Actress lands dream role of ‘Violet’ in ATI production


When Sydney Howard first saw “Violet” she was touched.

“It was one of the most powerful theater experiences I’ve had,” said Howard, who saw the show in 2019 while studying in the UK. “The whole message of a young woman learning to say yes, to be brave and to achieve self-actualization was something I could connect with. I knew immediately that I wanted to eventually ever since.


The New York-based Howard will make his Indianapolis-area debut as the title character in the Actors Theater of Indiana’s production “Violet,” which runs Oct. 28-Nov. 13 at the Center’s Studio Theater. for the Performing Arts in Carmel.

“She had an accident when she was 13 that left a horrible scar on her face,” Howard said. “He never healed properly. She intends to go see this televangelist, who she believes with all her soul will heal her.

The musical is set in 1964 in the South amid the civil rights movement. During part of the show, Violet is on a bus traveling from a small town in North Carolina to Tulsa, Okla.

“The scar is treated as a metaphor that we all have things we wish we could change about ourselves,” Howard said. “These things we may not be sure about prevent us from becoming as brave and open in our lives as we could be. It’s a journey that everyone can connect with and that’s what drew me to it.

Howard is on stage most of the time, so there’s a lot of memorizing lines.

“It’s a challenge, but it’s a challenge that I like,” she says.


Quincy Carman, a fourth-grade student at Wood Elementary College in Carmel, plays a young Violet. Carman, 10, heard about the audition from her voice coach, Rebecca McConnell. Carman started playing two years ago. She appeared on the Jr. Civic shows “Frozen” and “The Little Mermaid.”

“I love that this is the first show where I’m the only kid,” Carman said. “I feel like I can learn a lot.”

Carman said she loves Broadway.

“My friends like to watch me play and I like to play,” she said. “It just makes me happy.”

Indianapolis resident Tiffany Gilliam, who plays a music hall singer, has appeared in several shows at the Civic Theater, Beef & Boards, and the Indiana Repertory Theater.

“I heard about the show but didn’t really know the details of the show, so I did some homework,” Gilliam said. “Singing is my first love. I thought it fit the style of the show, fit who I am and my gospel upbringing, so it fit perfectly.

The 11-person cast includes Judy Fitzgerald, one of ATI’s three co-founders.

Indianapolis resident Richard Roberts, who is on the artistic staff of the IRT, directs his fifth ATI show.

“I watched the show and fell in love with it,” Roberts said. “It’s a great show. It’s an interesting challenge because half of the show takes place in a bus. For me, figuring out how to stage that is very exciting.

Roberts said 275 people auditioned across the country.

Maurice-Aime Green, from Las Vegas, performed some songs from the musical while at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas.

“I love the story and Jeanine Tesori is one of my favorite musical theater composers,” said Green, who plays one of the military members on the bus. “The songs appealed to me more than anything. The content of the show is very inspiring.

New York-based Texas Tech graduate Luke Weber plays Monty. He was supposed to play the role in a college production, but it was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When I saw the job posting on Playbill, I sent in a monologue and a song,” Weber said. “Every time I listen to the soundtrack of the show, I get goosebumps. Some shows can be predictable, but this show, you don’t know where it’s going to go.


About Author

Comments are closed.