BWW Interview: Cara Ganski in A CHRISTMAS CAROL at The Growing Stage
The Growing Stage, The Children's Theatre of New Jersey located at The Historic Palace Theatre in Netcong will present A Christmas Carol: The Musical from November 18th to December 18th. This holiday favorite is based on the story by Charles Dickens and features music by Alan Menken with lyrics by Lynn Ahrens.
In the show, Scrooge is a prosperous curmudgeon who believes personal wealth is far more valuable than the happiness and comfort of others. With an infuriated "Bah! Humbug!" Scrooge summates his feelings of Christmas tidings and charitable giving, but he's forced to face his selfish ways when three ghosts on Christmas Eve lead him through his past, present and future. Thanks to their guidance, Scrooge recognizes his faults and greets Christmas morning with a cheerful "Happy Christmas" before spending the day reconnecting and sharing love with those that mean the most to him.
Broadwayworld.com had the opportunity to interview Cara Ganski who plays The Ghost of Christmas Past.
Tell us a little about the very first show you were ever in.
My parents enrolled me in dance classes when I was three years old, so I feel like I've been on stage practically my whole life! My first interaction with theatre was in middle school when I was cast as April in "The Wild, Wild, Wildest West." In this Spaghetti Western, I had a solo song titled, "I'm Just a Yodelin' Gal From Indiana", where I had to (you guessed it) yodel. I did not have any prior experience yodeling, but I've always been up for a challenge. Following that production, I became involved in community theatre and attended a vocational high school for Drama and the Performing Arts. Performing has always been a passion of mine and I'm very lucky I've been able to make a career out of doing what I love!
Who has been a big influence on your career?
My mother has always encouraged me to follow my dreams and make them into a reality. When I was a young artist, she drove me to every audition, rehearsal, and recital, and I wouldn't be where I am today without her support..
We'd love to know about your teaching.
When I was little, before deciding to be an actress, I wanted to be a Kindergarten teacher. I've always enjoyed teaching children, and being a Teaching Artist allows me to combine both of those interests. I work in several different capacities as a Teaching Artist, including choreographing original pieces of theatre conceived by my students, directing musicals like The Little Mermaid and Shrek, and teaching playwriting and acting residencies with various Equity theatres across New Jersey.
How do you like being back at The Growing Stage?
This is my fifth production with The Growing Stage, and I intend to keep coming back for more! What's really special about TGS is not only are they a Theatre for Young Audience venue, they are also a community of teachers dedicated to nurturing young performers. The arts are vital in the development of children and young adults. Young performers interacting and performing with professional artists learn valuable life skills such as working as an ensemble, public speaking, and time management, to name a few.
What do you especially like about your role in A Christmas Carol?
Perhaps I'm biased, but I think The Ghost of Christmas Past has the best songs in the whole show. They are so much fun to sing and tell the story of how Ebeneezer became the defiant, penny-pinching Scrooge everyone in Dickens' London fears.
A Christmas Carol is a popular holiday show. Why do you think The Growing Stage production is an audience pleaser?
The thing I love most about "A Christmas Carol", specifically our production at The Growing Stage, is how enjoyable it is for the young and the young at heart. There's a little something for everyone; song, dance, and a hearty story. Choreographer, Jillian Petrie conceived dance numbers that will engage audiences of all ages, and Artist in Residence, Perry Kroeger designed the ghosts. This isn't just a "Christmas story", there are values that are universal like the importance of family and giving to those less fortunate than yourself.
A Christmas Carol: The Musical will be performed at The Growing Stage through December 18th on Fridays at 7:30 pm and on Saturdays and Sundays at 4:00 pm. There is a special performance on Sunday, December 4th at 3:00 pm followed by the Netcong Holiday Parade. The theatre is located at 7 Ledgewood Avenue, Netcong, NJ 07857. Call 973.347.4946 or visit http://www.growingstage.com/.
For more information on Cara Ganski, please visit her website at http://www.caraganski.com/.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Cara Ganski