meet the cast

Meet the Cast of Guys & Dolls: Sky Masterson

Our upcoming production of Guys and Dolls is quickly approaching, and our two Sky Masterson’s are excitedly awaiting opening night! These two men have, for the past few months, put their heart and souls into developing their portrayal of the confident, charming gambler! Here’s what they have to say about their experience:

How would you describe Sky Masterson? Matt: “Sky is a confident and independent person who came from very little and has become the best at what he does. The very definition of the self-made man. But for all his swagger, he knows there is something missing. And when it (in the form of Sarah Brown) finally finds him, he finds himself in the unexpected and unusual position of not knowing what to do for probably the first time in his life.”

What is the most difficult part about becoming Sky? Matt: “Matching the bravado that defines him without it appearing hollow or phoney. Sky's confidence is not a facade to cover up insecurity. It's the essence of who he is.” Adam: “When I first started playing Sky I was trying too hard to be cool and suave and controlling. The definition of being suave is to be confident, and to not try hard: Sky may ask Sarah to dinner, but you know that it doesn't matter if she says no - it's all the same to him (or at least he'll have you believe!). The banter with Sarah is also as much about what's not said as it is about the lines. It was difficult, but incredibly rewarding to work with Justine on how to work in that flirtation with those seemingly-innocuous lines, followed by a knowing wink.”

What is the most interesting part about portraying this particular role? Adam: “How truly complex he really is. Sky is not a bad person, but he's no saint either: he's a man of God who can quote scripture, but only because he believes God works on his terms; he's a legend with the NYC gambling crowd, but he was in fact raised from nothing; he coerces Sarah to Havana on a bet, but he nearly ruins his reputation with the gamblers to save her mission from closing. On a more personal note, the scene/song of "My Time of Day" is a favourite moment of mine where we get to see Sky pull back the curtain a bit and explain to Sarah just a little bit of how his world works... and what his real name is (but you'll have to see the show to find that out!).”

How does Sky grow as a person throughout the show? Matt: “Sky learns that he can still be himself but also make room for something more. Sacrificing something, even a big part of your life, is not necessarily the same thing as compromising your true self. And corny as it sounds, love conquers all.”

What is your favourite part of the show? Matt: “I love all the great comic bits of the show- the hilarious scenes with the gamblers, the relationship of Nathan and Adelaide, etc...but I have to admit that selfishly, my favourite part of the show has to be Luck Be a Lady. The chance to sing one of the iconic tunes of the musical theatre repertoire has to be any actor's dream come true.” Adam: “I think it's a tie between "Guys and Dolls" and "If I Were a Bell". "Guys and Dolls" is such a juicy sardonic number: from the very get-go we have this rapid-fire patter of Nicely Nicely Johnson and Benny Southstreet as they almost try to outdo each other with anecdotes about how women have changed the world for "smart businessmen" like themselves. We find it funny because these characters aren't the sharpest tools in the shed and I love how Loesser uses that character trait to turn the meaning of their words against them. As for "If I Were a Bell", this song is genius because you get a huge amount of Sky's character developed by him not singing and being a listener - we finally get to see a moment here where Sky doesn't have a witty retort planned, and by the end he's speechless about what he realizes is happening between him and Sarah. Also, it's probably my favourite melody in the play, so I'm sure that helps.”

What makes this production unique? Matt: “Of course, every production is unique in at least small ways. But in this case, having 2 casts with different actors playing 3 of the 4 leads makes for a fascinating dynamic. Watching Adam's version of Sky has taught me a lot about the character, but saying that, I know it's a Sky that I'm not capable of portraying. We are different people, and our interpretation of the same words is therefore very different. The Sarah's and Adelaide's have a similar process, so we've ended up with what are really 2 completely different versions of this great show. So really, the savvy audience member has only choice- come see the show twice! (at least).” Adam: “Sadly, Guys and Dolls has an entirely undeserved reputation - even in theatre circles - as being trivial, the characters one dimensional, and the songs inserted for hum-value only. Of course, none of these things are true, but I think that it's enduring mega-hit popularity has given rise to a lot of bad productions in the last 60 years that have missed the subtleties of Swerling and Burrows' book, as well as the natural way which Loesser's songs roll off the tongue and this has left audiences with this idea that Guys and Dolls is a fluff musical comedy. Wavestage is different because we didn't start at a place trying to copy the glamourized version of the New York gansters and showgirls, but we began with simple people and how different worlds and classes collided, and then dressed them in the robes of Runyonland. Wavestages' Sky Masterson, Miss Adelaide, or Nicely Nicely Johnson could be just as recognizable in 2014 New York as they are in the 1940's, there's none of this hokey gangsterism that I think a lot of people assume when they see the words "Guys and Dolls". It's just people.”

