Valeria Morales plays Olivia, the sixteen-year-old daughter in our upcoming production of Miss You Like Hell. In the show, Olivia goes on a cross-country road trip with her mother, Beatriz. Morales is a freshman at Our Lady of Good Counsel High School, which is right across the street from OTC.
What is your experience so far with theatre?
I did my first musical in 5th grade. Since then, theatre has been a hobby that I indulge in consistently. I did my school shows in 6th and 7th grade with my school’s theatre company (which I adored so much), but by 8th grade I had auditioned and been accepted to be part of the Washington National Opera children’s chorus. Unfortunately, because of the conflicts, I wasn’t able to participate in the fall play my 8th grade year. There were also too many conflicts for the spring musical, but I still involved myself in the show as much as possible.
How did you hear about Miss You Like Hell?
Finding out about Miss You Like Hell was all my mother’s fault. One snow day last January, she was searching online for auditions in the area and stumbled upon some information the 2019/2020 season for Olney Theatre regarding roles in shows that they’d be putting on. We read the description for Olivia and were instantly attracted to the fact that she was Latina (!!!) so after looking into the play, we emailed OTC about auditioning for the role. They got back to us and told us they’d let us know when they would be holding auditions for the show.
What do you enjoy about the role of Olivia?
I enjoy how deep and real Olivia is. Her character is not the typical 16 year old girl, but I feel as though she’s still one of us. She’s relatable in the most interesting ways. She has so many layers to her and exploring her is so different. Every day I feel like I learn something new about her. This character is all about discovery to me. She’s a snarky teenage girl who’s carrying years and years of pain and hurt. She’s just so different from any character I’ve had to explore in the past.
What has been exciting/challenging so far about this process?
The people who I’m working with make me SO happy. The environment is so welcoming and I’m genuinely having a blast. The thing that probably excites me the most is the fact that I’m working with such creative people who have the most genius minds. Seeing the story unfold and develop is so fascinating. I’m learning so much about my craft and seeing how concepts can be applied everywhere. That being said, every day is a challenge. There’s nothing easy about this show. Exploring the depth of the show can be very tolling, but at the end of the day, it’s so rewarding. Understanding Olivia can be difficult as well. Her motivations and intentions are sometimes clouded and truly figuring her out can be super challenging.
What’s interesting to you about Miss You Like Hell? How do you relate to the musical?
Everything about MYLH is interesting to me. This version of “the story” is almost never told. It’s such a different narrative perspective, especially since this story specifically is so personal. It has created a window for those who will never experience this first hand and helps them understand that this narrative is not just a news report, but someone’s entire life. It’s so important to embody this concept because I feel like there’s such a lack of understanding surrounding it. This isn’t your typical immigration story, because in reality, there isn't one. This is a real, human story. I am an only child with immigrant parents who understand the struggles and fears that are present in this musical. At the end of the day I am a moody teenager with an anger towards the world even I struggle to understand sometimes, but aren’t we all? This musical will always have a special place in my heart.