Today on our blog, we welcome some of the ensemblists from the new musical The Prom to Broadway and learn about their journeys to the Great White Way.
GABI CAMPO (ENSEMBLE)
HOMETOWN: GLENDALE, CA
"It was my final semester of college at Pace University, and we were just about to go on winter break. I had gotten a call from the head of my department to go to her office immediately. When I was in her office, I got the call that I was going to be on Broadway. I was in complete shock... it honestly didn't feel real. We celebrated, and as I was leaving her office and started walking down the stairs, I called my parents. That's when it really hit me. I couldn't even say it... ‘Mom, Dad, I...got....The Prom. I'm..... going to...’ I burst into tears and truly couldn't believe my dreams were actually coming true. I squatted down in the stairwell and was sobbing as they were screaming and crying on the phone all the way from California, ‘SAY IT! SAY IT, GABI!!!’ ‘I'M GOING TO BE ON BROADWAY!!’ We cried and screamed and thanked God. It was the most surreal moment in my life. I'm sure the only thing to top it now is when I make my debut, with my family in the audience.
”Growing up, Broadway and Theater was my safe haven. I was lucky enough to grow up in the age of YouTube, and when I was watching YouTube videos of all my favorite performers and actors, it gave me a sense of belonging- a place where I felt safe, wanted, loved, and included. There are so many things I'm looking forward to about my Broadway experience- but I think the main thing is being fortunate enough to be in an amazing show like The Prom, to make sure other kids and adults alike feel as though they belong. It was immeasurable to me growing up, and now I get to be a little part of the same cloth that helped me grow as a human being, which is mind-blowing.”
JERUSHA CAVAZOS (ENSEMBLE)
HOMETOWN: CELEBRATION, FL
“I went to the open Equity chorus call on a whim. I had actually booked a flight to go home that day for Thanksgiving and thought to myself, ‘I'll just go and try and then fly straight home.’ I had heard a lot of buzz about the show and was a bit nervous to want it too bad. When I got off the plane, I had an email with an appointment to go back in for the show.
“The very next day I had to fly out of New York again to start shooting at TV show in Atlanta. The week went on and I found out that I had received a callback. There was no way I could make it. Our days on set were lasting 12-14 hours. So, I woke up at 5 am and filmed a self-tape callback and crossed my fingers when I pressed send. The next day I found out that I received a final callback and really needed to be seen in the room. (I had one day off from shooting.) So, I booked the first flight I saw (which nearly broke my credit card) and flew back up. I was so nervous the entire flight but when I got in the room that all went away. I just thought, ‘I really have to book this. There just isn't any other option right now.’
“The next Monday my manager called saying I was on hold. I called my parents immediately and began to pray with them. A couple hours later she called back with the offer. I'll never forget it.
“Being a part of an original cast has been a dream of mine for a long time. I am going to have the opportunity to experience a bunch of ‘firsts’ with some amazing people. The first time we see the theatre, the costumes, hear the orchestra, record the album, etc. There are a lot of Broadway debuts in this cast. We are all so excited to see this dream of ours come true, the energy is electric.”
SHELBY FINNIE (ENSEMBLE)
HOMETOWN: GREENSBORO, NC
“I attended a dancer ECC in the spring of 2015 for ‘Untitled Prom Musical.’ I got a call a few days later notifying me that I had been cast in the developmental lab for this new musical, and I was just ecstatic. It was such a memorable moment for me because it was the first musical theater job I had booked as an adult living in NYC (I was dancing in a ballet company previously) and I remember thinking, ‘Ok maybe I can do this!’ I could have only dreamed that three years later I would be making my Broadway debut with the same show. I feel so fortunate to have been brought back through every phase of The Prom over the years. I get to make my Broadway debut with a show that is not only incredibly special to me and but also a show that I helped create. It’s a dream come true.
”I am really just looking forward to finally sharing this show with people. It is a show about acceptance and being yourself and taking a stand for what you believe in. I’m very proud to be a part of it. It’s also so full of joy! I can’t wait to share that with audiences.”
FERNELL HOGAN (ENSEMBLE)
HOMETOWN: HOUSTON, TX
“I was teaching a class in Austin, Texas when I got the call from the company manager. I actually missed the call, so I got the news over voicemail. Since this is my professional and Broadway debut, I am looking forward to the thrills and challenges that eight shows a week will bring.”
