6 Questions for Kayleen Seidl
Kayleen is the Beautiful Christine in PHANTOM! Here she tells us a few interesting tidbits!
Where are you from? Can you tell us a bit about your upbringing?
I was born in Iowa but grew up from the age of 7 in Joplin, Missouri. Just your typical smaller Midwest town upbringing. I was a busy kid always involved in a bunch of extracurricular activities: dance, piano, sports, church youth group. I also spent lots of time at our community theatre while my mom was rehearsing shows. I then began performing in my school productions from 6th grade on and that’s when theatre and music started to really be a big part of my life.
What influenced you to become an Actor?
I definitely wasn’t one of those kids that knew from age 3 that they were going to be a performer. I always loved singing though and really enjoyed music and theatre. As I mentioned, my mom does theatre so I was around it a lot, and I think it was definitely in my blood. I wore out many CDs in the car...Footloose and Wicked just to name a few. My family took a trip to NYC when I was in 7th grade. I had a total Mary Tyler Moore moment stepping out of the car into Times Square between the two jumbotrons. I think I was hooked from that moment. On that trip, I saw my first Broadway show, Wicked and sobbed through all of “For Good” as a 12-year-old. But when I went to college, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I knew I loved singing and Spanish, so I decided I’d study those things and see what happened.
Were you aware there was another "Phantom" musical out there prior to signing on?
I knew this “other” version of Phantom existed and was somewhat familiar with a couple of Christine’s numbers, but that was pretty much the extent of my knowledge. Before this production, I hadn’t performed in either version. I don’t know Webber’s Phantom Of The Opera as intimately as I now know this version, but I’m partial to this one for sure. I think Yeston’s take on the character of the Phantom makes much more sense than the Webber version. The Phantom shouldn’t be sexy because he’s been isolated his whole life. He wouldn’t know how to be. It makes much more sense for him to be less experienced socially as Yeston depicts him. It’s much more realistic and makes you feel for him so much more.
What are some of your favorite shows? What is your dream role?
Oh gosh. I’m the worst at picking favorites. Fill out your favorites surveys are my nightmare. Too many options to choose from. Some shows I’ve seen lately that I really love are Songs for a New World, Bright Star, Dear Evan Hansen, and A Play that’s Goes Wrong. The current revival of Once on This Island was also incredible. I also love the classic golden age shows like Guys and Dolls, Fiddler On The Roof (especially after my most recent experience with the Yiddish production), and everything Sondheim!
Dream roles are always hard for me to choose because I always love a new experience and many roles tend to become favorites after I’ve really explored them. Some roles I would really love to play would be Glinda in Wicked, Marian in Music Man, Cinderella in Into the Woods, and Lily in Kiss Me Kate, Clara in Light in the Piazza, Julie in Carousel...the list goes on. There are just so many great roles out there! I had my first crack at a contemporary show recently (It Shoulda Been You) and loved it, so I’m excited to start sinking my teeth into some more contemporary roles as well! I’m sure there are more of my “favorites” out there waiting to be discovered!
What do you enjoy doing when you're not on stage?
I love having game nights, whether it’s a night in with friends or my husband and I spending an evening at the board game bar, The Uncommons, down in the Lower East Side. Bananagrams is definitely one of my favorite go-to games, but there are just so many fun games ones out there!!
The biggest treat is when I have a chance to sneak home to my parents' lake house in Arkansas for some quality family time and R&R. It’s the perfect getaway!
What music do you listen to?
Some days I’m in a Sara Bareilles mood. Some days call for Paramore. Rainy weather often leads me to Paolo Nutini or John Mayer, but honestly 9 times out of 10 it’s Y2K era country music. That’s what I grew up on, so that’s my happy place.