A central Iowa native is returning to her home state next week to star in a touring Broadway musical. Twenty-five-year-old Melissa Larsen grew up in Ogden and saw shows at the Des Moines Civic Center as a girl, all the while dreaming she’d do exactly what she’s doing now, appearing on that stage herself. In a telephone interview from Texas, Larsen says she’s anxious about her homecoming to Iowa.
Larsen says “I can’t believe it. It’s going to be really exciting. I’m a little nervous to have all of those familiar faces in the audience. I can’t wait to be on the stage and see what it feels like to be performing at that level in Iowa. Very few people get to do it.” She recalls idolizing the stage actors she saw in Des Moines years ago.
Larsen saw “Dreamgirls” at the Civic Center and there was someone from Iowa in it who was interviewed on T.V. and it made her think “Oh, maybe I can do this.” Before she was cast in “Hairspray” in 2004, Larsen was scraping by in Los Angeles: “I worked some odd jobs from telemarketing to teaching PE and then I even did characters like Cinderella and Snow White for birthday parties.”
The 2002 Iowa State University grad says when the current tour is done, she’ll take a little time off to move her boxed belongings out of her parents’ house in Ogden and will head for New York City, gunning for more starring roles. “Hairspray” opens Tuesday at the Civic Center of Greater Des Moines. For more information, surf to “www.civiccenter.org”.