Carly Titus was a member of the ensemble in Thomas Nelson's production of "The Grand Duke."
Fitting in when taking classes at a community college while also enrolled in high school can be tough. However, Tabb High School senior Carly Titus has found her “fit” at Thomas Nelson thanks to her voice.
“I’ve always had a really big voice, just size-wise for my age, which is why I didn’t fit in very well at my high school choir level because I just sound really different from other girls my age,” she said. “I think I fit in a lot better (at Thomas Nelson) with adults with more mature voices.”
Titus has always enjoyed singing and performing, so finding herself on stage was natural. Being cast in the College’s summer operetta, “The Grand Duke,” marked her third Thomas Nelson production. Having performed in “HMS Pinafore” and “Gypsy,” she was recently cast in "Into the Woods" as Snow White and a puppeteer. Also in the show, she is Rapunzel's understudy. The show will run weekends Nov. 9-18 at the Dr. Mary T. Christian Auditorium on the College’s Hampton campus.
Torrie Sanders, resident designer and theater manager at Thomas Nelson, thinks highly of Titus, who recently turned 18.
“She’s incredibly talented, and she’s mature beyond her years,” Sanders said. “She does not present as a high school student. Her talent is developed a lot more than most high school students we encounter. She’s a better vocalist. She’s a better actress.”
Titus, the oldest of Mark and Michele Titus’ three children, admits being on stage with much older performers is intimidating.
“You don’t know how people are going to respond when you say, ‘I’m a high school student.’ But most of the time, everyone’s very nice about it,” she said.
For “The Grand Duke,” Titus was among a handful of high school students in the cast.
“It was super fun because there were no high school students in ‘Pinafore,’” she said. “But this time, I actually knew them from a different camp I had done so that was really fun to have other high school kids.”
Sanders said the high school students don’t get any preferential treatment on set.
“We treat them just like we treat the college students,” she said. “Sometimes with the newer high school students, they’re finding their place in the cast. But they always do.”
Titus took piano lessons through middle school so her first performances were recitals and talent shows. She has been taking voice lessons since age 11 or 12.
“I’ve always had a big operatic sound so it’s really cool to do the more classical stuff here,” she said of her performances at Thomas Nelson. “Contemporary music theater doesn’t fit my voice very well.”
Since she considers herself a singer, she has to concentrate more on the other aspects of performing.
“I have trouble remembering the choreography sometimes,” she admitted. “I’m not as much of a dancer or an actor so I’ve developed those along with my theater experience.
“I’ve always been a singer first, and then learned the acting and dancing.”
After graduating from Tabb High School next year, she plans to audition for James Madison University and George Mason University. She’s planning to major in “music of some sort, vocal performance or education.”
As for her career goals, she’s “hoping to be some sort of music educator or maybe perform for a while and then teach private voice lessons. I really think that would be fun.”
She said among her dream roles are Zerlina in “Don Giovanni” and Susanna in “Figaro.”
“I’m working toward playing younger girl roles called soubrette roles,” she said. “They are for lighter soprano voices versus big dramatic lead roles.”
Sanders is confident Titus will succeed no matter what roles she lands.
“She’ going to be a star,” she said. “Whatever she sets her mind to, she will do it.”