“There’s so much competition on Broadway, I would just really like to know that I could do it,” Charlotte Langford says. “I really don’t care how long it takes.”
Remarkable talent, wonderful soul. If one of my students could make it on the Broadway stage, she could do it. She’s got what it takes.
— Emmett Bales, Fauquier High School teacher
• Age: 18
• Home: Near Marshall
• Family: Parents Lori and Hugh; brother Turner.
• Education: In fall will study musical theatre at George Mason University; Fauquier High School, 2018; Marshall Middle School, 2014; Coleman Elementary School, 2011.
• Hobbies: Pottery, painting, photography, reading, embroidery and cooking.
The Fauquier High School senior took in her first Broadway show at the age of 7.
“It had singing, dancing and acting,” recalls Charlotte Langford, who lives near Marshall. “I didn’t realize you could put them all in one until I saw Mary Poppins.”
At the time, Ms. Langford and her family viewed her enthusiasm for musical theatre as a more of a “hobby.”
But that changed when she attended Marshall Middle School.
“I realized I could do shows there and that’s when I really thought: ‘This is really what I want to do’.”
On Wednesday, Ms. Langford, 18, will graduate from Fauquier High.
In the fall, she will study musical theatre at the Fairfax campus of George Mason University, which has awarded her a $5,000-per-year scholarship.
Music and dance lessons at an early age, exposure to Disney movies and a role in the Leeds Episcopal Church’s Christmas pageant about 14 years ago helped plant the performance seed for her, Ms. Langford says.
But her talent for song, dance and acting could be in her DNA.
“My mom played the guitar and sang to me when I was young. My mom used to take dance. My dad did theatre when he was young. So I think it was a combination.”
Ms. Langford has appeared in several school musical productions, most recently a couple of weeks ago as the lead in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers at FHS.
Though she likes dramas, her heart belongs to musicals.
“While plays do have good stories, I think that adding music and movement to it really pushes the story to another level.”
Ms. Langford has “lots of favorite” musicals and at least one role that she certainly wants to perform someday — Molly Levi, the feisty matchmaker in Hello, Dolly.”
“I’m too young now, but I really would like to play Dolly,” the consummate Julie Andrews fan says. “She’s so funny and such a smart character. With the musical being placed in the 1800s, Dolly is such a forward thinking woman that she kind of leaves everybody else in the dust.”
After getting a bachelor’s degree in musical theatre from GMU, Ms. Langford initially plans to return home, audition for parts in Washington and the region and perhaps teach the craft.
Ultimately, Ms. Langford hopes to make it to the big time.
“There’s so much competition on Broadway, I would just really like to know that I could do it. I really don’t care how long it takes.
“I would prefer not to be living on the street, but I would really like one day to be on Broadway, in a cast.”
Her voice teacher, Debbie Balcon of Winchester, believes Ms. Langford has a bright future.
“She’s a well-rounded performer, coming from a dancing, singing and acting tradition,” Ms. Balcom says. “She comes to the stage as a triple threat, which you need for musical theatre.”
Ms. Langford also will benefit greatly from GMU’s theatre program, Ms. Balcom adds.
“I think having a strong college experience and connections — the door is open. She is teachable and lovable. Those are the people who succeed in this business, not the arrogant ones.”
For Ms. Langford, the sky could be the limit, says FHS English teacher Emmett Bales, who has directed her in several school productions.
“Remarkable talent, wonderful soul,” Mr. Bales says. “If one of my students could make it on the Broadway stage, she could do it. She’s got what it takes.”
In mid-April, Ms. Langford and her mother took a train to New York, where they saw four Broadway musicals — Hello Dolly, Carousel, Once on This Island and Jersey Boys — in three days.
The experience convinced Lori Langford that her daughter can hold her own with the best.
“I think right now she could have a role — I don’t know that it would be a lead — but I definitely think that she could handle herself in a show on Broadway,” says Ms. Langford, owner of Big Dog Pots Pottery in Marshall. “Based on what we just saw, she’s as good if not better than the people we were watching.”
But Mrs. Langford remains a realist.
“There are thousands of other Charlottes out there in the world that are equally, if not more, talented in some areas than she is and equally ambitious, if not more so.”
Luck and “connections” will figure significantly into her daughter’s success, she admits.
“You just hope that someone will see her and give her a chance.”
For now, however, her proud parents take comfort knowing their daughter feels passionate about something.
“In this day and age, that’s something — as a parent — to be really thankful for,” Mrs. Langford says. “And, it’s healthy and brings joy to people. What more could you want?”
> Click below to watch Ms. Langford discuss her future: