11-year-old takes over Broadway

Carly Rose Sonenclar has been lighting up the stage since she was seven, and singing since she was only two. Now, she’s preparing for the role of Chloe in the brand-new Broadway musical, Wonderland, which is a take on Alice in Wonderland, opening in March. Hear what this talented girlie has to say about the enormous career she has taken on at only 11-years-old.


GL: You started singing at two years old. What were you singing then?
I was singing "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" or "Mary Had a Little Lamb," but hey, you have to start somewhere. I'm not quite sure how, but at the age of about four, my parents knew I could sing. They knew I had perfect pitch and were doing anything to get me to a singing teacher.

The teacher we asked wouldn't take me because I was too young. Finally at five, she agreed to hear my voice, then took me immediately. Two years later, I was starring in Les Mis.

GL: Playing Cosette in Les Misérables is a child singer's dream come true. What was it like?

At the time, I had no idea how amazing an experience it was. I didn't even quite understand the concept of "Broadway." Sure, it was fun for me, but I looked at going into the city each day as camp.

At the end of the run I was about eight-and-a-half, maybe nine. That was when it all started to sink in, and then it ended...but only temporarily!

GL: Did you enjoy acting on the big screen as well, in Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 and The Nanny Diaries?
Yeah, that was really cool. They are two completely different worlds, but both a lot of work. Live performances, in my opinion, are more exciting. There's something new every night. For example, someone might forget their lines. They may improvise, which means you always have to be on the ball.

This is the exact opposite of when you are filming. If you mess up a line, or maybe drop a prop, you can do it as many times as needed until you get it right. Nanny Diaries was really my introduction to film. I didn't have much to do on set, but it was fun.

In Sisterhood, I was a little bit more involved. I auditioned with a featured scene that was really funny. After all of the filming was done, they cut the scene [because] the movie was over time in length. I was devastated, but I understood. The premiere was fun and I got to meet a lot of great people, so I can't complain.

GL: Now you're back on Broadway, preparing for Wonderland. How often do you rehearse?
During New York rehearsals, we rehearsed six days a week from 10 to six, and I took breaks to do my schoolwork. Now we are in Tampa, Florida, doing technical rehearsals. This is probably the hardest step in the process of making a show, especially one that hasn't been done before. We are rehearsing 10 hours a day, six days a week, and I am still taking breaks to do my schoolwork!

There is a lot of standing around and waiting, but it all pays off in the end. Everything is looking spectacular so far. Once the show opens, the adults in the show get to sleep late, but I have to get up early to go to school. 

GL: Do you enjoy all of the hard work?

Yes and no. I like working and being with all of the cast members, but at the same time, I miss being with all my friends. In fact, that is one of the struggles that I've had while being away. Keeping in touch with friends is very important when you are gone for a long time.

I recently finished filming The Electric Company for PBS in NYC. I am going to be playing the role of Gilda Flip (one of the pranksters) in the upcoming season. These are all great experiences, and I appreciate every moment of them.

Whether I'm on a plane going to a show location, at a singing lesson, filming a movie or on stage, it's all part of making my huge dream come true.

GL: What's your favorite part about singing and performing?
My favorite part...Wow, that’s a tough question! I love the adrenaline rush before going on stage, and I love watching the finished product of a TV show or movie. I also enjoy seeing a show being put together. The moment you see all of the costumes, lights and scenery in any show, no matter how big or small the production may be, you feel so happy to be a part of it.


by Lindsey Silken | 2/1/2016