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Don’t miss seeing these gentlemen on stage from November 6-9, 2014 at Newmarket Theatre. Tickets are available online at www.newtix.ca or by calling the box office at 905-953-5122. Tickets are also available for purchase in person at the box office before the show.

Meet the Cast of Guys & Dolls: Nathan Detroit

Wavestage veteran Joe Adams will be hitting the stage as Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls this weekend at the Newmarket Theatre! We had a chance to talk to Joe about his thoughts on the exciting upcoming production! Read on to learn more:


 

What was the most difficult part of preparing for this role? Joe: "I've been working on posturing and trying to perfect the look of Nathan Detroit and that has allowed the rest of the character to develop. Trying to match the dialogue and songs and make it all seem natural has been the goal.  Learning the dialogue and songs can sometimes seem like an uphill battle when you get to see how many of them there are, but once I really get to understand the script and discover the natural flow of the scene, everything just falls into place, and you understand why things are written the way they are.  Sometimes the hardest part is making what you have practiced on your own time work when all the other actors are present. All the different energies can create a very exciting vibe, which can take a bit of extra effort to concentrate.  However, once everything does fall into place, it seems magical.”

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What is your favourite musical number? Joe: “I would have to say my favourite number is "Luck Be A Lady."  I love how the lyrics are very indicative of the time Guys and Dolls is set in and parallels drawn in the song. Also, musically, the song is incredible with a big build-up to a powerful finish, and in my own biased opinion, I am a big fan of the men I get to sing the song with and our own power that we bring to the song.”

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Do you relate to Nathan at all? If so, how? Joe: “I feel in some ways I do relate to Nathan Detroit, like trying to keep my illegal gambling activities two steps ahead of the police and looking so darned good in a double-breasted suit...  But in all seriousness, I do feel that Nathan is a very thoughtful person who will not make a rash decision without first weighing the pros and cons, which is something that I am known to be like as well.”

What previous theatre experiences led you to this production? I first got involved in theatre at 16 and was happy to be in the ensemble of shows like Kismet and Man of La Mancha.  I got my first starring role in Li'l Abner where I played Abner, which was an almost intoxicating experience and made me crave even more roles.  Since then I have tackled shows like The Fantasticks (El Galla), Into the Woods (the Baker), You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown (Charlie Brown), You'll Get Used to It - The War Show (Dusty), Parade (Leo Frank) and Annie (Daddy Warbucks).

Tickets for the show are still available at www.newtix.ca or at the box office (905-953-5122).

Meet The Cast of Guys & Dolls: Sarah Brown

For the past few months, actresses Justine Turl (pictured right) and Lauren Lazar (pictured left) have been eagerly preparing for their role as “Sarah Brown” in our upcoming production of Guys and Dolls! We had a chance to ask our leading ladies about their experience playing the prim, proper and determined leader of the Save a Soul Mission! Read on to see what they had to say.


 

What sparked your interest in musical theatre? Justine: My love of musical theatre started at a very young age. One of my earliest memories that began my love affair with the theatre, was when my mom took my sister and I to see “The Beauty and the Beast” in Toronto. I was very small at the time but my mom said I sat mesmerized through the entire show, even asking to do it again as soon as it finished. Ever since then I dreamed of being on the stage. I probably have an unhealthy addiction to show tunes! My XM radio in my car is set to the Broadway station on the regular and every other song on my iPod is from a musical. Lauren: It's hard to pinpoint the igniting spark, as I don't remember a time when I didn't love singing, performing, and being on stage!  I recall childhood memories of singing and making up dance routines, alongside my best friend, to a beloved Phantom of the Opera cassette tape; vying furiously for the only singing solo in our grade 5 school musical (I didn't get it!  It was my first lesson in rejection as an actor); and falling asleep every night listening to the soundtrack of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

