Parkite Susie Carroll makes her Broadway debut in ‘The Prom’
Park City High School graduate Susie Carroll made her Broadway debut on March 5 in Casey Nicholow’s “The Prom.”
“The Prom,” which features music by Matthew Sklar and lyrics by Chad Beguelin, is about a group of Broadway actors, searching for a good cause and publicity, who intervene when a small Indiana town that cancels its prom rather than allow a lesbian couple to attend together.
Carroll, a Pace University senior who is majoring in musical theater and commercial band, landed the female vacation swing, which means she covers all of the teen girls’ roles in the musical.
“Being a vacation swing means that I have to learn all the tracks of the girls who have personal days,” Carroll said.
Although Carroll’s performance dates are usually set in advance, she has to keep on her toes.
“There are times where I may find myself on stage with little rehearsal because someone got sick or they got injured,” she said. “On the days the whole company is performing, I’m in the theater on standby just in case.”
To stay prepared Carroll worked with Jack Sippel, the production’s dance captain.
“He taught me the whole show, and I learned six different roles,” Carroll said. “There is so much choreography, and I had 10 days to learn the full show. So one day I learned one girl’s track and the next day I learned another one.”
Carroll took “extensive” notes and did a lot of “compartmentalizing.”
“We just said, ‘let’s learn as much as we can,’ and the we split things up as who where each girl stood in their different scenes,” she said. “That was a mind game because while I was standing on stage as one character, I could remember where I was standing as a different character the week before.”
That helped Carroll better understand the musical.
“The more I’m on stage, the more I track the other characters’ place, and that made me more comfortable with the show,” she said. “I basically developed a sixth sense of what the others are doing.”
Carroll enjoys performing in the production’s big dance numbers, choreographed by Tony-winning director Casey Nicholaw.
“Casey creates these huge dance numbers that are very aerobic,” Carroll said. “I feel like I’m running a marathon each time I do one.”
Her favorite scene is called “Tonight Belongs to Us.”
“The drama of the musical is the town makes two proms, one for the girl and another for the other high school teens,” Carroll said. “So you have this big number that shows scenes of this girl who is all alone while the teens are partying at their other prom with their friends. It’s a sad scene, but fun to do.”
Carroll’s other favorite scene is in the second act and takes place in front of a 7-Eleven.
“One of the Broadway performers finds us and tries to find out why we’re so mean,” Carroll said. “He goes into this number called ‘Love Thy Neighbor; and that’s a blast, because we start to see what he’s getting to and we all start singing along.”
Carroll, who graduated Park City High School in 2015, got her Actors’ Equity Association Card while she was a sophomore in college.
She signed up to audition for “The Prom” in 2017, and she was among the final callbacks in January 2018.
“It came down to me, my friend and two other people, and my friend got the part at that time,” she said.
Although Carroll didn’t audition again, she got a call from the musical’s casting director, Bethany Cox.
“It took its time to sink in,” Carroll said. “Even when I went to my first costume fitting, it felt unreal.”
Carroll has dreamed of performing on Broadway since she was 9 years old.
“The dream started when I did ‘Seussical the Musical’ 13 years ago at the Egyptian Theatre,” she said. “I knew this is what I wanted to study in college.”
Carroll’s path to Broadway included working with the Egyptian Theatre’s YouTheatre program and performing with the Pioneer Theatre Company in Salt Lake City.
She also took voice lessons from Debra Cook at the Utah Conservatory and dance lessons at Park City Dance (now the Peggy Bergmann Ballet West Academy) and Dance Tech Studios.
These days, when Carroll is not rehearsing or performing, she still takes dance, acting and voice lessons while focusing on graduating from college on May 23.
“People ask how I do this, but since this is always what I wanted, I just do it,” she said. “I knew it would be a crazy time, but I also knew it would be worth it.”
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Park City Beethoven Festival will perform its Chamber Music at the Eccles Center season finale Sunday.