Stories & Cast Interviews
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Kelly Goes (Legally) Blonde!
Posted by: Pia Haas on Wednesday, March 21, 2012 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)
I grew up in Vista, California. I spent a lot of time at the beach! Very much like Elle. I started doing theatre at a very young age and actually performed professionally through most of my childhood. I toured and got tutored to keep up with school. My mom owned a performing arts studio so whatever time wasn't spent performing I was helping with or taking dance class. We have a very Artsy family. My sister and I would create shows at the pool or around our house and perform them. Besides performing we loved going to the ocean and spending all day building sand castles and laying out in the sun. It was pretty great.
My mom was my main influence. She performed as well. She was a dancer in the movies Funny Girl and Hello Dolly! She really got me started and encouraged me. I try to learn something from everyone I work with. I had such great opportunities as a kid to work with so many awesome people I feel like I had many mentors. And I still meet and work with people who help me discover things with the profession or just with myself as a person. It sounds cheesy but I feel like I am constantly "becoming" and actor. It never really stops or gets to a point where I feel like I'm done learning.
Kelly Felthous as Elle in Legally Blonde (photo by Paul Lyden)
I first saw the movie Legally Blonde, and LOVED it! I am a huge Reese Witherspoon fan and watch and study a lot of her movies. I feel like we are pretty similar in type.
Then when I was in college there were talks of the musical being made and I was so excited!!! I saw it twice on Broadway. I was so sad when it closed. Then I had the fortune of being on tour with Grease when Legally Blonde was touring and a fellow cast mate had done the reality show for Legally Blonde so we all went and saw it on tour! It was awesome. I got to perform the role for the first time in October of 2011 at North Shore Music Theatre. I was so excited that someone would take a chance on hiring an Elle Woods that hadn't done the broadway show or the tour. It is a HUGE beast of a role and in regional theatre you don't have long to rehearse so it is helpful to hire someone who knows the show. I had never done it but I worked really hard and after a week and a half we opened! It was exhilarating. I'm excited to get another crack at it.
I love obscure shows like Bat Boy and Reefer Madness but I also love classics like Singing in the Rain, Gypsy, and Crazy for You! Wicked and Next to Normal are my most recent favorites and of course Legally Blonde! But there are so many shows and so many new shows coming out that my favorite changes depending on my mood. My dream role would be to create a new role in a musical. I love creating characters from scratch! I want them to make a musical version of Election so I can do Tracy Flick or A League of Their Own so I can play Kit!
If anyone reads this who is doing that let me know . But as for shows out now, Elle has actually been one of those roles on the check list to play.
I teach dance! I love it. When I'm not doing that I like to write. I have a fountain pen collection and tons of journals and notepads (i'm kind of a nerd). I also love movies! I am so excited for Hunger Games cause I loved the books. I also started crocheting because it is a great activity to do on trains and busses or on breaks from rehearsal.
My ipod is full of so many random songs. I have a lot of songs for teaching that I also love like Nicki Minaj and Beyonce. I have some fun. (that's actually the name of the band "fun.")They are my latest obsession. They are about to hit big. I also have Jason Mraz, John Mayre, Adele, Ben Folds, Lady GaGa, Eric Hutchinson, Matt Nathanson, Parachute, Young the Giant, Silversun Pickups, Cold War Kids, The Joy Formidable, Arcade Fire, The Naked and Famous, The Black Keys, City and Colour...... the list goes on and on and changes constantly. I listen to tons of music. I use it as kind of a playlist for my life. Sometimes I'll walk down the street to Katy Perry if that's the mood I'm in or I'll need some Billy Joel. It really depends on how I'm feeling in that moment.
Friday, March 16, 2012
Stacey Harris 'S Marvelous!
Posted by: PIA HAAS on Friday, March 16, 2012 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)
I grew up in Raleigh, NC, in a normal (non-showbiz!) family. But they loved musicals, and I remember my dad teaching me how to Charleston
in our kitchen. I moved to Chicago
when I went to college at Northwestern University
, and did theatre there after I graduated for a couple years before moving to NYC. I was bitten with the theatre bug early. I remember seeing the national tour of ANNIE
and thinking "I could do that!". I loved doing school shows and taking dance classes and singing in choir. I asked my mom about going to theatre camp in the summers around age 11 and did my first professional show at age 17.
I heard of 'S Wonderful from an audition notice. I've done several Gershwin shows and have always been a fan of Gershwin music. I had never seen or done the show before, but I had heard great things about Ray Roderick and was excited about the opportunity of working with him.
Some of my favorite roles I have played include "Roxie" in Chicago, "Lola" in Damn Yankees, "Anita" in West Side Story, "Edythe Herbert" in My One and Only, "Rosie" in Bye Bye Birdie, "Anna" in Syncopation....oh, too many to list! :) Other dream roles include pretty much every role ever played by Gwen Verdon and Chita Rivera, but especially "Charity" in Sweet Charity.
When I'm not on stage, I enjoy working out, yoga, spending time with family and friends, enjoying the outdoors (walks, parks, beaches), swing and salsa dancing, and dining out.
