Here is a short visit with Jessalyn Carpino who plays Laurey, in
1) How did you get involved with this production of OCP’s Oklahoma?
This is my 5th production with OCP. This past February I acted in California Suite with OCP and that is when I started thinking about auditioning for the summer musical. I love classical musical theater but wasn’t sure if I would audition for Oklahoma or not because I am getting married in a few months. Initially, I was concerned that I might be too busy. However, I decided to audition for Oklahoma on a whim and I am so glad that I did. This experience has been a blast so far!
2) Have you ever performed in a musical before? If so, what?
I love performing in musicals as well as straight plays and have performed in over 26 theatre productions over the past 12 years. As I said, I love the classics! Some of my favorite musical theatre roles I’ve played over the past few years have been Liesl in The Sound of Music, Meg in Brigadoon, Hodel in Fiddler on the Roof, and Grace Farrell in Annie. It was also an honor for me to understudy the role of Joanne in RENT a few years back. It helped me to really appreciate how much work an understudy does!
3) What is your favorite play/musical?
The Sound of Music has always been my favorite musical since my Dad showed me the movie on VHS when I was 8 years old. Other than The Sound of Music, I would have to say that my other favorite musical is Fiddler on the Roof. When I played the role of Hodel in Fiddler a few years ago, my director was devout in his Jewish faith. I learned so much from him about Judaism and about different Jewish traditions. It really helped me connect to my character and understand the story better. Also, the music is hauntingly beautiful! It was hard to sing “Sunrise, Sunset”, “Sabbath Prayer”, or “Far From The Home I Love” without tearing up.
4) What is your “dream role?”
I have only played the villain two times in my theater career but always dream of being villainous onstage! I would absolutely adore playing the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz, Ursula in The Little Mermaid, or Miss Hannigan in Annie. And what an acting dream it would be to play Lady Macbeth in Macbeth.
A non-villain dream role would probably be Millie Dillmount in Thoroughly Modern Millie or Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors.
(You asked for one dream role… I gave you six!)
5) What has been your favorite part of being involved in Oklahoma so far?
I love that OCP attracts so many families and children for their summer musicals. My favorite part so far has been getting to know performers of all ages/experience levels. I also enjoy the town of Hillsborough and have loved getting to know the community. Being from a small town myself, I am impressed and admire how Hillsborough appreciates and makes The Arts a vital part of their community!
6) What do you most look forward to about the show?
I look forward to playing and bringing to life the role of Laurey. She’s fiercely self-reliant, which is something I admire about her character. I love her growth throughout the show as she learns to allow herself to be vulnerable with Curly, while still remaining strong and independent at the same time. I hope to bring my own spin to such a classic and timeless character.
7). What do you do in your “real” life? ie: job, hobbies, retired from?
I moved to Durham a little over 2 years ago from northern Arizona. North Carolina has been really good to me so far! I taught middle school and high school Visual Art for 3 years back in Arizona and when I moved out here I switched to teaching preschool. I love it! I make pottery at Claymakers studio in Durham, volunteer weekly with Hospice, and enjoy playing the guitar and writing songs. Oh, and of course I am usually busy rehearsing for some sort of theatre performance! And as I had mentioned earlier, I am in the throes of planning for an October wedding!