PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: Hair Star Caren Lyn Tackett

News   PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: Hair Star Caren Lyn Tackett Caren Lyn Tackett, reprising her performance as Sheila in the national touring company of Hair, fills out Playbill.com's questionnaire with random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.

Caren Lyn Tackett
Caren Lyn Tackett

Tackett has appeared on Broadway in Rent, High Fidelity, Brooklyn and The Times They Are A-Changin'.

Other theatre credits include Eponine in Les Miserables, Carmen Diaz in Fame, Rizzo in Grease, Eva in Evita, Morales in A Chorus Line and Skye in Once Around the Sun.

She played the role of Sheila in Diane Paulus' staging of Hair at the Delacorte Theater in 2008.

Full given name:

Caren Lyn Manuel Married/performing name: Caren Lyn Tackett

Where you were born/where you were raised: Boxford, MA
Zodiac Sign: Sun in Leo, moon in Aries, rising sign Aquarius
What your parents did/do for a living: Both had many jobs. They were both Eastern Airline workers when they met.

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Growing up, my father was a wedding singer/court officer and my mother was a pie-maker/my lunch lady/IRS employee/travel agent. I’m pretty sure there's more I'm leaving out.

Current audition song/monologue:

I switch it up a lot, but I've always gone back to "Acid Queen" for auditions, unless something more calm and moody is required. Then I dig "I Can't Make You Love Me" by Bonnie Raitt. Monologues??!? Hmm, I guess I need a monologue! How about Parker Posey's monologue from the outtakes in "Waiting For Guffman"...

Special skills:

I'm a wife and mother. I was a Senior Level figure skater, which was my ENTIRE life from age 5 - 18. I play bass (to write songs, not to play out or achieve Verdine White status). I write songs and theatre pieces. I knit pretty well. Also pretty good at sports. I make a mean apple pie, and I can tie a cherry stem into a knot with my tongue.

Something you're REALLY bad at: Finding my way around the dang theatres we go to in every city on tour with Hair. Ask anyone. I am lost until the Sunday before we leave.
First Broadway show you ever saw:

On Broadway: Rent. Anywhere: I saw Fiddler when I volunteer ushered with my sister at the North Shore Music Theatre. That had to have been in the early nineties.

Current show other than your own you have been recommending to friends: I haven't seen a lot of theatre lately, being on the road. I did see Prometheus Bound at A.R.T. in Boston this spring, and I couldn't stop talking about how incredible it was on many levels. I hear it's NYC bound and recommend that everyone see it if and when it arrives!
Some favorite musicals:

Hair, Les Miserables, Grease and Rent totally influenced me while growing up. And then I was fortunate to be cast in them, which gave me the experience of taking on the roles I'd admired for many years. For this reason, these shows will always be among my favorites. My favorite movie musical when I was a child, though? Yup. "Xanadu."

Personal Vocal Idols, living or dead: So many for so many reasons! A few: Michael Jackson, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Chaka Khan, Ani DiFranco, Stevie Wonder, Odetta, Neil Young, Stevie Nicks, Nina Simone, Janis Joplin
One performance - attended - that you will never forget: I watched the musical Tommy from the balcony at the Colonial Theatre as a freshman in college. I loved it so much that I vowed to be a performer and to play that theatre one day.
Music that makes you cry, any genre:

John Williams' music. Most of his movie scores tear me up. And I don't know who wrote the score to "Forrest Gump" but that SLAYED me. I think ANY music can move me to tears depending on what I'm going through at the time. I remember sitting in a rental car, fed up in Los Angeles, bawling to Wilson Phillips' "Hold On" like a NUTCASE. So yeah.

