Stories & Cast Interviews
Meet Sebastian Goldberg
Sebastian plays Lew Ayers and other character roles in Backwards! Read about this funny, versatile actor!
Sebastian (l) with Ryan Steer.
I grew up in Lexington, MA. My mom is a dancer/dance teacher, so I was pretty much dancing from the time I could walk! I performed in her annual recital every year, and got into musical theater when I was in 8th grade. I was lucky to have a great theater program in the next town over and spent all of my summers doing shows there and getting great real world training in this industry.
Growing up in my dancing household was definitely a major part in my career path; I think I realized when I was about 12 or 13 that performing was more than just a hobby to me and that I couldn't imagine living my life and being happy without being on stage.
I heard of this show when I saw the auditions posted! Of course I grew up watching the classic Fred, Ginger, Gene Kelly movies, so I was drawn to this production just out of a love for the material we'd be recreating.
I did Mary Poppins here last summer, and I love working at WBT. It's great being so close to the city, and the schedule really accommodates making great connections with your castmates.
I really love classic dance production shows; 42nd Street, Crazy For You, Singin' in the Rain are a few favorites that I've been lucky enough to perform. I really just love to dance and sing so as long as I'm doing that I'm happy :)
When I'm not on stage I like to catch up on sleep...I like to exercise a lot, cook, spend time outdoors, spend as much time as possible with my friends.
On my Ipod? I listen to a little bit of everything but lately it's been a lot of Years & Years, dumblonde, and always Mariah Carey :)
Darien Crago as Ginger Rogers
I'm from Columbus, Ohio (O-H ... ) (My dad trained us to say that from a young age...the proper response is I-O!!!)
I started dance at a young age -- ballet at age 3, tap at 6 years-old. *(Please see embarrassing pictures) It immediately clicked with me -- I just loved it. My appreciation for the classics also started young -- thankfully my mom introduced us to the iconic song-and-dance films when we were little. I loved Singin' in the Rain and 42nd Street (where Ginger Rogers makes a cameo as Anytime Annie ...complete with a monocle!) I did my first musical when I was 10, playing little-orphan-Annie, as most out-going curly-haired girls do! Thus began many years of living room musicals with my patient cousins and siblings until I decided to try and pursue it as a career and study musical theatre in college -- I went to Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio and have lived in NYC ever since graduation about four years ago!
I was certainly enchanted by some of the young actors and dancers in the old movies I would watch. I can remember watching Shirley Temple sing and dance and thinking "Oh, I want to do that!" Same thing with Ann Margaret, Lucille Ball, Ruby Keeler, Gwen Verdon, and of course, Ginger Rogers. I was inspired by something from each of their performances -- whether it was the dancing, the costumes, the funny line or joke they told -- they just made performing seem so magical. Once I got a taste of that on my own -- I was hooked.
I'm also extremely appreciative for the many great teachers I've had in my life. Starting with all my dance teachers -- who always expressed that movement was about telling a story first and foremost--everything should have a purpose and mean something to you. This single lesson is vital for dancers -- that's what sets you apart as an actor, and why Ginger was so captivating onstage and on film.
Getting the chance to portray this beloved and celebrated woman is one of my greatest honors! It's both intimidating and inspiring. I would say slightly intimidating only because I want to do my very best paying homage to these iconic movie moments we've recreated within our musical. But, also that's what is so inspiring -- here I am GETTING the chance to recreate the same dance sequences that motivated and encouraged me to pursue my dance and acting career. This is a dream! Jeremy Benton, our director, did an incredible job of creating choreography that fit this style effortlessly, while still keeping the movements similar enough to the exact Fred-and-Ginger choreography. True fans will not be disappointed and are in for a real treat!
I've also learned so much about Ginger's life and early career. I didn't think I could have admired her more, but after delving in and getting a better sense of the strong, confident, passionate woman she was -- I was wrong! In fact, often when rehearsals seemed overwhelming during our quick ten day process, I would remind myself: "How would Ginger handle this?" And the answer would be with poise, professionalism, and probably humor. So, that's what I tried to do! She is role model both in her demeanor and success, and it's and honor to pretend I'm her for a few hours each day.
This is my first show at WBT! (Although I was a guest a few years back -- I saw Jeremy Benton in White Christmas!) But, this is my first time on the stage! I've really enjoyed the community so far -- one thing that is fun as a performer is to see and hear audience reactions, I think. And with Westchester's intimate theater, you can really feel connected to the audience. I enjoy being able to see faces and speak directly to people as we sing and dance -- it makes it feel a little more special!
I've been very lucky that I've gotten a chance to play some of my dream roles already!! Some favorites: Peggy Sawyer in 42nd Street, Judy Haynes in White Christmas, Logainne in The 25th Annual...Spelling Bee, and Beth March in Little Women. But, I also love Fosse's work and one role I hope to play someday is Charity in Sweet Charity! I'm also dying to play Kathy in Singin' in the Rain and Louise in Gypsy!
