Broadway Dolls shimmying to the stage at CAC
Song-and-dance concert group The Broadway Dolls will perform at 7:30 p.m. March 8 at the Community Arts Center, 220 W. Fourth St.
“All of the Dolls grew up somewhere other than NYC,” president and founder of the group, Hollie Howard said. “New York is one of those places where you have to have a plan to get there.”
Howard began her career early, beginning to dance at age 2 and then singing at age 9. She also participated in activities such as cheerleading and choir while in school in her home state of Missouri.
“I went to college for straight acting, and afterwards I worked as a dancer at Disney World for one of their shows for a summer,” Howard said. It was at this time that Howard travelled to Europe, and soon after returning to New York got her first big Broadway show. “Everybody’s story is different,” Howard said, as she found her first big show within two weeks.
After this, Howard decided she wanted to accomplish even more, and left her lead role of Penny Pingleton from the Broadway show “Hairspray” to pursue another dream.
“I decided I wanted to do some other shows, yet at the height of my career, I couldn’t get a job,” Howard said of an industry where there are “more dips than ups.”
It was at this time that Howard began to take jobs singing at corporate gigs, before started her biggest adventure yet. Three years ago, Howard “created the Broadway Dolls with some of my girlfriends, and we would practice by harmonizing in my living room.”
“I wanted to create work for all the girls to showcase themselves,” Howard said. While Howard’s original friends are not currently performing in the show with her, the girls performing are all extremely talented, she said. Just last year, the group began the “arts center touring circuit,” according to Howard.
“We have developed a really great sisterhood,” Howard said. While the group is based in a big city, Howard said that she thinks Pennsylvania is “the best state,” and she has fond memories of driving through the state on road trips with her family as a child.
Howard plays many roles in the group, as she performs on stage but is also in charge of booking flights, making arrangements and sewing costumes, among other things. “We all have nicknames in the Broadway Dolls, and mine is ‘Hollie Doll Mama Doll,’ ” Howard said.
“The show presents the struggles as well as the celebrations of being in this industry,” Howard said. “I think it is important for anyone in the new generation interested in this to see how really hard it is; you have to be persistent.”
Before the show, a “Happy Hour” will allow the audience to meet and dance with the dolls at 6:30 p.m. in the CAC Capital Lounge. Additionally, one lucky patron will be chosen to come up on stage during the performance to perform as one of the dolls. This pre-show party is included in the ticket price. The opening act for the show will then be the Katie Benson School of Dance.