Blog: Gabrielle Rice: Overtures to The Color Purple

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Learn more about Gabrielle’s whirlwind summer and Signature’s commitment to training the next generation of talented musical theater artists below.

If you saw our recent production of The Color Purple, you witnessed the professional debut of Gabrielle Rice, a recent Overtures: The Musical Theater Institute alumna and current junior at Howard University.

We met Gabrielle last summer during Overtures, Signature’s artist training intensive where students are challenged to refine their performance skills as they prepare to enter the competitive world of professional theatre. It’s thrilling to see our students perform on our mainstage, having received training through our programming.

Signature’s education programming reaches 10,000 students each year, including talented artists like Gabrielle. This year alone, we are employing more than 450 individuals on the stage and behind the scenes to bring our work to life and to continue to expand arts education programming to our community.

We asked Gabrielle to share more about her recent experiences with Signature:

How did your whirlwind journey at Signature begin?

Howard University in D.C. is the only HBCU that has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre, so it was a perfect fit! I knew Signature as the “Sondheim” theater, and I was excited to audition when my professor emailed us about Overtures.

During Overtures, did you audition for The Color Purple?

We did a “mock audition” with the Casting Director, and I was invited for a callback as an understudy in The Color Purple. Then, I was asked to step into the cast as Sofia’s understudy and as Church Lady Doris—I made my debut the following day!

Will you be auditioning at Signature again?

I hope so, but I guess I need to graduate first! I will always treasure the time I spent training with Overtures and performing in The Color Purple.

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