She is the most unlikely orphan on the 5th Avenue Theatre stage.
"I remember the first time I heard her practice. I was like, 'Who is that?'" says KING 5's Angela Russell.
Her daughter, 10-year-old Maya Russell, plays "Millie" in the 5th production of "Annie." She'd barely danced before.
"I took, I think it was a hip hop class when I was like three or four? But I don't remember it," Maya says.
And sure, she sang quietly in a children's theater version of, ironically, "Annie." But she was focused on her soccer team and school when she overheard her older sister, Ava, talking to mom about auditioning.
"I was kinda being nosy," she says.
And this wasn't just any "Annie." This was the big-time, 5th Avenue "Annie."
"Ultimately she agreed that I'll just do this for the experience of auditioning. So I said OK you can go," Angela says.
Go she did! Pushed through a 104-degree fever during the first audition. Made it through seven auditions and landed the role.
"It's really big and there's so many seats. And there's microphones and someone does your hair. It's weird," Maya says.
It was even weirder when Ava did NOT get chosen for the play.
"My sister got a little bit sad. And then happy," she says.
"I think it's always hard. But it's a learning moment in terms of how you'll be happy for others. And celebrate their wins," mom says.
Maya says she doesn't get nervous.
"It's not as scary as you think it is when you're on the stage. You can't see past the first 15 rows. And in that moment, you're just having so much fun, you just forget about everything and just pretend you're dancing in your room!"
Maya says seeing her mom on KING 5's "Take 5" helps her as an actor.
"She knows how to talk really well," she said. "And it kinda helps me with being on stage and talking too."
Angela says her advice for her youngest is less about specific pointers and more about the big picture.
"This is about this amazing message and a story," Angela said. "I love that we can have those conversations. And I think that's how my work translates to what she does. It's a story!"
You can see Maya and the rest of the cast through December 30 in "Annie" at Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre.
And do know, Ava got the lead role in her school play. So the Russell sisters are both makin' it happen!