For some performers, it takes years to get that first big job. Candace Quarrels did it her first time out and is now touring the country as Nabalungi in The Book of Mormon, which is currently playing at the Kennedy Center through August 16th. She is a student of Belmont University’s musical theatre program in Nashville, TN.
As a performer Candace has the entire package. Her performance in The Book of Mormon had me saying “WOW!! This young lady has a big career ahead of her.” You can’t help but enjoy the innocence in her portrayal. It’s just so genuine. Her solo turn “Sal Tlay Ka Siti” shows off her gorgeous voice as well. You will honestly think she has been performing professionally longer than she actually has. The performance is that polished. All I can say to you is get a ticket to The Book of Mormon and witness what will be one of our next big Broadway stars. (Insert doorbell)…Hello Candace Quarrels. Welcome to the theatre!! It’s very nice to have you.
Were you always interested in musical theatre as a kid?
Not so much musical theatre as music. I’ve always loved music and performing. From church choir to school recitals, I’ve always relished in being on stage.
How did you hear about the auditions for The Book of Mormon and what was your first reaction after finding out you booked the job?
I actually got a flyer via Facebook about an open call in my college town. I had zero expectations, and thought I was just getting auditioning experience! I auditioned in the middle of a school day, and two weeks later (and a few more auditions) I found out I had a job. Hahaha! It was both a dream come true, and the biggest surprise. I got the call my last day of finals! I went from college student, to a principle on the national tour of one of my favorite shows. Blessed is an understatement.
This is your first national tour. How do you like touring the country and do you ever get homesick?
Before this tour I wasn’t very well traveled I must admit. Every city we have gone/will be going to is completely new to me. A few castmates and I make it our mission in every city to see as many attractions, and eat as much food as possible haha! I am having the time of my life. All that said I often think of home. I have an amazing family and friends who made leaving much harder. But I also have my dog here with me on tour which helps a ton. I rescued Nala from a shelter in Nashville at the start of college and she is truly my home away from home. And the cast loves her haha.
Every performer has a dream role that they would like to play someday. What would it be for you?
Mimi from Rent. Rent was definitely the musical that sparked the flame for theatre inside me. I went through a pretty intense obsession with that show. I know every line and song haha. But hey, I won’t need too many rehearsals when I finally get to do it.
What is the best thing about being a part of The Book of Mormon ?
Being able to share and perform such a fun, beautiful, and charming show every night has truly been a dream. Underneath all the humour and crassness on the surface of the story, there is so much truth and meaning. From Price’s determination and pride, Cunningham’s loyalty and creativity, to Nabalungi’s innocence and optimism, there’s a little bit of the characters in us all.