Stephanie Gomérez, Class of 2012, discusses performing in Broadway’s “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”

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Last spring, a group of sophomores, juniors, and seniors saw Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Broadway. As a special treat, Assistant Principal of Organization Ellen Fee arranged for the students to meet up with actress Stephanie Gomérez after the show. Ms. Gomérez is not only part of The Cursed Child cast, she’s also a THHS alumna.

‎‎Specifically, Ms. Gomérez performs as a “swing” for The Cursed Child cast who is called on to fill in for various roles in the play from ensemble parts to roles like Hermione, Rose Granger-Weasley, Moaning Myrtle and more (according to her page on the Harry Potter Wiki). A recent post to her Instagram page shows her playing the Trolley Witch on the Hogwarts Express. 

After speaking with the students on the trip, Ms. Gomérez also agreed to speak to The Classic about her journey from THHS student to Broadway actress.

In the interview that follows, Stephanie, who graduated from THHS in 2012 and went on to get her BA in Theater from SUNY Binghamton, reflects on her career and her aspirations, and offers advice for students wishing to pursue a similar career path. 

Q: What sparked your interest in theater? 

I have been dancing and performing since I was maybe three or four years old, and I loved putting on shows with my sister for my family. I was, and still am, in love with all Disney movies and anything with a song or a dance that I could learn. I grew up in a town where there was no theater community and I knew nothing of Broadway, so it wasn’t until I was in the seventh grade that I even understood that theater was a possibility for me. I had a substitute teacher come in who happened to be an actress, and she was able to get my middle school to put on their first musical. [The show] was High School Musical, and I played Taylor McKessie. From that moment on, I was hooked and could only think about becoming a performer.

Q: Did you participate in anything performing arts-related in THHS or outside of school?

I tried to involve myself in anything that was related to performing at THHS. I was in three musicals, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Much Ado About Nothing, and Once Upon A Mattress. I performed in S!NG all four years there, and if I can brag for a moment, I was part of the graduating class that won their sophomore, junior, and senior year. I sang the national anthem at the Founder’s Day assembly… I was part of the improv troupe, and I took a music class for one semester and played the alto saxophone. Anything I could fit into my crazy THHS schedule that was music, dance, or performance-related, I did. Doing anything outside of THHS wasn’t really an option because my workload was always so intense, and I tried to fill up my time after school with as many extracurriculars that [would look] good on a college application. 

Q: What roles did you have prior to The Cursed Child?

My first few jobs after graduating were original shows that were being submitted to festivals, being workshopped, or readings. My first professional equity job was a co-production of In The Heights. I played Vanessa and we spent six months performing in Milwaukee, Seattle, and Cincinnati. After that, I played Sophie in Mamma Mia!, Olivia in the first regional production of Miss You Like Hell, Thea in Spring Awakening, and Rachel and ensemble in On Your Feet! at The MUNY. I filmed a couple of commercials, but none ever aired. My first TV co-star job was on Netflix’s Inventing Anna, and I played one of the assistants.

Q: What was the process of landing your role in The Cursed Child

While doing Mamma Mia!, I submitted myself to an open call for The Cursed Child. I was asked to film an audition tape and send it in. After that job, my original plan was to go back and do a fourth leg of  In The Heights in Portland. I decided to turn that down because I also auditioned for and got offered the role in Miss You Like Hell. I decided to do the show in Baltimore, so I could be closer to NYC in case I got any major auditions, which is exactly what happened. While in Baltimore, I had to spend my only days off taking the train back to NYC for the day for auditions and callbacks. My first in-person callback was a [one and a half] hour movement call and then reading sides. My second in-person callback was the same thing except there were more casting and creatives in the room. Knowing that I could only be in the city on my day off, I was asked to film and send in another tape for an additional character. Then my final trip back to NYC was a flight evaluation. Weeks went by and I heard nothing. Close to the end of my run in Baltimore, I received an email from casting asking if I was still available and on my final week of performances, I got the phone call telling me that I was being offered a swing role in The Cursed Child on Broadway. 

Q: How was your rehearsal schedule structured for The Cursed Child

Because I was part of the incoming year that was set to open right before the pandemic shut everything down, I had two very different rehearsal processes. Back in 2020, we rehearsed Monday to Saturday for about [six to seven] hours. The show was already up and running, so on all but one of the rehearsal days, the 11 new incoming cast members would rehearse one act of the two part version per week. Some people were jumping in to replace the playing cast and some were rehearsing to be swings so most days, everyone would learn and play two or more of their parts. Then on Friday, the cast that was already in the show would come in before their performance that night and do a run-through incorporating all new cast members. When we returned in 2021, we were basically workshopping the new one part version, so it was a lot less hands-on for me as a swing. It was still six days a week and just as many hours, [but] this time around, my rehearsal process was mostly watching, taking notes from the side, and stepping in if the playing cast member had to step out for a costume fitting or a dialect session. 

Q: Do you feel that your time in THHS impacted where you are today? If so, how did your experience influence you?

I think the most useful thing THHS drilled into me was time management. Being able to organize and prioritize certain tasks and responsibilities is such a useful tool for me as an actor [because] being in a show doesn’t mean the auditions or life stop. So during contracts, I have to learn my track [and] audition for my next jobs while still dealing with things like pet care, home care, finances, finding time for friends and family, etc. It’s a lot, but these habits are ingrained in me [due to working] on those skills from such a young age.

Q: What are your plans and goals for the future?

Essentially, my goal is to keep challenging myself. That could be getting a lead role on Broadway, booking more TV and film work, [or] dabbling with directing or producing. Personally, I don’t want to have a comfortable or complacent career. I want to keep learning and growing, and in this career, the possibilities for that are endless. 

Q: Is there any advice you would give to students interested in pursuing a career in the arts?

My go-to advice is this: if you have any other careers that you could see yourself being happy doing, do that other thing. Performing is physically, mentally, and emotionally draining, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. That being said, if nothing else makes sense to you and every other job makes you miserable, like myself, then you’re making the right decision and that passion will get you far. Along with that advice, I’ll also say that there is no ONE definition or image of what being a successful performer is. It could be being a Broadway star or celebrity, or it could be being able to support your lifestyle solely on acting jobs. You define what success is for yourself.

Photo by Classic Staff