Stories & Cast Interviews

Monday, January 15, 2018

Meet Erica Mansfield as Cassie in A Chorus Line

Posted by: Pia Haas on Monday, January 15, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

 I was born overseas in France but was raised in Texas and moved to New York after high school.

   I was always performing in my bedroom by myself.  I always loved to sing and dance.  My neighbor Maddy across the street taught me to tap dance in her kitchen when I was six.  We kept it a secret and then invited parents to the big show. From then on I was put in dance lessons.  She also introduced me to movie musicals like Sweet Charity and My Fair Lady.  I fell in love with musicals then.  I got my feet wet acting in school shows and in youth summer programs such as HITS theatre and Broadway Theatre Project.  In the 8th grade, I got pulled from JR High to be in the high school musical 42nd Street.  I really looked up to the older kids.  They were very supportive and even came to my JR high to support me as the understudy for Nancy in Oliver.  I always knew I was gonna be in show business.  

My dance teacher Miss Susie would take a small group of us to NY in the summer to dance.  I’ll never forget my first time in NY.  The second I saw the city and felt the energy I thought, this is where I belong.   This is where I’m gonna live.  It’s exactly what I did.  My extremely supportive parents and my dance teacher all encouraged me to go for my dream to dance on Broadway so at 18 after a summer at Galveston Summer Musicals and a children’s theatre tour I moved to a women’s residence (like Thoroughly Modern Millie) on the upper west side with 2 meals a day in the basement and a bathroom down the hall and I just started showing up.  Westchester Broadway was one of the first places I showed up for ;). And here I am all of these years later revisiting this show at a theatre where my dream started to come to fruition.

  

My introduction to A Chorus Line was the movie.  It is totally different from the Broadway material but at the time it was out I didn’t even know what Broadway was.  I just knew I loved the music and dancing.  I LOVED Cassie and never in my wildest dreams would I think I would end up playing that part on stage.

I got my start at Westchester!  It was one of my first auditions in NY!  When I first moved to NY I ran into a friend from summer stock in a Duane Reade who told me to come with her to audition for Funny Girl there and we both ended up in the show.  The director at the time Tom Polum said if “I knew how young you were I wouldn’t have hired you!” Haha.  I ended up assisting that director and I did 4 shows at Westchester.  I did Funny Girl, Oklahoma, Grease and Hello Dolly.

What I love about the theatre is that it really is a family.  They provide the tremendous opportunity for young actors.  They are very loyal to the people who have worked there.  I think it’s a great place to get your card AND you get to sleep at home!

Making Movie Musicals from stage Musicals...I think it’s fantastic!  It’s part of the reason I’m in this business for sure.  I think the more job opportunities the better for us!  Also, it’s a great opportunity to reach a whole new audience.

Favorite showsOklahoma, A Light in the Piazza, The Last Five Years, Hamilton, Rent, Crazy for You, Thoroughly Modern Millie. 

Dream roles... I’m playing one of them! Others? I have a bazillion!  Haha.  Millie will always be the role that got away. My dreams evolve with my age but there are many roles I’m dying to do!

I have a history with Anne Reinking and fosse work and I would LOVE to do Roxy or VelmaLola or Gloria in Damn Yankees, Franca in Light in the Piazza, Reno in Anything Goes, Mrs. Wilkinson in Billy Elliot, Charity- Sweet Charity, Heidi in Dear Evan HansenUla in The Producers, Janet in The Drowsy Chaperone, Nancy in Oliver, Queenie  in The Wild Party, Mother in  Ragtime, Lena or Kathy in Singin in the Rain,. Maureen in Rent, Ilona in She Loves Me, Polly and Irene in Crazy For You, Annie in Annie Get Your Gun, Lois in Kiss Me Kate, Georgia in Curtains,

I was in Mamma Mia for 5 years and covered Sophie. I would love to play Donna or Tanya and come full circle. I always wanted to do Peggy but now, eventually Dorothy Brock in 42nd Street

I have an amazing dog named Rylee.  She is a Pomsky and my off time is usually spent playing, walking and snuggling with her!  If I’m not doing that I try to enjoy time with my friends.  

I'm the worst at clearing out my phone.  So there is no room for much. Mostly music from shows I’ve done for my Broadway Masterclasses.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Five Questions For Bill Stutler

Posted by: pia haas on Thursday, December 21, 2017 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

We asked Owner, Bill Stutler a few questions this Jolly Holly season! 

 1. How does a visit to WBT get people in the mood for the holidays?   :
 Fully decorated with garlands, lights and a tree that nearly touches the balcony, with packages of food and toys that customers can bring and place under the tree for the needy, which we distribute just before Christmas, and an entrance also decorated for the Holidays, can't help but get one in the Holiday Mood.  Of course, Christmas music adds to the feel once you enter the lobby.  Topped off with a menu of Christmas favorites and an uplifting production which will leave all feeling up and good about themselves, relatives and friends. 

 2. Why is it such a great place to go to during the holiday season? 
 With a wide variety of entertainment events, WBT has something for everyone and with a served meal featuring your choice from a variety of entrees included in the low ticket price, WBT is the best deal around and the place to be this holiday season!   Dinner, Show, Parking, proximity...all add up to an affordable night out!

