Madi Rae DiPietro

Madi Rae as July, one of Annie’s orphans (Joan Marcus)

It’s no secret the new Broadway revival of Annie is loaded with super-talented kids. But among Annie’s pack of friends, there’s one tiny orphan stealing the spotlight in almost every scene: Madi Rae DiPietro. At just 13 years old, she’s making her Broadway debut, handling Andy Blankenbuehler’s choreography with the finesse of a seasoned star. And she’s doing it all with a megawatt smile that makes it easy to believe she’s having the time of her life, eight shows a week.

Growing up in San Diego, CA, Madi Rae started dancing at the Royal Dance Academy when she was 18 months old. “I was always jumping and running around, so when my friend’s mom opened a studio, I went to the Mommy and Me class,” Madi Rae says. Soon after, she added ballet, jazz, lyrical and tap to her schedule as well. While she excels in ballet, jazz has always been her favorite: “I like that you can incorporate different styles—whether it’s lyrical or hip hop—into jazz. And I love that I get to use my facial expressions a lot.”

The ambitious Madi Rae made her television debut on “Days of our Lives” when she was five and has also done commercial work for Disney and Hasbro. “I started to love acting as much as I loved dancing, but I didn’t know how I could commit to both,” Madi Rae says. “Then I discovered musical theater, which brought everything together.” She soon realized that if she were going to succeed, she would need to sing, too. “I wanted to be a superstar, and I knew I couldn’t be the next Britney Spears or Miley Cyrus if I couldn’t sing.” She began taking lessons—and they paid off big time. Madi Rae booked the role of the Pageant Girl in Little Miss Sunshine at the La Jolla Playhouse in California with director James Lapine, who would go on to direct Annie.

During the audition process for Annie, Madi Rae pulled out all the stops. “I was obsessed—I watched the movie, sang the songs and took extra dance classes,” she says. Then she got the call that she’d been cast as the orphan July. “I was shocked and excited and scared!” Madi Rae says. She couldn’t wait to move to NYC.

(by Holly Ireland)

Performing on Broadway has been a dream come true for Madi Rae. She says it’s inspiring to work with such talented and successful people, especially Blankenbuehler: “I’m an aspiring choreographer, and Andy taught me a different way of approaching movement. He told me to listen to the music instead of the words—it’s made a big difference.” Whether she’s choreographing or performing, we expect to see Madi Rae making her mark on the Great White Way for years to come. Her dream role? “I’d love to play Ariel in The Little Mermaid or Belle in Beauty and the Beast, or star in Wicked.”

FAST FACTS

Birthday: January 28, 2000

Most-played on her iPod: The Annie soundtrack and Bring It On: The Musical’s cast album

Must-see TV shows: “Dance Moms” and “Cupcake Wars”

Performer she’d die to work with: Sutton Foster. “I worked with her brother, Hunter Foster, on Little Miss Sunshine, and he was really nice!”

Three words that describe her: “Pink, sparkly, silly”

Latest Posts


Photo by Jayme Thornton

How Paloma Garcia-Lee Manifested Her Dream Role, in Steven Spielberg’s "West Side Story"

On a rainy day in November 2018, Paloma Garcia-Lee got a call from her agent that brought her to her knees outside her New York City apartment: She was going to play Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.

The call came after a lengthy audition process with Spielberg in the room, and the role, originated by Wilma Curley on Broadway in 1957 and later portrayed by Gina Trikonis in the 1961 film, was her biggest dream. In fact, it's something Garcia-Lee says she manifested from the day plans for the movie were announced in January 2018. "I wrote in my journal: 'I am playing Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.'"

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo by @mediabyZ

Am I Less Committed to Dance Because I Have Other Passions? (Spoiler Alert: NO!)

Let's face it—dance is HARD, and in order to achieve your goals, you need to be committed to your training. "Still, there's a fine line between being committed and being consumed." Dancers can, and should, have interests outside of the studio.

Not convinced? We talked with dance psychologist Dr. Lucie Clements and two multifaceted dancers, Kristen Harlow (a musical theater dancer pursuing a career in NYC and Kentucky) and Kallie Takahashi (a dancer in her final year at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts), and got the inside scoop on how having hobbies outside of dance can inform your artistry, expand your range and help prevent burnout.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo by Jamayla Burse

Catching Up With Christian Burse, Comp Kid Turned Complexions Rising Star

With her nearly limitless facility, well-timed dynamics and incredible control, Christian Burse's future as a dancer was guaranteed to be bright. A student at the renowned Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, TX, and at Dance Industry Performing Arts Center in Plano, TX, Burse has consistently made waves: She won first runner-up for Teen Outstanding Dancer at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals in 2019, received a grant for summer study at Juilliard from the Texas Young Masters program in 2020, and was named a YoungArts finalist for dance in 2021.

So, it wasn't all that surprising when Burse announced that, at just 17 years old, she would be joining Complexions Contemporary Ballet as an apprentice for the company's 2021–22 season.

Dance Spirit caught up with Burse to hear all about her first season with Complexions ahead of the contemporary ballet company's run at the Joyce Theater in NYC this month.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

contest
Enter the Cover Model Search