Soon-to-graduate USC senior Janet Krupin has been on quite a ride since her sizzling performance as Anita in West Side Story at Hollywood’s Hudson Backstage Theater just over a year ago.  Having recently made her professional big stage debut as Chanel in Bark! at Civic Light Opera Of South Bay Cities, Janet is currently combining studying for finals, covering Lesli Margherita in The Blank’s See What I Wanna See, and getting ready for her cabaret debut at Sterling’s Upstairs At Vitello’s on Saturday May 15.  Born in the desert of the Evergreen State, Janet grew up In Tri-Cities, Washington, and has been onstage since age 8.  At 18, she moved to Los Angeles to study at the USC School of Cinematic Arts with a double minor in Musical Theatre and Philosophy. She has over 12 years training as a classical soprano and is a 5-time gold medalist and Adjudicators’ Choice at the Northwest Music Festival for her performances. StageSceneLA distinguished Janet as Best Featured Actress In A Musical for her performance as Anita in West Side Story at the Hudson Backstage Theatre last fall.   She is also a member of Boom Kat Dance Theatre. We were lucky to find a few spare moments in Janet’s hectic schedule to catch up with this StageSceneLA favorite, and winner of the “L.A.’s Next Great Stage Star 2010” competition. 

Janet, how did a girl who was born in the Washington State desert (I didn’t even know the Evergreen State had one) and grew up in the Tri-Cities (I had to google to find out where those three cities are) end up on stage at age eight?

Ha! Where do you think all the apples come from? Not the “Twilight” Washington that’s for sure! Honestly, there’s a passionate and energetic theater community in Eastern Washington and I was lucky enough to have parents who exposed me to theater at a young age. It was totally a family affair. Where would I be without those jam sessions with Raffi or Disney sing-along on tape in the old Subaru?  And I owe so much to The Academy of Children’s Theatre. That was where I took my first classes and did my first shows.

Were you a busy child performer?

I don’t know how my parents did it, because I’m pretty sure I went straight from one show to the next for ten years. But my favorites include Annie in Annie, Martha in The Secret Garden, Cinderella in Into the Woods, Belle in Beauty and the Beast, Diana in A Chorus Line, and getting to sing Society’s Child in Beehive.

You trained as a classical soprano for a dozen years. When and how did you first discover the amazing instrument you have in your throat?

Well, shucks, thank you! I did indeed go to a voice lesson a week for twelve years.  Thank you Mom and Dad! But it really was the music teachers I had the fortune to spend time with.  There was my longtime voice teacher in Washington, Elaine Sherperel-Burgess, also Linda Hoffman of The Academy of Children’s Theatre, and waaay back in music class at Canyon View Elementary with Mrs. Linn.  These women were so encouraging over the years and had a huge impact on me.


Here’s a question I’ve never figured out, so maybe you can help me. How do you manage to belt out the same high notes you could sing “legit” and still not damage your voice? (I’m thinking of your rendition of “It’s A Privilege To Pee” in Urinetown.) 

Thank you again, Steven! I was told circa eleven, by someone I’m sure was a very well-intentioned opera adjudicator, that musical theater was the devil and that if I belted, I wouldn’t sing past sixteen. What I’ve learned is that there is a midpoint to be found between the “legit” technique and the “beltier” sound in musical theater. It’s like yoga, the muscle needs to be well-trained and warmed up to do the hard stuff. My voice teacher at USC, Janelle DeStafano has been absolutely my go-to gal for making sure I stay in vocal shape!

Which style do you most prefer?

Actually, I go back and forth. Whenever I’m singing coloratura soprano, I feel the belt bug bite, and whenever I’m trolling the bottom of my range, like in West Side Story’s “A Boy Like That,” I long for the high wire again. The bottom line is, I’m always so grateful for the opportunity to sing at all. High, low, Hammerstein, LaChuisa, Anita or Adele.

So many of Southern California’s finest young musical talent are studying at or have graduated from USC. What drew you to the USC School of Cinematic Arts, where Musical Theater is just one of your pair of minors, the other being Philosophy? 

Yeah!! Go Trojans!! USC has given me so much. Literally, I couldn’t even try to describe all the ways in which my education has allowed me to grow and thrive. Between the Trojan Family and the emphasis on allowing students to explore multiple passions that can assist in their vocations—hence the film, theater and philosophy degrees—I feel like I’ve been really equipped to venture out into the realm of storytelling.

Which classes or teachers have helped you the most?

I am so thankful to have spent so much time in class with Dr. Parmer Fuller, the head of the musical theater minor. 

Why not a musical theater major?

Actually, SC doesn’t currently offer a major.  I fantasize about giving back one day.   “USC Krupin School of Musical Theatre Arts” anyone? 

Sounds like a great idea?  Who else makes your “Best Of USC” list?

