Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 17th 2015 Contents By Roslyn Carrington Photographer: Mark Lyndersay
May 17, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
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| PROFLIES |
"I am the result of
the blessings of
God and a blessed
"EVERYTHING YOU DO, everything you learn, leads you
to a particular moment," says vocalist and actress, Can-
dice Alcantara. Alcantara is taking part in the upcoming
production of the Broadway blockbuster, Les Misérables,
which is scheduled to run from May 22nd to 24th at
Alcantara is once again taking up the meaty and de-
manding role of Fantine, the mother of Cosette, who lit-
erally works herself to death to ensure that her beloved
child had everything she wanted in life. "Everything sur-
rounds Cosette. Fantine works hard, and does things she
is ashamed of, for her child."
She may not be onstage long, but while she is there, you
notice her. "I die very early, but my scenes are intense.
Every time I play Fantine, I focus on a different side of her;
sometimes it is her softer side, sometimes it's her
strength. You see her transition from that innocent girl
working in the factory ... but she has a child out of wed-
lock, so that is another side of her. It's fun getting into the
layers of the role."
While some of the other roles Alcantara has held are
pretty straightforward, she enjoys the challenge of this
complex personality. She laughs when she reveals that
many of the women she has portrayed have reflected,
shall we say, the seamier side of women's sexuality, such
as Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar and Car-
men, in the self-titled opera.
"Carmen is a very strong personality; she knows what
she wants. Mary Magdalene is just coming out of prosti-
tution to serve the Lord." In Porgy and Bess, Alcantara
has played Clara, the young mother who sings to comfort
her child as her husband sails away. The song? The
beloved and memorable Summertime.
She feels blessed to straddle so many musical genres, in-
cluding classical and jazz. "Musical theatre is a nice
medium between opera and contemporary Caribbean
Jazz. I couldn't choose between them."
She loves the passion of classical music. "Classical music
is life, in extremes. Everyone's either struggling, or having
a wonderful time. There's no in between." She thinks that
people who assume they won't like classical music are
missing out. "When you sit and experience it --- even if it
is in another language ---there's a connection."
The theatre element of her performances are allowing
her to round off her talents, making her more than simply
a singer. "I wouldn't call myself an actress by a long shot,
but having those insightful conversations with Les Mis'
Director, Caroline Taylor --- What is this character feeling?
What's is the impetus for this? --- has forced me to up
my acting chops."
Alcantara has been singing since she was about 6 or 7.
"My sister, Giselle, took me to the mall with her friends,
including Nigel Floyd (who plays Jean Valjean in Les Mis).
There was a booth called Star Search and they were
recording, singing together. I kept pulling at my sister's
skirt, telling her I wanted a chance. That's when they re-
alised Candice could actually sing.... I credit my sister for
Like many women who have achieved success, she be-
lieves that her family has been instrumental in her devel-
opment. "My other sister, Stacy, is a music teacher. My
mother is a certified ballroom dancer. My father was al-
ways crooning love songs to my mother with a guitar,
back in their courting days. You don't realise how it filters
Her mother soon put her under the tutelage of the late
Holitza Seecharan Lawrence, a former Marionette who
was key to her development, along with Enrique Ali, Anne
Fridal, Junior Samuel and Lorna Myers, all of whom not
only supported her, but challenged, pushed, and prodded
her into being her best.
This exposure led to her formalising her education in
Music Business at Columbia College in Chicago. "People
expected me to do voice, but I wanted to learn more of
the business side of things."
She has nothing but praises for the Marionettes. "They're
organised; they're warm, and willing to take the journey
with you. They welcomed me with no problems; every
time I come to rehearse, you feel it's a place they want
you to be in."
By day, she manages Communications at the Ministry of
Arts and Multiculturalism, and her own musical back-
ground informs her goals there. "I understand the needs
and desires of the artistic community. I try my best to
push forward where we can. I get word to the heads as
to what is going on on the ground. When we get through,
it's a small victory."
Her final word is a plea to parents to encourage their chil-
dren to excel in activities beyond academics. "Children
need to have a passion, outside of academics. They need
to know there is something they are good at. Parents
need to validate their children's talents and blessings, be-
cause it makes it easier for them to tell the wrong people,
'No thank you, I'm not interested. I'm the best Moko
Jumbie in my school.'"
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