Performer of the Month: Charlotte Kehrberg
Most recently, Charlotte Kehrberg played the role of Princess Winnifred in Once Upon a Mattress. Charlotte has been seen in shows at the Conservatory including Charlotte in 13: The Musical, Jack’s Mom in Into the Woods, and Mr. Smee in Peter Pan. She also worked backstage for Hillbarn’s MainStage season opener, Legally Blonde-The Musical. Charlotte’s powerful voice fills the room with gusto and can easily be compared to the great Ethel Merman’s mezzo-soprano belting style. Charlotte will be appearing in her middle school’s production of Beauty and the Beast this March.
Q: When did you become interested in theatre?
A: When I was 8 years old, I did a show at Hillbarn conservatory and I loved it and I’ve been doing theatre ever since.
Q: You just finished playing Winnifred in Once Upon A Mattress, what was it like playing her?
A: It was like playing myself, but under hot stage lights, thick makeup, and a costume.
Q: What would you say are the similarities and differences with that character?
A: We’re both very crazy, and our hair is always a mess, but that’s ok because we rock our wild hair. The difference is, I don’t normally swim in a moat, but if I was dared to, I’m sure I would go for it. I’m pretty sure that’s the only difference.
Q: Also you recently helped out backstage with Hillbarn’s MainStage show, Legally Blonde-The Musical. What’s it like?
A: It was one of the best experiences of my life. I love all the adults that do main stage. They’re great people and they’re really sweet. Being backstage showed me how adult theatre works compared to Conservatory. In adult shows, people are a lot more serious on stage and off, which is great, but sometimes it gets a bit boring. However, since they’re so focused, they never mess up.
Q: How is it different working backstage verses being on stage?
A: Backstage you get to see a lot of the havoc that goes on instead of being a part of the havoc. You don’t get to see much of the audience when you’re backstage, but you do get to go out during intermission and get candy!
Q: What’s your favorite musical and why?
A: I don’t want to be basic, but…Hamilton. But I like Hairspray, and Grease because I love the 1950’s. It’s one of my favorite time periods ever. Not only are the costumes and music amazing, but it gives you an insight to what was going on during that time period.
Q: How did you feel the first time you performed in front of a live audience?
A: I was very nervous, but also I was so young that I didn’t really care what everyone thought of me. So I just went out there and did my thing in School House Rock Jr.
Q: What makes you want to be in a Hillbarn class or production?
A: The people there are awesome; you can feel like you can be yourself and not have to worry about it. Everyone is accepted. I feel like there’s a tighter family bond at Hillbarn which is great because I don’t feel that way in other places I’ve done shows. At school there seems to be a division of grades, where at Hillbarn we don’t care what grade you’re in, we’re all just friends and you get to know everyone.
Q: Walk me through your routine you do before a show.
A: Ha, ok. So before I get to Hillbarn, I do my hair, my makeup, put on my underclothes, some boots, jacket and sweatpants, and I go to the theatre. I walk around and chill while drinking hot water with lemon and honey because that stuff is a life saver. First we get mic’d up because you can’t put your costume on until you get mic’d up. Then if I need to run a song, or scene before, I do, and then I get my costume on. Lastly, I do vocal warmups and chill until it’s time for places because if I look at my script before I go on, I start freaking out.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about being in a show?
A: Just the bond you get with so many people. You get so close to your cast, they’re like a second family, and best friends for the next few months, and longer for a lot of people.
Q: What’s your favorite part you’ve played?
A: It’s between when I played Charlotte in 13-The Musical, and Winnifred in Once Upon A Mattress. But probably Winnifred because I got to be crazy onstage and it didn’t matter, all the songs were awesome, and Xandra was my director! Shout out to Xandra, and shout out to Jack Barrett for being my husband!
Q: What’s your favorite show you’ve been in?
A: Honestly, 13-The Musical. I loved Once Upon A Mattress, but 13-The Musical had characters that were our age and the show was so awesome. The entire show together was just so great, and everyone together made it that much better. If it would’ve been cast any different, the show wouldn’t have been the way that it was. And what it was was freakin’ awesome!
Q: What is your dream role?
A: I have a few. Eliza from Hamilton, Tracy from Hairspray, Rizzo from Grease. Oh my God, I want to be Rizzo so badly. Those are three of my main dream roles.
Q: What Broadway performer would you say is your spirit animal?
A: This is a hard question, but I feel no one is my spirit animal besides Jack Barrett.
Q: What is something you look forward to at Hillbarn Conservatory?
A: Obviously, more shows and classes. I’m signing up for the acting class Erica is going to teach and I’ve already signed up for Improv Night for Kids at Hillbarn Theatre.
Q: What’s an important thing you have learned here at Hillbarn Conservatory?
A: To accept the role you’ve been given because you were given that part for a reason and maybe you don’t see it at first, but when you’re on stage with everyone, it makes sense why you received the part you’ve got.
Q: Do you still get nervous doing shows?
A: Oh yeah, for Winnifred, I remember being crouched backstage behind the stage repeating this one line over and over in my head. Right when the Minstrel started singing his last line before I went on, I couldn’t remember what I was supposed to say when I first got out there on stage, so I started flipping out. And I climbed out and said my line, and I was like “Wow, Charlotte, just overreact why don’t you?!”
Q: What is one song you can sing over and over?
A: I sing “Burn” from Hamilton, or anything from Legally Blonde. I’d sing Elle and Emmett’s part, and also “Bend and Snap”. I sing it all the time and I do the dance moves that I learned from working backstage.
Q: Name one Broadway song that describes your life.
A: Ha, I guess “Shy” or “Swamps of Home” or even “Happily Ever After”. Winnifred is basically me and all of her songs represent me. “Swamps of Home” is literally me in the morning.
Q: What was the moment you realized theatre was the thing for you?
A: When Brad Friedman cast me as Mr. Smee in Peter Pan. I knew that maybe I was meant to be here because Brad Friedman just gave me a role that he played. He told me not to butcher it and when we were done with the show, he told me that I didn’t fail.