Caroline Labrum as Cosette.

OREM — A little girl with big eyes, a big smile and an even bigger voice beat out dozens of competitors when she tried out for the role of Cosette in Tuacahn's upcoming "Les Miserables."

And Caroline Labrum, the just turned 7-year-old daughter of Inger and Glenn Labrum, lives in Ivins, just over the fence from the theater, so getting to rehearsals is a cinch.

"Seventy-five to 90 girls tried out for the children's roles," said Scott S. Anderson, artistic director for Tuacahn. "We had 900 people audition for 40 roles, people from all over and from all experience."

Anderson said they weren't looking to cast a Cosette younger than 8 years old, but after Caroline sang "Castle on a Cloud," they adjusted the rule.

"She came in and just broke my heart," Anderson said.

"I think this young Cosette is one of the most talented performers I've ever seen," he said. "She is really talented and has a great voice. You can tell her parents have worked with her."

Anderson said he wanted to be sure someone so young wouldn't panic in front of a large audience, so he asked Caroline to sing in front of 300 at a women's conference.

"She got up and killed it," Anderson said.

Nielsen said Caroline not only has the voice and stage presence but looks the part of the waif in publicity art for "Les Miserables."

Inger Labrum said her daughter has always been certain she wanted to perform for people.

"When she was 3 and we'd ask her what she wanted to be, she'd say, 'I want to sing on a stage."'

Since her aunt, Melinda Nielsen-Stailey, often performed but Inger Labrum did not, the family joke is that the Labrums were sent Melinda's daughter by mistake.

Labrum said they have always taken Caroline to shows and exposed her to as much theater as they could manage.

She's so into performing that when she goes to the local park, she rounds up strangers and other children to watch her sing.

"People have compared her to Shirley Temple," Labrum said, "because she loves to act and dance and sing."

She can also make herself cry at a moment's notice.

She's already played a number of plum children's roles — Gretl in "The Sound of Music," Chip in "Beauty and the Beast" and Molly in "Annie."

This, however, is her first professional role.

"She teases her brothers, who make a couple of hundred dollars in the summer washing cars at our dealership," her mother said. "She tells them she'll make more money than they will, and she'll have more fun."

Labrum said her daugher is excited about her role which is actually the understudy role for young Cosette. She has specific performances schedules for July 17, Aug. 23, Sept. 16 and Oct. 7.

Labrum said she was a little nervous for her daugher so after the first rehearsal she tried to see how it went.

After a few questions, Caroline looked at her and said, "Mom, I've done this before!"


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