Stories & Cast Interviews

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

ENTHRALLING EMMA!

Posted by: wbtpress on Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 3:00:00 pm Comments (0)

Jennifer Babiak is breathtaking as Emma Carew, Dr. Jekyll's fiancee. Read on to see what she's up to when she's not wowing the crowds!

I grew up in Medford, NY, a small town in Eastern Long Island, Suffolk County.  I am the youngest of 5 (two brothers, two sisters), so it was a lot of fun growing up with such a big family.  We also always had a ton of pets, so it was a full house :)
    I started singing first, My Grandma was a piano teacher and her father was a composer, so we have always had a very musical family.  Once I started singing lessons at 16, I auditioned for the school musical and that was it for me!  My mentor probably would be my first acting teacher Jack Allison, an incredible man, teacher, director and friend. 
    I was in college at NYU when the show was running on Broadway, I bought the cd and fell in love with the music, and thought the original cast was amazing! This is my first time doing the show, and I couldn't be happier. 
    West Side Story has always been my favorite show, with Gypsy and Sunday in the Park with George being a close second and third :)  My dream role I think would be Christine in Phantom, especially because it's my Dad's favorite show and he would be ecstatic! 
    During the time off I love to spend quality time with my dog, going out with friends, the movies, yoga, the gym, reading, heading out to Long Island to see my family, oh and sleep-I love sleep haha 
    My Ipod has an eclectic mix, I have Joshua Radin on there, Cat Stevens, Carrie Underwood, Ben Gibbard, Jeff Buckley, Elbow, Coldplay, Snow Patrol, Rachel Yamagata, Eva Cassidy, Harry Connick Jr., Nina Simone, etc.
 
Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Lovely Lucy

Posted by: wbtpress on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 3:45:00 pm Comments (0)

 

 

The gorgeous & tlented Michelle Dawson plays the tortured Lucy in Jekyll & Hyde.....read on!

 

 

I grew up in a little town, Charlotte, Vermont.  It's just outside of Burlington. A red brick farmhouse.I was a lucky girl. I have a sister. I was born in Rutland. 

I was a "horse gal". I showed horses my whole childhood until college. My mother and I would travel all over the East coast. It was a huge part of my life until the music theatre bug hit me.

I studied voice at the age of 15 and Piano for 9 years. I got most of my experience before college at the community theatre, the "Lyric Theatre" in Burlington.

I met a man there who taught me so much about the theatre. He had gone to Carnegie –Mellon (Carnegie-Tech at the time)and after that,  there was no other college choice for me but that school!  I was determined to go there! Hard to pinpoint why acting/singing was my destiny...It just was, no choice!

 

I did Jekyll &Hyde with Bob Cuccioli 9 years ago here at the WBT, and also with Bob at Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera. Here I am again. I love the show! I love Bob! I love WBT!

 

It’s always hard for me to pick a favorite show or dream role....I do have to say I just love characters that have a dark life, with that heart of gold and the struggles along the way. Or,  roles that just have a complicated life.... when it comes to a favorite show,  I do love J&H. I love the music and the romance!!! Lucy holds a special place in my heart.  Favorite shows tend to be the last show I did...maybe because so much research and time in the journey happens....which was Mamma Mia!  I was lucky enough to play two amazing roles, Tanya and Donna. Both are fantastic roles! Tanya and her fiery, fierce, sexy, fun, comedic self and Donna, the single, hardworking mom and her incredible journey throughout the show.

When not on stage I love to spend time with my 6-year-old son and my hubby. Family time, Eating, Jogging!

No iPod, sorry! I love all kinds of music, Truly!

 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Meet Dr. Jekyll (& Mr. Hyde)!

Posted by: wbtpress on Thursday, September 23, 2010 at 10:31:00 am Comments (0)

 Xander Chauncey , as the Star of JEKYLL & HYDE will be breaking more hearts than just Emma & Lucy's ...With his piercing eyes, gorgeous locks...and that mesmerizing voice...Ladies Beware! I caught up with him at rehearsal and asked him to reveal some tid bits.....Read on!

