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We have been downright beaming about this month's Larkspur Woman.  Meet Carrie St. Louis!  We met Carrie back in college at USC (which feels like forever ago).  Always a bright, shining ball of energy, Carrie's star power was obvious from the moment we met her.  She has an incredibly infectious personality and transforms the vibe in a room in an instant.  Her talent is inborn, her drive and passion for music and performance fierce.  We caught up with her just before she moved back to New York to star as Wicked's Glinda on Broadway.  What did we learn?  Carrie is a hard worker; she has stamina unlike anyone we have ever met.  And?  She's a woman actively chasing her dreams to create her own destiny, all the while staying grounded and present.  We are so, so proud!

 Walk us through the first 5 minutes of your day.

I’m not a morning person, and after having sung all night the night before, I like to wait and give my voice a minute to wake up before I speak. I also have to eat the second I wake up. I have a bowl of cereal immediately. Always cereal.

Did you want to be a performer from a young age?

I started when I was about seven. I was in Oliver! and I played Singing Milkmaid #2. I thought I was the coolest person in the show, HA. I thought if I did the choreography the fastest that meant I was the best. It was all downhill from there!

How did you become a classically trained singer?

I started training classically in high school. When it came time to apply to colleges, I applied to music schools thinking, “Okay this is what I’m supposed to be doing.” About two years in, I realized that opera wasn’t for me necessarily. I would sing opera during the day in my classes and then go into my car and belt showtunes at night. I realized I should probably do the thing that makes me happiest instead of what I thought I should be doing.

Do you think your classical training gave you an edge?

I think it gave me stamina. Wicked requires some classical singing so it feels like home. When I did Rock of Ages in Las Vegas out of college, I felt like a poser at first. I almost had to relearn how to sing in order to understand how to sing rock songs healthfully. Because if you just blow through it you can really mess up your voice.

What was the best part of doing a touring show?

I tried to go to the local coffee shops and boutiques wherever we were. A lot of cities are a lot more metropolitan than I would have imagined; I got the chance to see the country and discover some new beloved cities. Madison, Wisconsin is one of my favorite places now!

How did you keep your sanity while doing the touring show of Wicked?

I always found some sort of local exercise class or yoga class to do. You learn to adjust. I had pictures of my family and friends in frames that I took to every hotel. I had a blanket I took everywhere and candles. You have to maintain a sense of home or else you can kind of lose it. It does feel like summer camp sometimes.

How does being a woman affect how you see your career? 

It’s been interesting to be in a show like Wicked that has two female leads that bow together. I think that’s a really amazing thing in general. To be in a show about female friendship and female empowerment has been life changing in a lot of ways. And to meet the little girls that we influence has been so great. I’ve sort of become a role model for some teen girls. It’s been really neat to see how the show affects and inspires them. I love reading the comments on social media.

What do you think they are drawn to?

I think it’s really beautiful to see a show that challenges our society’s definitions of “good,” “bad,” “popular,” “cool,” etc. We see two females who couldn’t be more different grow to become better people through their friendship. They give each other strength. It’s very powerful.

What do you want your contribution to be to the theatre world? Your legacy?

I’d love to have a legacy to begin with! I want my legacy to be that people liked working with me. I’ve met a lot of people in this business who are difficult to work with. I don’t think it needs to be that way. I just want everyone to say, “Oh we loved working with her. She was great.” And it’s hard, because every show has its frustrations. But it’s important to just maintain gratitude. And it’s work. You have to be a professional.

 What do you do only a daily basis to nurture yourself?

I love spending time with my dog. I take a lot of quiet time for myself. I’ve gotten really into adult coloring! I just love it.

There’s also a program called The Artist’s Way. It’s a 12-week program. It gives you activities to complete every day. It says it’s for blocked artists, but I think it can help everyone. I did it when I first graduated college and I just did it again when I was transitioning from tour to vacation. Every morning you write three pages.

What was it like to look back on what you’d written three years ago? 

It was so weird and so amazing. It said, “I had an audition for the understudy for Glinda in Wicked. What a dream! I’d be honored to be in just the ensemble but Glinda is my dream role.” And when I restarted it three years later, I had just gotten the role of Glinda on Broadway. I called my mom and said, “Mom it works! Manifestation works!”

What is the greatest thing you’ve learned about yourself in the last few years?

I’ve learned that I’m capable of more than I thought I was. But I’ve also learned that the work I need to do on myself is practicing patience. Something happens almost every day that teaches me to work on my patience. Even when I was just given 6 weeks off, I panicked because I had so much free time. It was a lesson in being calm and enjoying the off-time without making myself crazy thinking about it. Everybody has something to work on, and that is my thing.

What lessons have you learned from women in your life?

My mom is a watercolor artist. We always had a lot of color in our house because of her. And I think that has influenced my life and my character a lot. I like a lot of color. I like a lot of excitement. That definitely comes from her. She’s my constant cheerleader. When she sees my show, she gets the whole section around her clapping!

My women friends have also been really inspiring to me. I have a friend who has had a lot of adversity in her personal life in the last few years and now she’s a creative executive for a huge Hollywood producer. She’s overcome all the grief in her life and channeled it into making her life truly exceptional. It’s nice to have friends that aren’t in theater. It’s grounding.

What’s the most surreal part of all this?

The question kids always ask me is, “What does it feel like to have made it?” I never feel like I’ve made it. I don’t think anyone does. You never stop growing. You never stop learning. I’ve never had the thought, “Oh I’m done! I can take up adult coloring full time, hehe!” I’ve achieved my dream of being Glinda on Broadway, but now I’m figuring out what my next dream is. I think I want to do a cabaret as my own artist. And that’s scary—cause it’s just me being me.

Comments

Karla Gelhar:

Amazing interview! Thank you for sharing.

Mar 11, 2016

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