Idyllwild Arts graduate finds musical theater success in NYC

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Jacque Carnahan brings her one-woman show to campus

Jacque Carnahan, 1998 Idyllwild Arts Academy graduate in musical theater, has found success in New York City. She brings her one-woman show, “From Main Street to 42nd Street,” to Idyllwild Arts on Saturday, Oct. 21. Photo courtesy Jacque Carnahan

Jacque (Jacqueline) Carnahan, 1998 Idyllwild Arts Academy theater graduate, has established a solid career as a producer, actor and educator in New York City. At 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 21, Carnahan brings her one-woman biographical musical theater journey to IAA’s Bowman Theatre. “From Main Street to 42nd Street” chronicles Carnahan’s evolution as a performing artist from her middle-school days in San Luis Obispo to finding her NYC dream.

To work regularly in professional theater in the United States is, at best, difficult. For Carnahan to have founded a nonprofit focused on helping young actors find their professional footing in New York, and to have worked successfully as a musical theater performer in NYC, on national tours, and regionally, is a testament to her talent, work ethic and mission to pay it forward.

Carnahan’s nonprofit, Believe NYC, produces educational events designed to motivate and inspire performing-arts students. The events are in three parts — private performances by industry professionals for students, followed by intimate Q&As from the students to the professionals, culminating with one-hour workshops in areas such as: mock auditions, learning dance breaks from Broadway musicals, musical theater, improv, stage combat, show choir, make up, acting “in the scene,” and “in the pit” — learning what it is to be a professional musician in NYC. Believe NYC Artistic Director Carnahan and associates — artist/educator Keve Wilson, music director Paul Staroba and performing artists John Michael Dias and Alicia Albright — know how challenging it is to persevere in theater and music in New York City. “We stand for living the dream,” stresses Carnahan.

A major part of Carnahan’s career is helping others. In addition to directing Believe NYC, she is co-producer of the annual Broadway benefit concert “Arts for Autism” hosted by Tony winner Kelli O’Hara at the Gershwin Theatre that has raised more than $80,000 for Autism Speaks, an organization dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the lifespan, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families through advocacy and support.

Carnahan has performed off Broadway, in national Broadway tours, and at major regional theaters including the Paper Mill Playhouse, Baltimore Center Stage and Goodspeed Opera House. She is one of the senior company choreographers at McCarter Theatre Company in Princeton. In addition to her arts education at IAA, Carnahan holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts cum laude in musical theater from the Boston Conservatory and is a National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts awardee.

Carnahan will delight in her one-woman show as she sings and dances her way from SLO to the lights of Times Square in NYC. With affection and humor, she will carry the audience through the ups and downs and in-betweens of pursuing her passion for performing. “From Main Street to 42nd Street” is full of heart, charm and titanium tapping with musical arrangements by Broadway composer Barbara Anselmi.

There is no charge to attend the performance.

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