My ipod is filled with a WIDE variety of music, from Dixie Chicks to Def Leppard, Lenny Kravitz to Lisa Loeb, James Taylor to John Mayer, Michael Buble to Melissa Etheridge...my favorite group from childhood, Hall and Oates, lots of Andrews Sisters and other music from the 1940s for my trio "Victory Belles", and of course PLENTY of rehearsal tracks and musical theatre!
Stacey Harris in 'S Wonderful.
Thursday, March 15, 2012
Blakely Slaybaugh Slays Audiences!
Posted by: Pia Haas on Thursday, March 15, 2012 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)
I grew up in Fort Myers, FL. I am the oldest of two. I have a younger brother who is also in the business, but neither of my parents are. I attended a creative and expressive arts elementary, middle, and high school. The Arts have always been a huge part of my life. Ive grown up in the theatre working professionally from a young age. Musicals, straight plays, all of it.
You could say maybe I was destined for this profession since at a very young age I was "tap dancing" on countertops. I did my first production at a local high school at the age of four. My dream was the stage and screen. It was fully cemented in my mind when I made my first weekly paycheck on a gig at age ten. From that moment forward I never looked back, and have had my families full support the entire way. I admire many many people. Men. Women. It doesnt matter to me, because every person has something different, something admirable that I'd like to embody in my own work and lifestyle. But some of note would have to be Fred Estaire, Gene Kelly, Joel Grey, Donald O'Connor, Bob Fosse, Alan Cumming, Raul Esparza, and Edward Villella.
I first heard of 'S Wonderful when a friend of mine Kevin actually did the track I play now on a non-union tour a year or so ago. All I knew is that it contained a wide variety of George and Ira's work. I have never had the opportunity to work on the show until now, and I'm extremely grateful for the opportunity given to me by Ray Roderick and Vince Pesce to bring Harold to life at the WBT. As I was always raised around the "Old School" Broadway scene and mindset, I would definitely say I'm a fan of Gershwin. I even remember being given a two CD set of Gershwin tunes when CD's first came out, but I had heard many in the theater live prior to that.
Favorite shows?? Hmm. Its hard to say really. I like a lot of shows for different reasons. Some musicals and plays of note I guess would be Cabaret, Company, Rocky Horror Show, Tick Tick Boom, Passion, Light In The Piazza, Bug, I Am My Own Wife, Red, The Glory of Living, and recently, WarHorse. If you haven't seen it... what are you waiting for??
In my little down time not on stage I like to discover new movies, restaurants, and hangouts with my girlfriend Gretchen. I like wrestling with my two cats Abner and Orion whenever I get a chance. Other than that, I like spending time with good people. Thats all I need really.... Well I could always use more green space in the city I guess.
On my I Pod? Thats an easy one. A bit of everything. I'm not too discriminatory when it comes to music although I would say I only have a handful of country songs. Other than that I'd say I have every genre covered pretty evenly. Between having well over 3200 songs on my computer and my Spotify subscription; If you name it, I probably have it. Haha!
Blakely Slaybaugh with Deidre Haren in 'S Wonderful
Monday, March 12, 2012
Deidre Haren ... Hello!
Posted by: Pia Haas on Monday, March 12, 2012 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)
I grew up in San Diego, CA the oldest of four, (three brothers). My parents are actually big sports people- my dad had been in baseball for 40 years and he met my mom while she was working in PR and Marketing for the LA Dodgers. To take a break from the sports world, my dad always had Turner Classic Movies on. So I came to fall in love with Judy Garland, Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire; not to mention all the standards including Gershwin music. I always sang around the house and eventually in church and then my parents asked of I'd like to audition for a youth production of Annie..and I've loved performing ever since.
My first week of kindergarten my teacher walked me out to the car and told my mom it had been show and tell. My mom apologized and said "I'm sorry Deidre didn't tell me so I didn't know, I'm sorry she didn't bring something". My teacher said "oh she brought something" and proceeded to tell my teacher how I grabbed a book off the bookshelf sang "Belle" (the opening number) from Beauty And The Beast for my entire kindergarten class. She said I sang on pitch and made eye contact with all the kids and said "you need to out her in musical theatre" my mom said "what's musical theatre?" ...the rest is history
I had heard of Ray's (Roderick) other show "I love a Piano" but I hadn't heard of S' Wonderful until my agent called with the audition. I performed the same role in the show last summer at the Gateway Playhouse on Long Island. I love the show. And yes I'm a huge fan of Gershwin music from all the old movie musicals etc. being a part of this show I've learned even more about Gershwin and have grown to love him even more. Ray recommended a book about George to me that i'm hooked on.
I love the classics, Oklahoma, Sound of Music, Thoroughly Modern Millie, 42nd Street and etc. With dream roles, I 've been blessed to play some of mine already, but I'd love to play Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady and my life won't be complete until I've played Belle in Beauty and the Beast.
When not performing, I love sports, so I watch Sports Center, and I love baseball tonight. My boyfriend and I are working our way through a documentary about new York city that we're obsessed with, I love new York and learning more about this amazing city. I am really close with my family so I'm on Skype and my phone a lot.
On my I Pod? I Love Carrie Underwood, Michael Jackson, Mandy Moore, Kelly Clarkson, Jason Mraz...and I also listen to a lot of podcasts.
Blakely Slaybaugh & Deidre Haren in 'S Wonderful!