Friday, February 27, 2015

Inteview: Emily Lopez Turns up the Heat for CARRIE THE MUSICAL

Emily Lopez in rehearsal for Carrie the Musical
Photo by Ann B. Taylor

One of the most highly anticipated productions in LA is the upcoming revival of Carrie the Musical opening March 18 at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts. Word has it that the performance will take place all over the theater in what will be a truly immersive experience. Based on the unforgettable Stephen King horror novel, the revival reunites the original creative team: bookwriter Lawrence D. Cohen (screenwriter of the classic film) who has revised the book, lyricist Dean Pitchford (Fame, Footloose), and composer Michael Gore (Fame, Terms of Endearment). Carrie has always been the kind of story that prompts a strong reaction. People who love it, really love it. As for those of us in the musical theatre community - we can’t wait to see what happens at this high school prom.

Today we get a first look at the actress playing the title character, Emily Lopez, as she talks about high school, auditioning for Carrie, and that blue prom dress.

Everyone has horror stories from high school and in some way I think we can all identify with Carrie. What do you bring to the role from your high school experience?

The most terrifying thing about high school for me was that there was no way out. You really just had to grin and bear it. I consider myself very lucky because I had the opportunity to graduate early so I could focus on music and theater full time. Most teenagers only have two worlds to exist in - home and school. That’s horrific enough without any pig’s blood or telekinesis. My high school literally had barbed wire on the fences, so I’m not exaggerating when I say I felt like a prisoner.

I heard you broke into your high school to record your audition. Is that true and where did the idea come from?

I got a late night call from Tal Fox saying the casting team liked my first audition tape, and wanted to see a new video where I would perform The Destruction sequence. They asked that I wear something less baggy than what I had worn in my first video, and last but not least they need the video by 9:00 am the next morning! So I woke up early the next day, packed up a pretty blue prom dress that I hadn’t had the occasion to wear until that morning, and headed out trying to find a quiet place to record. Lucky for me, there is a beautiful old high school gym that sits completely empty and unused just a block or two away from where I was living. So I tried a few doors until I found one that was unlocked, sang through it twice, and taped it on the third go. Then I got out of there as quickly as possibly because I would not survive the American prison system.

Were you familiar with the musical or the film before these auditions came up? Why did you want to be part of the show?

I auditioned for the show at the open call two years ago, but I ran out of gas on the way and had $1.35 in my bank account. I called my mom sobbing, telling her I knew that this was a sign that I shouldn’t go and it was time for me to give up and try something else. She calmed me down, sent me some money for gas and food, then before she hung up she told me that if I believe in what I’m doing and never give up on it, it will eventually work out one way or another. I wanted to do Carrie because I feel that the cast, crew and creative team are all living proof that my mother was right. There is a tangible feeling in the air that we are all in the right place at the right time.

What do you love most about working on it?

This is the most challenging project I’ve ever worked on. Musically, emotionally, every aspect is unrelenting in what it’s asking of the cast. I can’t get enough of it. I’ve always said that I love doing theater because I love playing pretend, but this is so much more than that. It’s completely immersive so it’s more like living the story than pretending it. I feel so lucky to get to be a part of this.

It sounds like youre prepared for this moment.

I grew up doing Community Theater and continued to perform, audition, and work in theater locally in the Inland Empire. I’ve been fortunate enough to always find myself surrounded by an incredibly supportive community of artists, friends, and out of the box thinkers. There are so many amazing directors, musicians, writers, and actors in the San Bernardino/Riverside area. I consider everything I learned and gained from working and collaborating with those artists I’ve known to be my true experience more than the roles I’ve played.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   * 

Music by Michael Gore, Lyrics by Dean Pitchford
Book by Lawrence D. Cohen
Based on the Classic Horror Novel by Stephen King
Directed by Brady Schwind

Cast: Emily Lopez as Carrie White, Misty Cotton as Margaret White, with Kayla Parker (Sue Snell), Jon Robert Hall (Tommy Ross), Valerie Rose Curiel (Chris Hargensen), Jenelle Lynn Randall (Miss Gardner), Garrett Marshall (Billy Nolan), Bryan Dobson (Mr. Stephens and Reverend Bliss), Michael Starr (George Dawson), Adante Carter (Dale “Stokes” Ullman), Ian Littleworth (Freddy “The Beak” Holt), Kimberly Ann Steele (Helen Shyres), Rachel Farr (Norma Watson), Teya Patt (Frieda Jason) and Carly Bracco, Lyle Colby Mackston, Kevin Patrick Doherty, Chris Meissner and Amy Segal.

Performance Dates: March 12 – April 5, 2015 with opening night set for Wednesday, March 18 at 8:30 pm. Tickets are available at or by calling the box office at (562) 944-9801 or (714) 994-6310. Student and Senior discounts are available. For more information on the production, visit

La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts is located at 14900 La Mirada Blvd. in La Mirada, near the intersection of Rosecrans Avenue where the 91 and 5 freeways meet. Parking is free.

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