LOCAL

Campanile cast in Broadway production

Michael Tortorich
Megan Campanile has been cast as an understudy to Ariel in the Broadway production of “The Little Mermaid.” Shown to her left is Larry Schexnaydre, who owns Center Stage Performing Arts Academy. Campanile is a former Center Stage star.

Megan Campanile has made it to Broadway.

The 2005 Dutchtown High School graduate and former Center Stage Performing Arts Academy star has been cast as an understudy to Ariel in “The Little Mermaid.” She will also be in the ensemble and a backup for Flounder.

The production is tentatively set to begin May 26.

The stage musical is based on the 1989 animated Disney film of the same name, and is adapted from the classic story by Hans Christian Andersen.

Campanile has studied at the College Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati over the last three years. She transferred there after a year at LSU.

She started her theater career at Center Stage and in school productions.

She’s hoping her latest role will “open doors” for her career, she said. Starting in theater relatively late at age 16, she worked on high school productions when Dutchtown’s program was still in the early stages of development.

From there she became involved at Center Stage, which was like her “second home.”

She was a gymnast for 10 years before she took voice lessons and began gaining theater credentials.

Two of her biggest fans – her mother Kelley and Center Stage owner Larry Schexnaydre – had nothing but praise for the 22-year-old Broadway-bound actress.

Schexnaydre and his wife Linda hosted a celebration reception at their studio Wednesday evening for Campanile.

Larry said he recognized Campanile’s talent from the first show she ever did with Center Stage.

Though it was a small role, “she almost stole the show,” he said.

He described her stage presence as an “unteachable” quality.

“She has the amazing ability to overcome any obstacles in her way,” he said.

Campanile is in the process of moving into a New York apartment.

“She always wanted to go to the city,” her mother said.

Though the apartment is in a nice area of the city, her mother said she can’t help but worry.

Still she’s excited that her daughter is following her dream and enjoying success.

A Disney casting director discovered Campanile while on tour looking for potential actresses to play Ariel.

Campanile auditioned for the part on Jan. 18, and received a call back Feb. 10.

The mother and daughter “were both screaming on the phone” when they shared the news, Kelley said.

There won’t be much time to dwell on the accomplishment. Rehearsals are set to begin later this month.

“It’s about to become a whirlwind,” Campanile said.