 

I was an Army brat, so I grew up all over the place. We would usually be stationed at a particular base for a few years and then move on to the next. I relished the opportunity to see so much of the world, but it was tough to leave friends so often and quickly. When I was young, I had a rich imaginary life, friends and all. Maybe Hyde isn't such a stretch. Both of my parents were performers. My father is a popular recording artist in Chile and my mother was a ballroom dancer and operatic mezzo-soprano, so performing was just part of who we were. My step-father, the military man, taught me the discipline and structure necessary for the business part of Show Business.
Being the gypsies that we were, I had to learn to adapt quickly to different surroundings, dialects, customs, languages, etc. From a very young age, I became fascinated with people; all the little strange details that, when strung together, become this enigma we call "personality." I loved to do impersonations. Not just of celebrities, but of the guy at the bakery, the mailman, my second-grade teacher (one of my best performances-earned me a trip to the Principal's office.) I began to see a connection between my odd voyeurism and incredible Actor/Chameleons in a film like Gary Oldman, Kevin Spacey, Daniel Day-Lewis and Johnny Depp. I never cease to be amazed by how selfless their acting is. Sometimes, you're halfway through a film and it suddenly hits you, "Oh my God, that's Gary Oldman?!" I believe that is why acting is unique among all other art forms: excellence is clandestine. When you hear Yo-Yo Ma play or watch Baryshnikov float effortlessly across the stage, their lifetime of training and sacrifice is undeniably evident. When you witness truly excellent acting, however, it is barely unrecognizable. You just accept that what you are seeing is the reality, yet it can be one of the most moving experiences.

 

I was a Junior in high school and someone lent me the concept album with Anthony Warlow as Jekyll. I was immediately hooked. I actually did the song "Confrontation" for the state thespian competition and won Best of Show!! The next year, while in NYC, I sat in the front row and watched Bob Cuccioli play Jekyll and Hyde. I was absolutely transfixed. I met him at the stage door after the show and, starstruck, got his autograph. This is the first time that I have done the show, though it has enjoyed a long run in my shower.

 

I'm a big fan of the off-center musicals like Urinetown, [Title of Show] and Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson. I like any show that takes risks and challenges the preconceived notions of what is possible or appropriate on stage. Also, pretty much anything by Sondheim; he's just freakin' brilliant.


I'm kind of an adrenaline junkie. I love to rock climb, white water raft, play paintball, stuff like that. Lately, I've really gotten into parkour or free-running. It's really just a fancy name for going out and playing the way we did when we were kids. Running, climbing trees, flipping off of rocks in
Central Park... just moving non-stop and completely improvisationally. I'm also a voracious reader; my Kindle is a constant companion.

 

On my iPod? Just about everything. A lot of musical theatre (obviously), Opera, Classic Rock, Alternative, everything The Beatles and Regina Spektor ever released, even some Country and Rap. To quote Kate Hudson in Almost Famous, "Good tunes is Good tunes."

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Amazing Andy!

Posted by: wbtpress on Tuesday, August 24, 2010 at 3:57:00 pm Comments (0)

Andy Kelso Plays MARK in RENT...read on to discover what makes him rock!

 

I grew up in Aurora, Colorado which is a suburb of Denver. Also-I was born in a car-a 1980 Toyota Corolla that I eventually ended up driving until I was 18.  
Becoming an actor was something I stumbled upon.  In 5th grade, everyone was required to be a part of the school's Christmas show entitled Something's Up Down in Bethlehem. Our teacher had us sing for her so she could cast the show and, much to my surprise, I somehow ended up with the lead.  From then on, acting was always just a hobby-something I did for fun in school.  When it was time to go to college, I thought I wanted to be a sound engineer, so I decided to pursue that and ditch acting.  It was only after realizing how much I missed performing that I decided to change paths and go to school for acting.  It may sound obvious, but my mentors have always been my teachers throughout the years-from my high school theater teacher to my acting coaches in NYC...I've been blessed with some brilliant people as far as that goes.

 

I've been performing this show in the privacy of my own home and/or car ever since high school!  It was the first soundtrack that I knew backward and forwards.  I immediately loved the sound of the show and couldn't get enough.  This show was and is such a huge inspiration to me and I feel so honored to finally get a chance to be in an actual production of it.
I thought seeing the movie was a bit like seeing the movie of a book you've read...it was interesting to see, but nowhere near as good as the real thing. 
Some favorite musicals include Billy Elliot, The Full Monty, Last Five Years, Avenue Q, and Passing Strange.  Playing Mark definitely checks a dream role off the list for me.  And speaking of RENT, I think it would be fun to play Roger someday.  I would also love to originate a role in a show someday.

When I'm not on stage, I like discovering new music, playing guitar, hanging with friends, and exploring the rabbit hole that is New York CityI also love to travel and try and do so whenever I get the chance!

 

On my iPod? A little bit of everything and a lot of rock n' roll.  I love discovering new bands and new sounds.  However, some favorite bands/musicians include Radiohead, Jeff Buckley, Led Zeppelin, The Tallest Man of Earth, and Arcade Fire.