Broadway next stop for NU junior cast in ‘Spring Awakening’

Christina Chaey

Communication junior Morgan Karr will head to Broadway in July to join the cast of “Spring Awakening.”

“It’s such an incredible show,” Karr said. “It’s really incredible to be a part of it so early in its run, because it’s brand new and still very hot in New York.”

Karr called the audition process the longest he’s ever experienced. The process began last year when Karr attended an open call in Chicago for both the “Spring Awakening” national tour and its Broadway company.

“I felt great about it, but you really never know,” he said. “You don’t really get intricate feedback on how well you did.”

It was six months before Karr received another call from the casting director. A few days later, he flew to New York for a final audition.

Though the process was wrenching, Karr said he refused to let the stress affect his performance.

“There was a moment when I looked around at final audition and I saw all the guys who had made it to this final round, and you start to wonder what exactly (the directors) are looking for,” Karr said. “But I sat myself down and decided that, at the end of the day, I’m going to show them who I am and the work that I’ve done. It’s out of my control from there.”

Finally, on April 9, the directors offered Karr a place in the Broadway ensemble of the show, which won eight Tony Awards in 2007, including Best Musical. Karr accepted the position officially on Tuesday.

As well as being part of the ensemble, Karr will be trained to understudy for four to five different roles.

Karr’s main support throughout the process came from his acting teacher, Prof. Mary Poole, and his best friend, Kaitlin Fine.

“I’ve known Morgan for four years now, and there was never any doubt for me that he was going to be successful,” said Fine, a Communication junior.

Karr will be going home to Nashville, Tenn., at the end of Spring Quarter before heading to New York.

Poole, who has worked with Karr for three years, said she will miss his “energy and courage.”

“We support each other, invest in each other and squabble just like everybody else, but in the end care very deeply for each other, and he’s very much a part of that community,” Poole said.

Support from friends and faculty and the experience Karr has had at NU have been “invaluable,” he said.

“(At the audition) I did what I do in my acting class,” Karr said. “What we learned at school I applied to this audition, and it obviously worked out well.”

Karr said he is excited to join the NU family within New York’s theater community.

“I have a lot of friends who are out there right now,” he said. “I love this city that never stops.”

Karr will get another taste of New York when he and the other members of Purple Haze, one of NU’s 14 a cappella groups, will perform at Lincoln Center in the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella final Saturday.

Karr’s success reflects well on the entire NU theater community, Poole said.

“When someone honestly has a victory like this, it’s a victory for all of us,” she said. “His success here is a big ‘Yes’ to all of us at Northwestern and all of the actors in his class. His energy and his courage will be missed terribly.”

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