Stories & Cast Interviews

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Meet Brian Dillon as Larry in A Chorus Line

Posted by: Pia Haas on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 at 2:00:00 pm Comments (0)

I was born and raised near Boston. I always say that to make it easy, but if someone says they know Massachusetts well, I tell them where I’m really from, which is Dracut. Then, when they don’t know where that is, I say it’s right next to Lowell, and they finally say “Ah okay!” Basically my whole family lives there, right down the street from the high school where I discovered my love for musical theater, amid other semi-dorky activities: being drum major in marching band, playing trumpet in orchestra and jazz band, show choir, National Honor Society, Leo Club, and actually the un-dorkiest of them, varsity baseball.      As LARRY (c) in our show.

My first inkling that I liked acting was when I joined my Jr. High production of Annie, Jr. because my friends were doing it. I got the part of Rooster. Senior year of high school I played Gaston in Beauty and the Beast (the six surrounding “silly girls” were taller than Gaston at the time) and I knew from the feeling I had on stage to the rumblings in town to “go see this kid” that I might want to pursue this for real. The director at the time, who would never fake-compliment anyone just to maintain affability, said to me, “You should think about this if you like it.” That was a really big deal to me.

I first heard of A Chorus Line in grade school when my best friend’s mother started playing the record when I was over for dinner one day; said friend rolled his eyes, but I secretly liked what I was hearing. Later, I saw the 2006 revival. At that time I’m not sure I understood the impact of the show, nor did I know how it would soon change my life. I toured with the show 3 months after college graduation under Baayork Lee’s direction as a swing (Wrong Arms Roy, understudy Mark, Al, and Mike). I then took over the part of Mike halfway through the tour.  I swung the show again at Riverside Theatre with Mitzi Hamilton as Tom Tucker and added Don to the understudy roles above. In this production at WBT, I’m Larry, Zach’s assistant. 

A CHORUS LINE DEJA VU:

        

As ALAN                                                    As TOM                 As WRONG ARMS ROY

    

         As DON                 As MIKE                As MARK

I love the way this show looks at WBT, that the thrust stage makes the stories so inclusive and the dancing incredibly close. After doing Mamma Mia here last season, I knew this story would lend itself well to this space. What’s great about being here at WBT is that so many loved ones can come see it, and we New Yorkers are so close to home.

 I’ve only watched the opening sequence from the A Chorus Line movie and that’s as far as I got. They are DANCING in it, my goodness. Someday I need to see the whole thing. I think Chicago is the epitome of movie-musicals. I think it’s perfect. I also appreciate what the Live airing musicals on NBC and FOX are doing today, bringing musical theatre to more households. Grease, though not my favorite show, was such a great Live production on TV. 

Some favorite musicals of mine are Ragtime, Wicked, Hairspray, The Drowsy Chaperone, Next to Normal, Waitress, and Come From Away was fantastic. I’ve always been such a chorus boy and swing in my career, but some dream roles for me are Princeton from Avenue Q, Boq in Wicked, Seymour in Little Shop, Tulsa in Gypsy, Pinocchio in Shrek, and Cassie in a chorus line ;-)

When I’m not on stage during this particular show, I spend at least a day recovering from the week with some stretching, yoga, gym time, baths, or massage. Sometimes I take a shift or two in the service industry making all the party guests happy with Hors d’oeuvres. Auditions are always on-going. But my favorite past time is morning coffee while watching the Great British Baking Show (which I hope comes back soon with a new season!)

The music on my phone is lots of Sara Bareilles, Brandi Carlile, Celine, Rufus Wainwright, Jason Mraz, musicals, all today’s main pop gals, and some older amazing Motown playlists.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Ashley Klinger as Kristine in A Chorus Line

Posted by: Pia Haas on Tuesday, February 6, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

 

I grew up in a small town called Cuyahoga Falls Ohio. I am a fourth-generation dancer so I studied under my grandmother and later my aunts. 

