Stories & Cast Interviews

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Sarah Smithton DAY BY DAY!

Posted by: Pia Haas on Thursday, July 23, 2015 at 12:00:00 am Comments (1)

 Sarah Smithton sings the classic, DAY BY DAY in GODSPELL.. Here is what she shared with us!

      

I grew up in San Francisco, CA!  Born and raised in the Mission District. As far back as I can remember, the arts were always a part of my life. I was seeing theatre/opera/ballet as early as 5 years old. San Francisco is such a great place to have a rich, cultural upbringing with all of its museums and theatres. 

It was the summer that I was 8 years old. I had nothing going on the week of the Fourth of July, and so my parents signed me up for a week-long musical theatre camp run by Academy DeTurk in San Rafael, CA. I got bit by the theatre bug and never looked back.

I did Godspell in middle school (photo above right) and have been listening to the recording for years, but it's my mom who has the best connection to the show. When she was in college, one of the members of the original Broadway cast borrowed her leotard, and then never gave it back because they were off in NYC performing the show on Broadway. True story. Who was the person? My lips are sealed!  

I have seen the movie...Victor Garber's afro is insane! On musical films: Chicago is still one of my favorites. Rob Marshall did such a good job at capturing how it feels when a character magically breaks into song. If the musical in question lends itself nicely to a film adaptation, I say go ahead.

Into the Woods is probably my favourite musical, with many many runners up like Oliver, Spelling Bee, Assassins - to name a few. Peter Pan is on my list to play, and in my wildest dreams? Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar. After I saw Tim Minchin do it, my life was changed.

When I'm not onstage I'm hardly ever on the ground! You'll find me at various aerial arts studios in the city, or practicing Antigravity Yoga - something I got certified in this year and am head over heals in love with.

I listen to everything from Scissor Sisters to Jamie Cullum; from Ludacris to the Civil Wars. There's a good amount of jazz and singer/songwriter tunes, but I try not to stay in one genre. Also nearly every cast recording ever. And a ton of mashups - I love mashups. 

 

Meet Karley Willocks Turn Back, Oh Man!

Posted by: pia Haas on Thursday, July 23, 2015 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

   

I grew up in Annapolis, MD. I have a super musical family - my dad plays guitar and my mom was always singing and tap dancing. My brother went on to become a jazz guitarist. We are very close and love to make music when we are together. 

I started dance classes at 3 - a bumblebee in my first dance recital! I did my first musical at 8 and never stopped! My theatrical mentor growing up was an amazing woman named Bobbi Smith -- she passed away when I was in high school which was really traumatic for me.  However, that's when my next mentor came into my life named Bobby Smith (we call him Bobby Smith Boy).  Can't make this stuff up!

I always remember hearing of Godspell, but I've never been in it and actually never even seen it before. I've never seen the movie either... Obviously, I love the way films can make musical theatre more popular - and reach a wider audience. But I can be a tough critic on musical films... lots of changes are often made to songs/lyrics/dialogue/plot and I guess INo Turning Back  tend to be a purist and don't like things being changed.  A couple of musical films out there are great, but often times I think they are poorly done and wish they'd be left alone.

A Chorus Line has a very dear place in my heart, I've done it 6 times always as Maggie. So not only does the story itself speak to me, as it does most artists...and humans.. but I also treasure the way it has continuously been there for me professionally.

I also love Into the Woods, Les Miserables, Batboy and Rent.   My Dream roles: Eponine in Les Mis, Roxie Hart in Chicago, Cinderella in Into the Woods

When not on stage, I love being outside - hiking, bike riding, beach... all things nature. I also love hula hooping.  Reading. Painting. Playing ukulele. Going to concerts. I listen to  Lots of Dave Matthews... and Indie Rock, yoga music, my brother Dave Willocks -- and classics like The Beatles, Bob Marley, Earth Wind & Fire and Paul Simon

 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Meet Josh Kenney! 'The Light Of The World!"

Posted by: Pia Haas on Wednesday, July 22, 2015 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Josh Kenney appears in GODSPELL on our stage.. We caught up with him and asked some prying questions... Ha!

  

I grew up in MA. I am the eldest of 3 and the only boy. Started on the Cape/ Nantucket then on to Boston then my family moved to Mansfield, MA which is located next Foxboro, MA where the New England Patriots play (GO PATS!!!) I grew up moving a lot. As a child my parents would take me every Saturday to MASS College of Art for art classes. I always loved drawing cartoons and inventing characters. In HS I was in AP Studio Art as well as track and field in HS. Varsity Division 3 state Champs Indoor and Outdoor for my Junior and Senior year. Performing for me was never even on the spectrum of possibility until my senior year. Growing up no one in my family was ever artistically inclined. 