What is the most challenging part about performing Sarah Brown?  Lauren: “For me, the most challenging part of finding Sarah Brown is looking for the moments of nuance.  It's easy to find the two most obvious extremes of her character: i.e. the headstrong Sarah Brown who is rooted in tradition and acts solidly based on her morals, juxtaposed with the Sarah Brown who is softened by love, and follows her heart.  What's more difficult is finding the moments in between, where she is experiencing that struggle between head and heart, especially since the text seems to transition very quickly from one to the other and back again. As an actor, it's my job to pinpoint the in-between moments when Sarah begins to let down her guard, question what causes this change, and to attempt the find the honesty in the seemingly rapid transitions/growth that she makes as a character.” Justine: “The most challenging part of performing Sarah Brown for me is probably getting in tune with her physicality. She’s a strong, confident character but she’s not brash. She has some demure characteristics but is nothing close to weak. She’s graceful but hasn’t had years of dance training. Aiming for that perfect balance has definitely been a challenge for me.”

What is your favourite song in the production? Justine: “My favourite song in the production is the duet between Sky and Sarah “I’ve Never Been In Love Before”. Not only is it a stunning ballad, but I truly see it as the ‘ah ha’ moment for both characters. It comes at a time in the show where they both are finally seeing how much their lives have changed since the other has become part of it. It comes as a complete surprise to both of them. Sarah brings out a softer side of Sky that we haven’t seen before, nor has he experienced himself. And Sky has completely swept Sarah off her feet and shown her a part of the world and of herself that she has never seen. It’s during this song that they finally are able to profess their affections to each other.” Lauren: “I think my favourite song is "I'll Know."  Besides just having a beautiful, swelling melody, it is an example of one of the things that I think makes a great musical theatre song: one where the characters grow and express that which cannot be put into words alone.  At the beginning of the song, Sarah is so sure of herself and what she wants; by the end, her world has been turned upside down as she begins to fall for Sky and questions everything she firmly believed up to that point. By the time that Sarah sings her reprise only moments later, though it retains the same lyrics and melody as the first time it is sung, it suddenly takes on a whole new meaning.”

How would you describe Sarah Brown?  Lauren: “Sarah Brown is a fun character to play because she is seemingly a blend of contradictions. The push and pull between tradition and impulse are always at play with her character. She is grounded in conservative morals, yet she is feisty/fiery, and anything but reserved. Though she holds on strongly to her roots and fights for what she believes in, she is flexible enough to be open to change when it comes her way. Complex characters are always so much more fun to play than one-dimensional ones.”

What is the best part about performing in this Wavestage Production?  Justine: “My favourite thing about Wavestage is not only that it produces professional, top quality musical theatre, but that it’s a family. Throughout my many years of being a part of the company, I have created some of the most important and closest relationships in my life. There is not a day that goes by that I am not grateful for the experiences and people Wavestage has brought to my life. I truly feel blessed to be a part of something 'bigger' and could only hope that more people could experience the heart-warming experience that is Wavestage.” Lauren: “This is the first production I have done in a long time where I didn't know almost anybody going in.  It has been great getting to know so many new people, and the Wavestage group has been extremely welcoming!” 

What do you like about performing as Sarah? Justine: “The thing I love about performing the character of Sarah is that she is so diverse. She has so many different sides and facets to her. She goes from a wholesome, prim and proper lady, to a woman letting loose in Havana. She then becomes a woman who is madly in love with a man who has completely changed her life but becomes angry when she comes to the realization that a sinner might not be able to change. She is able to joke around in a bosom buddy moment with Adelaide but then comes to her senses about Sky. I truly have enjoyed every single moment of becoming Sarah Brown and hope to take some of her with me forever.”


 

Don't miss seeing these ladies on stage from November 6-9, 2014 at Newmarket Theatre. Tickets are available online at www.newtix.ca or by calling the box office at 905-953-5122. Tickets are also available for purchase in person at the box office before the show.

Meet the Cast of Legally Blonde: Emmet

23-year-old Chris Vergara is thrilled to be seen on stage this summer as the quirky and hilarious Emmet Forrest in the Wavestage's 20th Season production of Legally Blonde, the Musical! This is Chris’ first production with Wavestage, however, he is no stranger to the stage. He could not be more excited to perform alongside such an enthusiastic and talented cast! Not even a car accident at the beginning of the rehearsal process can slow this guy down. Here’s what Chris had to say about his work in the production of the summer: What part of being in this Wavestage production are you most looking forward to? "Having performed in Toronto over the past two years, and in Hamilton throughout my academic career beforehand, I am most excited about joining this entirely new theatre community. Everybody has been so welcoming; there's a great sense of camaraderie that continues to grow as we approach opening night."

