Thursday, May 06, 2010


Hudson’s BRIDIE CARROLL stars in ‘GREASE’

Bridie Carroll, who is playing the role of Jan in the touring company of the Broadway hit, ‘GREASE,’ has been hailed by reviewers as “especially amusing,” “near perfection,” “having obvious chemistry with Will Blum (Roger) her stage love interest,” and “giving a hilarious performance as the awkward and slightly overweight Jan.” Not bad for a 2000 Hudson High School grad in her first Broadway touched performance.

Bridie, whose parents still live in Hudson, attended the Hudson schools from 7th through 12th grades. She was President of the High School’s Choir and performed locally with Weathervane Playhouse and Hudson Players and attended the Coventry Performing Arts Academy. She went on to the Boston Conservatory and received a BFA in Musical Theatre. Next step was appearing in such shows as ‘DISNEY’S HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL’ and ‘HAIRSPRAY’ at North Shore Music Theatre. She also trod the boards at Arundel Barn Playhouse and New London Barn Playhouse.

She credits much of her success to her parents. Maryann Black, with whom she studied dance, Amy Foulk, the choir teacher at Hudson High, and Basil Kochan, who was head of the Coventry Conservatory program, helped hone her skills.

Her breakout role was playing Tracy in ‘HAIRSPRAY.’ After being cast it was decided that she wasn’t heavy enough to portray the “zaftig” Baltimore teen, so it was decided, with a “fat suit,” she was right for the role. Bridie recounts that when she put on the suit, shortly before the show opened, she felt like she was waddling around. But the waddling obviously worked as she was given the Irne Award (The Independent Reviewers of New England Award) as best actress in a musical.

‘GREASE,’ set in 1959 at fictional Rydell High School, follows ten working-class kids as they navigate the complexities of love, cars, being “cool” and drive-ins. It opened on Broadway in 1971. By the time it closed in 1980, its 3,388 performances made it the longest running show in Broadway history at that time.

A Broadway revival, directed and choreographed by Kathleen Marshall, opened in 2007 with leads chosen via viewer votes cast during the run of the NBC reality series Grease: You're the One that I Want!. The rewrite is a mixture of the songs from the original musical and the movie. It ran until 2009. It is this version which is touring

The First Broadway National Tour of ‘GREASE,’ which features American Idol winner Taylor Hicks as Teen Angel, opens locally on May 11, at the Palace Theatre in Playhouse Square. Bridie is pleased that “we’ve made it ours.” She states, “Sometimes when you take a show on the road you have to maintain all original blocking, etc... and we were very fortunate that we were able to find out what worked for us!”

Bridie plays Jan, who is funny, loud, overweight, and awkward. A member of the Pink Ladies, she sings the character’s signature, “It’s Raining on Prom Night.” Though the song has been presented in different ways in various productions, in this version of the show she wins a singing contest and gets to sing on the radio at the dance.

One aspect of the show Bridie really enjoys is that she is playing opposite her best friend, Will Blum.

What advice does she have for star-struck high school kids? She urges them to “get involved in every phase of the theatre, wherever they can. Audition for everything. You need to taste what its like. It is a vulnerable job and the best way to feel strong and confident is to be as prepared as possible. Focus on training yourself in every aspect of the theater and honing your skills. Remember, 97% of Equity actors are generally out of work at any one time.”

What’s in her future? After the 'GREASE' drops its last curtain, ironically, in Cleveland, she is going “home to Hudson” for a while. Then back to New York to find a new apartment. She did a workshop of ‘PURE COUNTRY,’ a musical about a country superstar who finds that fame and fortune aren’t enough, and has a contract with the show which is seemingly headed for a Broadway opening. As she says, ”So no matter what, if it goes [has a Broadway run] I will be going with it.”

She summarized our interview with the thought, “I guess my future is to just get back to NYC and audition hoping to continue to be blessed to work doing what I love.”

Locals will, of course, be watching for Bridie Carroll’s name on marquees on the Great White Way.