Stories & Cast Interviews
What's Wrong With The Way I Talk?
I've always loved performing so much! Moving out to New York was always a dream of mine, but I never really knew for sure if it would happen. New York seemed pretty scary coming from Fargo, but a few students at Trollwood had moved there and they inspired me to do the same. My parents were always very supportive and my college voice teacher, Karen Hamilton, was really influential and gave me the confidence to make the move.
Shannon O'Bryan is thrilled to be playing one of her favorite roles, (Kathy Selden) in SITR. She stopped the show every night as Peggy Sawyer in 42ND STREET here last season!
I was a bit of a tomboy so my mom put me in dance class and I just fell in love with it. I went to a performing arts high school and my mentor there was actually a Peggy Sawyer in the original 42ND STREET on Broadway – she guided me into musical theatre. I continued with it in college and my first audition out of school was 42ND STREET in Moscow – I booked the job.
As a kid I didn’t realize this was something you could do professionally. In high school it became more of a reality. It is hard to imagine getting paid for something that you love to do so much – but of course, when you are not working, there is nothing more difficult.
My family have always been very supportive even though the arts do not run in our family. For them they use every show I am in as an opportunity to go on vacation and come to see me.
I think 42ND STREET was my big break – it was my first audition. On the closing night in Moscow I received a call from the director Randy Skinner who told me they were replacing Peggy on Broadway and I needed to get back into town the next day. I went to the audition, booked the job and started working two days later. That was my first B’way job - it is amazing how big a part this show has played in my career.
I think people don’t realize how difficult the audition process is – you can go from audition to audition and constantly need to deal with rejection. It is hard to keep from getting into your own head and doubting yourself as a performer. You have to keep yourself motivated, keep positive and keep moving forward and that is much more difficult than people realize.
I think what changes is your level of confidence and security - they get stronger over time. So the rejection doesn’t get easier, it is just that your sense of self increases with each job you get. Ironically it can be easier to perform every night in front of 1500 people in a large theatre, than it is to audition in a small room in front of 15 people.
Working on the three-quarter round stage took a little getting used to – it is an interesting way to work. It is funny how it starts out feeling awkward but then suddenly is so much more natural way to be and is more realistic in how you would really talk with people. You move and stand normal and are less concerned about cheating out front. Now that we have been doing it I love it.
CODY WILLIAMS,who plays Cosmo Brown in Singin' In The Rain, is a quadruple threat! He's a masterful comedian, Dances & Sings Like a dream, and what an Actor! Where did he hail from? Read on!
I grew up in Marietta, GA. Right outside of Atlanta. As a kid I played a lot of soccer and did a lot of martial arts. The only performing I did was a one week camp every Summer. I loved performing every summer and after my last year of camp in 8th grade some friends talked me into giving the local performing arts high school a try. As soon as I got there, it was all over. I knew I wanted to be an actor.
I was lucky because I have had a lot of incredible teachers. The first thing that I remember seeing and being really inspired was the show Movin' Out. I saw it my freshman year of high school and remember saying to myself that I would, one day, be able to do what those guys could do.
My first experience with Singin' in the Rain came when I was very young from The Great Movie Ride and Disney's Hollywood Studios. I always had known about the movie. It wasn't until I was 17 that I saw it however. I was completely blown away by how incredible it was. I have never done the stage show before but I have always wanted to. It's hard to really compare it with the movie, however. For me, the reason to make a movie is so that you can do things that you can't do in a theatre. For instance, the stuff Donald O'Connor does in "Make Em' Laugh" is so physically intense and amazing. No one could ever do that in live performance because we don't have the luxury of dubbing our voice in a studio afterwards.
With all that being said, I feel proud of our production, and I am so happy people seem to be really enjoying it. It's hard for me to pick a single favorite moment in the show. I really love the "Moses" scene though.
I have so many favorite shows and so many dream roles I couldn't begin to list them. I'm so lucky to have just played Will Parker in Oklahoma!, and I'm so lucky to be playing Cosmo right now. Within the next couple of years, I would love to play Finch in How to Succeed, Candide in Candide, and Edmund in Long Day's Journey Into Night.
When I am not on stage, I am an avid mixed martial arts fan. You can find me watching UFC almost day of the week. Other than that, its pretty much just hanging with my gilly.
On my I pod? The best of classic rock, a lot of Pearl Jam, a boat load of musical theatre and a bunch of voice lessons!