*What was your first professional acting job, and how did you get it? What did you learn from the experience?
-My first professional acting job was a production of “Kiss Me Kate” at Cabrillo Stage in Aptos, California. I was a dancer in the show and it was a blast! The director/choreographer was also my director at school (San Jose State University) so I learned about the audition from her. The show was an incredible experience and I learned a great deal about professional shows and how everything works. It was my first time doing 8 shows a week so I learned how to make each show feel like the first one and also how to pace myself.
*What was your audition process for “Wicked” like?
-My audition for Wicked was so much fun. I had gone in for Wicked once before, last March or so. I attended a dance call and got cut right away. I saw a posting for an audition in August and thought I would try again. I attended the open call and they had some of us come back to an invited call a couple days later. There were probably around 60 people or so at the invited call. We danced first (the same combination we had done the first day) and then they kept about 17 of us to dance some more. We added on to the combination and then they had all of us sing. After singing, they kept 6 of us to stay and do some partnering. We learned some of the lifts in the show and partnered with Patrick McCollum, the Wicked Dance Supervisor. After the partnering, we were done for the afternoon. I received a call about a half hour later and was offered the part of the crossover swing for the 2nd National Tour! I was beyond ecstatic and still am to be with such an amazing group of people, doing what I love most!
*What was your reaction when you found out you had been cast in the show?
-When I found out I had been cast in the show, I was elated! I was walking on the streets of NYC, right outside of the Ripley Grier studios and started running around! I didn’t really know where I was going, but I was so excited that it didn’t matter! It was one of the best moments of my life.
*Who was the first person you told that you had been cast? What was his/her reaction?
-I have a funny tradition with my mom and that is whenever I find out that I have been cast in a show I have to leave a message for her so she can always have it on her phone. So, I called her immediately, and since she picked up the phone, I told her I had to leave a message for her. She knew what that meant and was so excited. So, she hung up and I called a left her a voice message. Then I called her back to actually talk with her. She was thrilled and starting screaming and crying. She was so excited for me and very proud.
*How does a put-in rehearsal work for a swing? Do you perform different portions of each track or do you perform just one?
-That is a great question. For a swing’s put-in, we do just one track (usually our first cover…the one that we go on for the most often). For my put-in, I did my first track that I had learned (my first cover, also). So, it is just one track, not different ones. For each other track that we cover, the first time we do it with everyone is during a show, so it can be a bit nerve-wracking, but also quite exciting!
*What was your first performance like? What track were you in? How did you feel throughout the show?
-My first performance was exhilarating! I went on for my first track (the same one as the put-in). It was sort of surreal. I remember feeling so overwhelmed and happy during the opening number. It was completely different from any time I had rehearsed it because of the lights and audience. I had a great time and loved being on stage with such a supportive group of people.
*As a swing, what is your favorite track to perform? Why?
-I honestly love going on for all of the tracks, but I do have a few favorites. My first one is probably my favorite because it’s the one I’ve done the most, so I feel most confident in it. And the dancing is really fun. I also love going on for my second cover because she has some fun moments in the show and uses fun props (like the umbrella in Emerald City). The witch’s mother track is also really fun because she has lots of dancing and gets to go on Pointe in Emerald City. I love going on for all of them, though!
*Have you ever had to perform two tracks in one show due to multiple absences? How does that work?
-I haven’t yet gone on for multiple tracks in one show. However, it has been close. When that does happen, we will basically do a split track, which means that we will do the essential parts of one track at one point and the other at another point. Something ends up being cut since there aren’t enough people to cover it. There was one show when I went on part way through, at the start of the second act. It was the most exciting “Top of 2” I had ever had!
*Which vocal track is the most difficult for you to perform? Which one is your favorite to perform?
-I think the most difficult vocal track is probably the ShenShen track (one of Galinda’s best friends from school) because she has a vocal solo that is tricky for me. I still love going on for her, though! My favorite vocal track to perform is probably my second cover (who is the Elphaba understudy). She has two vocal solos, which are fun. Another favorite is the midwife because she has some fun solos in the beginning of the show.
*Have you had to change any daily habits to protect your voice and body while in the show?
-Also a great question. Being a swing, it’s kind of tricky to figure out how to take care of one’s self, since there is not as much of a routine. I try to workout on a daily basis and take dance classes, yoga, or pilates whenever possible. I also try to sing everyday to keep my voice in shape. Whenever I go on, I do a physical warm-up of some kind and also vocalize.
*Have you witnessed – or perhaps been involved in – any onstage bloopers or mishaps that you’d like to share?
-Yes! I was once on for my second cover, but had been rehearsing the witch’s mother in rehearsal earlier that day, so at the end of the opening number, I went into that track. Once I saw the witch’s mother next to me, I realized I clearly was not on for her that night! oops! Fortunately, this was a small blooper so no one in the audience would’ve noticed, but we sure did! Just recently, one of our male swings was on for a track that has a lot of specialty moments. There was supposed to be a scooter preset for him to glide across the stage on, but it was not there, so instead, he did flee-hops across the stage, in 70s jazz style, and had all of us roaring…it was hilarious!
*Are there any dream roles that you’d like to one day perform?
-One role I would love to play someday is Laurey from Oklahoma. I grew up as mostly a dancer, but I love singing now too, so this role would be so much fun. Another dream role of mine is Millie from Thoroughly Modern Millie. I love tapping and the songs in the show are great.
*What advice would you give to aspiring performers?
-One of my directors once told me to “always be yourself.” I think this is so important because you only be you and that is exactly what people want to see…you. Another bit of advice that I received that has helped me a great deal is that it will not always be your turn. Knowing this can help keep one’s spirits high. Even if an audition goes really well, it may be perfect for someone else and that is just fine because your turn will come. One last thing is to always work as hard as you can and be respectful of everyone. It will benefit you in so many ways. Work ethic and reputation go a long way.