Artist Profile Series:
Alyson Enderle Makes Each Role Her Own
In describing her personal view of theater, actress Alyson Enderle said, “It’s always about community: first with the cast, then with the whole production team, then with the audience. So, your community you’ve built around a show builds and builds, and the circle of people that experience it gets wider and wider.”
Alyson is about to widen that circle again by playing the role of Maria in an upcoming production of the beloved classic The Sound of Music.
Alyson, born and raised in Mankato, Minnesota, was not one of those who decided at an early age that she was determined to make acting her life’s work.
“My sister and I did a bit of Prairie Fire Children’s Theater. I think the first show I was in was Snow White when I was five, and I just remember being absolutely terrified,” she said. “But I must’ve liked something about it because every summer, I wanted to do more and more of them.”
She explained she didn’t get back to theater until high school with a memorable production of With Their Eyes, a show about 9/11, and then when she was cast in one of the leading roles in Elton John’s musical Aida.
“If there’s one thing that hooked me about theater, it was probably collaborating with a group of like-minded individuals to create our best version of a story,” Alyson said.
Alyson entered UMD in the fall of 2014 as a musical theatre major and received her BFA in 2018. At UMD, she was cast in Legally Blonde: The Musical, All’s Well That Ends Well, One River, She Loves Me, Marvin’s Room, Charlotte’s Web, and Into the Woods.
She explained, “I graduated having done three completely different types of musicals, a children’s show, a Shakespeare, a devised piece, a contemporary drama, as well as a couple of dance concerts. “
While Alyson said she has had several important mentors, she singled out Tom Isbell. “Tom was my main acting professor at UMD and continues to be my mentor and friend. He also was the officiant at my wedding!”
She stated, “From my very first audition in front of him, Tom has believed in me and my abilities wholeheartedly. Sometimes, I’m shocked by how much he does. I literally couldn’t tell you what he saw in me when I auditioned; I was a random kid from southern Minnesota with very informal training. “
“It’d be difficult to list all the capacities he’s mentored me in because there were probably at least a hundred small ways. I will say he’s just always down to talk. We’ll talk about theater, about the news, about coffee, the crossword puzzle, Noel Coward, pancakes, books!”
She added. “So I guess he really just mentored me to become a well-rounded person. His teaching style is all about finding your personal brand of acting, but also finding out who you are as a person. Tom’s always understood that the best actors have an intimate understanding of who they are and that can often be their greatest strength.”
After graduation, Alyson acted in various Minnesota theatres, including the Paul Bunyan Playhouse, Lyric Arts, Daleko, Artistry, Phoenix Theater, and Zeitgeist. After college, she lived and worked mainly in the Twin Cities area until 2021, when she and her husband and fellow actor, Phil Hoeslcher, moved back to Duluth.
“Phil and I decided to move back to Duluth to help us plan for the wedding (we were set to get married at the Greysolon Ballroom). We love Duluth, and the theater scene always inspired and impressed us while we were in college, and we both had several opportunities to be a part of it.”
“Having the chance to do more work in Duluth, now that we had had some professional experiences in the Cities, was very appealing and exciting to us,” she added. “We felt that not only did we have something to offer the community, but that the community would teach us and help us grow in return.”
On the Home Front
“Phil and I didn’t get to work too much together until we moved back up to Duluth, and since then, we’ve been in eight shows: Spamalot, The Thanksgiving Play, Footloose, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, Heroes of the Fourth Turning, Young Frankenstein and now Sound of Music, and I like to count Once as well because he came on as an emergency understudy for the final week when we had someone out due to COVID.”
She added, “We have a Belgian Malinois named Pip who is about the goofiest dog you’ll ever meet. We like to spend a lot of time at home with him when we’re not working, and we love to cook. We also enjoy traveling to see friends and to see theater.”
Phil works for a class-action lawsuit administrator, and Alyson teaches voice lessons and an occasional class at the Duluth Playhouse. She also works at Great Harvest Bread Company. “I started at Great Harvest when I was in college and went back when we moved. That place and my coworkers have been so supportive of me over the years that I can’t not mention them.”
The Hills Are Alive
Preview of Alyson in The Sound of Music
Alyson is very excited to be playing the iconic character of Maria in the Playhouse’s holiday show, The Sound of Music with a talented cast of 40 performers, including two separate casts of the von Trapp children.
“My goal with Sound of Music is to tell the story and be my own authentic version of the character of Maria. It is the most commercially well-known musical I’ve ever done. When you do theater, you do a lot of shows that people either have heard of and never seen or they have no idea what it is, so it’s nice to be in a show that doesn’t need to be described to people.”
She added, “I’d say this show is challenging in the same way all theater is challenging: it requires a lot of energy, a lot of focus, and a lot of play. The ‘play’ aspect might not sound too hard, but that’s just because it’s as fun as it is difficult,”
Another Opening, Another Show
After the Sound of Music, Alyson is playing the lead in Kate Hamill’s adaptation of Pride & Prejudice at Zeitgeist in February. Her husband is also in the show which will be directed by Justin Peck.
The Sound of Music Information
The Duluth Playhouse presents The Sound of Music
The NorShor Theatre. 211 East Superior Street, Duluth
Thursdays – Saturdays @ 7:30 pm
Saturday and Sunday Matinees at 2 pm
Box office at the NorShor Theatre
Monday through Friday 10 am-5 pm,
Call 218-733-7555 or visit:
About Sheryl Jensen - Arts & Entertainment Editor
A retired educator with the Duluth Public Schools, Sheryl Jensen has been a theater director of over 60 school and community productions. Her production of William Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew at East High School won the National High School Theater award from the BRAVO television network.
Having written theater, music, dance, and opera reviews for the Duluth News Tribune for many years, she now is the Arts & Entertainment Editor for Destination Duluth.