This week Playbill catches up with Caroline Bowman, who is currently playing Elsa opposite the Anna of Lauren Nicole Chapman in the North American tour of the Disney musical Frozen, which can be seen at Cleveland's Playhouse Square through September 11.
Bowman's Broadway credits include Elphaba in the long-running musical Wicked and Nicola in the Tony-winning Kinky Boots, while her additional touring credits include the title role in Evita (Helen Hayes Award nomination), Lady of the Lake in Spamalot, Rizzo in Grease, and Carmen in Fame. Regionally, Bowman has performed in productions of Gypsy (Cape Playhouse), Evita
(Vancouver Opera), All Shook Up (Muny), and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Toby’s).
Checking In With… Kinky Boots Star Callum Francis
What is your typical day like now?
I lead a pretty simple life when I’m playing powerhouse roles like Elsa. So, typically, I sleep in, have some coffee and breakfast, watch a show or two, get a workout done to warm up my body, shower, warm up my voice, eat some dinner, and head to the theatre. There are some days where I have press or I have my voice lesson every two weeks that break up the “simplicity” of the day, but generally I’m in prep mode for the show. After the show, I like to have a snack (chips and dip) usually and I watch something on TV, then shower and bedtime. Throw in daily phone calls with my husband (Austin Colby) and doggy (Kodak) and usually my mom. Simple is key for me.
Are there any parts of your role in Frozen or the musical that seem particularly poignant/relevant following the events of the past two years?
I mean an obvious choice is that we can all relate to Elsa’s feeling of isolation and a community being separated by fear. The idea that our greatest strength is love, and we are stronger when we come together.
The musical focuses on the bond between two sisters. Can you share a favorite story that helped develop a bond with your co-star?
Lauren and I have known each other through the industry for years and have always been passing ships. We have missed working with each other by an inch several times. I have always loved her energy, spirit, positivity, goofiness, optimism, sweetness, and how comfortable it is to be around her, all aspects that make her a perfect Anna. When I found out she would be my sister, I was so excited to finally get to work with this talented woman. Right before I went out on tour in 2019, I did a concert with Lauren, and we sat with each other the whole night laughing and loving on each other. She said to me at the end of the night, “Aw, now I wish I had auditioned for the tour,” and I responded with “Me too, I just adore you!” Flash forward!!!! Here we are getting to play sisters eight times a week. What a gift.
What is the most challenging part of touring with a show, and what is your favorite aspect of touring?
In a way, they are one and the same. Traveling to new cities all the time and getting used to it can be the most challenging but also the most exciting. We get opening nights every couple weeks, and we get to learn new theatres and audiences, which is fun, but also a challenge. I miss my family a whole lot, too.
During this time of reflection and re-education regarding BIPOC artists and artistry, particularly in the theatre, what do you want people (those in power, fellow artists, audiences) to be aware of? What do you want them to consider further?
I’m not perfect, and I’m trying to continue learning and growing everyday… the education can never stop. The strides we are making are good, but we still have a long way to go. We need to remember empathy and compassion every day. We need to recognize that there is not just one way of looking at something or telling stories, and everyone’s voice matters. More voices/representation allow for better, deeper story telling. We need to keep making room for everyone to have a seat at the table. And, the table needs to get bigger to be more inclusive.
What, if anything, did you learn about yourself during the past two years that you didn't already know?
Performing is a part of my being. It is my air and water. That sounds dramatic, but without it I feel very lost. I know I’m not alone in this. During the pandemic, it became even clearer that this is what I want to being doing with my life. My heart and soul is filled up when I’m on stage and, more than ever in my life, I don’t take any day I get to do it for granted.
Do you have any other stage or screen projects in the works?
Nothing I can talk about right now… however, I can say I will continue to play Elsa for a while longer… I can’t “let it go” quite yet, and I’m in the early stages of creating an album!
Checking In With… The Skivvies' Nick Cearley