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Happy homegirl



Carrie Janell, a graduate of the North East School for the Arts, is seeing the country and honing her chops on tour with the Broadway musical 42nd Street.
Happy homegirl

By Laurie Dietrich

SA native Carrie Janell returns with '42nd Street'

Warning! Taco-crazed musical theater performers are headed this way. While in Austin, the cast of 42nd Street were introduced to Taco Cabana by San Antonio native Carrie Janell, a member of the show's famously virtuoso tap-dancing ensemble. She claims that they are now obsessed with breakfast tacos and it's hard to tell if she's more excited about a TC run or a reunion with family and friends when the show opens at the Majestic on June 1.

Janell, known locally by her last name, Hamner, which she dropped for professional reasons ("Everyone kept saying 'hammer' at auditions"), started dancing at age 10 at TJ's Dance Factory, and transferred to the North East School for the Arts from Marshall High for her senior year, determined to attempt a dance career. Her experience at NESA cemented that ambition. "Everyone there had a common passion and a common goal," she says. "I learned so much that year, I was enveloped in the world of theatre. It was the turning point."

Two years as a dance performance major at Oklahoma City University followed, and, more importantly, summer stock experience with the Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma. "My best learning experiences have been professional," says Janell.

42nd Street

8pm Tue-Sat,
2pm Sat & Sun,
7:30pm Sun
Through June 6
Majestic Theatre
224 E. Houston
Tickets: 224-9600
"Just to be out there and actually working, to be thrown into it." A cruise ship gig ended her university years, and a lucky Radio City audition resulted in two years of Rockette-hood and a NYC apartment, which she's now given up for her first tour.

Considered by many to be the quintessential Broadway musical, 42nd Street premiered in 1980 and the award-winning revival production opened in 2000. The first national tour finishes in late June, and Janell will return to New York and her sketch comedy troupe, The Mistake. In the meantime, she has enjoyed seeing the country (at 23 she's young enough to do eight shows a week and still have the energy for sight-seeing) and she's looking forward to returning to her hometown as a professional.

"One of my biggest motivators to take the job was when I found out that the tour was going through SA," she says. "I grew up watching shows at the Majestic and the cast of those shows were like stars to me. That's what I wanted to be." A dream come true and Bill Miller's Barbecue. Janell will be easy to recognize onstage - she'll be the dancer with the biggest smile. •

By Laurie Dietrich

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