The feel-good factor is generally a welcome element in our quotidian existence, what with all the politically motivated ills that seem to incessantly beset humankind. Some might call it escapism, but Carrie St. Louis just digs them sunny vibes.
St. Louis is a twenty-something singer who, tenderness of years notwithstanding, already has quite a few years of Broadway success under her belt. Her lauded starring roles include Glinda in Wicked and Sherrie in Rock of the Ages. Now she’s bringing some of that stardust our way, teaming up with Israeli counterpart Isaac (Tzahi) Sutton. Together they will present audiences at Hechal Hateatron in Kiryat Motzkin (March 16), Tel Aviv Museum (March 22) and the Jerusalem Theater (March 24) with their Broadway-Israel show, jam-packed with rip-roaring numbers from such timeless classics as Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, Cats, Chicago, The Sound of Music, and the aforementioned Wicked and Rock of the Ages.
Musicals are, of course, a time-honored art form that has been around for well over a century, starting with musical theater and operettas. So, what draws people in London, New York and elsewhere around the globe to musicals? Why are they still pulling in the crowds, and what is the secret to their boundary-leaping enduring appeal? St. Louis feels it is just a natural result of a natural tendency to express oneself in the requisite manner.
“I think there is something so great about someone breaking into song,” she states simply. “They say that you start singing when speaking no longer serves you. I do feel there is such a quality in having such a sweeping score and even a rock band.”
Then again, maybe there is a flight from reality side to all of this after all.
“I mean, look at Rock of the Ages. That brought people back to people’s first date, and their first whatever, their first concert, you know, that sort of thing, in the 1980s,” St. Louis observes.
There is also some pure artistic value to the endeavor.
“Look at Wicked
, which has just such a beautiful score with a full orchestra. It just opens your heartstrings.”
It certainly does the trick for her.
“I cry all the time in musicals. I just lose it. I mean, why not combine the two? Why not tell stories with music?”
Why not, indeed!
Over the next week or so, St. Louis will be looking to appeal to the emotions of her Israeli audiences, alongside Sutton, whom she met last year at New York’s prestigious Feinstein’s/54 Below cabaret and supper club venue. Both artists were fronting their own shows there and their paths crossed in between performances. They started chatting about their work and the rest, as we will soon see, is beatific melodic history.
“Isaac told me he had been touring with his solo show Las Vegas - Tel Aviv
in Israel for the past decade and I looked at him and I said to him that he ever needs someone to come along with him for the ride I would love that.”
It is now coming to pass.
“It was sort of off-the-cuff,” St. Louis continues. “But a few weeks later he sent me an email saying how about come to Israel to do some shows in March 2018 and, from there, it has just kind of evolved. It’s really crazy, how your life can change just by opening up your heart to someone.”
Sounds like the stuff of musicals, too.
In truth, though, there is nothing at all surprising about St. Louis’s daytime job. She has been doing musical star turns practically since she was born.
“I started when I was seven years old. I was in The Sound of Music
in my hometown in California. From there I was hooked. I loved being on stage and I loved performing. I kind of grew up doing all kinds of shows, like Annie
Things got a little more serious, and more formal, a few years down the line.
“When I went to college I actually chose to study opera,” she notes.
The classical side to her creative pursuit did not last long.
“Three months out of college, I was in Rock of the Ages
. That was a bit of a shock,” she laughs. It was something of a sharp
transition after three years of Mozart, Donizetti et al.
“I had to practically relearn how to sing, so I wouldn’t blow my voice out trying to compete with a band on stage, and all that. So I have done all sorts of genres.”
Then again, St. Louis never fully abandoned her first musical love.
“After all day singing opera for my classes, in the evening I get in my car, and I’d just blast out all the show numbers while I was driving home. I missed the comedy of being on stage, and all the laughs. I missed the people [who work in musicals] because they are so open and outgoing, and friendly and accepting.”
Landing the Rock of the Ages
gig meant relocating to Las Vegas, where the show was enjoying a long run. Now, as a fixture on Broadway, the Californian-born singer is a resident of the Big Apple. She might miss the California sun as the New York winter drags on but she doesn’t regret her career choice.
“I just love singing. I love it so much. I’ve gotten to play so many fantastic roles. It’s an adventure that is equal parts terrifying and equal parts exciting. No day is ever the same for me. Everyday I’m all over the place – at a rehearsal, or I have a show or some other stuff. It’s certainly a crazy way to earn a living, but I love it.”
That joie de vivre will, no doubt, be front and center in Kiryat Motzkin, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem over the next week.For tickets and more information: *3221, (072) 275-3221 and www.bravo-online.co.il/announce/58657