January 23, 2018

What was your audition experience like for the show?
My audition experience was a little different than the normal appointments. I was doing a lab of Little Dancer a year ago with Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty who also wrote Once on This Island. Lynn said that I would be great in the show and that they were doing a workshop later in the year. I later went to Seoul, South Korea to do a production of Dreamgirls and ended up self-taping for the Once on This Island workshop. I booked that which led to the Broadway booking.

How difficult is it to cover multiple roles and tracks?
As an understudy, it can prove difficult at times to absorb every part of your understudy track or tracks. Especially during previews, because things are changing every single day (lines, music, choreography, staging, etc.) You want to do all of the blocking and choreography correctly while making the part your own. That is the most exciting part for me! To create many different characters and to find out who they are. Every musical is different but with this show, there is a lot of business going on at every moment; from props to setting things up for the next song, you must have incredible focus and think ahead while still being in the moment. This experience has taught me so many lessons and skills that I’m glad I now have. I didn’t know that my mind could do what it is doing every night!

What is it like performing “in the round” as opposed to on a proscenium stage?
Performing in the round is thrilling! There is an element of “hiding” when you’re working with a proscenium stage but in the round, you are completely exposed. I love it because it’s our job as actors to create a world on stage and the audience is quite literally sitting in our world in this particular production.

What has been your most memorable experience with the show so far?
Definitely the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade television performance! It was a once in a lifetime experience. My family and friends were all able to share that moment with me, LIVE! Our cast had so much fun time with that and it was history making for our writers! NBC chose 2 productions to perform that Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty wrote! (The second production was Anastasia!)

What makes “Once on This Island” different from other shows you have done?
Once on This Island is a special show for me. The music alone is much different than so many other musicals. It is so unique and beautiful. I’m always humming the music outside of work. Also, we have so many awesome set elements that haven’t really been done before. We use sand, water, rain and fire! This is a true ensemble piece unlike many other musicals that have 5 or 6 big numbers for the ensemble. We are in every number singing vocal orchestrations and no one leaves the stage through the 95 minute one act.

Do you have any advice for those aspiring to be on Broadway one day?
As cliché as it sounds, keep moving forward with your passion, dreams and ambition. When you know you are destined for something, nothing can stop you. Wish specifically and with confidence. Focus on your training, be humble and prepared for when the day comes. Then, all you have to do is focus on the work and be present in your blessing! Keep going!

-Talia Putrino

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