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Broadway tour members visit Providence Campus next week to discuss life on the road

Broadway tour members visit Providence Campus next week to discuss life on the road

Students at the Community College of Rhode Island interested in a career in performing arts will have a unique opportunity next week to learn about life on the road from two well-traveled industry experts.

Jay Carey and Christopher DeAngelis, members of the current tour of the Stephen Sondheim Broadway musical Company, will host a free Q&A session at CCRI’s Providence Campus Theatre on Wednesday, April 24 at 4 pm to discuss what it’s like to travel from city to city with a nationwide production. 

Carey and DeAngelis, who are married, are in Pittsburgh, PA – the 20th city they’ve worked in this year for the current five-day stretch of the Company tour, which departs the Steel City following Sunday’s performance and arrives in Providence, RI, for a week-long run of shows between April 23–28 at the Providence Performing Arts Center. Clement and his students will attend next Sunday’s finale. The tour, which began last September, officially ends October 6 in Fort Worth, TX. 

Company, which premiered in 1970, follows the story of Bobby, the single friend in a group of married couples, on the eve of his 35th birthday as he observes the interactions of his friends and debates whether or not to settle down himself. Company is an eight-time Tony Award-winning musical, including five awards in its previous revival in 2021. 

Carey, the tour’s Production Stage Manager, graduated Salem State University alongside CCRI Theatre Program Director Ted Clement, who reached out to his former classmate to facilitate Wednesday’s visit. Carey sat in on a number of similar presentations while in college and credits them with influencing his decision to pursue theatre as a career. Equipped with a wealth of knowledge from his time in the theatre industry, Carey continues to give back by lending his expertise to college students, aspiring artists, and theatre hopefuls while touring different cities, including Wednesday’s stop in Providence. 

“I always found it important to hear from people who were currently doing what we were training to do,” Carey said. “So much is luck – just sort of being in the right place at the right moment. Yes, you can train as much as you possibly can and go through school and whatnot, but many things are truly luck. You just never know. It could happen overnight or it might not happen for 20 years.”

While Carey is handling a variety of roles as Company’s Production Stage Manager – from calling all cues during a performance to facilitating communication between the creative and technical departments – DeAngelis is working as a dance captain and understudy; in the latter role, he’s part of the ensemble cast responsible for covering a supporting or lead role if the main performer is unavailable. He performed as Larry, the husband of one of the main cast members, during the tour’s recent stop in Boston and has continued in that role during the tour’s current stop in Pittsburgh in place of lead actor Derrick Davis. This is DeAngelis’ fifth national tour as a performer, adding to a resume that includes School Of RockJersey Boys, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and Ragtime.

Carey’s Broadway credits include working as a Production Stage Manager on Ain’t Too Proud: The Life & Times of the Temptations, Jersey Boys, Finding Neverland, and Kinky Boots and national tours of SIX and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

While Carey is fortunate to be touring with his husband – and their dog – for Company, this is the first time in 10 years they’ve had the opportunity to work together, so there have been many times when they’ve both been on the road in separate cities working on separate tours. The “grind,” as Carey calls it, can be mentally and physically exhausting, a true labor of love for those in the industry.

These discussions, Carey said, are an important precursor for those looking to pursue a career in performing arts, specifically as a touring cast member or behind-the-scenes personnel, so they can develop of better understanding of what it’s like to live and work on the road for long stretches. Carey has also invited local stage management students to shadow him the night of an event to get an idea of what it’s like working backstage on a major production, a process he finds “rewarding.”

“Transparency is important because this business, in general, can deter so many people from sticking with it for the long haul, especially for an actor,” Carey said. “So much of their job is auditioning and taking classes and coaching, whereas getting a job is sort of a vacation in some sort of way and that can be very grinding and hard. 

“Being on the road on tour, specifically, you’re away from your home, you’re away from your significant other, or even your pets, and you have to manage doctor’s appointments and other obligations, so there’s a lot of give and take in those situations. You can certainly be prepared, but the process also involves a lot of on-the-job training. That’s a message I really want to deliver to those interested in this career.”

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