In the Loop
Alumni News : Jul 21, 2016

SOTD alumna Katrina Asmar stars in “West Side Story”

By Briana Lirio

Katrina Asmar is a graduate from the University of Florida’s School of Theatre and Dance. Recently, she has earned a role in a play production of the well-known dramatic love story “West Side Story.” Below is an interview in which she discusses her new role and the journey it took for her to get there.

BL) What is your role in West Side Story? What does it mean to you?
KA) I am playing Francisca, one of the Shark girls. And this show has been such a honest to God dream, so finally being able to tell such a loaded story, and to experience one of the most classic pieces of musical theater ever written, just makes your heart so fulfilled every night when it's all finished.

BL) How long will the show be playing? Where can audiences see it?
KA) We have 4 shows a week, Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 4 p.m. We close July 31. Our production of West Side Story runs in our outdoor tent theatre in Waveny Park, New Canaan, CT. It is approximately an hour drive from Manhattan, or about an hour and a half ride on the Metro North train.

BL) How did you come across this opportunity?
KA) I actually sent a self-submission for this show. I’m so happy I did!

BL) Do you think your experiences at UF helped you reach this milestone in life?
KA) My experiences at UF have definitely helped to propel me to this point in my career. I was blessed to play many wonderful roles while still in school, and during a very unsure time in my life. I learned how to set aside my personal woes and really focus on the job at hand. It was a period of infinite growth for me. Thanks to Tony Mata, Tim Altmeyer, Paul Favini, Ric Rose, Isa Garcia Rose, and Kristen O'Neal, just to name a few.  My dance training in modern and ballet have also propelled me to where I am now in this musical theater business. You really need that dance.

BL) What has journey been like since graduating?
KA) My journey since graduating has been quite eventful. I hit the ground running after our UF Showcase and signed with an agent. Then I booked the “In the Mood” tour, and went around the US and all of Australia. Fun fact, I also turned down 2 national tours before booking “In the Mood.” My heart just wasn't in it. I have also been lucky enough to have booked 4 different regional productions in my short time living and auditioning in this city. I stay as grateful and humble as possible in this business, because it's not easy to book these kind of contracts, no matter your talent level. I work side jobs like catering while in between these awesome opportunities. Let's just say I take a ton of yoga, dance classes, barre, voice lessons, etc. to keep on top of my game. The competition is steady, and feeling strong and confident in yourself before even stepping in the room is key. Just having the peace of mind of knowing you prepared can make or break an audition experience. Hopefully by that point you can let go of any doubt and have full confidence in yourself and live in the material. That's what usually gets me booked. You learn to never expect a call or email, and when a yes comes along, it's really wonderful.

BL) What else have you been working on?
KA) I've been lucky enough to have played Diana Morales in “A Chorus Line” twice now. The first time was at The 5th Avenue in Seattle, Wash. and the second time was this past Feb. 16 at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in Saint Paul, Minn. It's one of the roles where I don't feel like it's difficult to connect to the character. It's like I'm her. I've listened to “A Chorus Line” since I was a kid. "What I did for Love" was on repeat, as well as "Music and the Mirror" and "Nothing". When I was younger, I always said that "What I did for Love" was too hard of a song to sing. And now it's like an extension of my arm. It's hilarious to look back on that now. I was lucky enough to work in these gorgeous 2,000 plus seat theaters and share such an amazing story with these huge and appreciative audiences. I worked with Kerry Casserly and Angelique Ilo at both theaters, two original Michael Bennett and Bob Fosse dancers. Learning the original choreography from them was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. They are a constant stem of love and support.

BL) What does the future hold for you?
KA) I'm so excited for the future. I've always felt like really big things are waiting ahead for me, especially in my theater career. The more I practice what I love and immerse myself in it, the more of myself I uncover. The more I become confident and fearless. The more joy surrounds me, along with the people who are also on board to take that journey. The bigger I dream, the more I realize that it's not something so out of reach. All it takes is focus and energy.

BL) Is there anything else you would like to add?
KA) I am enough, and you are enough. There is only one of each of us and we each have something so special that nobody else has. Our individuality, our creativity, our love and light. Keep shining and reinvesting in yourself, and loving always!

BL) Where can supporters of your art learn more about you?
KA) At my website