Teaneck–The ability to make lemonade out of lemons will always be important. Sophie Knapp of Teaneck took that to the extreme. She had speech therapy and turned it into a Broadway career in the performing arts. As a young child, Sophie took speech therapy to correct articulation issues. Her therapist noticed she had an ear for music and felt that voice lessons would help her.
Right from the start, Sophie “loved singing and performing,” said her mother, Chavie Knapp. Knapp recalled the time following Sophie’s first recital, when she and her husband, Rabbi Stephen Knapp, could not find Sophie anywhere. Many of the older children had already joined their parents, but Sophie was nowhere to be found. They found her hanging out backstage and she would not leave. Following that recital, Sophie performed in a number of cabarets and recitals. She loved each one and finally her mother got Sophie an agent and began taking her to professional auditions.
Sophie performed with the NunnBetter Dance School, and had a part in an Off-Broadway production of A Little Princess in the summer of 2014. But Sophie’s big announcement came at the end of this summer: Sophie landed a part in the Tony-winning musical Once on Broadway! Knapp appreciates the way things fell into place for Sophie. “We always went in expecting the best, not the worst,” said Knapp. “We feel really blessed and are grateful for how well things turned out for us.”
Sophie, a first grader in a local yeshiva, only misses school for her Wednesday matinees. “The teachers have generally been great about being in touch and anticipating work,” Knapp said. In addition, auditions for children are held after school hours, so Sophie does not miss school for those. Another key element in the good fortune of Sophie’s timing is that she came to the musical after it was already running on Broadway for some time. Knapp explained that, “Early in a Broadway show there are many rehearsals. But when one cast member comes in after everything has been set into motion, the practice schedule is not as demanding.”
In addition, Knapp praised Sophie’s fellow cast members, and how accommodating everyone was. “They gave us the time off for the holidays,” said Knapp. Sophie also has a great relationship with her Once mom, Jessie Fisher, and they created their own tradition–they take a selfie together at the end of each performance. “Sophie loves her. She will not leave until they take their picture,” said Knapp.
Sophie loves being on stage and cannot wait to take the next step forward. What’s next for young Sophie Knapp? “Well,” laughed Knapp, “she is constantly asking me which audition we can go to next, and which show she is going to be in when Once ends.” Always the performer, Sophie has her own appreciation for being on Broadway. “I like singing. And I like dancing,” Sophie told JLBC, and mostly, she continued, “I LOVE signing autographs.”
By Jenny Gans