Mesa actress creates cabaret autobiography

·4 min read

Aug. 5—Mesa native Alyssa Chiarello, will never forget the first time she witnessed musical theater.

Chiarello had been a part of the choir at Red Mountain High School and the group had begun preparing to put on a concert that featured the music of Broadway.

She admits that Broadway had seemed foreign to her at the time, but Chiarello became infatuated with the history and tunes that roared from the stages of Broadway.

Her love of musical theater then blossomed into her choice to study the matter further in college, move to New York and take up a career in dance.

However, the music of Broadway continued to compel her through some of the toughest times of her life.

Because of this, Chiarello decided to take a leap outside of her comfort zone and tell her life story through cabaret-style dance set to the score of some of her favorite melodies from Broadway.

"I wanted to talk about my life's journey and how musical theater was such a big part of it," Chiarello said. "Once it became a part of my life it was almost ironic how the projects that I was doing and the songs that I was given to sing correlated with some of the events that were happening in my life."

Chiarello also wanted to show people how an introvert like her found confidence through harmonizing to these tunes.

"When I was a kid, I was so shy, but once I started singing, it helped me be able to have a sort of confidence and felt like I could speak up for myself and know who I was," she said.

With a clear-cut idea for a performance, Chiarello reached out to Seth Tucker, United Colours of Arizona Theatre chief development officer , to pitch her idea.

Tucker liked the idea but he asked Chiarello if she could put a spin on her idea so that he could feature her performance as part of United Colours of Arizona Theatre's Summer Series that features four works — all centered around the idea of love.

From there, Chiarello reworked her idea into what she describes as a "love letter to musical theatre" which she aptly titled "Yours Truly."

Audiences can expect to hear tunes from some of the musicals: "Wicked," "Evita," "The Wild Party" and "Funny Girl."

However, Chiarello has two songs she plans to pull out that have deep meanings to her.

"I chose the song 'Raise the Roof' from 'The Wild Party' as the opening number partly because I just want everybody to just feel like we're hanging out and I feel like that sort of sets the tone," she said.

"That was the song that opened my senior recital in college."

Chiarello is also anxious to break out "Home" from "The Wiz" since that was the first musical theatre song she ever sang and the tune reminds her of when her mother introduced her to musical theatre.

Although Chiarello is still deciphering what her final performance will sound and look like, Meribeth Reeves, Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts managing director, feels that this show will further aid in diversifying the shows spotlighted at the center.

"I think because of the perspectives that she's sharing; it allows us to really see things from another view and just learn a little bit more about the world and about how other people see things," Reeves said.

Despite the anticipation leading up to her performances on Aug. 6 and 14, Chiarello's biggest challenges have been timing her performances and keeping her nerves calmed.

"So, timing everything out has been the most challenging part, especially because speaking is what makes me the most nervous, but just being introverted," she said.

However, once Chiarello belts out her first note, she feels that the show will be off without a hitch.

If You Go...

What: United Colours of Arizona Theatre Presents UCAT's Summer Series — Yours Truly: A Cabaret Featuring Alyssa Chiarello.

Where: Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, 7380 E 2nd St.

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6 and 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 14.

Cost: $31