What do you think the biggest challenge will be portraying such an identifiable character? "Taking on a character that so many people are familiar with, I feel my biggest challenge will be portraying Emmet in a recognizable way that fans of the original movie will appreciate, but still making him accessible to new audiences while adding my own individual mark on the role."

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What sparked your interest in musical theatre? "I grew up in a family that loved the arts, from taking piano lessons to singing at parties to seeing live theatre. The very first professional production I ever saw was with my family, seeing Les Miserables in Toronto in 1998. The production starred original Broadway cast member Colm Wilkinson as Valjean, who hadn't played the part since leaving the Broadway Company almost ten years before. The experience was revolutionary, and after seeing that incredible show I knew I needed musical theatre in my life."

Do you relate to the character of Emmet Forrest at all? "Like Emmet, I've had to face the hard work and stress that comes with completing school, and have also had to deal with living up to the expectations of accomplishing something great. We both strive for the best, and know the importance of determination and dedication to get things done."

What do you think makes this production of Legally Blonde unique? "It's very easy for the characters in this show to stray into broad characterizations, the ditzy blonde, the bookish nerd, which is something that the story is trying to defy. The vision for this particular production is very focused on fleshing out the reality of the characters, finding moments to make them deeper and more complex. Hopefully this will allow the audience to become more invested in them and their journey."

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What kind of training and experiences helped develop you into the performer that you are today? "I actually have no formal training in theatre; I never went to theatre school but instead have my bachelor’s degree in biology and environmental sciences. However, I have been very fortunate to have learned so much from all the theatre I did in my spare time, and now do professionally. With each new show, with each new company, I learn from my fellow actors and production team, and I continue to grow as a performer today."

Don’t miss this spectacular summer production at Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts from July 10-13! Tickets are available at www.rhcentre.ca or by calling 905.787.8811.

Meet the Cast of Legally Blonde: Paulette

Mandy McDonald is ready to “Bend and Snap” her way to the stage this summer as Paulette Buonofonte in our summer production of Legally Blonde! We had a chance to talk to Mandy and ask her about her experience developing this eccentric and iconic character. Check out what she had to say: What is it like playing a stand out comedic character in the musical rather than the softer, less bold version of Paulette seen in the movie? Mandy: "I really enjoy getting to play Paulette in the over the top way they portrayed her in the Musical. I think the movie version is great as well, and the lovely thing about Paulette is how open and honest she is about her hopes and dreams, even if they may seem silly to others. That to me is what really makes her such a comical character."

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Is there anyone that inspired you or that you modeled your character after? Mandy: "Orfeh of course is a giant inspiration because she did such an amazing job as Paulette in the Broadway production, and she is by far my favourite interpretation of Paulette. I have also pulled from Jennifer Coolidge's interpretation in the movie. Also, my mom is a hairdresser, so I thought a lot about her gift for chatting with folks in the chair when I was working on Paulette."

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How have you prepared for your role as Paulette? Mandy: "Preparing for the role of Paulette has been fun. Like any comedic role, I try to find the honesty in the character. I looked at Paulette's past with men, the way she acts towards other characters, and her dreams, and used that to form an idea of her personality."

What is your training and/or background in dance, musical, or theatrical works? Mandy: "I have been performing since I was 5, in talent shows, drama camps, dance recitals, and musicals. I have danced all my life, mainly Tap, and I have taken singing lessons for about 12 years. I also just recently graduated from college for Music Theatre Performance."

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When did you catch the theater bug? Mandy: "I was always trying to sing and dance for my parents as long as I can remember. I really caught the theatre bug when I was about 5 or 6, and my mom showed me the VHS of Annie for the first time. Like I had mentions I really loved to sing and dance, and up until that point because of disney I sorta figured I would have to be a Disney Princess when I grew up if I wanted to do that.. but when I saw Annie, not only was she REAL she was young like me. I knew then that I wanted to "Do whatever Annie does" (For a long time I didn't know the term Musical Theatre so I would just say I wanted to "Be like Annie" when I grew up)."

What are the biggest challenges that come with this role? Mandy: "One of the biggest challenges I had with this role was getting a consistent accent!"

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See Mandy on the RHCPA stage from July 10-13! Get your tickets online today or by calling the box office at 905-787-8811.