Auli’i Cravalho burst onto the scene with her stirring performance as the titular character in Moana. Blessed with a beautiful voice and innate charm, Cravalho is now part of the ensemble of the new NBC series Rise. The story, set in a Pennsylvania town, focuses on the controversial production of Spring Awakening at the local high school. Cravalho is Lilette Suarez, a teenager raised in a single parent household who lands the lead in the musical.
For Cravalho it is singing and not acting that serves as her foundation, and now she’s opening her horizons with Rise. “I find myself able to show emotion through my voice a lot easier than I am through my face or through any type of physical expression,” said Cravalho. “It’s a lot harder for me . . . and so there’s a beautiful emotional aspect that can come through in Moana because it kind of came naturally to me that although I don’t know what my face is doing, I can sing from a place of realness. And now to be in live action I get to play in both worlds which is a journey for me in itself. But I would say my emotion comes from my voice first and foremost. It comes from within.”
Click on the media bar to hear Cravalho explain why Spring Awakening was the perfect musical to mount within the “beautiful storyline” of Rise (co-star Damon J. Gillespie is also heard in the clip):
Rise, co-starring Josh Radnor airs Tuesdays on NBC (9 pm et/pt).