Herricks grad catches eye of judge on Idol, advances

Ricahrd Tedesco

Herricks High School alumnus Carly Brooke Pearlstein could be on the verge of stardom on “American Idol.”

So far, the 22-year-old Pearlstein has survived initial audition rounds to get to Hollywood on the reality series, including a daunting first round in a stadium filled with 17,000 other contestants.

Pearlstein, who graduated in 2007, recalled being in every play and musical produced while she was in high school. She was also a member of the choir and was selected for the 2006 All-State Jazz Choir.

She said that exposure to jazz transformed her musical taste, and her approach to singing because of the freedom it afforded her.

“I’m not a very good sight reader. With jazz, you can make up notes that fit into the chords,” said Pearlstein, whose favorite vocalist is Ella Fitzgerald.

Pearlstein chose “Summertime” as her audition song for “American Idol.” The initial audition in the New Jersey Izod Center lasted about 15 seconds, after waiting for 10 hours to deliver those several seconds. After two subsequent renditions of “Summertime” for producers in two other audition sessions, she made the cut and took the trip to Hollywood.

“I put my own little twist on it. I like to put my own pop riffs,” she said.

Pearlstein credits her musical theater acting at Herricks High with expanding the range of her vocal expression.

“Every show you do, you learn lessons from it. Every character has a different voice and you find different things to put in your music,” Pearlstein said.

She had a flirtatious interlude with Aerosmith’s Steve Tyler on “Idol.” But she’s not sure whether the performance that was recently videotaped on the west coast will make it to prime time. She knows what the outcome was – but she’s not saying. But she said she has thoroughly enjoyed the experience so far.

“I’ve never been exposed to the feeling of immediate success,” Pearlstein said. ” ‘American Idol’ is this thing where you can go from nothing to something is unbelievable.”

Pearlstein studying musical theater at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and auditioning for shows .

“I audition for shows all the time and sometimes you get the part and sometimes you don’t. And you wonder, did I pick the hardest work in the universe?,” she said.

But Pearlstein caught a break recently, landing a part in “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” which will open at the Montgomery Theater on Feb. 3 and then move to the Arden Theater this summer.

Her parents, Alan and Shelly, have supported her career choice.

“As a parent of someone going into this, it’s not an easy feeling,” her father said. “But through the years, she’s been very good. You have to follow your dreams.”

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Ricahrd Tedesco

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