Daniela “Dani” Millan is 16. She really wants a Kawasaki Ninja zx-14r…in white. For those of you who, like myself, know nothing about motorcycles, that’s a sport bike. A really fast one. That’s one of the first things MOXIE learned about Dani, aside from the fact that she is an actress. A really talented one. During a series of auditions for MOXIE’s next production, LESSON 443 by Tatiana Suarez-Pico, director Jennifer Eve Thorn knew she’d struck gold during Dani’s audition.
“We’d been searching high and low for an actress young enough to pass for 14, the age of the leading role in LESSON 443, but mature enough to handle the play. She needed to be bilingual, handle a dialect and be pretty fearless,” Thorn said. “I could tell by the way Dani handled her audition, that she had something special.”
Dani attends the San Diego School for Creative and Performing Arts where MOXIE has had great success finding young actors in the past (Jada Temple and Deja Fields from CRUMBS FROM THE TABLE OF JOY). Like her character in LESSON 443, Dani wasn’t born in the US, although she was raised here. She’s Colombian American and loves returning to Colombia to visit her family (especially when that involves riding motorcycles with her cousins.) She dances with Hispanic Art Theatre, studied at the Old Globe Theatre’s Summer Shakespeare Intensive program, practices mixed martial arts and speaks 3 languages, including Korean which she decided to begin teaching herself. Did we mention she’s talented?
In LESSON 443, Dani plays the rebellious and determined Carynne “Cari” Gonzalez. A punk 14 year old on the verge of her 15th birthday who speaks to the ghost of her mother who died when she was a baby. Cari is Mexican American and speaks with an accent, which she despises. Dani has had to learn an accent for the role but that has been less nerve wracking than taking on her first love scene. LESSON 443 contains an awkward, yet charming, teenage “first time” love scene.
“The actors are fully clothed and it’s fairly tame,” said director Jennifer Eve Thorn, “but it IS a real love scene and for both my teenage actors in the cast, it’ll be their first real one on stage. The fact that these teenagers are making big life decisions, whether they are right or wrong, is part of what drew me to the play as a director.”
When asked how her parents felt about it, Dani said
“My mother knows me. She knows my limits and she knows this is what I want to do, so she’s supporting me.”
To which we replied,
“What about your dad?”
“Well…he….well…he knows my mom said I could do it so…he’s supporting me too.”
Ha. Enough said. Daniela Millan may be her father’s little girl, but at MOXIE starting April 30th, she begins her professional career as one incredibly mature and talented young woman in a breakout leading role. Don’t miss her.
Tickets on sale now for LESSON 443 playing at MOXIE April 30-May 24, 2015 at www.moxieatheatre.com/lesson443 or call 858-598-7620