Broadway Series: Unsung Heroes of Theatre
As part of our ‘Unsung heroes of theatre’ Broadway Series, ‘The Fame Reporter’ interviewed the gifted and dedicated triple threat, Gabi Campo. She is currently starring as a Swing covering 10+ ensemble parts and understudies the lead roles of Emma and Alyssa in the fan favourite original Broadway musical, ‘The Prom‘.
As a Los Angeles native, Gabi is a graduate of Pace University – School of the Performing Arts with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theater and is so grateful to make her Broadway debut in ‘The Prom’.
‘The Prom’ is a musical with music by Matthew Sklar, lyrics by Chad Beguelin, and a book by Bob Martin and Beguelin, based on an original concept by Jack Viertel and directed and choreographed by Casey Nicolaw.
The story follows four famous Broadway actors as they get a bad review and decide to find a cause to get them back in the spotlight. They travel to the conservative town of Edgewater, Indiana, after reading about a lesbian student, Emma who was told by the school board that she couldn’t take her girlfriend to high school prom.
The Broadway legends want to help her and receive some positive press but find they are brought back down to earth and learn that giving back is more important. The musical has fabulous dance numbers, heartbreaking songs and a clear message of acceptance.
The show made its world premiere at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia in 2016 and premiered on Broadway at the Longacre Theatre in October 2018.
We talked to Gabi about her Broadway Debut, juggling being a swing and understudy, how this beautiful show changed her life and more.
See our interview below!
Welcome to The Fame Reporter Gabi, what sparked your interest in performing initially? My parents are both performers, so I was around performing and art from basically when I was in the womb.
How has being part of ‘The Prom’ impacted you?
In so many different ways… first changing my life- this show has gifted me with my Broadway Debut – a lifelong dream of mine, as well as being impacted by the kind of mark it leaves on people.
It is such an important message of love, acceptance and has such a big heart. It has changed my life through the lives it has made better.
What has been your favourite moment being a swing and understudying lead characters in your Broadway debut?
It is NEVER boring when I go to work! I kind of feel like Cinderella…and I get to go to the ball every night and I never know what to expect!
What has been the most rewarding and challenging parts about performing in ‘The Prom’?
Being a swing is extremely hard work. I cover around 10+ parts in the show and learning it all and never knowing which part I’m doing is extremely hard on my nervous system.
But to be able to take that final bow when I’m on for Emma, or to go through the emotional journey that Alyssa has, or to change minds when I play Shelby… THAT is what I do it for.
To be able to hear people’s stories at the stage door about how The Prom has helped them…that is immeasurable.
We were at the show the day you made your Broadway principal debut! How did you react the day you found out you were going to go on for your Broadway principal debut as ‘Emma’ and what was that day and experience like? Wow! That’s incredible! It was truly one of the best days of my life. My entire family was in town because I was on for an ensemble role earlier in the week and the day I was going to make my Emma Debut, I only told my mom!
So when my sister and my Dad got to the theater (not even thinking I was going to be on!) and saw my name on the board saying, “The role of Emma will be played by Gabi Campo” they were surprised, speechless, and starting crying immediately. I know that because my mom took a video! Hehe! It was truly a surreal and sublime experience.
Do you have a role in musical theatre/straight theatre that you are dying to play?
Sally Bowles in ‘Cabaret’. Hands down. I played her in High School and would die to take another stab at it.
What have the characters Emma and Alyssa individually taught you?
Emma is such an incredible character. At the beginning of the show she is no longer in contact with her parents, because they do not approve of her being gay.
That would be hard for ANYONE. But instead of shying away and becoming depressed, she knows that she must stay positive, optimistic and courageous, because she is fighting for what is right.
She has taught me so much about remaining positive in the face of adversity, for standing up and to keep smiling when everyone has beat you down.
Alyssa is incredible also, because although not as courageous as Emma initially, she eventually stands up and faces her fears, which is a huge lesson for anyone to learn. She learns to not have her anxiety get the best of her and shows audiences and herself that it doesn’t take acceptance right away- but a conversation. Acceptance of herself.
She has taught me that I am perfect just the way I am.
What 3 performers dead or alive would you love to have a dinner party with?
– Elvis Presley
– Jennifer Lopez
– Emma Stone
What is it like juggling the ensemble roles you swing and what does being an understudy mean to you?
It’s a lot of fun!!! My brain hurts most of the time. It’s a lot of hard work, upkeep and a positive attitude.
Being a swing and an understudy means serving the company. You are there to save the day!
What do you hope audiences take away from ‘The Prom’ and what do you believe it teaches the youth and society of today?
I hope that society takes away from ‘The Prom’ that your ‘Unruly heart’ knows no bounds and that living a true authentic life is 100% better than living a lie or in fear.
“It may not be all fairytale endings, but at least you’ve lived.”
Can you reveal any projects you have coming up after your time at ‘The Prom’?
I’m joining the cast of the Revival of West Side Story directed by Ivo Van Hove! We open in February 2020!
Fame Reporter Word Play
Comedy or Drama
West Side Story
Go-to Karaoke song?
“I wanna dance with Somebody” by Whitney Houston
“Start Spreading the news…”
Summer or Winter
Any secret talents
Favourite song right now
Juice by Lizzo
In the Heights
Dressing Room necessity
Favourite dance number in The Prom
Tonight Belongs to Us
Dance or sing
Favourite song in The Prom
Dance with You
Place you want to travel to
TV Show Binge
Big little Lies
Finally, favourite thing about performing
Thank-you for joining us at The Fame Reporter. We wish you all the best for the last few shows of The Prom at the Longacre Theatre until 11 August on Broadway.
Get your last minute tickets here and stay tuned for the National Tour of ‘The Prom’ beginning in February 2021.
Check out Gabi in Ivo van Hove’s new Broadway revival of West Side Story, opening in February 2020.
Follow Gabi’s adventures on social media here!
All photos – Supplied