Getting to Wonderland
It all started on a summer day at home when my parents were driving back from their weekend away. My mom had just gotten a call from Bill Franzblau. (The producer of Little House on the Prairie: The Musical, a tour I had just come back from, and the Executive Producer of this little show called Wonderland). I did not find out that this is how it happened until today, when I am writing about it. My mom and I both have different stories on how it happened. My mom said she didn’t tell me that he called because she didn’t want me to get my hopes up.
I remember it like this … It was a summer night at home when my mom called me up to her office. She said, “Bill is producing a show called Wonderland and he wants you to go in and audition for it.” At the time, I had no idea what the storyline of the show was, so I said what any other ignorant little girl would say, “Would I get to play Alice? Would I get to play Alice!!??” My mom, also not knowing said, “Well I guess so ….” Then, thanks to the power of the Internet, we were able to pull up the story from the original Tampa version. I read and saw that I would not be playing Alice, but the character that I would portray is named “Chloe.”
Thus, my journey down the rabbit hole began. The production started to send me some of the pieces of music from the show. I then started to play the music that they sent to me on the piano and learned it by myself before the audition. (A great tip for any kids out there reading this: If you want to get into acting, learn an instrument. I play piano and it has helped me so much). By practicing on the piano, I feel prepared and confident at the auditions. Hahahaha … that’s my motto … Be prepared and confident! I should have it printed onto T-shirts and bumper stickers! Anyway, I went into the audition first to meet the musical director, Jason Howland. We sang through a lot and worked through a piece in the show. It was a great experience. After this, I went in to meet with the composer, Frank Wildhorn. For the audition I sang “Home,” a song that I sing in the show with Janet Dacal. It was so cool to audition for Frank. He was so nice and soft spoken – I was not nervous at all. At this point in the process, I had not heard the soundtrack. Although, just from the song that they sent me, I could already tell that the music was going to have that pop feel that I love. If you’re doing a show with Frank, you know that it is going to include pop music! After a long audition process, they told me that they would like me to do the reading for the show. This reading was going to be the last one before the show went to Tampa, Florida. Next I found out that somewhere along the line the producers had locked a spot for the show in the spring, at the Marquis Theatre on Broadway! That made me want the job even more … but first things first … back to my experience … The reading consisted of four days of rehearsals and then the actual performance occurred on Friday. During the four days I did not know whether or not I was going to Broadway with them! It was very stressful, because each day when I came in for rehearsal, the show was getting better and better. It just looked like such a fun show to do. Then, on the last day of rehearsal, the director came up to me and asked me if I would want to do it ON BROADWAY! It was an immediate yes from me! When my mom came in to hear the news she was so happy! That pretty much wraps up the audition process, but the journey has not ended yet!
The next thing that was amazing to me was recording the cast album. It was so cool to work with Frank Wildhorn, a Multi-Grammy® and Tony Award®-nominated composer/producer. It’s hard to forget our outstanding music coordinator, David Lai, as well as everyone at Sony Masterworks! I loved recording! It was so much fun! I really liked the whole atmosphere and the cool vibe of the recording studio that we were in. I hope to do it again sometime soon.
Now on to Broadway! The experience of being on Broadway is amazing and unforgettable – everything from actually performing onstage to meeting the kids who wait for the cast after the show!
Opening night is the night when everyone is so energetic, excited, happy and grateful. To be able to experience that for my second time on April 17th was amazing. I had so much fun at the show. The crowd was lively and hopefully having just as much fun as we were! I also think a reason why everyone is so happy is because they are excited for the party, which was amazing and huge! It was themed like a Tea Party. Everyone was so happy that the show opened and is now ours for good.
Backstage we are always having fun: playing games or just relaxing and waiting for our cue. I am always playing a card game called “Set.” I am absolutely obsessed with it. It is great for the brain. I know that whenever I go to a show, I am always wondering what the cast is doing backstage. No matter what it takes, I try my hardest to still be a kid while I do this and playing games backstage is the key. Backstage, onstage, outside or anywhere, everyone in the cast is so grateful to be here and that is the most important part!
Carly Rose Sonenclar