 3. Is it a place for adults AND families?  
 The Christmas Voyager is specially chosen for Families! It is a heartwarming Musical with a timeless message!

4. What do you want the customer to come away with after having been to your theatre this Holiday season?  
Being Entertained & well fed!  With an appreciation of the magic of live theatre! 

5How many Holiday seasons have you celebrated at WBT?  
It is our 43th year! The County Executive has called the Westchester Broadway Theatre,  "The cultural mainstay of Westchester."

 

 

Jayson Elliott returns in The Christmas Voyager!

Posted by: Pia Haas on Thursday, December 21, 2017 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

We caught up with WBT favorite, Jayson Elliott... 

I grew up In a small town in northern Indiana near Norte Dame.  130 people in my high school class. Fairly rural community. We had a day where kids could drive their tractors to school. Haha. It had a small high school, a movie theatre with 2 screens, basketball hoops in every driveway, and lemonade stands. 

I played a lot of sports when I was younger but then realized there were a lot more girls in a choir room than there were in a locker room. Haha.


I really fell in love with acting in High school. 
I fell in love with music first and the two kind of go hand in hand for me. Certainly,  high school theatre and music teachers played a huge part in my career choice.  They were really good about exposing us to as many forms of live performance as possible. They took us to see many different forms of art that really opened my eyes to other things. 

 

This is my 8th WBT show. The staff makes this theatre run and I love them for that!

Some of my favorite shows and roles are BUDDY (The Big Bopper), Wizard Of Oz (The Lion), The Full Monty (Dave), all these are very much my favorites

When not on stage, I'm playing music, watching and playing sports, and spending time with friends. 

I enjoy listening to music, mostly folk, rockabilly, country and classic rock. For being a musical theatre guy...I don't really listen to a ton of it. Haha

I like to Celebrate The Holidays with family and friends. Laying low and resting.  I enjoy Christmas Eve gift opening with the "adults". 

    
as Santa  in The Christmas Voyager

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Meet Sara Cline as Dolly in Annie Get Your Gun

Posted by: Pia Haas on Thursday, September 28, 2017 at 10:00:00 am Comments (0)

  

I grew up in the suburbs of Kansas City, KS, as part of a loving family which included my dad and mom, my older sister, Laura and younger brother, David. Kansas holds a very special place in my heart, and I am proud of my Midwestern roots. I lived there from the ages of 4 to 18, when I moved out to study Musical Theatre in college. My parents have always been so supportive of my love for singing and theatre, and I am grateful to have grown up in a household that encouraged us, kids, to follow our dreams, to work hard and to be kind. 

I started doing Musical Theatre when I was six years old, and I've been doing it ever since. My parents did a great job of exposing the kids to a lot of different types of music, including musicals, which encouraged my love of singing. I knew every word to the 10th Anniversary album of Les Miserables before I knew my states and capitals. After I did my first show as part of a summer program for kids, I auditioned for every show I could around the KC area. I ended up missing a lot of fourth grade because I was "working" around town. (Again, VERY supportive parents!) Of course, then, I didn't think of it as working at all! Eventually though, by the time I hit high school, I knew that I wanted theatre to be more than just a hobby; I dreamed of it being my career. My high school theatre teacher, Dan Schmidt, fostered my passion and helped me to fall in love with acting. Suddenly, I wasn't just a singer, I was a storyteller, and that was the most exciting gift anyone could give me. 

'Annie Get Your Gun' was the first musical I ever saw on Broadway, actually! I was lucky enough to see the revival with Bernadette Peters and Tom Wopat back in 2001. It was my first trip to New York City as well. The show blew me away and further instilled my love of musical theatre. I will never forget it. Doing the show now as an adult makes me feel very lucky. Previously, at WBT I was in the Christmas Inn this past year. I am so honored to be back with all the kind, professional people who work here. From the audition room to the dressing room, this place is filled to the brim with people I love dearly, whom I hope to work with for years to come.

 I have never seen the movie, believe it or not! Generally, I'm a fan of art in whatever form it comes, so I always support musicals being made into movies if it will give someone who wouldn't have had the chance, exposure to musical theatre.  Hopefully, if they love it, it will inspire them to buy a ticket to see the show live the next time it plays near them! 

My favorite musical of all time is Les Miserables. To me, it is perfect. I also love Sweeney Todd (or really, anything written by Stephen Sondheim). My dream roles include "Fantine" in Les Miserables, "Elphaba" in Wicked and "Cathy" in The Last Five Years

When not on stage, I love to bake (I make a mean chocolate chip cookie!) but if I couldn't be an actor, I would be a make-up artist or some kind of beauty consultant, so I enjoy playing with cosmetic products a lot. You're likely to find me in the aisles of Sephora with eyeshadow swatches all over my arms. Also, when I'm not onstage, I make sure to enjoy the incredible friends I have in my life. Sometimes, there is nothing better than sitting around with my roommates, having a glass of red wine and watching Shark Tank.

I don't often listen to musicals for recreation; typically I'll listen to shows only if I'm studying for a role. So, my favorites are Singer/Songwriters from all decades. Jim Croce, John Mayer, Joni Mitchell, Sara Bareilles and Ed Sheeran are my all-time favorites!