Tiffany Solano DeSena is ready to start granting wishes. But be careful what you wish for. As the fairy godmother, Lucinda, in the Dallas Children’s Theater production “Ella Enchanted,” the ditzy fairy might turn your gift into a curse.
In the musical premiering Friday, Lucinda gives the “gift” of obedience to her goddaughter Ella of Frell at birth. As Ella grows up, she must do anything people command until she sets out on a quest to find Lucinda and break the curse.
DeSena, a Los Angeles native and a Lakewood transplant, is returning to the Dallas Children’s Theater after making her Dallas stage debut in the premiere of “Yana Wana’s Legend of the Bluebonnet.” She’s also appeared in “A Christmas Carol” at the Dallas Theater Center and is the newest member of center’s Brierley Resident Acting Company.
From performing in theaters across the country to opening for KISS in Europe, she brings a wealth of experience to the Dallas theater scene.
What brought you to Lakewood?
My husband and I relocated from LA about two years ago. I did a lot of research, and we ended up deciding on this community. We adore Lakewood. Everything is accessible and close. There’s been no sacrifice of culture and entertainment. It checks all of the boxes that make a neighborhood great.
How does acting in Dallas compare to LA?
There are great theaters in LA, but it’s the film and TV mecca. Theater has been my greatest passion. The thing I’m most pleased about coming from LA is that there isn’t a lack of opportunity to do good work out here. My friends from LA were like, “You’re moving to Texas?” But I’m like, “It’s just another city with great theater.” I feel like it’s really celebrated here.
Was it hard to break into the theater scene in Dallas?
Anytime you move to a new place, people like to work with people they know. There’s nothing wrong with that. You know their work ethic and what they bring to the room, so it takes that first person to take a chance on you. The challenge of getting to know new people wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. I put myself back out there, and I’ve been blessed abundantly very quickly. The community has welcomed me with open arms.
What is one of your favorite roles?
For many years I worked a show called “Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular” performed in a 2,000-seat venue at Disney’s California Adventure. What girl doesn’t dream of growing up and becoming a princess? I got to do that. I like that Jasmine is a strong-willed, independent and spirited princess.
What do you like about working with the Dallas Children’s Theater?
The greatest appeal is it’s up the road from where I live, and it’s something I can share with my kids. My daughter is 4, and my son is 2. They love it. And they get to share it with their friends and say, “That’s my mom.”
In “Ella Enchanted,” I get to do some fun stuff as fairy godmother like wear a beautiful dress. My cool factor is going to go way up with my daughter.
What do you love about the “Ella Enchanted” show?
What I’m really proud of is that it’s a very female cast. It’s kind, smart women telling a story for young girls. It inspires them to find their voice and make decisions for themselves. It teaches them to be OK and confident saying “no” and standing in that.
Tell me more about the diversity in Dallas’ theater scene.
The theater community is really embracing and moving in that direction and giving more opportunities to women and people of color. I’m Latina playing roles that would not traditionally be cast for a person of color. Dallas Children’s Theater has been doing that for a long time — embracing different cultures and celebrating them. It’s been a blessing getting to tell stories like “Ella” that are about celebrating strong, independent women and getting to tell that story for my daughter.
Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Lakewood/East Dallas.