’42nd Street’ star destined to shine: Show comes to DPAC next week

By Logan A. White
Times-News correspondent

   Destiny’s a designated path, an instant connection. For Caitlin Ehlinger, destiny plays a huge role in her life and career. The talented young triple threat – actress, dancer and singer - plays leading lady Peggy Sawyer in the national tour of “42nd Street.” The tale of Peggy, who goes from chorus girl to impromptu star of a 1920s Broadway show, parallels directly with Ehlinger’s amazing journey.
“I had decided at the beginning of my senior year that I was going to take a gap year and move to New York and train,” she said.
But life had other plans. February of her senior year, Ehlinger heard about open call auditions for “42nd Street” in New York. She’d encountered the show’s choreographer, Randy Skinner, over the summers she spent training in New York with her dance studio.
“To me, it seemed like the perfect first audition.”
    The Houston native seized the opportunity, and two weeks after a grueling 10-day audition, she received the anticipated phone call.
“I was at my best friend’s house. We were sitting on the kitchen table, and I was telling her about the audition,” she recalled. “Of course, I started bawling, and my friend was screaming. She’s been there with me while I’ve done theater, through everything. We couldn’t have been more excited.”
Ehlinger had good reason to be ecstatic - not only had she landed a lead role before graduating high school, she’d be working with some of the show’s original creative team. Both choreographer Randy Skinner and director Mark Bramble have been with “42nd” Street since its beginnings. Bramble actually co-wrote the book (script) for the show.
“A lot of times, you don’t get to work with the original team,” Ehlinger points out. “The fact that he (Mark Bramble) is our director is a really sacred experience. He has every answer; he knows what everything means. There’s no question of what you should be doing. The answers are there for you.”
With such an opportunity presented to her, you might think the actress would be overwhelmed by the scope of her destiny. However, Ehlinger has remained grounded throughout the experience.
I’m just trying to live in the moment and enjoy that, right now, I have this great thing in front of me. It’s really easy to be focused on “oh, what are you going to do next. You can’t do that in this business,” she said. “There are days where you wake up and go, “Maybe I’m not supposed to be doing this” or “Maybe I’m not good enough,” but that should only make you work harder. Prove yourself wrong. Prove to yourself that you can do it.”
You can see Ehlinger in “42nd Street” beginning Tuesday at the Durham Performing Arts Center, 123 Vivian St. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through May 5, 8 p.m. May 6-7, 2 p.m. May 7, and 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. May 8. Tickets start at $30 and can be purchased at all Ticketmaster outlets or in person or by phone at 919-680-2787.

Logan A. White is a home-schooled sophomore and a Teens & 20s writer.

This entry was posted in Entertainment, frontpage, To Do. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.