Since dancing was in my blood it only made sense to become a dancer. I fell in love with musical theater after many visits to New York City to see Broadway shows. Naturally, my mentors are mostly family members. 

I fell in love with A Chorus Line in high school in its most recent revival. I was fortunate enough to play the role of Kristine while completing college on the national tour.  I have seen the movie but the movie that hit home the most was the documentary Every Little Step. It shows the process of the Broadway revival auditions and it hits home every time. I appreciate film adaptations of musicals as it is a great way for the general public to see shows.

I love many shows for all sorts of reasons, but a big goal of mine is to originate a role on Broadway.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Meet David Elder as Zach in A Chorus Line

Posted by: Pia Haas on Thursday, February 1, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

 I am from and grew up in Houston, TX. My father was a car body man and my mother a beautician. We lived check to check, they had 3 kids. I taught myself to tumble when I was 8 yrs old. My father also put a tennis racquet in my hand when I was 8. Until I was a Sophomore in High School, I believed that I was going to become a professional tennis player. My father was the best tennis player in TX his senior year of High School. We moved to the 'country' my sophomore year of HS and my new school did not have a tennis team. My dreams were dashed and I was taken down the hall to the Choir Room! I had previously sung every year in the choir since kindergarten and always enjoyed it and found singing came naturally to me! So, thus began the thought process of combining my self-taught tumbling with my singing talents. I basically vowed that I will try a career in the Arts until it doesn't work. I went to college for Voice Performance and haven't looked back since. My family was always supportive of my choices to follow this career path!!!

My first 'real' memory of performing was when my elementary class attended a morning performance of Oliver at Theater under the Stars (TUTS) downtown. I will never forget hearing the young man sing "Where is Love". I thought how could such a young inexperienced kid handle the pressure of being up there and sing that song SO beautifully!!! I truly believe my dream was born that day! The sensation that perhaps one day I could affect someone the way he had touched me. Self-observation was what I mainly used to detect what my natural talents and interests were. 

I first heard A Chorus Line when I was in High School, and we saw it on my school trip to NYC my senior year (1984). I have done the show one other time at Stages St Louis (6 years ago) and I played Zach that time as well. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to play it again and I am having a blast! 

It's my first time working at WBT, but I love the thrust stage. I think it offers many fresh and new options you don't have in most proscenium houses. I would love to see them add some pre-show fab entertainment. Not sure what but it could be- perhaps a grand piano rolled on stage and someone plays throughout dinner, which would also allow for an actor to come out and sing a song here and there with an accompanist. Perhaps a comedian could do 45 minutes. Maybe a light show or dinner dancing on the stage. Sorry, thinking out loud!!! I love it there and I want to see them succeed!

I have seen the movie. It wasn't my favorite. Though I can always find good in most things.What do you think of stage musicals being made into films? I actually don't mind creative people turning stage musicals into film, but it's so risky. Rarely do they succeed to the level of the actual live experience. I thought Chicago, the movie, succeeded quite well.

I adore playing Don Lockwood in Singing...Rain, Bobby Childs in Crazy For You, and Bert in Mary Poppins!!! I also just played Bob Wallace in White Christmas for the first time and it could possibly be my new favorite! I have played Phil Davis, Bob's sidekick 7 times!!!! Once a song and dance man, always a song and dance man! I would still like to play Billy Flynn in Chicago, however, I don't know if its a dream role. I am trying to focus on roles these days that don't rely so heavily on my dance abilities. 

I am an avid gardener. I have a home upstate in Roscoe, NY. 4 acres with a stream and a pond and lots of perennials!!!

I am currently collecting plans and arranging for a full renovation of my house. It is truly what I call my healing place!!! In Jackson Heights, Queens, where I live, our Coop is known to possess the most beautiful interior gardens as well as the front of building gardens. I currently serve on the Towers Garden Committee and simply love nurturing and making things look cared for and beautiful so that everyone can enjoy its splendor. 

I am very boring music wise. I need tunes that help lighten the stresses of living in the city. Mostly, standards like Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Michael Buble', Harry Connick Jr., Easy listening Jazz. Music that I can still talk over but love hearing in the background. Happy Hour stuff!!! Upstate I listen to country mostly.

