A special question and answer with actor, Carissa Campbell:
What role do you play in MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS?
I am in the Ensemble of MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS! I have a bit part, where I excitedly drag Warren Sheffield away to dance with me, and thus make Rose very jealous. It is kind of funny, because this one line “Warren Sheffield, I want this dance now!”, has evolved into a character named Mabel, created by the whole cast. Each person interacts with Mabel throughout the show. One of the cast members gave me the name, and we all have had a blast with this character, Mabel, who always comes to the Smith family parties, invites herself in, and steals the cutest boy away from all the girls.
How did you get involved in musical theatre? What is your background?
I started out like lots of little tikes, taking dance classes at age 3. I was in Miss Betty’s tap-ballet dance class for little tikes, and I remember peering into the room where all the older girls were dancing (who were probably in elementary school), and hoping that one day I would be like that. I stopped dancing at a studio and started doing musical theatre. My first show was You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown, in elementary school, where I played Lucy. I went in to audition, and my mom was sitting outside, like the great support she has always been. I started singing, and I remember this feeling of just wanting to fill up the whole gym where I was auditioning with sound! I feel that at that moment I was blessed with the passion for musical theatre. The director looked shocked and thrilled and cast me instantly, and when I walked out of the gym my mom was even more shocked. Haha! When she tells me the story she says, “I didn’t even know that that was her in there. I’ve never heard her sing like that!” As a kid, I couldn’t wait to get to rehearsals. Plus, I found so much joy in playing Lucy, a character who is so bossy and bratty, and
does things that I would never even dream of doing in real life. They used our school’s cafeteria as a theatre, and the cafeteria kitchen as our backstage. Haha!! Humble beginnings, but those were some of the most joyous times. I met my best friend there, and it’s funny because we both are still in theatre. She is performing on a Broadway stage now! It’s amazing where your life will lead, if you have a passion, great teachers and mentors, a supportive family, sweet friends, and faith!
Have you worked at Village Theatre before?
I have never worked at Village Theatre, but it has always been a dream to be here! Being from Seattle, Village Theatre has always been my Broadway! I always thought that if I could be onstage at Village Theatre, then I would really be a professional musical theatre actress. All these years performing, I have dreamed of being at Village, and now that I am here, it is a total dream come true! I have auditioned for some Village Theatre shows over the past few years, and never gotten into one, but it is such a high-caliber theatre, and to get into a show is a true honor, so I am so ecstatic that I am performing on stage 8 times a week at VILLAGE!
What interested you in this production?
Well, Judy Garland is my all-time favorite! I come from a big Italian family, so when I was in shows as a kid, sometimes I had to stay with my grandparents during those late-night tech rehearsals. While I was staying at my grandparents, they would always throw in MGM musicals, and I would sit as close as I could to the TV, with a bowl of peppermint ice cream, and watch them over and over. Judy Garland’s musicals were my favorite, and Meet Me in St. Louis, was at the top of the list. I would just study her, especially during “The Trolley Song,” which I am lucky enough to be in now! When I found out that Village Theatre was going to be producing Meet Me in St. Louis in their season, I emailed the casting director, and I expressed to her how much I loved this musical, and how much I looked forward to auditioning for the show! My grandma passed away this year, and since the beginning she has come to every one of my shows and has always been a great support of my dreams. I woke up on my birthday, and was thinking about her, and right after that I got the call from Village Theatre’s casting director, inviting me to be in MEET ME IN ST LOUIS. My tears of joy were also shared with a special “thank you” to Nanny, who definitely gave me the best birthday present ever! I have been so lucky to have great family support throughout my whole theatre
journey, with family members coming to shows ever since that first one when I played Lucy in YOU’RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN. In fact, Opening Weekend I had 25 family members all come to the Sunday matinee, and it was truly a truimph not only for me, but for all of them, who have lovingly been there from the start. Family support is such a wonderful gift, and for them all to celebrate this accomplishment of making it to Village Theatre was so special. My dad always taught me that to be grateful is the most important part of pursuing ones passion, for after all, “it takes a village to raise a child”, but it also takes a village of family, teachers, and mentors to raise a musical theatre actress. Many people have contributed to me being a professional actress, and I would not be here without their lessons, training, support, and love.