A year ago, University of Cincinnati senior Angela Gaylor seemed destined for Broadway. These nights, you will find her there.
She is in the ensemble of Oklahoma! and understudying the role of Ado Annie, played by another graduate of the College-Conservatory of Music, Jessica Boever.
"I never thought I would be a (Susan) Stroman dancer in all my life!" Ms. Gaylor laughs. "Thanks, Diane!" That would be Diane Lala, who makes great singers into great dancers at CCM.
Fans will remember Ms. Gaylor as ambitious secretary Flaemmchen in Grand Hotel and Mena in Dracula. (She's Mena with Dracula John-Andrew Clark at left.)
"CCM" comes up a lot in Ms. Gaylor's conversation about her first several months in New York.
It's good to have an agent, but it's not bad to have friends. Ms. Gaylor found out about the opening in Oklahoma! with a rash of phone calls - from CCM grad Aaron Lazar, who's understudy to Curly, and from her classmate Justin Bohon, who has netted lots of attention for his performance as cowboy Will Parker.
"I'd been in for so many auditions," Ms. Gaylor says in happy retrospect, "that I wasn't even nervous. I sang three songs, including `I Can't Say No.' I went in for a dance call back and thought, `that's the end of that.' "
She got a call back the next day and found herself dancing Oklahoma!'s famed "Dream Ballet" with CCM grad Lauren Kennedy, auditioning to replace the actress cast as Laurie.
"After the audition, Justin said `I have to go upstairs and find out!' and I screamed, `Don't jinx me!'" An hour later she got the call that she was in.
Ms. Gaylor chatted by cell phone, ducking out of the freezing rain into a coffee shop. She was fresh from an afternoon workshop presented to the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization, "an old Rodgers and Hart show set to a new script. It's Eric Schaeffer's project."
She became attached to the project after performing in Kennedy Center's Sondheim Celebration last spring and summer (in A Little Night Music), which Mr. Schaeffer masterminded.
"Oh, my gosh. If I'm lucky there will be another experience like that in my lifetime. There were the most amazing music directors, choreographers, actors. I met all my idols - Rebecca Luker, Judy Kuhn ... I had to pinch myself."
Ms. Gaylor's also been attached to Frank (Jekyll & Hyde) Wildhorn's new project, Camille Claudel (artist and muse to Auguste Rodin) since the first workshop.
"When I started auditioning, I'd get call-backs and wouldn't get the job. Casting directors would tell me they loved me and I'd say `thanks.' They put me in workshops to show me they meant it."
Camille Claudel was a click. "I love him, I love his team, we're all hoping it goes forward."
And there's talk of a revival of Grease starring one of the Backstreet Boys with Ms. Gaylor very much in play to be leading lady Sandy. "That's funny," notes Ms. Gaylor, "because I got the national tour out of high school but turned it down to go to college."
For now, she's dancing her legs off in Oklahoma! and loving it. "I was freaking out because the Gershwin (Theater) is huge, but as soon as I went on stage it was great. I'm happy to be in a show every night and getting used to being on stage every night.
"I've wanted to be on Broadway my whole life. I feel really blessed."
- Jackie Demaline
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