I'm a sucker for crafts...specifically paper related ones. I love making stationery...and will gladly be pen pals with fellow snail mail lovers! I also really enjoy being outside (as long as I have my SPF 1,000 and a large hat) playing Frisbee, riding bikes, reading, playing Bananagrams -- you name it!
Music I listen to? You probably guessed it.. lots of 50's-60's classics. I love listening to my "Chordettes" Pandora station when I have things to get done around my apartment! I've also been listening to Fun Home non stop -- I can't get enough. I also have a slight obsession with Disney's Pocahontas that started in 1995...so, of course "Colors of The Wind" is on there.
Meet Erika Amato as Lela Rogers in Backwards In High Heels.
Erika Amato plays Leila Rogers, Ginger's mother in our production of Backwards In High Heels. Pictured here with Darien Crago (as Ginger.) Read about how this Jersey girl got her start!
I grew up in Mountainside, NJ and went to the all-girls Kent Place School, in Summit. I was an only child with an extremely active imagination, constantly acting out the adventures of Robin Hood in my backyard or singing impromptu improvised operas in my bedroom. (My parents were extremely understanding.) I acted and sang all throughout my primary and secondary school years, and then attended Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY, where I was a Drama major (general honors and honors in Drama). After graduation, I moved to Los Angeles to pursue TV and film. While there, I met my husband, Jeff Stacy, with whom I formed a successful indie rock band called Velvet Chain. I lived there for 17 years (doing TV, film and theatre work in addition to the "rock star" stuff) until we moved back East a few years ago so I could better pursue a career in musical theatre.
I've always wanted to be an actor and a singer. I started singing at 3 years old, and played my first lead at age 8. (I was the "Little Peasant" in the play THE LITTLE PEASANT at a summer drama camp that year.) When we filled out our little "What do you want to be when you grow up?" questionnaires in primary school, my answer was, "An actress or a veterinarian." (My allergies put the kibosh on any plans to be a vet!) As for mentors, my first mentor was certainly the drama teacher at Kent Place, Bob Pridham, who still teaches there. He's truly an excellent educator who doesn't treat school plays like anything less than "real" productions. He always encourages all his students to do real, truthful work - not just "hamming it up." Professionally, I'd say my mentor is the wonderful Betty Buckley, who I had the pleasure of meeting and performing with at the Hollywood Bowl back in 2006 and have taken master classes from (and become friends with) since. She is a genius at communicating with an audience (besides that marvelous voice), and I aspire to achieve some of that same effect on people.
I'd heard of the show a couple of years back, having seen a casting notice for it, but really didn't know anything about it until I got the audition appointment for this production. I think it's a great piece, and Lela Rogers is a very interesting, multi-faceted character to play.
One of my favorite shows in Stephen Sondheim's INTO THE WOODS, which I just got to do this past spring up at Ocean State Theatre in RI. I played the Witch, which also happens to be one of my dream roles. I've been very fortunate to have already played quite a few of my dream roles, but a couple of the ones that I haven't had a chance to do yet are Mama Rose in GYPSY and Mrs. Lovett in SWEENEY TODD.
When not on stage, If it's the summer, I adore going to the beach - or just being near the water. I love to read, and of course I enjoy spending time with my husband and our fabulous dog, Buddy.
Right now, I'm listening to a lot of 80s New Wave/punk (the Smiths, Violent Femmes, the Police, Tears for Fears, U2, the Cure, etc.), as well as more current stuff like Radiohead and the Killers. And of course, the Beatles. Nobody beats the Beatles.
"Learn Your Lessons Well" with Greta Kleckner
Greta is a force to be reckoned with in GODSPELL.. energetic and versatile in her many portrayals... see what makes her tick:
I grew up in Annapolis, MD raised by a single mom. We lived in a cute and quiet neighborhood with two crazy SPCA reject dogs, and we both did community theatre for fun all throughout my childhood.
My mom was the one who got me into theatre, spending time backstage as she did various community theatre shows, and eventually us doing those shows together as I grew up. I never planned on doing musical theatre as my career, I was on track to be a professional classical violinist. Theatre was just something we got to do together that was fun. Boy, how things change!
I first heard of Godspell as a very young child, when I fell in love with the movie (or really, I fell in love with a young Victor Garber. What a hunk!). I haven't done the show before, but I grew up singing the songs, doing the silly dances, painting my face, and going to see any production of it in a 50-mile radius.It's a dream show for me, and I can't believe I get to be a part of it now!
I LOVE the movie. I think movie musicals, though they have to go through a lot of changes to transcend entertainment mediums which sometimes loses the magic, expose the masses to something they may not otherwise be able to experience, which I fully support.
Favorite shows: Godspell (Duh!), Batboy, Peter and the Starcatcher, Mame, too many to count! Dream roles: Gooch in Mame (check!), Penny in Hairspray... and really any opportunity to make art is a dream!
When I'm not on stage, I really love entertaining. I know that sounds silly, but I love bringing people together, making new friends, playing games, etc. In general, community is really important to me, so spending time with people and connecting others into a network of support and love is something I am passionate about. Also baking. And coffee.
My music taste is a mix between hipster indie folk and top 40. Last song played was "Work Bitch" by Britney Spears. No shame.