When asked about her feelings on alternative casting, she remarked, "I guess there really is not another word for what it represents, but I feel it is a viable method of providing opportunities for actors who might not be considered for certain roles."
In reviewing her theatrical resume, I told her that she could be a virtual "poster person" for the benefits of using alternative casting. Playing Nancy in Oliver!, Eliza in My Fair Lady, roles in Follies, Chess, Grand Hotel, and West Side Story among others, has given her a performance profile known by few African American actresses.
She notes that much of her success is built on the values instilled in her by her family through her Catholic upbringing. She first started singing in church choirs at 9 years old and by her freshman year in high school, when she won the role of Nancy in Oliver!, decided this was the career she wanted. She acknowledges that she has been blessed with "angels" throughout her career, specifically mentioning Eric Schaeffer, Artistic Director of Signature Theatre in Virginia (where she has done a significant portion of her work) and the late Jane Pesci-Townsend, her voice teacher and friend at Catholic University.
Two roles she would love to play are Fosca in Passion and Evita. Twenty years from now she would like to have conquered Broadway, done a few films and begun a family, something that always been a part of her life plan.
She is ambitious, hardworking and has established a reputation of excellence and integrity among her peers. Consequently her success leaves little time for much outside the world of theatre. She does however manage an occasional "tropical island getaway."
Gamble's coming into Oklahoma reads like a page from a classical backstage storyline: less than weeks before the original production's opening in 2010, the lead actress leaves the show and Gamble is brought in as a replacement. She said she was terrified because she knew absolutely nothing about the show, had no preparation (not even being an understudy) and had to learn songs, choreography and the script only days before being seen by an audience!
I asked her how she pulled it off and she said, "Well, I'm a really spiritually grounded person and as terrifying as this seemed at the time, I felt God must have had a reason for putting this in my path. So, I just acknowledged the blessing, tuned up my faith and got to work."
The alternative casting worked in this production, with more than outstanding performances from Gamble, Nicholas Rodriguez as Curly, E. Faye Butler as Aunt Eller, Cody Williams as Will Parker, June Schreiner as Ado Annie and Nehal Joshi as Ali Hakim. Interestingly, what caught my attention as impressive as well were the wigs and hair design by Paul Huntley—truly amazing work.
In concluding our interview I told Gamble I had a strong feeling that she would one day realize her dream and would portray Evita. I reluctantly walked away feeling that I had truly been in the presence of a "star." Her spirit genuinely glittered.