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For Sarah Lepre, Musical Theatre Means Invincibility and Empathy - Next on Stage

Sarah Lepre is singing for the Trevor Project!

We're down to our top 5 contestants in our Next on Stage competition.

Contestant Sarah Lepre shares more about her charity, why she entered into the competition, and a true 'the show must go on' moment from an Into the Woods production!

Check out all of Sarah's performances HERE.

Why did you apply for Next on Stage?

I had seen articles and friends asking to vote for them in Season 1 and I had always regretted not entering. When I saw the announcement for Season 2, I knew I had to submit something! I filmed "I'm the Greatest Star" from Funny Girl, sent it not expecting much, as I knew thousands of other talented people had also submitted. I still sent around the voting link because I figured, why not at least try? Watching the Top 30 livestream, I do not really know what I was expecting and was mostly watching out of curiosity, but then, after 29 other names were announced, my face appeared on the screen. My jaw dropped, my mom screamed, and I could not believe it! I entered this contest for fun and I never expected to get where I am now, but I could not be more grateful for all of it. It has given me validation, new friends, and inspiration to keep working hard for what I want to do in life. Entering this contest was one of the best decisions I have ever made and I cannot wait to see what happens next!

What does musical theatre mean to you?

To me, musical theatre means invincibility and empathy. Whenever I perform, I feel untouchable because of the vulnerability I'm exuding. The audience's emotions become mine to mold as my voice and passion pour out of me. Being on stage is the only time I truly feel alive. This euphoric sense of invincibility is the root of my happiness when I am on the stage. I go back time and time again to relive that joy while taking the audience and myself away from reality for a while. Musical theatre is artistic freedom through music, acting, and dance that makes me and many others feel powerful, even at its darkest moments. It is truly a gift that I have the opportunity that make others and myself feel that freedom and empathy with my performances and I will always strive to achieve this with whatever I am doing. Musical theatre is also empathy. The stories told by every kind of person imaginable have the inconceivable power to change hearts and minds. Musical theatre is everything to me and more and I cannot wait to dive into a career in the part of myself I value most.

What is a fond memory you have from a past production?

I do have a kind of crazy story that has turned into a fond memory. I was in a production of Into the Woods a few years ago as the Witch. It was such an amazing part, an incredible learning experience, and I absolutely loved being in. (It is now my life goal to be every female character in Into the Woods, but I digress). However, the show was double cast, so I went by myself on one of my off nights to see and support the other cast. The show was going great until suddenly, after "Last Midnight", the Baker collapsed on stage. When everyone realized he was not moving, the house lights came up and his parents ran down to the stage. We found out his heart defibrillator had gone off from exhaustion and dehydration (don't worry, he's totally fine now!). I noticed the director crying off the side, as she was quite scared, so I went over to comfort her and speak with her and the producers, as we were all freaking out. The Baker had to go to the hospital even though he came to and seemed okay, but we decided to finish the rest of the show anyway. But one thing! There was no Baker! So guess who they threw a script, a hat, and a microphone at? Me. I was the soprano Baker for the remainder of that show AND the entire Sunday matinee. While of course I regret the circumstances my misgendered Baker came about, it was such a fun challenge and I learned a lot about live theatre after being thrown into a part I would never have played otherwise.

What charity did you pick and why?

I chose to the Trevor Project because I simply love what they stand for and accomplish. It is a free suicide hotline for LGBTQ+ youth. It creates a safe space to discuss mental health, suicide, LGBTQ+ issues and celebrations freely and without judgement. They also support the Black Lives Matter movement which is EXTREMELY important. Similarly, they offer resources helping young people to come out in a safe way to unapologetically live their truth. In addition to helping the LGBTQ+ community members, they also offer educational resources for allies/those wanting to become allies and for teachers to be more inclusive in their classrooms. The topics of mental health and the LGBTQ+ community are extremely important to me and it would mean the world if I could give to an organization as vital in this time of insanity as The Trevor Project.

Share a memory from seeing a show!

My first Broadway show was Mary Poppins when I was 7 and it completely changed my life. The magic of theatre hit me for the first time as Mary Poppins soared over the audience and gracefully landed on the stage. The elaborate sets, costumes, tap dancing, and music was overwhelming in the best way possible and I could barely contain my joy. However, there was one scene in particular that I will never forget: Step In Time. Of course, the entire number is theatre gold, but when Gavin Lee began walking around the sides of the stage, my heart dropped. I could not fathom the mind blowing feet of singing UPSIDE DOWN on a Broadway stage. I'm pretty sure I started crying very overwhelmed happy tears because it was just SO GOOD. It was that day that I was voluntarily infected with the love of theatre and I have no intention of going back.

What have you been doing during quarantine?

Quarantine has been... a roller coaster. To be completely honest, it took a month or so for me to pick myself up again after three major projects being canceled and the pride and joy of my life, Broadway, being shut down. I felt as if a part of me was stolen and it seemed like all hope was lost from getting it back, so I did not really sing or listen to showtunes for about a month (which if you know me, is extremely unusual). However, one day, my wonderful voice teacher, Julie Galorenzo told me that "everyday I don't practice, someone else is getting better" and I hit the ground running once again. I took many voice and acting lessons with wonderful teachers and did two, month long virtual seminars with Julie Galorenzo Coaching. I began to teach myself piano, which is something I had been wanting to do for years but never had the time, and I began stretching and taking dance again. I also decided to educate myself in all walks of theatre. I made myself a BroadwayHD account and got watching! My type A personality also wanted to know everything about everything having to do with each play/musical I watched, so each viewing was followed by extensive research. During quarantine, I found a way to bring theatre into my bedroom despite the crushing insanity of the outside world and I genuinely feel I am a better performer for it.

Give a shoutout!

I would love to give a shoutout to my incredible vocal instructor/college audition coach, Julie Galorenzo for always supporting me, teaching me, and telling me how it is. I could not have done this without you!

BroadwayWorld presents BROADWAY'S NEXT ON STAGE SEASON 2 - an online musical theatre singing competition for student performers sponsored by Broadway Records! We're back by popular demand after an incredible first season which included 2000 contestants, 400k votes, a panel of incredible Broadway star judges, and $2000 going to the winner's charities!

Check out all of the contestants HERE!

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