MAC or PC? MAC
Most-visited websites: Anything regarding holistic health care, Waldorf schooling, real estate... and dammit... Facebook.
Last book you read: "Horton Hatches the Egg" by Dr. Seuss. It's my daughter's new favorite.
Must-see TV shows: I don't watch much TV but I like "Bill Maher," "True Blood," "Modern Family," "Anthony Bourdain" reruns. Sometimes if I just want to laugh I watch "Judge Judy." Really.
Last good movie you saw: "The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia"
Some films you consider classics: "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"
"Arsenic and Old Lace"
"All That Jazz"
"Big Trouble In Little China" (Okay fine you might not think so, but it's a classic to ME.)
Performer you would drop everything to go see: Guster, Michael Franti, Sting, Neil Young, Chaka Khan and any of the idols I mentioned before.
Three favorite cities: Other than NYC, where I met my husband: Boston, Austin, San Francisco.
Favorite sport/team/player: Anything Boston. My favorite player will always be former Bruins Bobby Orr and Don Marcotte. I grew up with the Marcotte family and Bobby Orr was a friend of my dad's. I knew them to be good people, so they'll always be my favorites.
First CD/Tape/LP you owned: Michael Jackson's "Off the Wall" and "Thriller"
Cyndi Lauper's "She's So Unusual"
Billy Joel's "Innocent Man"
When you first realized you could sing:

Singing has been my passion since I can remember. I was writing and performing my own shows, to pretend audiences. My dad used to take me to sing with his band at gigs sometimes, and I thought I was a big huge star. The reality that I could actually sing didn't settle in until high school chorale and theatre, though, when you actually had to audition for roles and solos. Being encouraged in that way helped me believe singing or acting could be a career path for me.

How you got your Equity card:

On spring break of my freshman year at Emerson College in Boston, the 3rd National Tour of Les Miserables held an open call at the John Hancock Building. I auditioned, booked Eponine, left school and got my Equity Card. And at the time I truly had no idea what that even meant.

Favorite pre-/post- show meal:

Pre-show: I love a LOADED spinach salad from any good NY Deli. Post-show: My husband Jeremy's home-cooked meals rock my world. I dig his Indian dishes the most.

Favorite liquid refreshment: Coffee. Decaf now, though. Other than that, SMOOTHIES!
Pre-show rituals or warm-ups: I start with soft lip trills in a low range, then work it up to a healthy belt and back. My daughter thinks I'm nuts... or a whale.
Most vocally challenging role you have ever played: Eva Peron in the 2002 European tour of Evita
Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap:

1995, Les Miserables. Marius and I missed our entrance for "In My Life." Pretty vital entrance, as the stage was ROTATING at the time and, if you miss your entrance, you miss your ride. What's worse, we were standing there backstage, spaced out together, ready to enter. It was the weirdest thing! Then we heard that the music was playing but no one was singing. It slowly sunk in and one of us screamed "Run!"

When we ran onstage, we were on the opposite side of where we were supposed to be. Instead of hiding outside Valjean's garden spying in on Cosette, we were just in there with her having a garden party. We had to run past her and through the gates and then stare back at her like nothing happened.

We had missed the entire song and our Cosette broke out into hives. Of course, I was eighteen and didn't realize what a HUGE screw-up this was. When I came offstage, I was laughing a bit too hard for management. I believe that was the beginning of the end of that job for me.

Worst job you ever had: Working at Busy B's, a shrimp shack in Topsfield, MA. It wasn't a bad job, but the SMELL was awful and impossible to get rid of. It was GREAT fun, but man, did I reek. I probably still stink from that job.
Any particularly memorable stage door experiences from this tour? It's always great to meet people who have done Hair before, whether in their regional theaters, in NYC, LA or on a tour. Recently, it was beautiful to hear some NYU students serenade us with "Aquarius" when we came out.
Leading lady role you've been dying to play: Infinity in Born Blue
Leading man role you wish you could play: Hedwig
Something about you that surprises people: I'm a meat eater. For some reason, people always think I'm a vegetarian.
Something you are incredibly proud of: The family I helped create: my husband Jeremy and daughter Ravyn Sioux, as well as the family I came from.
Career you would want if not a performer:

To co-operate an off the grid, organic, self sustaining farm with my family ... named TackettTown. Still a goal. Eventually I want to be churning butter, sheering sheep, spinning wool, harvesting crops and hosting huge harvest/music festivals in a barn-turned-stage. So I guess performing will always be a part of the plan. I'm serious.

Three things you can't live without: Earth, Air, Water...
"I'll never understand why..." ... we all can't just agree to disagree.
Words of wisdom for aspiring performers? Don't put too much pressure on yourself, and TRY not to take the business side of things too personally, whether successes or failures. Breathe.
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