November27 , 2022

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    Wicked, the Broadway sensation, looks at what happened in the Land of Oz… before Dorothy dropped in.

    Likewise, there is more to Chelsea Emma Franko’s journey before landing a coveted role as a standby for Elphaba in Wicked. Her story is one with a foundation of faith in God, a passion for theatre, and parents who supported her. But that’s not all. There was a lot of hard work and rejection, grueling show schedules, along with months without booking a show. And before all of that was a little girl who loved to sing and entertain.

    An only child and resident of the High Desert town of Apple Valley since she was 2, Franko took an interest in entertainment at a young age.

    “My mom tells me before I was even talking, I was singing,” Franko said.

    Chelsea began studying dance, then started Shenanigans’ Youth Theatre Group between the ages of 10-12, where she performed in the shows, Annie and Oliver. Her mother, Karla Franko, also a performer, directed and choreographed Godspell with Shenanigans which deepened Chelsea’s desire for musical theatre.

    “But it was the trip to New York the summer after Godspell when I was 13, that caused me to look at my mom while watching my first Broadway show and say, ‘ I want to do that.’ It started my love passion for musical theatre specifically.”

    Q: What was your first breakthrough in musical theatre?
    A: The thing I would credit as my launching point was a competition in 2012 that I did called LA’s Next Great Stage Star. I won the competition and from there I got an agent and was auditioning for many, many moons.

    Chelsea Emma as Elsa in Frozen. Photo by @_meibaby.

    Q: Was it grueling to do all of those auditions?
    A: Yes, it was hard. When I won the LA’s Next Great Stage Star, I thought it would open so many doors. But I went six months without booking a show.

    Q: How did you handle going from winning a competition to not booking a single show?
    A: I had faith in God and I just kept on auditioning. I also worked at Victor Valley Community College. I even worked the box office to keep myself in the realm of theatre. I developed an appreciation for all aspects of theatre. I don’t take anything for granted because I know how hard it is to do all of those jobs.

    Q: Your mom, Karla Franko started her own theatre company. Where you a part of that?