       

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Meet Tim Fuchs.. A singular sensation as Al in A Chorus Line.

Posted by: Pia Haas on Thursday, January 25, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

I grew up in Ithaca NY. Technically the small town of Freeville between Ithaca and Cortland. I grew up on a farm with horses and many other animals. My family owned 20 acres of land which was a part of 80 acres of family land. My sister and I grew up riding horses, training dogs, hiking, camping, playing music, playing sports as both my parents are physical educators. I did everything and anything physically active; skateboarding, playing organized sports and eventually taking dance classes starting in high school. Which then led to my more formal training in musical theater. 

The Montessori school I attended for the first 15 years of my life did a musical every year. My mother was one of two women who directed and choreographed the musicals. So naturally, as soon as I could be in the musicals (which was 1st grade) I auditioned. I was in every musical subsequently until middle school when you could no longer be in the musicals. The rest is now history.
  

I don't know if there was any real "Aha!" moment when I knew that performing was going to be my main career. Quite frankly, I still question if performing is what I'm going to pursue for the rest of my life. There have definitely been people in my life who have influenced me a great deal; all of my teachers throughout high school and college. But I would say one of the main influences on my performing career isn't a single person or entity, but my collective experiences since I first started performing. I have been very fortunate to have worked every summer and every year since high school and I have worked with some amazing people, and I have learned so much from every single person. That is what has been so influential in my career so far. Always knowing that I have something to learn and somewhere to grow.

I have done A Chorus Line before. It was one of my first professional summer stock shows. I was twenty-one and it was awesome to be working, didn't have too many responsibilities. Plus it was amazing to get to dance the original choreography and to know that I was a part of this large legacy that is A Chorus Line.

Cut to now, doing same show, many years later, and playing a different part, the musical has such a different meaning in my life now than it did back then. The themes of questioning your life as a dancer, and what would you do if you couldn't dance anymore are much closer subjects to my heart than they were when I was twenty-one. This is a story that connects to every single time in your performing career. And I'm sure the next time I do it, there will be more things that I find out about myself and more ways in which I grow.

I have never seen the movie in full of A Chorus Line, only bits, and pieces. I have some reservations when people decide to make movie adaptations of musicals, and visa-versa. The only thing I will say because I could write for a long time about this subject is that if the true essence of the musical or film that is being adapted to the other medium stays honest and true to what the original creators envisioned, then adaptations work. If the goal is to adapt a specific story from one medium to another, you have to make sure that you're telling the same story. Too many times do we see adaptations from one medium to another fall short of expectations. It's not an easy thing to do. Again I haven't seen the movie, but I think it would be difficult to achieve and duplicate the same live-stage experience of A Chorus Line in a cinematic setting.

Some of my favorite shows are HAIR, Next To Normal, Hamilton, Legally Blonde, Wedding Singer, Sweeny Todd, really too many to say. I don't have a dream role per-say, I'd like to originate a role someday.

When I'm in between jobs, I am a photographer and a videographer shooting mostly dance photography and dance videos and that branches out to a lot of different categories.I write music with my writing partner and we're working on writing and producing a jazz album. Mostly jazz standard type music. Our overall goal is to write music and songs that can eventually be used in a film which we are also writing.

Speaking of music, I have a very eclectic library on my Spotify account. Anything from standard jazz, to pop-punk of the early 2000's (which is my jam!) Chet Baker, Tom Misch, Chick Corea, Seth McFarlane (yes from family Guy) Snarky Puppy, Vulfpeck, Radiohead....(the list goes on...) are my standard mix of artists that I listen to frequently.

I'm usually a very busy guy, but when I do get a day off, there's nothing better than staying in bed with a bag of Cape Cod Kettle Chips, french onion dip, a can of Arizona green tea, maybe some super sharp cheddar cheese and crackers, and watching the Office.

 
Tim as Al (In Green tkts shirt)