Actor enjoys vocal acrobatics of 'Joseph' role
BY JAMES D. WATTS JR. World Scene Writer
Sunday, December 16, 2012
12/16/12 at 4:33 AM
The usual career trajectory for an actor born and raised in Tulsa involves leaving one's hometown to achieve some measure of professional success.
Carly Casey has managed to alter that path a bit - she returned to Tulsa to earn her membership in Actors Equity Association.
Casey has the role of the Narrator in Tulsa Project Theatre's production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," which opened Friday at Assembly Hall in the Tulsa Convention Center.
"It's a little scary and exciting," Casey said. "Up to now, I've been in the non-union world, and it's been very good to me. But if I'm wanting to take things to the next level, then Equity is what I need to be. And I'm able to do that because of this show."
Tulsa Project Theatre is recognized by Actors Equity Association, the union that represents theater actors and stage managers, as a Tier 1 Small Professional Theater.
"What makes us different from other companies in town that use Equity guest artists," said Todd Cunningham, TPT founder and producer, "is that when we offer an actor a contract, they can become a member of Actors Equity.
"That's always been a goal of this company," he said. "We want to be able to provide opportunities for Tulsa actors who are Equity to be able to work in their home state and to help those who aren't to move up to that next level."
Casey got her start in theater when she was part of the cast of a Theatre Tulsa production of "Miracle on 34th Street."
"I can't remember a time when I thought to myself, 'This is what I'm going to do with my life,' " Casey said. "But then, I can't think of a time when I thought I wouldn't do musical theater. I guess I was always bound and determined to do this."
She took voice lessons with Shari Lewis at Theatre Arts in Broken Arrow and performed in some of the summer musicals that company would present, including a 2003 production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" that starred Brian Lane Green.
A graduate of Bishop Kelley High School, Casey went on to study musical theater at Elon University in North Carolina. She spent a summer playing Ado Annie for Discoveryland's production of "Oklahoma!" and then moved to New York.
Where she prompted headed out to sea.
"The first job I got was a singing position for a cruise line, so I spent nearly a year at sea," Casey said. "They hire people who are strictly dancers or strictly singers. And I know everyone thinks dancing on a moving ship seems really hard, but at least dancers can kind of move with the ship if they need to. I had to stand perfectly still and sing while the floor under me is moving. Now that was a challenge."
Following her time with the cruise line, Casey set out on another trek, this time as part of a touring production of Disney's "Beauty and the Beast."
"I was part of the ensemble, which I really enjoyed," she said. "All you're really given are the notes you have to sing and the steps you have to make, and then it's up to you to build for yourself the character you play.
"I was also the understudy for Mrs. Potts and the Wardrobe," Casey said. "It was pretty rare when I had to do those roles - the actresses who had them were pretty healthy - but if I had to do them for any length of time, I got to where I really missed what I thought of as my 'real job' in the ensemble."
Playing the Narrator in "Joseph" is "one of those roles singers really fight for because you get to sing music in all different styles," she said. "You get to do all sorts of vocal acrobatics."
‘JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT’
When: 2 p.m. Sunday and Dec.
23, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 21, 2 and 7:30
p.m. Dec. 22.
Where: Assembly Hall, Tulsa Convention
Center, 100 Civic Center
Tickets: $20-$30. 877-TULSACC, tulsaworld.com/tpttix.
James D. Watts Jr. 918-581-8478
Carly Casey as the Narrator and Robbie Bennett as Joseph star in the Tulsa Project Theatre production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" at the Assembly Hall of the Tulsa Convention Center in Tulsa. MICHAEL WYKE/Tulsa World