Selbyville girl hits big screen in ‘Bridge of Spies’

At just 9 years old, Selbyville’s Jillian Lebling already has been featured in a hit Broadway show, a hit television program and, starting today, a movie that is sure to be one of the hits of the fall box office season.

As Peggy Donovan, Jillian stars as the daughter of Tom Hanks’ character in the just-released Steven Spielberg film “Bridge of Spies.”

Her first movie part follows roles as Ivanka in the musical “Once” on The Great White Way and as the younger version of Megan Boone’s Elizabeth Keen character on the NBC drama “The Blacklist.”

The Worcester (Maryland) Preparatory School fourth-grader says acting has always come natural to her.

Jillian Lebling, of Selbyville, co-stars as the daughter of Tom Hanks’ character in the new film “Bridge of Spies” out today in theaters nationwide. (Submitted photo/Emily Soto)

Jillian Lebling, of Selbyville, co-stars as the daughter of Tom Hanks’ character in the new film “Bridge of Spies” out today in theaters nationwide. (Submitted photo/Emily Soto)

“I really enjoy it. I used to do shows for my parents when I was younger,” she said last week.

“I really like how you can act like a different person and have different emotions.”

Her role in “Once,” the Tony-winning musical based on the acclaimed film, was the first professional part she played, taking her straight to Broadway in November of 2012. She stayed in the production for about 14 months.

She said the first time she stepped on stage was no big deal. She took it all in stride.

“I don’t really get nervous,” she said. “It’s all fun for me.”

Jillian was featured on two episodes of “The Blacklist” last season in flashback sequences.

“I’ve always loved that show so that was really fun for me to get a chance to be on it,” she said.

In one scene, she was depicted going through a fire in the family’s home.

“It was a little fire and they kept it away from me,” she said reassuringly.

Along with a being Broadway and television actor, Jillian can now officially call herself a movie star with today’s release of “Bridge of Spies.”

The Cold War drama, which is receiving near universal critical acclaim, centers around real-life Brooklyn lawyer James B. Donovan, played by Mr. Hanks, who is given a mission to negotiate the release of Francis Gary Powers, a pilot whose U-2 spy plane was shot down over the Soviet Union in 1960.

Best Bets logo CLEAR copyWith Mr. Hanks as her father, actress Amy Ryan plays the mother to Jillian’s character.

She said she only auditioned once for the role but was led to believe she had to audition a second time.

“I thought I had a callback at my agent’s office but when I got there, they told me I got the part. I was really surprised,” she said.

Filming took place in Brooklyn last October.

Jillian said working with Mr. Hanks was “awesome” and the two had actually met before. She presented an award to him at the 69th Annual Theater World Awards in 2013.

“He was really nice and really fun to work with,” she said.

As for being directed by a film legend like Mr. Spielberg, that was a dream come true for her.

“He was cool. It was amazing to get a chance to work for him since I’m such a fan of his movies,” she said.
Jillian, who, when she isn’t acting, enjoys going to the beach, bike rides, geocaching and fishing, says she’s just another kid at school and doesn’t get treated any differently.

That may be due to the fact the she isn’t the only big-time actor at Worcester Prep.

Thirteen-year-old Quinn McColgan of Millsboro is also a student there. She’s been in the Liam Neeson film “Non-Stop” and the HBO mini-series “Mildred Pierce.”

Jillian said the two are good friends and she actually encouraged her to get into the business.

“One day her mom said that she thought I’d be good at it and helped me get into an acting class and I loved it,” she said. “Quinn helps me with lines sometimes too.”

As for the future, Jillian says she would love to make show business her career and hopes to move to New York City when she is older. She would also like to direct and get into casting.

Her big dream is to work with suspense film director M. Night Shyamalan.

“I love all of his movies. I’m a big fan of scary movies in general,” she said.

“Bridge of Spies” is now showing at Dover Mall’s Carmike 14 and Movies at Midway in Lewes.

Amillion going to Europe

Another area resident making a splash is Lucas Mayfield, aka Amillion The Poet.

The Dover hip-hop artist and community activist has gone from tri-state success to a West Coast tour and is now setting out for a set of shows in the United Kingdom, culminating in three performances from Oct. 23 to Nov. 5.
World Cafe Live at The Queen in Wilmington will welcome him home after the tour for a show on Friday, Nov. 6.

