be their last. Makayla’s favorite part about it so far has been seeing the audience and meeting new friends. Her mind is already set on trying out for roles here at Western in the future. “I'm going to try,” Makayla said. “I know if I do it now then it will get me a better chance of doing it next time.” Roberts went on to say "Annie" wouldn't be the last time we will see Makayla and Bobbie Joe. Makayla has found some challenges though, but nothing to big for her to handle. “Trying to remember the lines was iffy in the beginning, but now I got everything down,” Makayla said. “Most of the time it’s pretty easy as long you’re in your spot and you’re not goofing around.” Makayla insists that neither her nor her sister goof around. “I’m a sweet angel,” she said. “[Bobbie Joe's] an angel but I’m a sweet angel.” *To see a video slideshow, click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WC9sdNqSYhQ&feature=player_embedded