Interview | Caroline Nicolian

Side by Side by Sondheim is the highly-acclaimed musical revue is a celebration of America’s greatest living composer, Stephen Sondheim!
Side By Side By Sondheim is a dazzling collection of songs by Broadway’s musical master, Stephen Sondheim. You’ll laugh, cry and fall in love with music from many of his very best works including: Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Anyone Can Whistle andPacific Overtures. This exciting production also features the classics he wrote with musical theater giants Leonard Bernstein, Jule Styne and Richard Rodgers, West Side Story, Gypsy and Do I Hear a Waltz? You’ll be treated to these and more in this musical feast!*
I’m so happy to have on the site one of the lead actresses, Caroline Nicolian.  Enjoy!

Okay, let’s get the obvious question out of the way first: you’re acting in Side by Side by Sondheim at CLO Cabaret.  Favorite Sondheim song?

Wow, what a tough question! I would have to say that “The Miller’s Son” from A Little Night Music is among one of my favorite Sondheim songs-if for no other reason than it got me this job! All joking aside, like many Sondheim songs, it is very different from many musical theatre standards. The lyrics are rich and intelligent, and more than meets the eye. In rehearsal we were just discussing how you can hear a Sondheim song over and over again and still find something different in it each time. There are many layers to his writing.

The CLO is known for producing great, high quality musical theater.  How has it been working with such a class act organization?
This is my second time working at the CLO Cabaret, and I am so happy to be back! Of course, working for such a prestigious company can be intimidating, but they make me feel right at home. The caliber of talent is incredible and I find myself learning new things every day. I am extremely blessed to be here.
Can you describe a typical day for yourself?
Oh gosh. Well, at the moment, a typical day for me is to wake up, go to rehearsal, go home, rehearse, and go to sleep. Occasionally, I have time to sneak a quick work out in here and there. This show is a review so there is a ton of material to learn in only two weeks. And it’s Sondheim so it’s very challenging. Most nights I feel guilty about going to sleep.
Tell me a bit about how you became an actor.  Did you sort of just fall into it?  Was it a lifelong dream?

I kind of just fell into acting, however, I have always wanted to be a singer. As a child, music was my life. When I got to high school my older sister introduced me to the theater group and after my first musical, (Sondheim’s Into the Woods), I was hooked. I can’t really put into words how it made me feel, other than “alive”. After the first performance I knew that I could never let go of that.

1961_513116065836_143_nYou have some incredible credentials on your resume!  i read that you sang the National Anthem at the 2007 rally for Obama!  How was that?
The most frightening moment of my life. I was recommended by a teacher at Point Park University (my Alma Mater) and I considered declining the offer because I was that scared. I mean, WHAT an honor! I messed up the words-which is easier to do than you think with that song-but at the end of the day I felt pretty darn proud of what I had just done.
So what’s next for you?  Side by Side is a pretty long run, but any plans after that?
No plans yet! I haven’t stopped auditioning since I got the news of this show, so hopefully something will come up. Also, I am very excited to say that I plan to move to NYC within the next year.
Finally, advice time.  I can’t ever end an interview without asking.  What the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given that has helped you with your success?
I would have to use one of my favorite inspirational quotes to answer that (yes, I keep those on hand daily).
“He who has a strong enough why can bear almost any how.”-Nietzsche, Friedrich
This business is tough. Really tough. I’ve had teachers tell me that if you can find something else that makes you just as happy-do that instead. The thing is I never have, and never will. You have to stay strong of heart because there will be rough times ahead.
Tickets are available now for Side by Side by Sondheim.  Go here for more info!
*Taken from CLO Cabaret’s website.

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