Carnegie Mellon University
May 28, 2019

Lindsay Finds Her Path to Broadway

Alumna has starred in Newsies, Wicked and The Carole King Musical

By Bruce Gerson

Pam Wigley
  • College of Fine Arts
  • 412-268-1047
Jason Maderer
  • Marketing and Communications
  • 412-268-1151

Kara Lindsay’s birthday wish came true, putting her on a course to the world’s mecca of live theater.  

The Rochester, New York, native spent her 18th birthday auditioning at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama. That evening, she made a wish, “please let me in, I like it here,” and blew out the candles on her cake.  

“CMU is a top school for musical theater and acting. I did my research,” Lindsay said. “In high school I looked through all my playbills, saw where people went to college and CMU came up often. I wanted a path to Broadway.”

After graduating from CMU in 2007, Lindsay worked the stereotypical waitress jobs and took her talents to regional theaters. She got her big break when she landed a leading role as Katherine Plumber in Disney’s Broadway hit, “Newsies.” After an 18-month run, she got the role of Glinda in “Wicked,” a musical that became part of her life for the next four years in New York and on the national tour.

"I’m so grateful for the education I received. Every professor gave us tough love. You need that or you won’t grow.”

In 2017, she returned to “Newsies,” this time in Hollywood to star in the motion picture adaptation. Currently, she’s back on Broadway, playing the role of famous songwriter Cynthia Weil in “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.”

“I think I’ve been lucky to play these women who are so strong and powerful. Cynthia Weil is no wimp, she’s a spitfire,” Lindsay said before heading to Broadway’s Stephen Sondheim Theatre for her matinee performance. 

Lindsay affectionately recalls her time at CMU — “my classmates are my best friends” — and said she is thankful for the exceptional training and encouragement she received from her professors. 

“I’m so grateful for the education I received. It helped me to learn who I was as an actor. Every professor gave us tough love. You need that or you won’t grow,” she said.

Lindsay praised the work of Barbara MacKenize-Wood, Ingrid Sonnichsen, Thomas Douglas, Anthony McKay, Claudia Benack, Judy Conte and Don Wadsworth.

“The basics of what I learned, I use every day. And the fact that you should never stop learning. That’s what they instilled in us,” Lindsay said. “I was proud to go to CMU. People know the reputation that CMU has.” 

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