tO see actress and singer Krysta Rodriguez wisecracking in the current NBC comedy “Trial and Error” with John Lithgow makes her life look oh-so-smooth and rosy.

But the 32-year-old veteran Broadway performer will include a few of the thorns from her time on the stage and screen when she brings her premiere solo concert show to the Cabaret at the Commons series at 7:30 p.m. June 29 downtown.

“It hits hard on the themes of perseverance and includes elements of the mishaps in the business and how you have to still keep going,” she said, speaking by phone from a lunch break during a Poughkeepsie, New York workshop linked to a new musical.

Rodriguez knows whereof she speaks when it comes to challenges. She failed to make it into her hometown Orange County High School of the Arts musical theater program on her first try — even though she already had been a regular on the children’s TV show “Colby’s Clubhouse” as a preteen.

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“At 13 years old, you’re already being told, ‘No,’” she said.

Later, Rodriguez auditioned for Broadway’s “The Addams Family” 12 times before landing the role of Wednesday.

“You’ll get your heart broken in this business a million times,” she said. “You’ve just got to push through it. You hope that the struggle makes you a better person.”

For the local show, she will bring longtime friend and fellow Broadway star Megan McGinnis with her, backed by Rodriguez’s music director Benjamin Rauhala on piano. McGinnis has been Rodriguez’s best friend since Rodriguez moved to New York at age 17 to chase her stage dreams.

McGinnis has played Belle in Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” and Éponine in the revival of “Les Misérables.”

“I thought it would be fun for her to come in so we could do a couple of duets,” Rodriguez said.

She promises tunes from Broadway’s “The Addams Family” and “First Date,” and TV’s “Smash,” for starters.

“I hope people will come for the hits, and stay for the irreverent surprises,” she said. “I have a pretty sardonic wit.”

Jeff Baker, among those supporters and volunteers who have helped Cabaret at The Commons become a resounding success, has loved Rodriguez’s comic timing in “Trial and Error.”

“Working with John Lithgow for a season’s worth of shows — that should make for an evening’s worth of good conversation right there,” Baker said.

Though this officially marks Rodriguez’s first scheduled semi-solo tour, her initial one-person show unfolded by accident after a blizzard dumped 27 inches of snow on New York City in January 2016 just before the 2016 BroadwayCon that was to feature a variety of artists, including two of her fellow actors from “Smash.”

As it turned out, because other artists couldn’t get to the venue, Rodriguez and her pianist did a 90-minute solo performance, pulling song ideas from the musician’s iPad onstage and from requests from an audience of 3,000 people staying at a city hotel that doubled as the venue.

“They wanted a show,” she said. “We gave them a show.”

Rodriguez is known for her grit. She battled through breast cancer two years ago and even played a cancer patient on the ABC Family series “Chasing Life” amid part of her real-life medical journey. She jumped right back onto Broadway in “Spring Awakening” when treatments finished and her hair was still growing back after chemotherapy.

Rodriguez still hears from people who find her cancer blog, Chemo Couture at, and thank her for her mix of straightforward openness and unvarnished humor about her take on facing her illness. Rodriguez is expected to include references to that situation’s prickly problems as well at the performance.

“I hope people can leave the show feeling uplifted,” she said, “with a reminder that problems can be overcome.”

A dynamic duo

Who: Broadway, TV and film performer Krysta Rodriguez with friend and fellow Broadway singer Megan McGinnis at the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic’s “Cabaret at The Commons.”

When: 7:30 p.m. June 29.

Where: The Commons, 300 Washington St. in downtown Columbus.

Tickets: General admission auditorium-style seats, $20; preferred, table seating in the middle of the crowd, $35; and VIP, $55 at table seats closest to the stage (including a post-concert meet-and-greet).

Food and drink: Various meal and beverage options available.

Information: 812-376-2638 or

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Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at or 812-379-5672.