Aurora Florence hadn't even finished her coursework at Brigham Young University last spring when she made a quick trip to the big apple to audition for "My Fair Lady." And before she left town, they were asking for her measurements.
And, now, just a few months past graduation, the 22-year-old newlywed is on the road in one of her "bucket list" roles, with her actor-husband at her side, no less.
Florence is Eliza Doolittle in "My Fair Lady," which will open the Broadway at the Capitol season on Monday.
She considers herself "very lucky," indeed.
Florence has theater in her blood; her mom, LaRee Florence, runs a theater troupe for young people in California. But despite her extensive music and theater background, she had only been in two musicals prior to auditioning for the BYU Music Dance Theater program.
"When I got to BYU, I felt like the odd man out," she said. She had been in "Thumbelina" at the age of 10, and was a monkey in "Seussical the Musical" at age 16.
However, she was "lucky enough to get into (to the theater program) the first year," Florence said.
As a student at BYU, she studied various dance disciplines - jazz, tap, ballet, modern, and she took voice lessons for four years there. Her emphasis was in acting, she said, and she performed in several shows during her college career: "Berlin," "Thoroughly Modern Millie," "Tartuffe," as well as a number of student productions.
Following graduation, she and her husband, Jeffrey Dickamore, ran a summer camp connected with her mother's theater troupe before embarking on the "My Fair Lady" tour. Last month they started rehearsals in New York City and hit the road Oct. 4. He is in the ensemble, she said.
"The production is really wonderful. It's a great cast. From day one, I was impressed with the level of the talent," she said, and noted that she recommends the show for the whole family. "I grew up on the movie," she said.
"I have a bucket list of roles, and this is on that list. I just adore it. I adore (George Bernard) Shaw - he's brilliant." Shaw wrote "Pygmalion," upon which "My Fair Lady" is based.
"I love the character. Typically, I fit into the ingenue type, but I've been told I'm not the typical Cinderella or Rogers and Hammerstein ingenue. I have more of a grit and edge to my 'castability.' I love this role - it has all of those pieces."
Eliza is "uneducated," but smart, and she's been "trampled on all of her life," Florence pointed out. "She becomes a lady in society's eyes." However, the way Henry Higgins treats her is a "catalyst to her realizing that just looking and acting like a lady doesn't make her a lady." And that helps her to find her true self and to stand up for herself, Florence explained.
Other characters on Florence's bucket list are:
"I love musical theater, and I love the power behind it. But that's not all I want to be. I want to be an actress. And that entails musical theater, straight theater, new works, TV, film, children's theater - whatever it is, I love it."
But for now, she and her husband will be traveling the country, until March when the tour winds up.
They will probably move back to New York City.
"We hope to be working there. We'll be excited to get our feet wet in New York City, and see where it goes."
"My Fair Lady" will be staged Monday, Oct. 24 at 7:30 p.m. at the Capitol Music Hall. For tickets, call 304-233-4470, 800-745-300 or visit ticketmaster.com.