Television and Radio: Tween Queen

Cincinnati native looks beyond Even Stevens

Jun 25, 2003 at 2:06 pm
Christy Carlson Romano

After finding out where CityBeat is published, actress Christy Carlson Romano gushes, "My mom's from Cincinnati. She went to UC and my Dad went to UC, too. They met at UC, decided to get married, and had a kid, lived there for a few years before moving to Connecticut."

Suddenly, her cell phone signal stutters. "Wait a minute," she says with a slight laugh. "Sorry. I have an appointment in 15 minutes, and we're lost in (Greenwich) Village."

Such is one of the pitfalls of this 19-year-old actresses' hectically paced career. Like Hillary Duff and Amanda Bynes, Romano is attempting to parlay success on a pre-teen comedy into a broader career. Her series, Even Stevens, is now out of production, having satisfied its 65-episode commitment to Disney Channel.

During the show's run, Romano had a chance to sing in several episodes, including one called "Influenza: The Musical." That particular program was the first to borrow the all-singing-and-dancing episode concept from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

"I really like that one," says Romano of the foray into the musical genre. "(It) was a challenge, but it was fun to see the talent the cast had as far as being able to sing." A singing career is still a possibility at this point. "I'm trying," she says. "I know a lot of people (from Disney Channel) are having deals with Walt Disney Records' (sister label) Hollywood Records. There's talk about that. I'm waiting to get my image and my sound together, by working with producers. I want to keep along the lines of the image I have now."

That image has, of course, been built largely on the success of Even Stevens, for which her co-star Shia LaBeouf (Holes) just won a daytime Emmy. It's been further enhanced by the animated series Kim Possible, for which she supplies the main character's voice. That program is still producing new episodes.

Romano is quick to explain. "I'm different than Ren and Kim. Kim is more bubbly, a little more cheerleader-esque." Fortunately, keeping the Kim Possible gig doesn't require a coast-to-coast commute. "I can do it (from New York) and they just patch me in."

Last year while Even Stevens was in production, things were more challenging. "I had to fly back and forth from New York to L.A. I just finished my freshman year at Columbia. I went full-time; I'm not sure if I'm going to do that next year. It was really hectic. I'm a political science major, human rights emphasis. It's a lot of work."

It seems like a lot for anyone, particularly a young person, to keep up with. "Sometimes you get sick and run down. I work on time management. I balance school work, which is pretty much what I'm doing right now." Toward that end, she will spend the summer working as a congressional intern for Senator Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.).

Even Stevens, meanwhile, took its final bow via a made-for-TV movie, The Even Stevens Movie, on June 13. "We shot it in Hawaii, and week after I was able to move into my dorm."

The film, while not as sharp as the series, elicited some laughs as it parodied reality TV shows, particularly Survivor. It offered a few jokes based on that program's score, and some inside gags for longtime viewers of Even Stevens. Music for the film, by the way, was supplied by one time New Waver, and latter-day children's TV musical composer Mark Mothersbaugh (Devo).

While Even Stevens draws to a close, Christy Carlson Romano's career continues to unfold and, like her contemporaries, she might be headed for the silver screen. "That's what it looks like," she says. "And hopefully whatever else, I'm pretty much open to anything." ©