As a kid who fell in love with musical theater, Cara Rose DiPietro watched the Tony Awards every year. Little did she know she would one day be invited to attend the award show herself.
Cara was raised by two musical parents, and she started performing in musical theater productions at a young age.
Performing was always something she wanted to do, and she went on to pursue musical theater in college. In 2021, she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theater from Elon University in North Carolina and moved to New York City after graduating.
“I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else,” she says.
Since moving to NYC, Cara has constantly been hustling — working at a coffee shop, auditioning, submitting resumes and performance reels and booking performances.
“It’s a lot of no’s and it’s a lot of pounding the pavement, crossing your fingers and hoping you’ll get lucky,” she says.
The first show she landed post-graduation and post-lockdown was “Little Women” with Quintessence Theater Group in Philadelphia. She played the character Amy March.
Family and mother-daughter relationships are central themes in this show, which held a deeper meaning for Cara.
“It was the first show I had done after losing my grandmother and my mom,” Cara says. “It was exactly the story I needed to be told during that time. It was very, very special.”
This past year, she starred in the musical drama “Catch Me If You Can” at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. She was a part of the show’s ensemble and an understudy for the character Brenda.
Along with performing live, Cara has grown a loyal following on TikTok. Her social media presence is something that has kept her going.
She found herself in a bit of a slump last year. After posting a video about hoping things would get better as a young performer chasing her dreams, her life did change for the better.
This video became popular in the musical theater community and received over 40,000 views. Since then, Cara has continued to post humorous and relatable videos relating to musical theater, lifestyle content and mental health.
Cara is open about her struggles with her mental health. She has been in and out of recovery for an eating disorder for the past 10 years.
“I was talking to my doctor and I said, ‘I just wish there was someone in recovery, still in the middle of it, who is in theater and actively talking about it. I think that would’ve helped me so much,’” Cara says. “And [my doctor] was like ‘Well, why can’t that be you?’”
She has become the resource she never had while she was in recovery, breaking the harmful hustle culture that often takes place in the theater community.
“Oftentimes in theater, we glamorize this art of not taking care of ourselves, and it’s really hard for someone who’s fighting so hard [with their mental health],” Cara says. “It feels like this competition — if you are resting or filling yourself, then you’re doing something wrong or not working hard enough, which is such a crazy narrative.”
Cara’s goal with her content creation is to remind people who have been in her shoes that they should take care of themselves.
“I was so convinced that if I took care of myself, if I let my body heal, then no one would ever want to work with me,” Cara says. “And here I am, in active recovery and still choosing it every morning, still getting work and finding success.”
Many of her videos depict how Cara takes care of herself while also doing multiple shows a week, showcasing hard work alongside self-care.
Though some days can be difficult, the community she has built online inspires Cara to keep going.
Cara is a firm believer that everything that is meant to happen to her will not pass her by. Every moment, good or bad, has led her to where she is now.
One of Cara’s proudest accomplishments — a true full-circle moment for her — was being invited to the Tony Awards. She was invited this past June by a fellow theater-loving social media influencer, Eli Rallo.
“It was such a life-changing experience,” Cara says. “It was truly the best night of my life.”
For other women pursuing their passions, Cara’s advice is to “be loud, get your foot in the door [and] don’t take no for an answer.”
“Advocate for yourself,” Cara says. “Be relentless. People will say no, but for 20 no’s there might be one yes, and it only takes one yes to change your life.”
Whenever she is out of a job, she sends emails to past directors asking if they have any slots that need to be filled.
“I freaking love ‘[she can be both],’” Cara says. “Truly, especially as women, we have to wear so many hats in a day and we don’t always take a step back to realize how many we’re holding, and that’s so badass. We don’t give ourselves enough credit for all of the things and the people we are in our day-to-day lives.”
Cara will continue to wear her many hats. She has most recently been involved in a concert called 54 Below Sings Barbie, which had an encore performance on Aug. 7.