As Jenna Hathaway, Mary Lane Haskell shines and credits the magic of the film to the outstanding cast and crew.
With her mutual love of musical theatre and all things Dolly Parton, Mary Lane Haskell immerses herself into the role of the faithful and eternally optimistic Jenna Hathaway in Dolly Parton’s Christmas on The Square.
Mary Lane Haskell grew up in California and caught the entertainment bug at an early age. She attributes much of her affinity of showbusiness to her actress mother, Mary Donnelly Haskell. As a child, Mary Lane looked up to her mom who appeared on many TV shows including 7th Heaven and Saved by the Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas. And who could blame her? What little girl wouldn’t want to grow up to be just like her beautiful and talented mom, who happens to play Lenore in Christmas on The Square?
By the age of five, Mary Lane received her first role as “homeless child” in a Disney Channel Original Movie. Sure, it might have seemed like a first step, but to the sassy girl with the big brown eyes, it was the start of a lifelong love affair with film, television and musical theater.
In this exclusive Front Porch interview, Mary Lane talks about her role as Jenna Hathaway in Dolly Parton’s Christmas on The Square. As the pastor’s wife, she plays opposite Josh Segarra (Pastor Christian Hathaway). The self-proclaimed “rebel-rouser” admitted she enjoyed playing the sweet, calming wife in the film. Mary Lane also discusses the rewards she received while working with director Debbie Allen and veteran actors Treat Williams (Carl Pellam), Jenifer Lewis (Margeline) and Christine Baranski (Regina Fuller). Mary Lane said,
“Work is a blessing no matter how it comes. But when you get to work with people who are like-minded and just good, generous, kind people that’s where the magic happens. And I think that’s where the magic of Christmas on The Square really comes from.”
On-Screen With Dolly
The film marks a lot of firsts for the young actress. She has appeared in three films associated with Dolly Parton, however, Christmas on The Square was her first chance to sing with Dolly on camera. A special moment she will always cherish. In recapping it, Mary Lane said,
“As a little eight-year-old singing along, you don’t really realize you are singing along with an icon. So, for me, all these years later…to look through that window and sing with her was just an absolute dream come true.”
In the interview, Mary Lane also recalls her favorite holiday memory that involved the California girl getting her “first winter coat” for a treasured family Christmas in New York City when she was just five years old. On that trip, her parents took her to see the Radio City Rockettes, likely sealing her fate as a future actress and singer. And while she might still have stars in her eyes for film and stage, Mary Lane remains deeply grounded to her family.
During one musical number, Mary Lane’s character takes the hand of Lenore, played by Mary Donnelly Haskell. It’s the first time the mother and daughter have had the opportunity to work together and it proved to be a heartwarming moment for everyone. Mary Lane said,
“I learned how to do what I do, watching my mother. And so to get to be there doing it with her was really, really special.”
Not only did Mary Lane star as Miss Moody in Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors and Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love, she also played Helen Cunningham in the “Down from Dover” episode of Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings.