by Abigail Charpentier
At the age of five, Florrie Bagel was bitten by the theatre bug.
The Maryland native was transfixed when she first saw a production of Annie. She recalled specifically Jane Pesci-Townsend, a well-loved force in the Washington D.C theatre community, and her performance as Miss Hannigan.
“Mid-show, I turned to my parents and said, ‘I wanna do that,” she said.
Since then, she’s had the opportunity to perform on stages all across the country. Although her time on the National Tour of Sister Act as Sister Mary Patrick brought her much joy and beautiful memories, her favorite role has been Diwata in Stephen Karam’s Speech and Debate at Rep Stage in Maryland.
“It’s exciting when the right art arrives at the right time for personal growth,” Bagel said.
“In Speech and Debate, I was ready to harvest all my weird and dive into this vulnerable, dark, quick-witted comedy with two brilliant teammates I treasure.”
She added the rehearsal process with her director was “intimate, hilarious and freeing,” which made the production deeply special to her.
Bagel’s most difficult role was in The New Group’s Jerry Springer: The Opera, which she described as a “delicious challenge.” Alongside the other 16 members of the company, she played Peaches, as well as other characters within the Jerry Springer world.
“The focus necessary to learn/execute the complex and beautifully profane score, the energy, vocal stamina and pacing required, the teamwork, quick costume/wig changes, staying physically and vocally well in NYC winter while singing opera… It was a lot. It was also an amazing time,” she explained.
Bagel was seen most recently in the City Center Encores! production of Call Me Madam in February of 2019 as an ensemble member. She cited the shows she has done with Encores! as her “rewarding theatrical gifts.” She has also been in the City Center productions of Me and My Girl in May 2018, Brigadoon in November 2017 and The Golden Apple in May 2017.
With her work at the New York City Center’s Mainstage Theater, she’s enjoyed “getting to work with directors and artists [she’s] deeply admired for years, witnessing the work of everyone in the room, boldly jumping in, feeling the electricity of it all coming together for one fiery week of shows.”
“Then, hearing those lush, classic scores played by the impeccable Encores Orchestra?! Swoon.”
Her other theatre credits have included Pat and an ensemble member in the National Tour of Kinky Boots, Flora in the Irish Repertory Theatre’s production of On a Clear Day You Can See Forever and Lucetta in the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s production of Two Gentlemen of Verona, among other various credits.
Bagel’s television work includes roles in Orange is the New Black, Madam Secretary and Difficult People.
Moving forward, Bagel wants to continue to sing stories that “stir souls, whether on a legendary Broadway stage, at a dimly lit jazz club, or in my living room.” Her career goals are expanding, but she hopes to keep digging, uncovering, healing, blooming, making, connecting and sharing.
“As I continue to detangle myself from societal conditioned shame, I want convention to be continuously confronted and challenged and more and more representation of all bodies in the spotlight on Broadway,” she said. “I want to hitch-kick B.S. ‘beauty standards’ and the boxes we’ve been put in, that have kept so many of us feeling ‘not enough.’”
“We are all more than enough. There’s so much to be stirred up- to be rewritten. There are infinite stories to tell and I want to be a part of it all.”