THE BEAT

Crago home for the holidays in ‘White Christmas’

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Before we get to dreaming of a white Christmas, Darien Crago is looking forward to a home Thanksgiving.

The Westerville native is a cast member in the touring production of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, which plays the Ohio Theatre Tuesday through Sunday of Thanksgiving week.

Crago, who relocated to New York City in early 2012 to pursue a professional career in the theater, is appreciative of the coincidental development.

“To be home over Thanksgiving, that worked out well,” Crago laughed.

“What will be nice is having access to a car, so maybe I’ll have a chance to show some of the cast my favorite places around the city.”

Crago said she also was pleased to have the opportunity to return home doing what she loves to do.

“I’m so lucky. I’ve got tons of friends and family who are coming to see the show – and I get to come to them. They have traveled to see me in Houston, Alabama and, of course, New York. My family has always been very supportive.”

The return trip may have been maternally preordained, Crago added.

“My mom has always subscribed to the Broadway Across America series, so when she got an email with what would be coming to Columbus, she sent it to me with the note, ‘Do your best to get into one of these,’ ” Crago said.

Crago’s interest in performing was fostered early. She started taking dance lessons when she was 3 years old. She didn’t begin to explore the theater until she was in her teens, but she took it very seriously, opting for an online high school so she could devote extra time to dance and theater classes. She attended Wright State University, graduating in 2011 with a bachelor of fine arts degree.

She worked regionally for the next few months before making the move to NYC.

“So much has happened (since the move) and I’ve been fortunate to have some success. I landed my first gig early (as the lead in a production of 42nd Street) which led to another job doing Dames at Sea in Annapolis, Md.”

“That’s not to say it isn’t a lot of work. People thought I was crazy with my audition schedule, but I kept telling them that’s why I came to the city.”

When she landed the role in the White Christmas tour, “I was over-the-moon excited,” she said.

“Dance came first for me, and my favorite roles still feature dancing. I especially love the traditional musicals, the show-within-a-show from the ’30s to the ’50s.

My parents introduced me to all those old musicals, and it definitely stuck.”

Which makes White Christmas, in which Crago is a member of the female ensemble and an understudy to Rhoda, one of the featured chorus girls, an especially good fit.

“People who love the classic movie are not going to be disappointed. It’s a great adaptation, and all the classic numbers are there.”

Not surprisingly, Crago’s favorite moments involve dance, with a “huge dance number” at the end of Act I to Blue Skies, and the opening of Act II with a tap sequence to I Love a Piano.

“And I can’t give it away, but I can tell you there’s a big surprise on stage at the end of the show.”

Tickets are $80-$30. Visit columbus.broadway.com.

 

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