The author, poet and music artist has appeared on MTV, VH1soul, BET and last fall organized a Walk the Talk community awareness event in Dover.

The Wilmington show will feature a live performance by Amillion and R&B singer Mylezia.

Tickets are on sale for $15 and available at www.amillionthepoet.com and queentickets.worldcafelive.com.

Battle of the blues

On Sunday, the Central Delaware Blues Society presents its second “Battle of the Blues Bands,” a three-group competition for the opportunity to represent CDBS at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis in 2016.

The contest starts at noon at Jonathan’s Landing in Magnolia. Tickets are available at the door; $15 for the general public and $10 for CDBS members.

The lineup includes The Billy Pierce Band, a hard-driving contemporary blues act inspired largely by the sound of New Orleans; The Georgie Bond Band, who has shared the stage with numerous blues legends like Koko Taylor, Carl Weathersby and the Kinsey Report; and Anthony “Swamp Dog” Clark, who was a semi-finalists at the International Blues Challenge in 2011.

Last year’s winner of the local competition was lower case blues. Like that band, the winner of this year’s competition will receive financial assistance from the Central Delaware Blues Society to pursue dreams in Memphis.

For more information or to become a CDBS member, visit www.centraldelawareblues.com/cdbsibc2015event.html.

Chapell at chapel

On Saturday, the Delaware Friends of Folk will present Phyllis Chapell, a Philadelphia-area jazz singer, at its next

Phyllis Chapell will perform as part of a Delaware Friends of Folk Coffeehouse Saturday night,. (Submitted photo)

Phyllis Chapell will perform as part of a Delaware Friends of Folk Coffeehouse Saturday night,. (Submitted photo)

Coffeehouse Concert at 7:30 p.m. at the Wesley College Chapel on West Division and North Bradford streets in Dover.

Ms. Chapell’s repertoire includes songs in 13 languages from Brazil, Latin America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East, as well as American folk, jazz and popular music. She also has a repertoire of award-winning original songs.

Ms. Chapell was named one of the top 521 jazz vocalists of all time in the book “The Jazz Singers: The Ultimate Guide.” She has performed in concert as a solo artist and/or with her ensemble, Phyllis Chapell & SIORA, in the U.S., Latin America, Brazil and Europe.

Singer/songwriter Sean Cheezum will open.

The cost is $5 for members, $7 for nonmembers and half-price for students. Children younger than 12 are admitted free.

For more information, visit www.delfolk.org.

‘Lion, Witch and Wardrobe’

This weekend, The Second Street Players Children’s Desert Theater presents “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis tonight through Sunday. All performances will be held at the Riverfront Theatre, 2 S. Walnut St., Milford.

Tonight’s and Saturday’s performances are at 7 and Sunday’s is at 1 p.m. Tickets are $5 for children 18 and younger and $10 for adults 19 and older. Friday night is a special family night, tickets are pay what you can. All tickets can be purchased at the door. More information can be found at secondstreetplayers.com.

This new dramatization of the classic, set in the land of Narnia, recreates the magic and mystery of Aslan, the great lion, his struggle with the White Witch, and the adventures of four children who inadvertently wander from an old wardrobe into Narnia.

Gourmet Gala Saturday

Finally, Delaware Technical Community College’s Terry Campus will hold its annual Gourmet Gala, the school’s premier fundraising event for student success, on Saturday from 6 to 10:30 p.m. in the on-campus conference center.

The black tie-optional affair offers guests specialty food items and beverages from Delaware restaurateurs, brewers, vintners and distillers. In addition, To The Max, a club and dance band, will provide entertainment.

Tickets are $125 and can be purchased online at go.dtcc.edu/gourmetgala or by calling (302) 857-1125.

Now showing

Starting today in theaters are the aforementioned “Bridge of Spies,” the action-adventure comedy based on the book series “Goosebumps,” the horror film “Crimson Peak” and the football drama “Woodlawn.”

On DVD and download starting Tuesday are “Jurassic World” and the teen romance “Paper Towns.”

Reach features editor Craig Horleman at chorl@newszap.com

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