Charnette is currently starring as Angelica Schuyler in Hamilton, and they recently performed at the Boston Opera House. We couldn’t be more excited for her!
Congratulations! What is it like playing Angelica in HAMILTON?
It’s a dream come true to be in this show and have the opportunity and honor to play not one but all three Schuyler sisters. It is so incredible. I am the cover for all three sisters! So I play four roles in Hamilton.
What steps did you have to take to get the role? What did you do when you found out you got it!?
I auditioned about seven times over about eighteen months. When I found out I got the role and was going to be in Hamilton I was very emotional. I felt overwhelmed with gratitude and excitement. I called my mom, of course, and then I had a dance party in my apartment in New York with my dog, Fitzgerald.
When did you start performing? What was your first show?
I began performing when I was six. My first CYT show was Annie with San Diego Central in 1999. I played an orphan and it’s still one of my favorite shows!
I didn’t have lines, or a solo or even a name, but being in the show was everything I dreamed of! Thanks to a director and a choreographer who believed in me, I learned to tap. I also discovered how beautiful the theatre community was and how much I wanted to be a part of it forever. It changed my life! The orphanage is where it all began for me. Now I’m in Hamilton, at the end of the show we sing about the orphanage that Eliza Hamilton establishes in Alexander Hamilton’s memory. “The orphanage”. It seems so full circle and and I’m filled with emotion and love as I sing the final lines of the show. What incredible memories of my very first musical at CYT. Always and forever in my heart!
A favorite CYT memory?
My favorite CYT memory was doing the STRIKE show at the end of a show. I loved getting on stage and joking and laughing about all of the fun we had.
What was your favorite CYT class and why?
My favorite CYT class was Audition ABC’s. I learned so much from that class about how to be prepared for my auditions. I learned what a monologue was, how to be confident, how to pick the right song, and the importance of being yourself in an audition. They’re all skills and tools that I still use to this day!
CYT is so special to me. It was when I was in CYT shows that I first learned that I loved to be on stage. I also met some of my dearest friends at CYT. CYT teachers and directors helped me to believe in myself and encouraged me to give my all no matter what role I was playing. I learned in CYT that there are no small roles and everyone is important to telling the story.
What was the most nerve-racking audition you have done and how did you get through it?
I was extremely nervous for my final callback for Hamilton. I decided that I was not auditioning for them but instead I was going to do it for me. I took a deep breath and reminded myself that I was enough and I did not need to put pressure on myself to be perfect. It was out of my hands and I had a great audition because I eliminated the pressure to be perfect.
If you have ever felt frozen on stage or forgotten a line, how did you keep going?
I haven’t felt frozen on stage but I did forget a line once in college when I was doing a show called HAIR. It was really embarrassing. I just picked up where I could and tried to get through it. After the show, I reviewed my lines and made sure I had it down. It’s live theatre though, and we all make mistakes. The important thing is to be able to laugh at yourself and let it go. It’s just a show and it’s not the end of the world if you make mistake. I promise!
Who would you thank right now for helping you chase your dream and never give up?
I would thank my mom! My mom wasn’t a performer, but she has inspired me constantly to follow my heart, to chase my dream and to believe that I am enough. Her strength inspired me as I auditioned and sometimes heard “no”. Knowing that she was there for me and believed I would make it… I am so thankful for her.
Who inspires you?
I have always admired other actors of color who break racial stereotypes when it comes to casting like Audra McDonald, Cynthia Erivo and… me! Being in a show where the characters are historically white and being able to step into their shoes and celebrate my skin color means so much to me. I love that we are embracing diversity here. I look up to actors, directors and creative teams who celebrate and include diversity.
What has been the best advice you have gotten through the musical theater process? What advice would you give us?
The best advice I have received is to give it your all and be the best that you can be. At the end of the day you have to believe in yourself and trust that you are enough. You would be amazed what you can accomplish when you eliminate self-limiting beliefs and start to love and believe in yourself. Yes, it takes practice, and it is not always easy to chase your dreams, but when you love it, it’s worth it!