JOOMIN HWANG (ENSEMBLE)
HOMETOWN: ANYANG CITY, SOUTH KOREA
“I remember everything so vividly. I was on the bed trying to wake up because I couldn't sleep well the night before. I got a phone call around 11 am. I probably answered it like, ‘Ah---- Heleeu’ with sleepy voice. Soon, I found out it was from Foresight Theatrical LLC. I jumped out of the bed and saying, ‘Excuse me, sir - what? Did I just hear Bbbbb...Broadway?’ My wife was already crying. I was crying. I called my parents in Korea right away. Surprisingly, they didn't cry. It was a dramatic morning for sure, that I will never forget.
”I came to the United States five years ago without knowing any English. I literally used Google Translator to communicate with people. That Korean boy, who dreamed of Broadway 6,892 miles away in Korea watching shows like Smash and the Tony Awards on YouTube, is making his dream come true. This is absolutely a overwhelming happiness. I am already in love with our incredibly talented casts and crew. Also, I can't wait to meet the audiences. Especially, people who are dreaming about Broadway. I can't wait to give them so much love, courage, hugs, and saying ‘dream big!’"
BECCA LEE (ENSEMBLE)
HOMETOWN: INDIANAPOLIS, IN
“I have been lucky enough to be a part of this show since the first lab in 2015. We did the out-of-town tryout in Atlanta in 2016 and we all hoped the show would come to Broadway shortly after that. I had given up hope for the Broadway transfer after waiting for over a year when my agent called me out of the blue and said I had an offer for Broadway!
Best. Day. Ever.
If I had to choose one thing I am looking forward to most it would be having my mom see me perform on Broadway for the first time. We've been on this journey together and I wouldn't be here without her constant support and encouragement so that will be very special.”
WAYNE “JUICE” MATKINS (ENSEMBLE)
HOMETOWN: LOS ANGELES, CA
“ I received and email from my agents that I had booked the lab at the same time that I was cast in Fordham’s Mainstage of Macbeth. After the lab with the promotional stuff, it was stated that we were officially cast in the Broadway rendition of The Prom.
“I’m looking forward to mostly performing in a new space with new things demanded of me, amongst new and thrilling artistic colleagues. Furthermore, I want to expand my pallet or capacity for things that I can handle. Looking forward to being a part of a process and production that spreads love. Love through any medium of expression and the significance of identity and the lack of identification.”
ANTHONY NORMAN (ENSEMBLE)
HOMETOWN: CHICAGO, IL
“I was taking a nap and woke up up a voicemail from my agent. It's crazy how fast it all was. I went in on a Monday, had a callback on Tuesday, got the call on Wednesday.
I’m looking forward to working with some of the best and funniest people in the business. Being able to call these amazing artists co-workers. That still blows my mind.”
JACK SIPPEL (DANCE CAPTAIN, SWING)
HOMETOWN: ST. LOUIS, MO
“I found out that I booked the show by my agent tricking me... She called me to let me know that there was a piece of fan mail that was delivered to her office and that she was asking me to come pick it up. So when I went to go pick it up, she handed it to me and I went to go just put it in my backpack, but she stopped me and insisted that I open it that second. I was confused as to why she wanted to see it so bad. I opened the envelope and inside was actually a flyer she had made telling me I was going to be making my debut with The Prom! I was in complete shock and simply couldn’t believe that it was actually going to be happening. They fooled me alright.
“I think I am most looking forward to simply putting up a new ORIGINAL musical and being part of the history of it all. This is an incredibly special creative team and cast that I am beyond honored to be working alongside. I also just can’t wait for people to see the show. This show is truly special with an extremely relevant story that people need to hear. This one is an absolute must see.”
BRITTANY ZEINSTRA (ENSEMBLE)
HOMETOWN: BOULDER, CO
“I was on the national tour of Disney’s The Little Mermaid as female swing and flight captain. We were in Dayton, Ohio for the week, and I hadn’t gone on in ages (thankfully we were in a brief spell of health, but it made my job a little less exciting). There wasn’t much to do in town, so I was in my hotel room when I saw a call from a New York number, I didn’t even make the connection.
Half an hour later, I call the number back. Turns out, it was one of my agents whom I hadn’t met yet, and he was calling me to tell me I had an offer. I stopped short, asked, ‘Are you serious?’ even though he had no reason to be joking, and then screamed and called my mother. She and my dad jumped around the room in Colorado while I jumped in Dayton. I felt so lucky to have parents as excited as I was.
”I feel especially grateful to be entering the community of Broadway artists who made me fall in love with the art form in the first place. This cast of The Prom is truly special - grounded, giving, hilarious people - and I can’t wait for us to share (so many of our) first Broadway experiences! We’re ready for the world to see this bright new show.”