Belting Out the Hits – Karsen Taylor

Local Elementary Student Karsen Taylor Lands Role in Nationally Touring Musical

Writer / Gavin LaPaille
Photography Provided

Karsen Taylor may only be 10 years old, but she’s already a star in the making.

The Jefferson County Public Schools student landed a role in an upcoming musical titled “Hits! The Musical,” which will take audience members on a journey through different decades and genres of music with unforgettable singing, spectacular dancing, costume changes, plus world-class lighting in a first-class, new production. Karsen is part of a young cast that includes 29 singers and 10 dancers selected from nationwide auditions, and will portray many well-known artists throughout the production.Karsen Taylor

“I’m really excited,” Karsen says. “I get to hang out with my friends. I know all of the other actors.”

Karsen began her quest of landing a role in the musical by way of an open audition that was held at the Seelbach hotel in Louisville, one of 31 cities nationwide to hold auditions for cast members. Karsen went through two auditions at the Seelbach before moving on to a third audition in Tampa Bay, Florida. Karsen was able to beat out thousands of other hopefuls to land a role.

“A cousin of mine sent me an ad for the audition,” says Tiffany Taylor, Karsen’s mother. “She knew Karsen could sing and the audition was coming to Louisville. We asked Karsen if she wanted to audition and she said yes. After the second round, they would be notified if they made the third round of auditions in Tampa Bay. About three weeks later we got that email saying she made it to the next round. That was for a whole week in Tampa. Out of 7,000 kids who auditioned, they cut it down to 70 kids and then to 30.”

Karsen and her castmates will perform a number of hit songs including “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours),” “Hero,” “I Will Always Love You” and “Singin’ in the Rain,” among other popular songs from the 1960s through the present day. The cast will change costumes for each song to reflect the appropriate time period. While Karsen enjoys singing, she and other cast members will also dance and act as they bring the songs to life for the audience.

The ages of the performers range from 10 to 22, making Karsen one of the younger cast members. There has never been a nationally touring show of this caliber with an entire cast between the ages of 10 and 22. The cast will have even more local flavor as fellow Louisville native D’Corey Johnson, a fifth-grader at Bates Elementary School known for his renditions of the national anthem, is also part of the production.

The family-friendly show should provide fun for everyone, featuring a diverse cast from all over the country. The show was created by Director Cynthia Nekvasil and Executive Producer Bob Gries, giving young performers like Karsen the opportunity to shine on a national stage.

Karsen is in good hands with Nekvasil, as she has overseen the development and careers of Jenna Rubaii, Chloe Lowery, and multiple other “American Idol” finalists, recording artists and Broadway stars. The rest of the creative team for the show has worked with a number of well-known performers including Rihanna, Enrique Iglesias, Mariah Carey and Usher. Performances last about 90 minutes and include more than 100 songs.

Karsen is working hard to make sure she puts on a good performance. Karsen and her mom were in Tampa Bay leading up to the Karsen Taylorshow, rehearsing with the rest of the cast. She is most looking forward to singing during the performances, which will include songs from her favorite singer, Michael Jackson.

“Practices are going really well,” Karsen says. “They’re really long. We have to be there at like 10:30 a.m. all the way to 5 or 5:30 p.m.”

Karsen, who was born and raised in Louisville, usually attends Stopher Elementary School and is in the advanced program at the school, but is doing home school while practicing and on the road, keeping her very busy.

“I have tutoring in the morning with some of my friends,” she says. “Anything I don’t finish in the mornings, I either do it when I have time during rehearsals or when I get back home.”

The tour of 50-plus cities began February 23 in Asheville, North Carolina, and will go coast to coast, concluding May 8 with a performance in San Francisco. Local fans will have the chance to catch Karsen live when the show stops at the Brown Theatre in Louisville on April 8. Many of Karsen’s family members and friends plan to attend. Lexington, Nashville, St. Louis and Chicago are also part of the tour.

“She will have a lot of family and friends there,” Tiffany says. “They started buying their tickets last summer when she found out she was going to be in it.”

Karsen says she is most looking forward to seeing her dog, Mocha, on her trip home. “I am excited,” she says. “I really want to see my dog. He is a poodle.”

Karsen, who has been singing since she was 3 years old, has done some plays at her school and in community theater, and this is her first touring production. In addition to singing, Karsen was a flyer on a national champion cheer team, which is her favorite sport, and also enjoys the TV show “Dance Moms.”

“It’s funny watching all the moms fight,” Karsen says.

The experience has been a new one for the Taylor family. Karsen’s parents don’t have a performance background, and this experience has taught them a lot about show business. Tiffany or her husband, Kevin, will be with Karsen every step of the way as she embarks on this journey.

“It’s all new to us, understanding the business and how things work,” Tiffany says. “The play is wonderful. It’s going to be really awesome. The dancing and singing are very good. Louisville should be proud that two of their own made something so big like this play.”Karsen Taylor

Karsen says she hopes one day to have her own TV show.

“We’re really excited and very proud of her accomplishments,” Tiffany says. “We can’t wait to see what the future holds.”

For tickets, tour dates and more information on how you can see Karsen, go to You can also follow “Hits! The Musical” on social media. Cast members have racked up thousands of likes and views on TikTok.

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