The Next Big Thing 1 and 2 and 3 and 4: These Showbiz Siblings Give Us the Saunders Superlatives

Alanna, Claire, Heath, and Trent Saunders are supporting one another all the way to the top.

Alanna, Heath, Trent, and Claire Saunders and the opening of Aladdin on Broadway.
Alanna, Heath, Trent, and Claire Saunders at the opening of Aladdin on Broadway.
(© Kim Saunders)

Even if you've never heard of the Alanna, Claire, Heath, or Trent Saunders…you've probably seen them on screens (big and small) or onstage. You likely caught Alanna's turn as Tiger Lily in Peter Pan LIVE! or Trent understudying the title role in Broadway's Aladdin. Heath recently made his off-Broadway debut in Lennon: Through the Glass Onion, while Claire snagged a part in the upcoming Anne Hathaway/Robert De Niro film The Intern. The talented Saunders siblings hail from Kirkland, Washington, where all four began careers in performance in 2009 at a young age, forming a pop band — along with brother Blake — called Milo & the Understudies. Now, the four show people are based in NYC and living their dreams.

Putting four siblings on the same career track in any industry, let alone one as cut-throat as the performing arts, seems like a recipe for disaster. But the Saunderses have found a way to use the unique situation to their advantage. Their team mentality extends far beyond the stage, and the four depend on one another for everything from a shoulder to cry on to a recognizable laugh in the audience. Even though we hate to encourage sibling rivalry, TheaterMania caught up with this power family, asking them to identify the superlative Saunders in several (nontheatrical) arenas.

Alanna Saunders

Best Laugh:

Definitely Trent. You can tell when Trent is in an audience by his laugh. I think he is most amused (or seemingly amused) by those closest to him. It's always nice to feel like you're funny, and that makes his laugh best.

Best Shoulder to Cry On:

Cliché, I know, but all my siblings. It's the way we function; it's the way I function with them. I feel unafraid to shed tears with my family, which is an amazing feeling. My siblings are my safe zone and where I feel most loved and at home.

Most Likely to Be Twitter-Famous:

Heath thinks this would be me, but he deserves it more. He's much more witty and clever — much more worthwhile and entertaining to follow. You probably should start now: @feeltheheath

Most Forgetful:

I would say Heath, b-u-u-t then you have to be reminded of Claire, who literally forgets what she is saying mid-sentence half the time. I find it best to never interrupt her, otherwise you'll never hear the full thought cuz it'll be lost forever.

Heath Saunders

Best Laugh:

Trent's is probably the most distinctive. You can tell he's in your audience from the dressing room.

Best Shoulder to Cry On:

Definitively Alanna. She is the heart of all of us.

Most Forgetful:

Absolutely me. Just last week I forgot I had an audition until it was almost too late. And I constantly forget what day it is!

Most Likely to Win a Nobel Prize:

I feel like the answer is…our mother. She deserves the Peace Prize for raising us. But she'll probably get one for something else.

Claire Saunders

Most likely to Be Twitter-Famous:

Definitely Heath. He only posts if he thinks it's worthy and is the most witty in that way. He also posts profound opinions and thoughts. It's only a matter of time. But then again Alanna is already half-famous, so it'll be a race.

Best Shoulder to Cry On:

Alanna or Trent. Alanna is wonderfully heartfelt, but Trent is also a wonderful big brother when it comes to comforting.

Most Affectionate:

I think it's me. Being physically affectionate is the best way I know how to love someone! Well that, and being sarcastic, but that is in all of us.

Most forgetful:

Heath, duh. He's actually the worst (haha), but we love him anyway.

Trent Saunders

Best Dressed:

I definitely have to say that Heath has always had the style that catches your eye. Claire is always giving him a run for his money though.

Best Shoulder to Cry On:

Alanna is probably one of the most empathetic people I know. I have always found her to be the most open to listening to someone in need.

Most Forgetful:

I may take the cake with this one. Between Heath and me, it's a wonder we ever get anything done!

Most Likely to Win a Nobel Prize:

This one definitely has to be our mother. I think all of us agree that if anyone was going to make that much of a difference, it'd probably be our mom.