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This little 'Light' of hers

Erin Mackey, who once served as Lindsay Lohan's body double, landed a long-coveted role at South Coast Repertory.

January 28, 2014|By Rhea Mahbubani
  • Orange County native Erin Mackey will play Clara in South Coast Repertory's "The Light in the Piazza."
Orange County native Erin Mackey will play Clara in South… (SCOTT SMELTZER,…)

If you ever watched Disney's 1998 romantic comedy "The Parent Trap," then you most likely saw Erin Mackey — but you would have had no way of knowing that it was her.

Such is the life of an acting and photo double.

Only the back of her head or a bit of her profile, captured at a distance, made it into some shots, said the Fullerton native.

Mackey, who was active in her hometown's Children's Repertory Theater, missed six months of sixth grade to take the role. Although she and Lindsay Lohan haven't stayed in touch, Mackey recalled dressing up in matching outfits with the young star of the movie and attempting to fool people on the set.

"It's good that I was 11, because what 11-year-old is going to know what to do anyway?" she said. "I mean, Lindsay definitely knew more about what was going on. I had no idea what I was doing — absolutely none."

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Fast-forward 17 years and Mackey, who will be 28 in June, can no longer say she is out of her element. The seasoned actor, with roles in "Wicked," "Anything Goes," "Chaplin" and "Sondheim on Sondheim" under her belt, will be onstage at South Coast Repertory until Feb. 23, portraying Clara in "The Light in the Piazza."

The musical — book by Craig Lucas, lyrics by Adam Guettel and direction from Kent Nicholson — is not a traveling show, but one that the venue is creating from scratch. SCR auditioned actors and selected the director and design team.

"I have loved this show since I saw it at Lincoln Center," said artistic director Marc Masterson. "The music, the story and the passionate heart of this piece get me every time."

"The Light in the Piazza," which received two Outer Critics Circle Awards, five Drama Desk Awards and six Tony Awards, including Best Original Score and Best Orchestrations, also includes David Burnham and Patti Cohenour — both members of the original Broadway cast.

"In a tight rehearsal schedule, it is nice to have some people who are experienced with the arc of the play," Masterson remarked. "However, all of these artists are approaching it as if it is their first time and rediscovering the play through this entirely new production."

Having watched — and loved — the play in New York, where she resides, Mackey had for a long time kept an eye on the show's trajectory. Victoria Clark, her voice coach and friend, originated the role of Clara's mother, Margaret Johnson.

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