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BWW Interviews: Sarah Primmer of CINDERELLA ON TOUR at Place Des Arts

Sarah Primmer was born in Atlanta, Georgia but moved to Connecticut at 7 years old. A classically trained singer, Primmer attended Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania where she studied music and theatre. Primmer currently resides in New York City, where she has been for the past 6 years.

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Primmer to discuss her past projects along with her current role of Madame in CINDERELLA on Tour.

HANNIBAL: Tell me a little bit about how you first got involved in performing.

PRIMMER: I did a production of CINDERELLA when I was really little. It wasn't the same music. It was just a tiny, little summer camp thing. I think I was in second grade. I also used to force my sister to do performances with me for my family. I've always enjoyed performing, but I was also very active in sports. It was kind of a mix of things that I like to do. It wasn't until I got a little bit older, in middle school, when I started competing. We have a competition in my home town to be a soloist with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. When I was 13, I started prepping for that. I ended up winning when I was 16 and got to sing Mozart with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. It was a really great opportunity. It wasn't until Jr. High and High School when I started realizing I might be competitive at [performing]. My junior year in high school I decided not to do sports anymore and focus on doing music full time. I was in a music fellowship in Hartford at the Bushnell Center for the Arts, which is a huge touring house. Robert Darling started the fellowship. He selected 6 of us from the entire state to work with a vocal coach on repertoire, a voice teacher on technique, a music skills teacher on sight singing, musicianship skills. We worked with these teachers once a week. Darling brought in exceptional masters to do masterclasses once a month. Halfway through high school it became very clear to me that music was a path that I was excited to be on and very interested in remaining competitive in.

HANNIBAL: Roughly how many productions would you say you've been in.

PRIMMER: Oh, that's tough! Well, I will start with that CINDERELLA is my third tour. I feel like I've been doing a couple shows a year since I was in elementary school. I had such amazing performance opportunities. I was on the BEAUTY AND THE BEAST North American tour for a year, but we didn't get to come to Montreal. I am so excited to come to Montreal! I did the first National tour of NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT, which was about a year, as well.

HANNIBAL: How long have you been on tour with CINDERELLA?

Sarah Primmer as Madame in CINDERELLA, second from left

PRIMMER: We started rehearsals in New York City about a month ago. We rehearsed in the city for for about two weeks, then did our tech in Clinton, South Carolina and had our official opening in Grand Rapids, which is our first city. It's so exciting. It's a really beautiful show. The book in the revival is different from the original production. There is a tiny, contemporary edge to it, which seems really relevant. The music is actually music that will sound new to audiences because it wasn't in the original film, but it is actually Rodgers and Hammerstein music from other shows that have never really lived fully in a real Broadway score. They have found their home in CINDERELLA and just fit so perfectly in a way that now I can't imagine the show without them. It's a really great, great show. It has enough twists and turns to keep you on the edge of your seat.

HANNIBAL: When you booked CINDERELLA, was it a standard audition or are you working with a team you have worked with in the past.

PRIMMER: It is a team I have worked with, Work-Light Productions. I did NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT with them and had such an amazing an experience. It's such a beautiful team of producers who are so involved and supportive. I expressed interest in auditioning for them again and at that point started working with the team in work sessions, where you are coached through the scenes. It was a mini coaching session/audition. It was so exciting to work with such smart people, who challenged me. I would leave the audition and go home, still thinking about the work. Sometimes auditions can feel so anonymous. I would leave these and think more about the notes I had been given. When I would show up for another audition, we would pick up where we left off. It was really an exciting room of collaborative thinkers. It's a real treat to get to work with them and to know I get to continue working with them for the next year.

HANNIBAL: What is your favourite role that you have had the chance to play?

PRIMMER: Ooh! Madame could really be up there. I'm falling in love with her. She's a really smart woman. I think my favourite one, so far, is when I got to be Miss Pennywise in URINETOWN. Touch of a villain. Touch of a strong, misunderstood woman. And she gets to belt really high! Somehow there's an elegance to her. If you were to ask me again in a few months, once I've gotten to live with Madame for a little bit, my answer may change.

HANNIBAL: What is your dream role?

PRIMMER: Ooh! Good question! It's so interesting. We spend so much of our time trying to figure out how we fit in the picture, how we can be marketable, but every once in a while, you have to set the time aside to think, 'what would I really want?' I would love to play Carole King in BEAUTIFUL. I'd really love to play that role. I would love to, one day, down the line, play Margaret in THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA. One day. I need time to prepare for that one!

To read more on Sarah Primmer, visit her website

CINDERELLA runs October 18 to 23, 2016 at salle Wildfrid-Pelletier, Place des Arts.

Tickets are available at the Place des Arts box office or by phone: 1 866-842-2112
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Ticket prices: from $41.25 to $96.25 (including taxes and service fees)

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