Caroline Strang takes the stage by storm in “The Legend of Georgia McBride”

Caroline Strang takes the Hippodrome Mainstage by storm in “The Legend of Georgia McBride”

By Amanda Grohowski

After a hop-skip-and-a-jump of 3,661 miles, Caroline Strang is now in Gainesville, Fla., charming audiences at the Hippodrome Theatre as Jo in “The Legend of Georgia McBride.” But, believe it or not, Strang was not always an actress nor was she used to the pounding heat of Florida.

Strang was born and raised in the chilly town of Fairbanks, Alaska. Her first exposure to acting was in her hometown church, where she used to participate in plays. Despite her natural attraction to acting, her parents did not allow Strang to participate in any shows outside of her church. 

Her mom thought theatre people were “wicked,” to which Strang teasingly agrees is true.

So, Strang pursued singing instead, which she says has always been her long-time passion. Strang even thought at one point that she was going to be a Christian popstar.

Strang started her undergraduate studies of opera at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, but later transferred to Western Connecticut State University to finish her degree. After vocal nodes forced her – at least temporarily – to abandon singing full time, 

Strang decided to take a few acting classes before graduation to keep herself busy.

This fateful pursuit of acting led Strang to discover a whole new side of herself and a new world of vulnerability and emotion altogether. She went on to pursue a master’s degree in acting at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she simultaneously was able to work herself back up to a healthy vocal state to be able to sing again.

During her graduate studies, Strang acted in a variety of plays, ranging from light-hearted comedies to emotionally-turbulent dramas. 

But Strang says some of the most impactful roles she’s ever played are those that challenge society’s perspective and portrayal of race.

Strang says that she now understands that every time she is in a show, “Race is an element.” 

Even as Jo in “Georgia McBride,” she feels empowered to take the stage as the only black (and female!) cast member.

Strang praises Jo’s unapologetic nature, which she says challenges many antiquated stereotypes of women. Strang believes Jo’s struggle to keep her life balanced is very relatable and will be to many women that come see the play.

“For Jo, she has to be strong, black and independent and still deal with the realities of life, like paying rent and working hard toward a relationship with Casey,” says Strang.

Strang says she is excited for everyone to see “The Legend of Georgia McBride,” a play that she feels does a great job casting and portraying people of color and differing gender identities.

Come see Strang take the Hippodrome Mainstage alongside a talented cast in “The Legend of Georgia McBride” through Nov. 5.

Visit thehipp.org/georgiamcbride for tickets or call the box office at 352-375-4477.

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