On the third day of her internship this past spring at Manhattan’s landmark Public Theater, aspiring theater producer Alexandra “Allie” Carieri CC’15 had what she calls a “spiritual” moment when she found herself on the stage where Hair: The American Tribal Rock-Love Musical premiered in 1967. “This is my Notre-Dame cathedral,” she recalls thinking.
Hair was the first show Carieri produced at the College, for the Columbia Musical Theater Society (CMTS) in fall 2012. Though she began acting in commercials at a young age and was cast in a few shows on campus, that producing experience made Carieri realize that she prefers being behind the scenes. “The things no one thinks about — schedules, contracts, budgets, making sure actors have everything they need and that everyone’s happy — that’s what I like,” says Carieri, who also produced The Rocky Horror Picture Show for CMTS in fall 2013.
Carieri’s other producer credits include two of the King’s Crown Shakespeare Troupe’s annual outdoor spring shows — Cymbeline in 2013 and Much Ado About Nothing this year — and the group’s 2015 Egg & Peacock: A 24-Hour Play Festival, an anthology of student plays created, rehearsed and performed within a 24-period. After two years as a writer/lyricist for the extravaganza, this year she stepped into the more central role. “You’re amped up on adrenaline and everyone is tired, but it’s so much fun to see the audience laughing,” says Carieri.
Carieri, who is from Southern California, considers it a dream fulfilled to have been twice part of the Varsity Show. (She was an ensemble member for V118 her first year and a producer for V120 her junior year.) During summer 2013, Carieri worked with other V118 alumni on Lydia & Tom: A New Musical, written by Solomon Hoffman CC’14 and Nick Parker CC’14, which was accepted at the New York International Fringe Festival. Her role as general manager and marketing director afforded her valuable exposure to New York City’s entertainment scene, as did internships with Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, advertising agency Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners, and Roundabout Theater Company.
In her senior year, Carieri, an American studies major and a member of the sorority Kappa Alpha Theta, was president of the Columbia University Performing Arts League. An umbrella organization, CUPAL fosters cooperation among the groups that make up Columbia’s performing arts community in order to ensure that each has the resources it needs. “It’s an organization I was lucky to be a part of because I support what it stands for,” says Carieri, who received a 2015 King’s Crown Leadership Excellence Award for her work with CUPAL.
This summer, Carieri will continue interning at the Public Theater, where she will work on the famous Free Shakespeare in the Park program, which consists of free performances at an outdoor theater in Central Park. As was the case at Columbia, however, she hopes her professional career will be defined by diversity. “One of the things I loved most about my time at Columbia is that I got to try many different styles of shows,” she says. “I really enjoy the variety and the challenges that each brings.
Nathalie Alonso CC’08, from Queens, is a freelance journalist and an editorial producer for LasMayores.com, Major League Baseball’s official Spanish language website. She writes “Student Spotlight” for CCT.
This article was originally published in Columbia College Today.