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Actress From Glenwood Surprised By Buzz Over Her Appearance In Commercial Aired During Super Bowl

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By Joe Foreman, Editor

Alanna Reeves admits she’s a bit surprised by the reaction to her appearance in a television commercial that aired locally during Super Bowl LII.

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Reeves, a professional actress who graduated from Glenwood Community High School in 2002, had speaking parts in two Cenex Super Bowl commercials, playing the role of a convenience store clerk.

One of the ads featuring “Albert the Super Bull,” a larger-than-life legend that serves as a community landmark in Audubon, Iowa, was aired in Iowa, Nebraska and several other Midwestern states.

In the commercial, Reeves tells a customer at the store, “Our super bull is 45 tons and 30 feet tall.” She also appears with a large group of townspeople gathered in front of Albert the Super Bull at the end of the ad.
Almost immediately after the commercial aired, Reeves’ phone went abuzz with messages from relatives and friends who had recognized her in the 30-second spot.

“Really, the only people I told about it was my immediate family. The thing about doing this kind of work, you never know what’s going to be featured and what the commercial was going to look like. They condense everything down,” Reeves said. “My family knew, but it was super funny because my brother even called me and said, ‘My phone’s blowing up. Everyone wants to know if they just saw you on TV.’ I think people were more surprised than anything because I hadn’t really told anyone about it.”

Reeves, who is represented by an Omaha talent agency, has appeared in ads for the Nebraska Lottery, Blue Cross and Blue Shield and other local businesses, but she’s never experienced a reaction like last week. Friends from as far away as Pennsylvania saw her in the Super Bowl spot.

“I’ve done other commercials, but I’ve never had this kind of like blowing up of a response,” Reeves said. “It made me reflect - there are a lot of people watching TV tonight and there are a lot of people deliberately watching the commercials. I hadn’t really even thought about it in advance until it happened.”

Reeves auditioned for the part in the commercial last fall and learned about a week later that she had been selected. Filming took place over a couple days in Audubon and at a Council Bluffs Cenex store.

Reeves appreciates the opportunity to do commercials and the paychecks that come with them, but the TV work isn’t her greatest passion as an actress.

After living in New York City for nearly three years, where she received training at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, Reeves has performed in numerous theatrical roles across the country and has lived in several cities, including St. Louis, Omaha, Minneapolis-St. Paul and Madison, Wis. She’s been on tour with a traveling production of The Diary Of Anne Frank based out of Lawrence, Kan., and has worked at The Rose Children’s Theater in Omaha.

Reeves met her husband Joe Lullo, also a performer, while she was working at a dinner theater in the Twin Cities. They were on their way to take up graduate school work in Austin, Texas, when Reeves began a six-month project with the Rose Theater. The six-month project turned into a five-year stint and Alanna and Joe eventually made their home in Plattsmouth, Neb.

Today, Alanna and Joe, who are raising a 1 1/2 –year-old son (Avery), perform folk music together at venues in the region, including Waubonsie Station and local wineries. They’ll be on stage together Feb. 23 as part of the entertainment at the Glenwood Area Chamber of Commerce’s Community Betterment Awards Dinner.

Reeves first discovered her passion for acting and performing as a child growing up in Glenwood.

"When I very, very young, I’d say about 3, a babysitter I attended had other little girls who were enrolled in dance classes. She would take me along and I would sit on the sidelines and do all the stuff,” Reeves recalled.  “She mentioned that to my mother, so when we moved to Omaha briefly when I was about 4, my mother enrolled me in dance lessons.
“My mother always likes to tell the story that there was a whole stage of 4 year olds doing a dance and a balloon popped under the heat of the stage lights. She always likes to say all the other little girls looked around like they were scared, but I kept on going.”

Reeves was a kindergartner at Northeast Elementary School when she got her first taste of acting.

“I have a very distinct memory of kindergarten and being in a classroom production in Mrs. Young’s class,” she said.  “It was around Thanksgiving time and I remember I was a yellow duck. There was a turkey in it and that’s the only thing I remember about that story. Then, in second grade, we did Three Billy Goats Gruff. Those must have been the things that spurred me on.”

As a sixth-grader, Reeves remembers playing the role of the Queen of Hearts in a Mills Masquers summer camp production of Alice in Wonderland. There would be other Mills Masquers and school productions and roles in shows at the Chanticleer Community Theater in Council Bluffs.

Two summers ago, Reeves and fellow actress and Glenwood native Caetlin Staebell teamed up to put together and perform The Cancer Story Project, a special on-stage production for the Mills County Relay For Life. Currently, Reeves is working with a teen theater group in Omaha for young women to help them to create a night of theater that tells stories of their own lives. She’s also giving thought to offering creative drama classes in Glenwood, something she’s done previously.

Reeves, the daughter of Tracy Reeves and Joanna Dragoun, also works for her mother at My Mojo Photo.

As for future TV commercial work, Reeves said there’s nothing on the radar at this time.

“A percentage of calls turn into work,” she said. “It seems to go in runs. The past year was busy and I’m getting a little better at knowing what I’m likely to book.

“Now that I have this little guy (Avery) at home, that’s kind of made me more cautious of taking on too many projects because I know I need to be around for him.”

EDITOR'S NOTE - The two Cenex ads Reeves appeared in can be viewed by clicking on the following links:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWXYZpUDaYA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8QdguInYRSk