The Next Big Thing

Tulsa native Clea Alsip is transitioning a successful theater career into film and television.

Tulsa native Clea Alsip has made a career on the stages of Broadway and on-screen. Photo courtesy Clea Alsip.

Tulsa native Clea Alsip has made a career on the stages of Broadway and on-screen. Photo courtesy Clea Alsip.

Gracing the stages of New York City, Clea Alsip is Broadway’s fresh face.

With credits including numerous theater roles – most recently in Sarah Ruhle’s hit play, Stage Kiss – the indie flick The Little Tin Man and appearances on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, the Tulsa native exudes authentic energy and the hardworking enthusiasm of a true Oklahoman whose star is on the rise.

Since graduating from the prestigious Tisch Graduate Acting Program at New York University in 2011, Alsip is living a dream that began when she turned 7 and was cast in Tulsa’s American Theater Company production of A Christmas Carol.

“I find that when I’m performing, I’m the most fulfilled and the most in-the-moment. Becoming a character is basically just being you under different circumstances.”

“I was riding in the car with my mom, and we heard an ad for A Christmas Carol auditions on NPR. I said, ‘Mom, I know what I want for my birthday – I want to be on stage.’ And she said that she couldn’t really just get that for me, but she could take me to the audition. So I went, and since it was my first audition, I didn’t even have a song to sing, so I sang ‘Happy Birthday’ and got cast,” she recalls.

Alsip has been acting ever since.

“I find that when I’m performing, I’m the most fulfilled and the most in-the-moment. Becoming a character is basically just being you under different circumstances,” she says. “I like to ask myself, ‘What if I hadn’t grown up with X, Y and Z or grown up in this town – how would that affect me, and how would I be different?’

“I love the psychology of it all – how it affects your body and your voice and your mind,” she continues. “We all get so swept away by so much other stuff in our lives, but for me, when I’m on stage, I can really focus and live in a way that I don’t even live in my real life.”

Alsip keeps her Tulsa cell phone number – she says it makes a great conversation starter – and explains that while people can tell she’s not from New York, she is very proud of where she comes from and how she got to where she is.

“You don’t find much of what we have in Oklahoma in New York,” she says. “People are very kind and generous in Oklahoma, and there’s a different level of the way that New Yorkers see the world. People always comment on my optimistic attitude, and I think a huge part of that is where I grew up and the community I was raised in.”

Although live theater has been her bread and butter, Alsip has new representation and is focusing her career on adding more film and television work.

“I want to be able to do it all because I think that’s what really successful actors do these days,” she says. “I think I have a lot to bring to the table, and I’m very excited about this next step in my career. I can’t wait – I feel like I’m on the cusp of some big things.”



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