‘I graduated early from high school because I wanted to dive into my career. A few months later, I got the call that I was going to Broadway!’
“I was always shy, so I think musical theater was my way of expressing myself. I began when I was 5 with a little group of kids who did theater in a barn house. My teachers told me I should take acting classes, so after a few at The Gateway, I learned that I loved learning about musical theater. I was 7 when I auditioned for ‘Les Miserables’ at CM Performing Arts Center.
“I was so nervous that afterwards I cried; I thought I did horribly. I forgot the words and even asked my mom if I could do it over again, but I got the part! That’s when I knew I wanted to get better at it and become more confident.
“I went to William Floyd High School, where we didn’t have a theater program. Instead, I did the community library shows as well as more shows at CM and Cultural Arts Playhouse.
“I graduated early from high school this January because I wanted to dive into my career. It was a hard decision knowing that I wouldn’t be able to graduate with my friends and go to prom.
I’ve learned that I need to trust that I’m good enough. It’s me who is holding myself back from doing my best.
“I couldn’t wait to get better at what I love. I auditioned for “Parade” at New York City Center very last minute. I sent in a video for the open call and didn’t think I would hear back. I didn’t get cast. A few months later, I was in the middle of doing ‘A Chorus Line’ at CM when they asked me to audition for the role of Essie again. I was immediately crying and screaming.
“Soon the news posted that ‘Parade’ was going to Broadway, so I assumed they had cast it already. Twenty minutes later, I got the call that I was going to Broadway! I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone. I had rehearsal for ‘Chorus’ after that. I couldn’t give any hints that I got it!
“One of the most exciting parts of being in ‘Parade’ is the different things people take from it. It’s such a beautiful show with so much deepness in it that it’s just magical. It’s very cool to find the diversity and let the audience feel the story. I used to doubt myself about whether I was good enough for such a competitive industry.
“I’ve learned that I need to trust that I’m good enough. It’s me who is holding myself back from doing my best. You have to remember to be yourself because that’s the most you can offer. Nothing will pass you by if it’s meant for you.”
Interviewed by Iris Wiener