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Broadway bound: the ultimate dream

Ambitious junior Aisha Carpenter begins her future in NYC

Jaya Flanary, Features Editor
Originally published October 10, 2014

Jaya FlanaryJunior Aisha Carpenter warms up her voice on piano.

Jaya Flanary

Junior Aisha Carpenter warms up her voice on piano.

“He told me he saw something in me he didn’t see in anyone else, and he told me I need to keep going and growing.”

Aisha Carpenter realized her dream over three years ago when her “RENT” director spoke to her before closing night. “That talk basically changed me,” Carpenter said. “Ever since then, every decision I make is towards theater and my singing.”

Her most recent decision was this past summer. Carpenter completed her first audition for a musical theater conservatory program in New York City called CAP21—and was accepted.

According to the CAP21 website, the program’s mission is “to create a home where theatre artists can bring their work to life and continue honing their skills in a collaborative environment.”

Carpenter had the opportunity to spend four weeks in New York with people previously and currently on Broadway. The daily routine at CAP21 consisted of singing and acting classes, vocal technique classes, and dance classes, which included improvisation, tap, ballet, jazz, and musical theater.

Carpenter’s acting class was her favorite in the program. “When you act you have to dig way down deep into yourself and really bring out the inner characters,” Carpenter said. “It’s quite amazing what was accomplished in that class. I can’t put it into words.”

In the class, Carpenter played a pregnant woman named Prandy who was going through a rough patch with her boyfriend and family. Becoming this character was difficult for Carpenter, but she eventually found the feelings which allowed herself to perform.

“The scene ended up being so powerful both me and my partner were in tears halfway through,” Carpenter said. “And the class was in tears when we were done.”

In addition to pursuing her future outside of school, Carpenter is also a part of Ballard’s theater and choir program during the school year.

“[The theater program] is inspiring,” Carpenter said. “This is where my school work is too, so having what I love to do mixed with what I have to do motivates me to do what I have to do.”

Choir teacher Courtney Pelavin believes Carpenter has always been dedicated but has shown improvements since her CAP21 experience. “Aisha is very passionate about singing and performing in all aspects of the performing arts program,” Pelavin said. “She is involved in every choir possible as well as the musicals.”

Many former Ballard performing arts students have obtained jobs due to their stage skills. CJ Eldred, class of 2010, is a standby for a lead part in “The Book of Mormon.” Nate McVicker, class of 2008, was recently a lead role in the touring production “Sweet Charity.”

As for Carpenter’s career, she has high hopes. “Definitely the ultimate dream is Broadway,” she said.

Regarding her near future, she is positive she wants to audition for the program again next year. “[CAP21] made me realize that there’s so much more for me to learn and there’s so much more for me to grow with,” she said. “There always is, no matter how good you are.”

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Broadway bound: the ultimate dream