Local girl lands coveted role in Trinity's 'A Christmas Carol'

Local girl lands coveted role in Trinity's 'A Christmas Carol'

CUMBERLAND - Tara Sullivan, an 11-year-old standout at the The Wheeler School, is representing the Blackstone Valley in the 2013 version of Trinity Repertory Company's "A Christmas Carol," a timeless tale that illustrates the power of forgiveness.

Sullivan, the daughter of Bob and Buvana Sullivan of Cumberland, says she initially assumed she hadn't made the cast. Two days after she thought she'd be getting a call on whether she'd been selected or not, she got word that she should come back for a second audition, this time with 30 seconds of her favorite holiday song ready to sing.

Sullivan said the request threw her for a loop. She enjoys holiday music, but hadn't thought about which song was her favorite. After browsing songs online, she settled on "The Christmas Song," also known as "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire," and was relieved when those running auditions were familiar with it.

An aspiring musician and actress, Sullivan said she was excited to be selected as one of only 14 children in the children's cast of "A Christmas Carol," a final number that was whittled down from 160. She was especially happy about it given her lack of experience with dancing.

Sullivan was selected to play the part of Fan, sister of the young Scrooge, as well as "a bunch of other little parts" in the show's Red Cast.

"Fan is a fun part because I get to be really excited a lot," she said.

Sullivan is on the stage often during each of her 31 Red Cast performances, said Buvana Sullivan. In some scenes she'll be a poor and homeless child. In others, like the party scene at Mr. Fezziwig's house, she'll be a holiday reveler.

Sullivan said being part of such a wonderful cast and crew is showing her that performing is what she wants to do for the rest of her life.

"I hope for it to be a career," said the girl who's been singing since she was about 5 years old.

The Sullivan family typically does a lot of traveling during the holiday season, but this year they're happy to be staying home. They're planning on taking family and friends to a number of Tara's performances.

"We're totally proud," said Buvana. "It seemed like such a great family holiday thing to do, a reason to be home for the holidays."

The commitment shown by those in the show "is incredible," said Buvana, with six or eight hours a day spent at rehearsal as the show gets closer. She said staff members at Trinity Repertory Company have been great to work with, making sure the younger cast members have the time to get their homework done when not on stage.

"We've been so proud of Tara throughout this whole process, not only because she was cast, but also for her diligence and hard work leading up to that," said Bob Sullivan. "Auditioning for 'A Christmas Carol' is something she has wanted to do for a long time."

Two years ago, the Sullivans found out about the auditions too late, and last year they were visiting family in India during the winter break.

"This year, she was not going to miss those auditions," said Bob Sullivan. "She marked it down on the calendar, counted the days, and reminded us often."

Being a part of "A Christmas Carol" is a whole lot of work, says Tara and her parents, but it will all be so worthwhile.

"I'll be kind of sad when it's over," she said.

Sullivan, a tennis player, has always been more into the arts than her older and more athletic sister Maya, flourishing in settings where she can shine in the spotlight, according to her parents. She's "always singing," says her mom, using a "great range and strong" voice to belt out all kinds of tunes, from classical Indian songs to American pop hits.

For tickets to "A Christmas Carol," running through Dec. 28, or for more on the show, visit www.trinityrep.com .