Suffern, New York native Isabelle McCalla knew she wanted to be a performer after her mom took her to see a performance of Cats on Broadway.
“I was 5 years old,” she said, “and I vividly remember petting one of the actors who crawled down the aisle. After that, my mom bought the VHS of the show, and I kid you not, I watched it every day for a year; I ‘learned’ each track by watching it over and over again. I was a swing in the making, I suppose.”
Aside from recently completing her B.F.A. in Musical Theater from the University of Michigan, McCalla was named the recipient of Equity’s Alan Eisenberg Award. The award, which was created by the union’s former executive director – and an alumnus of the school – is a scholarship awarded to a graduating senior of Michigan’s theater program.
So far, throughout the actor’s career, she has performed in productions including Legally Blonde, Singin’ in the Rain, 42nd Street and The Cherry Orchard, among various others. McCalla even crossed off a bucket-list character, Sally Bowles, when she performed in Cabaret with the university. Although, in addition to playing Anita from West Side Story, she would love to tackle Bowles once more.
Now the ninth winner of this annual scholarship, McCalla plans to move straight to New York City after graduation to continue to pursue her dream of working in this industry.
“It feels unbelievable to win this award,” she said. “It's wonderful to be recognized not only by Alan Eisenberg, but also by the Actors’ Equity Association, which I have a huge respect for. I'm grateful that my hard work over the past four years has paid off.”
For McCalla, she’s also grateful to be a member of Actors’ Equity.
“Being an Equity member means that I will be supported by a union that validates the arts as a viable career path. With the benefits and regulations provided by Equity, I know that I'll always be taken care of. Plus, it's an honor to be a part of a community of the most distinguished actors in the field.”