Local teen serves on student board of La Jolla Playhouse

Las Vegas is where successful Broadway shows end up. Where many start out is La Jolla Playhouse in Southern California.

Las Vegas Academy student Rebecca Carroll, 16, is the first valley resident to sit on the prestigious theater's student board.

"She's an incredibly enthusiastic student," said Steve McCormick, education director of the not-for-profit Broadway spawning ground.

Carroll, a junior, is an aspiring actor who has starred in academy productions of "Ascension Day" and "I Never Saw Another Butterfly."

"She's very talented," McCormick added. "She's got a great energy, a great knowledge of the theater, and I thought she'd be a great representative for the playhouse."

The student board, founded in 2004, comprises 22 members, ages 15-19. Current student boards are elected by outgoing ones, and this was the first year any non-Californians applied. (Boston's Joshua Marcus Blanc also was among the 30 applicants, and also was accepted.)

The duties of a student board member, which begin each September, include selling tickets, hosting meet-and-greets between the cast and other high school students, planning parties and marketing La Jolla Playhouse to other young people. Obviously, there is a 263-mile crimp in Carroll's ability to fully function in the role.

"It was just an exciting idea to try," McCormick said of accepting out-of-staters. "Because we are a theater company that has an international presence, creating shows that perform all over the world, we want the student board to promote to a young audience all over the world."

La Jolla Playhouse -- founded in 1947 by a group of actors including Gregory Peck -- has spawned worldwide hits including "Jersey Boys," Billy Crystal's "700 Sundays" and "Thoroughly Modern Millie."

Carroll was introduced to the theater this past summer, as one of 20 students accepted into its six-week conservatory program. (More than 50 auditioned.)

"I saw it advertised in a trade magazine," Carroll said, "and it sounded like a lot of fun."

The conservatory, which costs $1,800, offers crash courses taught by playhouse company members in acting, voice, vaudeville, masks, clowning and (Carroll's favorite) movement.

"Movement was always a bit awkward for me, but it's so important," Carroll said. "People just don't stand stiff when they talk. If I move my arm a certain way, it suggests a certain something."

As part of her board duties, Carroll said she's talking up the theater, and the conservatory program, via e-mail and social Web sites. She added she also intends to speak to the current classes of her former academy teachers.

"It'd be really cool for other kids from Vegas -- especially LVA -- to do the conservatory program," she said. "Even at my school, I had nothing compared to what I had at La Jolla Playhouse."

Contact reporter Corey Levitan at clevitan@review journal.com or 702-383-0456.