By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Northborough – Christina DiMare’s resume is filled with stage credits including eight summers with the Hudson-based River’s Edge Arts Alliance (REAA) and performances at Algonquin Regional High School (ARHS) in Northborough, where she’s now completing her junior year. She also landed her first professional gig last summer at the largest operating regional theater in New England.
The DiMare family moved from Framingham to Northborough when she was 7 and entering second grade at Marguerite E. Peaslee Elementary School. Her mother suggested a summer theater camp to meet other children.
“I was very shy as a kid,” DiMare acknowledged. “My mom wanted to give me a chance to meet new friends. Another reason she thought theater might be good for me was that I’d always been singing since I was very little, but not in shows.”
A timid 7-year-old DiMare attended the REAA’s Summer Drama Workshop program for grades one to three. After a successful debut, she progressed through programs designed for three age groups. More experienced at age 14 in the program for grades seven to 10, she played the lead role of a talented young showgirl in the quintessential backstage musical “42nd Street.” DiMare appreciates the guidance she received from the REAA.
“I loved my summers growing up with them,” she said. “They’re so welcoming and helpful – a great way to be exposed to theater. They’re like a big family.”
DiMare drew upon her musical theater training while attending Robert E. Melican Middle School. There, she portrayed the Baker’s Wife in “Into the Woods” and Fiona in “Shrek the Musical.” Since that time, she has been taking dance, voice and piano classes.
At ARHS, DiMare has musically returned to yesteryear in nostalgic shows directed by English teacher Tom Alera. As a sophomore, she played the vivacious flapper Babe O’Day in the 1920s-era musical “Good News.” Earlier this school year, she accepted the challenge to portray the confident nightclub singer Reno Sweeney in the circa-1930s musical “Anything Goes.”
“My favorite role I’ve ever done is Reno Sweeney,” she declared. “Reno is so different from who I am. She’s very outgoing and bold; I feel that I’m strong in a more reserved and quiet way.”
DiMare also sings with the ARHS Chamber Choir and the a capella group Algoncaplla under the direction of Katherine Waters.
Between freshman and sophomore years, DiMare relocated her summer theater training to New York City when she auditioned and was accepted at the Broadway Artists Alliance (BAA). According to its website, “Located in the heart of NYC’s theater district, BAA is uniquely situated to offer classes taught by Tony Award winners, Broadway performers and NYC’s top casting directors, agents, coaches and choreographers.”
Among DiMare’s instructors at BAA was Randy Graff, who starred as Fantine in the original Broadway production of “Les Miserables.”
“She worked with us on character development throughout a song and making it personally meaningful,” DiMare relayed. “Learning from people who are actually working in the business is very valuable. You don’t find that a lot in workshops for teens.”
For her 16th birthday, DiMare asked to see a stage musical. Her mother’s favorite is “Billy Elliott the Musical,” which was scheduled at the North Shore Music Theatre in Beverly. After seeing the show and being impressed with the theater, the DiMare family checked its website for auditions. Last summer, DiMare auditioned at the theater and was hired to perform in the youth chorus of the classic musical “Singin’ in the Rain.”
“Getting to watch the leads and adult ensemble members in rehearsals was such a great learning experience,” she said. “I studied the choices they made, decided what I thought worked well, and used that for my own performance.”
DiMare is researching colleges with a bachelor of arts program in theater. She’s also looking forward to performing next school year in music and theater extracurricular activities as an ARHS senior.
“My closest friends are all doing theater with me,” she said.