After spending three and a half years understudying the role of Mary Poppins on Broadway, Elizabeth DeRosa decided to take a break from the big city. This past February, the New Jersey native gave up her New York apartment to star as the sugar-dispensing Disney heroine at Wisconsin's Fireside Theatre. She is now spending her summer in East Haddam, CT, playing Hodel, Tevye's righteous second-eldest daughter in the Goodspeed Opera House's production of Fiddler on the Roof. So far, DeRosa's been enjoying the time away from the pressures of city life by going on hikes, picking berries and observing a family of Ospreys that, along with the cast of Fiddler, has taken up residence in the Connecticut River town. As Mary Poppins would say, DeRosa's summer is turning out to be "practically perfect in every way."
DeRosa chats with Playbill contributor Whitney Spaner about landing her dream summer job, bonding with her Fiddler castmates and the popularity that comes with being one of the only members of the cast with a car.
Is this your Goodspeed Opera House debut?
EDR: Yes, but I have wanted to work here for years. It's so beautiful and you're in the country, away from the city, but we're close enough to go back if we have to or just to visit. It's the most perfect summer job that I could have, honestly. For the past two seasons I have tried to get appointments to work here through my agents but when I saw that they were doing Fiddler this summer, I knew there was a part for me, so I thought, "I'm just going to go to cold call this year," and I booked a lead role. That's what's awesome about Equity: They have to have these calls and people book work from them.
EDR: If you ask around, you will definitely get mixed reviews, but personally where I am in my life, I am absolutely happy to be out of the city. And it's not that intimidating because you can head back if you have an audition or something comes up, so there's less of an, "Oh my God, I'm in Wisconsin," which is where my last job was. I was playing Mary Poppins in Wisconsin from February to April, but before that I was in Mary Poppins for three and a half years so I hadn't been out of the city in a very long time. Now I am thoroughly enjoying my time out of there. It's lovely.
As an actor, is there a lot of pressure to book jobs in the summer?
EDR: There is, and auditions for the summer season happen in February and March, when I was in Wisconsin. I found out I had this job, which is one of the most coveted summer positions, in February, so when I was in Wisconsin I could relax and not have to worry about finding a summer job. There were plenty of things I would have auditioned for, but I would have been working every single day putting something on tape and I didn't have to do any of that. I don't have my next job after this so I'm doing a little more right now, but, like I said, I'm close to New York so it's not so stressful.
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