I learned a lot from Tony award winner John Rubinstein’s class on auditioning. His class and Dr. Fuller’s demanded storytelling and performance beyond just the vocal execution I was used to and really were a catalyst in my education and understanding of the construction of meaning in performance.


You’ve already amassed a bunch of local credits, both at USC and professionally. Which roles stand out most for you?  I’d imagine that your StageSceneLA-honored performance as Anita in West Side Story would be one of them, right?

It sure was! That was the first lead role I was offered in Los Angeles. I’m so grateful to have been cast in that role and am warmed when I think of the wonderful time I had with that cast and crew.

What else?

Besides West Side, I would have to say Bark! at CLO of South Bay Cities. I owe so much to Stephanie Coltrin, Bark!’s director and a judge for LA’s Next Great Stage Star, for her absolutely inspiring confidence in me and for the career guidance. She is also inspirational to me as a director, I would do absolutely anything that Stephanie asks!

Any other shows?

Two shows that will always be very close to my heart are the two I did with Musical Theatre Repertory at USC, See What I Wanna See and Urinetown.  It seems that people are always impressed when they hear these shows are student-run and produced. I think it says a lot about USC that they allow their students’ energy and devotion to live theater to be personified in what I found to be unforgettable shows to be apart of.

Currently you’re understudying Lesli Margherita in The Blank Theatre’s production of Michael John LaChiusa’s See What I Wanna See, the same role that you played in USC’s Musical Theatre Repertory production last year. What have you gained from being part of this (professional) West Coast Premiere at The Blank?

As a senior in college, just being included in a group of people like this team is so incredible!  During the rehearsal process, I would sit enraptured in the audience and watch the cast work, and just be fascinated. I learned so much from watching Lesli, she is such is a force onstage!  It never ceases to amaze me how a text can transform into so many different translations.  Besides loving the chance to become so intimate with such a complex and meaningful show, I feel entirely honored to have the opportunity to learn from the entire cast as well as the director, Daniel Henning and music director, David O.

You’re about to make your cabaret debut at Sterling’s Upstairs At Vitellos after being victorious in the “L.A.’s Next Great Stage Star 2010” competition. Can you tell us something about the competition?

The competition was a whirlwind! It really felt like my senior thesis in performance.  I am so glad I had my experience in class with Parmer Fuller and John Rubinstein and that Michael Sterling produces such a magnificent opportunity for young performers such as myself.

What plans do you have for your cabaret act, which you entitled Rhapsody In New?

May 15th is going to be a very exciting day. It’s literally the day after graduation, my entire family is going to be here, as well as my beloved instructors and I hope to present a show I have carefully crafted to be more than just a stand and sing.  Rhapsody In New is going to be beloved Broadway songs like you’ve never heard them before. I want to make my people proud, but more than that I want to show what Janet Krupin has learned to do with a mike, a piano, and an hour. I cannot wait for everyone to see it!

You’re still a senior at USC and already have your Equity Card in your wallet. Future plans—Los Angeles or New York? What’s the next step for you?

I am thrilled to say, as I imagine any college senior would be, that I have some really exciting cards on the table.  The future is now, and thanks to my family, and my magnificent friends and support network, I feel ready.  As for location?  New York, Los Angeles… the moon and the sky and the stars. I’d love to pull a Lesli and have cause to head for London! Wherever hard work and song take me!

Five years from now, where do you hope to be career-wise?

I hope to be well on my way to a career in performance and storytelling. Hosting SNL wouldn’t be a bad gig either!

Thanks so much Janet for taking the time to fill us in on your professional life! I can’t wait to be there for Rhapsody In New!

Thank you, Steven!! For doing what you do, and doing it well.

SATURDAY, MAY 15, 2010:  JANET KRUPIN, winner of LA’s Next Great Stage Star 2010 … the most coveted title in Los Angeles musical theater, makes her solo concert debut at Sterling’s in Rhapsody in New with musical direction by Michael Alfera.  Ms. Krupin, who wowed a panel of thirteen Los Angeles theater industry professionals and an overall audience of 750 who judged six consecutive weeks of the theater talent competition –  was unanimously awarded …Stage Star’s 2010 title on January 10. As this year’s winner, she received a $1000 cash prize; a paid headlining engagement at Sterling’s Upstairs including a luxurious Suite, dinner for two at “Californias” Restaurant and an overnight stay at the famed Sheraton Universal Hotel located adjacent to Universal Studios. Additionally, Ms. Krupin received private auditions for three of the Southland’s most prestigious producing organizations: Rigby/McCoy at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts; Cabrillo Music Theatre at the Fred Kavli Theatre/Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza; and Musical Theatre West at the Carpenter Center in Long Beach, CA.  The week after her win, she was also awarded her first Equity Principal contract and a co-starring role in Bark! The Musical at the Civic Light Opera of South Bay Cities at the Redondo Performing Arts Center. The 21 year old, soon-to-be (May 14) graduate of USC, promises a spectacular show of Broadway’s most beloved songs like they’ve never been heard before. 


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