Sophie Knapp has an interesting life. One of five children to parents Chavie and Stephen, the 13-year-old is an actor who lives with her family in Teaneck, but she was in homes across the country this past Thursday in her role as the orphan July in NBC’s “Annie Live!” Broadway-style production.
The unique live event was a combination of a television and Broadway production and provided a distinct opportunity for Sophie to combine her love of both mediums. “It’s a lot of fun,” said Sophie. “It’s cool because it’s a mix of Broadway and TV with a lot of singing and dancing.”
Sophie started her acting career on Broadway with the show “Once” when she was 6 years old and ended up touring with the production at just 7 years old. Since then she’s worked on a number of TV and movie projects including “Blind Spot”; “The Survivor,” the recently released movie on HBO Max; and another stint on Broadway in “Les Miserables” as young Cosette, among others.
Sophie enjoys working in both the Broadway and TV worlds and emphasized how incredible it is to “work with amazing people. I made a bunch of friends [on ‘Annie Live!’]. Everyone is so talented and it’s been a really wonderful experience.”
Chavie echoed her daughter’s sentiments. “‘Annie Live!’ is a very rare experience. We’re thrilled to be part of this loving environment with supportive parents and fun kids. Everyone just feels happy and grateful to be there. There’s definitely an added sense of gratitude, excitement and joy because for many of the actors and crew it’s their first job since COVID.”
Chavie has a front-row seat for her daughter’s career as she often travels along when Sophie goes on location. A parent or guardian is required to be on set until the child actor reaches the age of 16, according to Screen Actors Guild rules for TV and film. Sophie is usually accompanied by her mother, grandmother or sometimes a guardian employed by the Knapps. Broadway operates with a different union and employs its own guardian for all the child actors in a given production, and parents are not allowed backstage.
The “Annie Live!” production was a hybrid of both TV and Broadway, but had SAG rules, so Chavie has been with Sophie on set much of the time. The unions also require three hours of school daily on set and Sophie’s tutor corresponds with her local school here in New Jersey so she can be up to date with her classes.
Acting in “Annie Live!” has been an invaluable experience for Sophie, shared Chavie. “The Broadway world is really small and it’s a very supportive community because these experiences bring you together, both in stressful times and fun times. Everyone in the production is so sweet and talented. It’s been truly special.”
For more about Sophie, visit her @sophieknapp6 and sophieknapp.actor.