Erin Driscoll is taking the D.C.-area theater scene by storm with roles ranging from a disfigured woman trying to get healed to a sexy femme fatale with barely any time in between to sort them out.
“It’s an interesting year because I have gotten to play several different roles and several different types of roles,” Driscoll said.
Though she does do roles from opposite sides of the spectrum, if she could, she would want to do more musicals about real issues. She explained that many people think that musicals are all fluff and happy, but sometimes they’re about actual people dealing with their struggles.
Driscoll cites her emotional title role in “Violet” at Ford’s Theatre as one such play. In it she played a woman disfigured by an accident traveling across the country hoping to get healed by a televangelist.
It took Driscoll a little while growing up before she realized this is what she wanted to do.
“Well I always wanted to sing and it was in high school that I found out you can sing in theater, so I did that,” Driscoll said with a laugh.
Driscoll grew up in Vienna and attended Oakton High School. She credits her choral director Elaine Stanford in pushing her to succeed in music.
“I am really lucky to have been there when she was there,” Driscoll said. “I used to have awful stage fright.”
She said that Stanford gave her solos and helped her overcome her fear eventually landing a trophy for best solo at a competition and realizing that maybe she was good at this.
“I knew I loved it, but you know, loving it and getting paid for it are two different things. I went to James Madison University and majored in music industry because I thought I couldn’t do musical theater professionally. I was trying to get a sort of real degree,” Driscoll said.
Though the D.C. area now has a booming theater scene, Driscoll said that it wasn’t that big when she was growing up.
“There wasn’t a lot when I was in high school, then I went away to school and did theater all over the country,” Driscoll said. “And the theater here had kind of exploded; it’s crazy how big a place it’s become.”
Eventually Driscoll realized how passionate she was about theater and just went for it. Just like any budding theater actress, she decided to take the plunge and see what she could do on Broadway.
“I actually decided to move to New York for a couple years, but I kept coming back down [to Virginia] to do roles,” Driscoll said. “So I moved back after my three years in New York.”
Whether it was the growing scene or the fact that all her friends and family are here that brought her back, she’s here to stay.
This month, Driscoll is busting out her comedy chops at Signature Theatre in Ed Dixon’s new musical “Cloak and Dagger,” a four-person mystery spoof of film noir with Dixon in the cast.
“You’re on your feet trying the lines because he’s right there and he’s a part of it and very involved if the jokes aren’t landing,” she said.
She said the audience seems to like it, which is all they could really ask for.
“They have been really responsive, they have been laughing which is really what we want because we want them to have a good time,” Driscoll said.