Carolina Sanchez '13 Cast in 'West Side Story'

Musical Theatre major joins national tour of the Broadway classic.
Angela Romansky '13
Mariann Cook and Carolina Sanchez '13

Mariann Cook and Carolina Sanchez '13

For most students, senior year of college means networking, resume building, job searching and interviewing. For Carolina Sanchez '13, senior year means traveling the country as Rosalia on a national tour of West Side Story produced by Troika Entertainment.

Last spring, Robin Lewis, assistant professor of Musical Theater, called casting director, Dave Clemmons of Clemmons-Dewing Casting. Clemmons had just finished auditioning the female roles for the new bilingual non-equity tour.

“I have someone you need to see,” said Lewis. Upon hearing of Sanchez’s talent and her fluency in Spanish, Clemmons agreed that if Sanchez would attend the men’s auditions he would meet her.

Sanchez decided she would go for gusto. Wanting the role of Maria, she bought a vintage '60s-style dress and rehearsed the song “I Feel Pretty” with her voice teacher, Mariann Cook, an assistant professor of Music Theater Voice.

“When I got there they asked me to sing ‘Tonight’ which was the song that Mariann and I rehearsed the least. There was a high C at the end, which I did not hit. I wasn’t expecting it. But they gave me a call back anyway,” said Sanchez.  “When I went back, I was given a Tony (the opposing male lead) and asked to do some scene work.”

After her work-through audition, Sanchez was asked to wait in the hallway before she was handed the script for Rosalia, a notoriously goofy character.

“I thought, ‘oh forget it, this is going to be a snap,’” she said, trying to mask her nervousness.

Two sleepless weeks later, Sanchez received a call during her Music History class. She had won the role of Rosalia, as well as the understudy for Maria. 

“I was like, ‘I have the role? Are you sure? I’m hired? I’m on the tour?’” Sanchez said. “I said thank you 15 million times.”

Now, in preparation for the start of rehearsals, Sanchez is meeting with Cook for voice lessons, memorizing lines and preparing to move to West Virginia where she will begin tech rehearsals by Tuesday of next week.

“We only have three weeks of rehearsals before we start touring,” said Sanchez “I have to go in completely prepared to start blocking and staging.”

Sanchez is grateful for the opportunities that Rider has allowed her.

“When I came here I knew nothing. I had never taken a voice lesson, or a piano lesson. I didn’t even know where a middle C was on a piano. I was a blank canvas.” she said. “Having Mariann really helped me. She’s taught me everything I know. Being close with the teachers and having these connections has gotten me this far. This is a great school whether you’re a beginner or a triple threat.”

Since her freshman year at Rider, Sanchez has appeared in University productions of Rent (homeless person), Striking 12, A New Brain (Mimi Schwinn) and, The Producers (Ulla).

Although she is taking her senior year off to be a part of West Side Story, Sanchez fully intends to return next year to finish her degree.

“I always expected she would get a job. I just expected that she would be out of school first,” said Cook. “But the opportunity has risen and she has to step out and do it. I’m very proud.”

Troika Entertainment’s West Side Story will tour the United States and possibly Canada for one year from October- through June.

For tour dates and information log on to