Ardmore native Bex Odorisio has “Proudly Bat Mitzvah’d” displayed prominently on her resume, but that’s hardly the most eye-catching thing listed there.
The singer and actor received training at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and the Upright Citizen’s Brigade (and attended Hebrew school at the Kaiserman JCC in Wynnewood). And her chops have earned her a role in the AppleTV+ original show “Dickinson” and, most recently, the role of one of three of the Fates in the North American tour of the musical “Hadestown,” which showed in Philadelphia from Feb. 9-20.
The musical was nominated for 13 Tony Awards in its Broadway debut year in 2019, snagging eight of them, including for Best Musical and Best Original Score.
In the retelling of the ancient Greek story of Orpheus’ voyage to the underworld to rescue his love Eurydice, the Fates “control the threads of a mortal’s life,” Odorisio said, acting as the small voice in the back of characters’ heads, tempting them or causing them to second guess themselves.
The role is a huge departure from Odorisio’s previous part as Ladybug in her first-grade production of “Goin’ Buggy” or her Lower Merion High School debut as fairy queen Titania in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
However, Orodisio’s role as a Fate was a long time coming. After missing out on the part in the Broadway production in an early 2020 open-call audition, Orodisio instead auditioned for the national tour of the show. The March 2020 auditions were postponed for obvious reasons, but Odorisio got another shot in the summer of 2021, when another round of auditions was held virtually. The rest is history.
What was it like to do an audition over Zoom?
It was actually kind of fun because I got to be in my living room. I wasn’t wearing any shoes — They didn’t know that, but I guess they’ll know it now. And it was both exciting and comfortable, and also a little surreal, because it felt almost like I was having a dream where I was auditioning for something in my living room, but it was really happening.
What does your day-to-day look like while touring?
It’s crazy in a really fun way. The day times, depending on the day of the week, are sometimes rehearsals and sometimes exploring; sometimes unpacking the suitcase in a hotel or sometimes going to a gym, going to a museum, going to a coffee shop.
And then in the early evening, heading to the theater of whatever city that I’m in and getting ready for the show. That involves makeup, vocal warm-up, costuming — layers and layers — and performing into the evening and then tucking myself in with Netflix before going to bed at night.
Where did your interest in theater come from?
I think it’s from my mother. I’m going to go ahead and shout-out Susie Greenspon, who had the forethought to take me to a bunch of shows, often musicals, in Philadelphia when I was growing up. She would switch off between taking me and one of my younger sisters to a show, but I really got bit by the bug early.
And my high school, Lower Merion High School, has a wonderful and very comprehensive drama club, and that’s what launched me further into the idea that I could pursue this as a career if I wanted to.
What was your Jewish upbringing in Philadelphia like?
My mother is the Jewish one of the family, so she passed on the traditions to her three daughters.
I was bat mitzvahed at Martins Run in Havertown, which was a synagogue attached to a senior care center. And I had a beautiful experience there interviewing some of the older women, some of whom had escaped Europe before or during the Holocaust. That was my [bat mitzvah] project. It was very influential to me, to speak about their experiences.
We tried to keep the highest of the holy days alive and well, always observing Rosh Hashanah, always observing Yom Kippur, Passover. In my 20s, I got to go on my Birthright trip to Israel and had a really beautiful experience seeing that country for the first time.
There are so many Jewish giants associated with Broadway — Stephen Sondheim, Steven Spielberg, who recently directed the “West Side Story” movie. What is it like to have these deep Jewish connections in your profession?
Not having been brought up very strictly in a religious capacity, most of my connection to Judaism is culturally, and that has been a beautiful thing, to see that so easily reflected in our cultural stratosphere.
Irving Berlin wrote the most famous Christmas song of all time (“White Christmas”). There are a lot of Jewish figures that transcend that definition, and their creations appeal to everybody, regardless of religion. That’s a really beautiful thing