Which leads me to Emily Hayes, a fellow senior, who begged me to be a part of a youth production of ‘Annie' she was stage managing for a local youth theater. I reluctantly said yes. I auditioned and got the part of Rooster.I HAD NO CLUE I COULD SING OR ACT OR ANYTHING OF THE SORT. I was bitten by the acting bug and fell in love with performing. It took a while for me to really trust in myself and my talent to decide to make it a career. Now flash forward to me at 25  when I got the courage to go back to school. I attended AMDA’s 2 year program and graduated in 2013. So here I am now an Equity actor thanks to Emily Hayes who is now the ASM on 'Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time.’

I first heard of the musical ‘Godspell’ when I was 19/20? I had no knowledge of the American Musical Theater catalogue however some songs were familiar. A local community theater production was auditioning and I auditioned. I was cast in the role of Jesus. Unfortunately my car broke down and I couldn’t find a way to get to rehearsals so I had to drop out. Its sort of been the show that got away. :) I am thrilled to get to do the show and sing this awesome score. 

This will be my first show at WBT. I am totally thrilled to join the team. I have heard so many wonderful things. Emilio Ramos who was in the last show, West Side Story with WBT. He and I graduated together and performed together in the same graduating showcases. He’s raved about the theater. :)

I have never seen the movie of ‘Godspell.’ I think it depends on the piece and whether the material will be served well on such a large scale. I loved Into the Woods, and Chicago, and Dreamgirls

My favorite shows right now are FUN HOME, Something Rotten, Matilda and The King and I. Overall I would say Into the Woods and playing Rapunzel’s Prince would be a dream role. I would love the chance to play Elder McKinley in The Book Of Mormon, George in She Loves Me and when I’m older Jean Valjean in Les Miserables

When I am not on stage I am in the gym or seeing movie or painting. I paint on the side as a means to not have to wait tables so much. You can see a few of them right on my website http://www.joshkenney.com/#!artwork/c6fI originally went to UMASS Dartmouth for fine arts and painting. I also happen to be a major foodie I love all kinds of food and I am constantly scouring EATER NY for new places to go and eat. 

I listen to: Ariana Grande, Britney Spears, DJ Zedd, Gaga, Macklemore, Katy Perry, Madonna, Kylie Minogue… and even Taylor Swift. As well as Bette Midler, and tons and tons of cast albums. I also will at times use songs to pick a play list and rock out to 90’s Jock Jams. 

 

Monday, July 13, 2015

By My Side with Devon Perry!

Posted by: Pia Haas on Monday, July 13, 2015 at 12:00:00 am Comments (1)

Devon Perry appears in Godspell.. but you may remember her performances as Dorothy in The Wizard Of Oz  and as Dolly in It Happened One Christmas Eve. We caught up with her between rehearsals!                                                    
"Performing By My Side" with Gilbert Sanchez (Jesus)

Growing up in Central Ohio, I was putting on performances in the living room as soon as I could walk and talk.  I usually incorporated the services of my dolls and my little brother (thanks, man!) and was always clad in a pink tutu.  I watched almost every movie musical and had them all memorized by the end of elementary school. From the age of 6, I began training in ballet and planned to become a professional ballerina, training intensely for over 10 years, until an injury prevented me from going any further.  It was about that time that I turned to theatre, attending Interlochen Arts Camp in the summers.  I then received a B.F.A. in musical theatre from the University of Michigan, and, well... here I am!

 My mother introduced me to Godspell as a child, through the song "Day By Day," which is still one of her favorites.  This is my first time performing in this show, which is very exciting!

This is my third show at WBT, and I love it here!  It's such a beautiful community to be a part of.  Not only are the audiences engaged and supportive, but also the people behind the scenes are just extraordinary, from the box office to the stage crew and everywhere in between.  Though it may sound cliche, WBT really has a family atmosphere, which, when felt so strongly backstage and onstage, I know must translate to the audience and make them feel included as well.

I will admit... I'd never seen Godspell, the film, until I got cast in this production.  I knew all the music, but I'd just never watched it.  In general, I'm a huge fan of the Golden Age musicals that were made into films, all the Rodgers and Hammerstein as well as anything with Gene Kelly or Ginger Rogers.  My favorites are South Pacific and White Christmas.

Some of my favorite shows are South Pacific, Merrily We Roll Along, The Wizard of Oz, and The Light in the Piazza.  Many thanks to WBT for giving me the chance to play one of my dream roles last summer as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz.

When I'm not onstage, I also work as a professional pianist, which is such a blast!  I also enjoy yoga and nature and kissing dogs.

There's all sorts of stuff on my iTunes.  I love just about everything from jazz to folk to electronic music.  Lately, I've been really into Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn, as well as a South African band called Beatenberg - highly recommended!

  
As Dorothy                     As Dolly (with Xander Chauncey)