The New York Times's Frank Rich praised Goethals's "fetching precocity that never turns bratty," and Barry believes Goethals is nothing short of perfect for the role of Edna. "Angela's brilliant," says Barry, a Seattle native who adapted the play from her semiautobiographical novel. According to Manhattan-born Goethals, she has never experienced the kind of racial tension that Edna faces. "It's completely foreign," she says.
A ninth grader at academically elite Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan, Goethals lives on the Upper West Side with mother Rosalind and sister Sara, 13. Father Michael split when she was just 2. "Sara and I never really got to know him," she says, "so we don't know what we're missing." It was Rosalind who introduced Angela to the theater. During a stint as an assistant stage manager for a minor Shakespeare company, she took both daughters to work with her. Angela, then 8, was captivated. At the suggestion of a friend, she began auditioning. By age 9 she was on Broadway in Tina Howe's Coastal Disturbances.
Success or no, Angela isn't sure she wants to slick with performing. "I just can't picture myself as some star," she says. "I want to widen out." For Angela, this means "trying dance and horseback riding" and, perhaps, concentrating on English 101.