Musical Theater Los Angeles

Janet Dacal


4Actress and singer Janet Dacal, who played Stanford student Nina Rosario in the Tony Award®-winning musical In the Heights, which finished its 1,184-performance run in January 2011, created the role of Alice in Gregory Boyd, Jack Murphy, and Frank Wildhorn’s new musical, Wonderland.

Dacal was born and grew up in Los Angeles, though her parents are natives of Cuba. The middle of three children, she was the family ham from an early age: “When I was four, I would grab a brush and pretend to sing songs into a microphone . . . they loved to see me dance around and make people laugh.” When Janet finished high school, the family moved to Miami and she got a job in the production department of the recording studio of Emilio and Gloria Estefan. Soon she was singing backup vocals for Estefan, Jon Secada, and Luis Enrique, on tour as well as at home in Miami.

In February 2007, In the Heights, with Dacal in the role of Carla the airhead assistant beautician, opened off-Broadway and ran for five months. In the Heights moved to Broadway in February of the following year. For its Broadway run, it won Tony Awards® for Best Musical, Best Original Score Written for the Theatre, Best Choreography, and Best Orchestrations, an armload of nine other Tony® nominations, and a nomination for a Pulitzer Prize. The cast recording won a Grammy. Dacal stayed in the role of Carla until 2009, when she left to star in the premiere of Frank Wildhorn’s Wonderland: Alice’s New Musical Adventure in Tampa at The David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. Wonderland then moved to the Alley Theatre in Houston, where Janet Dacal received glowing notices.

She returned to the cast of In the Heights in February 2010, but not as Carla. She now played a more prominent character, Nina Rosario. She left the show for good in August, to return to Wonderland, which had another run in Tampa in January 2011. Wonderland moved to the Marquis Theatre on Broadway, where it open(s) April 17.

Janet Dacal has made several other appearances in between all these engagements: in a Musicals Tonight! concert in New York, at a Young People’s Chorus fundraising gala called Dreamer at Lincoln Center, and singing the National Anthem at the 2011 Outback Bowl. Off-Broadway and in regional venues she has played in Byzantium, Señor Discretion Himself (Arena Stage), The Last 5 Years (a Carbonell nomination), Five Course Love (a Carbonell nomination), Annie, and others (Actors Playhouse). Most recently she performed with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Maestro Steven Reineke, Principal Pops Conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra and The New York Pops.

She is excited to join the teaching team at Musical Theater Los Angeles!