Meixner currently is performing in the Jam Theatricals production of Contact as the Girl in the Yellow Dress. The production is coming to the Savannah Civic Centers Johnny Mercer Theatre on March 21.
Whats remarkable about Meixner is that she is just 18 and very determined to succeed. I moved to the city in September, she says. I took my graduation money and moved to New York. I got this job in five days.
Forget starving in a garret or waiting tables to get discovered. Meixner landed the plum role as the Girl in the Yellow Dress, whose performance is considered the highlight of the show. Although she is young, she has been preparing for this opportunity for a long time.
I started dancing when I was three, Meixner says. My mom is my biggest supporter. Shes always encouraged my career. My dad will be supportive, whatever I do. But he said he wishes I would go to college first.
Its important to Meixner that people know she graduated from high school in Pennsylvania with a 4.3 grade point average and received highest honors with distinction. She had been accepted to Fordham University, but decided to postpone college to pursue a career as a dancer and actress.
This opportunity only comes around once, Meixner says. A dancers career is so short. I hope this gives me the opportunity to play bigger roles. If I hadnt received any job offers, I was planning to attend college.
In 2000, Contact won every major theater award, including the Drama Desk Award, the Outer Critics Circle Award, Drama League Award and four Tony Awards. It features three stories told entirely through dance.
The theme deals with the way people connect with each other as they pursue love, and the musical is recommended for mature audiences. The 24 dancers/actors in the cast perform to a wide range of music.
Theres classical music by Grieg, Tchaikovsky and Bizet, plus modern songs by Robert Palmer, Dean Martin, the Beach Boys and The Squirrel Nut Zippers. There is even a Broadway tune in Stephane Grappellis arrangement of Rodgers and Harts My Heart Stood Still.
The first of the three stories, Swinging, takes place in the 18th century as an aristocrat pursues a young lady with the help of his servant. The second, Did You Move?, takes place in the 1950s as a housewife dreams of a romantic life of dance and music.
The final story is Contact, in which a depressed and suicidal advertising executive becomes renewed after seeing a beautiful girl in a yellow dress.
He has everything in the world, Meixner says. He has a posh apartment and a Clio Award, but hes unhappy because there is no one to share them with. Then one night in a club, he sees the girl in the yellow dress. All the guys want to dance with her. The advertising executive dances with her, but she wont go home with him.
Later, another woman comes to the mans door. Although she is a stranger, he sees her as the Girl in the Yellow Dress.
The musical was directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman and written by John Weidman for the Lincoln Center Theater. Contact is a very unique show, a one-of-a-kind, a must-see, Meixner says.
The first story shows the need for contact, she says. The second shows the lack of contact, and the third shows the desire for contact.
The show was created around the girl in the yellow dress, Meixner says. Susan Stroman saw a girl in a yellow dress in a club who everyone wanted to dance with, and got the idea for the story.
Eventually, Meixner plans to pursue acting as her career. Hopefully, I will be in television and films, she says.
Ive given myself five years, Meixner says. Im a very goal-oriented girl. I think I can do it.
When she was 13, Meixner had a part in the soap opera All My Children. I had a manager at the time, she says. It was definitely very cool to a 13-year-old.
But Meixners parents had jobs and roots in Pennsylvania. She also has three younger brothers, and the family could not uproot and move, so she did not get to pursue her career at that time.
Over the years, Meixner competed in several dance competitions. She won numerous scholarships and titles, including Miss Dance of Pennsylvania 2004.
My dance teacher made us independent at an early age, Meixner says. At the age of 11, I walked to and sat by myself at my first Broadway show. I would go away for four weeks every summer for dance competitions and had to fend for myself.
Not everyone could be so self-confident at such a young age. It really depends on the person, Meixner says. People have said that I have an old soul. I have really fast-forwarded my life.
So far, Meixner has no regrets. I dont think I could live in a dorm and go to parties now that I have a real job, she says.
Many people in her hometown were shocked when Meixner moved to New York. So many people doubted me, she says.
In my community, people are so gung-ho about going to college, Meixner says. But some had never seen me dance.
When Contact was staged in Pennsylvania, some of those doubters got their chance to see Meixner in action. They were completely blown away, she says with obvious delight.
But Meixner was convinced she could succeed. Although she had signed on to perform at Disney Tokyo, she turned the job down just three days before she was scheduled to leave the country.
I realized it was not what I was supposed to do, Meixner says. I was supposed to be in New York.
While most Broadway productions are rehearsed for six weeks before opening, the cast of Contact had just three weeks to prepare. Then we flew to Vegas and teched the show and gave a preview performance, Meixner says. We opened in Kansas City.
Since then, Meixner has done a lot of traveling. Were in some places two or three nights, and other times we are in a city for a week, she says.
But her busy schedule leaves little room for touring. People will ask me what I thought of a certain city, and all I can remember is the theater and the hotel room, Meixner says.
But Im definitely enjoying the experience, she says. My bodys tired a lot. I miss my family, because were very close.
A lot of my friends have been home for weekends and for Christmas break and Easter break, Meixner says. Ive been home just four nights since September.
The Jam Theatricals production of Contact will be presented Monday, March 21 at 7 p.m. at the Savannah Civic Centers Johnny Mercer Theatre. Tickets are $45 for floor seats, $38 for mezzanine seating and $29 for balcony seating. Tickets are available at all civic center outlets, as well as the civic center box office. To view the seating chart and purchase tickets online, visit