Interview: Nurse Jackie’s Mackenzie Aladjem on the Final Season, Auditions and Musical Theatre
It’s Nurse Jackie‘s final season and 13-year-old Mackenzie Aladejem, who plays Jackie’s (Edie Falco) daughter Fiona, told me that when the show is finally over, it’s the cast and crew that she’s really going to miss. “Especially Edie, because she’s become a second mom to me.”
Mackenzie, who joined the show in season 2, started acting at a young age when she got the part of Molly in the National Tour of Annie. That tour made her fall in love with musical theatre, something she hopes to go back to at some point in the future. And since Jackie was filmed in New York, she got her fill of Broadway and its stars. “Broadway is such a fun community and I feel like I have a lot of friends in that community because of Nurse Jackie,” she said.
I talked to Mackenzie about the final season of Nurse Jackie, musical theatre, auditions and more!
Are you on your summer vacation right now?
Mackenzie Aladjem: Almost, almost. I’m home-schooled so it’s kind of almost like it’s always summer vacation. But my official summer vacation I believe is like mid-June. So close but it’s not there yet.
Different plans for the summer?
Mackenzie Aladjem: Well, I’m going to be at dance a lot because that’s what I do all the time now. So I’ll be at the dance studio. I’m going to Vegas for a dance competition so I’ll be in Vegas for a week. But just hanging out with my friends and relaxing is what I want to do.
You guys wrapped Nurse Jackie in December I think?
Mackenzie Aladjem: Yeah, we wrapped in the winter. A pretty long time ago.
What was your last day on set like?
Mackenzie Aladjem: It felt really normal, just walking on set in the morning and doing your daily routine. Everything was just normal and you walk around and you talk to your friends and stuff. But then towards the end of the day, it got to the point where we were like, “Okay, this is kind of weird.” Things are not there that used to be there and we started to recognize that was our last day.
It was a fun day. It was just a normal day on set but then it got emotional saying goodbye to everyone. Not everyone could to go to the wrap party so there are a lot of goodbyes that day. Pretty sad.
I would think it might hit you again a couple months from now when you are normally supposed to go back on set.
Mackenzie Aladjem: Absolutely. Yeah, totally. I think one of the worst parts about it for me is that we filmed in New York and I absolutely love New York but I live in LA. That’s where my family is. I love New York and I think it’s gonna be so we’re not going back there. But my sister lives there now so I get to go visit her a lot which is fun. But I think it’ll be just really weird being in LA in the fall because I’m never there at that time. It’ll be weird but we’re all on to new adventures.
I think that it was a good time to wrap it up, like seven seasons is a really long time and I think that we were really lucky that we got to go for that long.
You kind of grew up on the set.
Mackenzie Aladjem: Absolutely. I auditioned when I was seven years old now and I’m 13. So it’s been actually like having a second family to help me grow. It was a really nice atmosphere there to become a teenager.
And you had some awesome costars, especially Edie Falco. How is it working with her?
Mackenzie Aladjem: Amazing. I mean she is such an amazing actress and she’s an amazing person as well. I mean her and Dominic [Fumusa], who played my dad, they would always give us advice. I feel like on acting not too much advice because I think that just watching people’s kind of a learning experience for everything especially acting. But I mean just on life in general, and being in the city, which shows to go see on Broadway. I mean it really was a second family at Nurse Jackie.
I think that’s what I’ll miss, I’ll miss all the people. Especially Edie because she’s become a second mom to me. She’s a lovely human being.
Do you think you’ll keep in touch with all of them?
Mackenzie Aladjem: For sure. Especially Ruby, Ruby Jerins, she played my sister on the show and she’s become a really good friend of mine. We’re still pretty close and I was really lucky to have her as my sister because I joined in season two so everyone knew each other and we just clicked right away. Like, she became my best friend instantly.
I know I’m still gonna see people. I’m really hoping will have a huge cast reunion in a couple of years, I think that’ll be so much fun.
What was your typical day on set like? Would you try memorize your lines the night before or the morning?
Mackenzie Aladjem: I think it kind of depends. I’d always read all the scripts right when they come. It would usually come like around a week before we filmed. I would kind of start to memorize them right when we got it. But I always like to have it in my mind because I kind of freaked myself out about that.
My normal day on set is I get there, eat breakfast and say hi to people. I’m still in school, I go to tutoring for three hours. Sometimes it split up, I do an hour and I go to hair and makeup. It’s choppy sometimes. But I always get three hours of school done there and then basically just hair and makeup and filming.
I don’t know it’s not really a routine. It’s kind of just busy and you do things as it happens. It’s something new every time, which is fun.
You were talking about Broadway a second ago. You went on tour with Annie?
Mackenzie Aladjem: I did. That was really fun. It’s really cool to tour the world when you’re seven and eight years old. So that was a great experience.
Yeah, I fell in love with musical theater when I was little and that’s how I got started in the business. Musical theater is just something that will always be a part of me and I really want to do that when I’m older. That’s something I really want to do and I’m really passionate about it.
I love musical theater. I can’t dance at all and I’m in a show right now where I, thankfully, don’t have to dance a lot. But I look at the ensemble and the lead actors and I’m just in awe of them. I’m in awe of dancers talents.
Mackenzie Aladjem: I think competition dancing and contemporary dancing is so different from musical theater and it’s fun to just switch it. Musical theater is so fun to me. Broadway is such a fun community and I feel like I have a lot of friends in that community because of Nurse Jackie. And since we were in New York we have a lot of guest stars who do musical theater and it’s just so cool.
So when you get older, is that where you want to steer your career towards, musical theater on Broadway?
Mackenzie Aladjem: Absolutely. I definitely want to live in New York. I love New York is my favorite place in the world. So I really want to move to New York and go to college in New York. I honestly really want to do movies and television still but if I can do Broadway at the same time, or switch off, that would be the most amazing thing ever.
A lot of people are doing that now so you’re coming up at the right time.
Mackenzie Aladjem: There are also different and I think that being able to do everything would be just so cool.
Are you still auditioning for things?
Mackenzie Aladjem: Yes I am, I am auditioning a lot. I’m auditioning like crazy. I’m just hoping for something awesome to come along soon. Auditioning and dance, it kinda of takes up all my time.
I think that auditioning is so great because it’s just another chance to act.
What was the worst audition you’ve ever been on?
Mackenzie Aladjem: Oh man. I feel like I’ve had so many bad auditions. I think that everyone has them, you know? Even if it’s totally awful, you can just leave the room and go, “Wow, that was terrible.”
There’ve been auditions where they’re like, “Please come in memorized.” And I go in there and my brain just goes dead. Just messing up is kind of scary. I’ve done it many times.
I feel like there’s so much preparation that goes into it and your like, “Alright, this is gonna be a great addition. I’m gonna nail this.” And then you leave and you’re like, “Aw man. What just happened?”