We're piquing your interest about Heaven Can Wait, with this behind-the-scenes peek! The cast of Heaven Can Wait, took some time out of their busy rehearsal schedules to answer more of our most burning questions.
Tell us a little bit about why this particular show interested you?
Kelly Ahlman: I had read some of the storyline for Heaven Can Wait and had seen bits and pieces of the Warren Beatty film prior to auditioning. It had a very interesting plot and great characters with a lot of depth. I knew I wanted to be a part of that. I thought it would be a wonderful start with a new theatre company. As it turns out, I was right!
Tom Benson: When I auditioned I only had the briefest inkling as to what the show was about. The reason I came in to audition was because I liked the story itself and it had been a while since I have been a part of a play. It scared me a little and I knew at that moment I had to do it.
Daniel Coleman: I was intrigued by the journey that Joe goes through; as well as the overall message being conveyed in Heaven Can Wait.
Tim Como: I read the script and thought that it was a very funny, thoughtful play. When I saw the 1940's version of the movie, it sealed the deal.
Tara Martinsen: I didn't know much about this show when I went to audition! When I saw the brief synopsis and list of characters listed on the Lyric Arts website, I noticed there were several characters that sounded like I could play them. It was while reading the lines at the auditions that I started to get really excited! The short scenes that we auditioned with really grabbed my interest. That's when I was hooked.
Nickie McClure: I was intrigued because it wasn’t a musical. Then I rented the Warren Beatty version and thought it was so humorous!
Linda Monroe: I really liked the Warren Beatty version of this movie - a favorite of mine! Also, I've been in two musicals and I wanted to try a non-musical.
Pat Noren Enderson: I was familiar with the story from the 1978 movie of the same name that starred Warren Beatty. Additionally, I thought that a funny, non-musical play would make a good first role for me in the theater.
Corey Okonek: I remembered seeing the Warren Beatty version in the theater when it came out and thought it would be a fun show.
Tell us a little bit about the character you’re playing.
Corey Okonek: I play Mr. Jordan, the angel that takes Joe though his 2nd life. I saw Mr. Jordan as sort of "the boss", for lack of a better term, with a huge heart. As I've done w/some other roles, I drew a lot of the character from my Dad. He was part of the greatest generation, serving in China during WWII and then retired as a Captain from the Wisconsin State Patrol. He was a bear of a man that you really didn't want to see walking up to your car at a traffic stop but he had the heart and tenderness of a teddy bear. As Joe says, "I really learned of lot from you".
Pat Noren Enderson: I play three characters--
Nurse: The script notes she is Swedish. I play her with a Swedish lilting accent and use a couple of Swedish words instead of the English ones.
Ann: Ann is a maid who is last on the totem pole and she is the only one who is excited about the changes they see in Mr. Farnsworth when Joe enters his body. She doesn’t care for the second maid, Susie, who tends to over-react to things, so Ann ignores her as much as possible.
Doctor: The doctor is a strong ambitious women evidenced by the fact that she is the fight doctor. She is serious yet gets caught up in the hi-jinks in Act III with the others after the fight.
Linda Monroe: I play Mrs. Ames, the head maid/housekeeper for the Farnsworths. It's been a challenge for me trying to develop this character, but last week Mishia (Edwards, the director) made a comment about how Mrs. Ames is pretty much completely oblivious to everything that's going on with the other people in the house. She's also a little curious about what's going on, so that's how I'm trying to play her.
Nickie McClure: Escort 2 is trying to prove to Mr. Jordan that she is very competent. It was easy to develop because Cory, who plays Mr. Jordan, does his part so well. He has a stern voice and shows his authority beautifully- I have no choice but to be an obedient escort. As for Susie- she seems very naive and hysterical, which is easy for me to play. The hysterical part is so fun!
Tara Martinsen: I play Messenger 7013. Messengers are the ones that transport souls to Heaven. On my first day as a Messenger, I screw up...BIG TIME! I bring a soul (Joe Pendleton) to Heaven 60 years before he is supposed to die! Then, while trying to fix my mistake, his body is cremated and now he can't return to Earth to finish out his life in his own body. I've tried to make my character as someone that is really too smart to have made this mistake, but she is an over-eager, ready to please sort of person. Someone who was maybe given too much responsibility and this job too soon. She is very much stuck in the middle, trying to prove herself worthy and competent to both her boss and to Joe Pendleton.
Tim Como: I play Max Levene, Joe's boxing manager. He's a bit of a wise-cracker, and not always the brightest guy in the room. But, he says what me means and is very loyal to Joe, or Farnsworth, or whoever he ends up being...While working on Max, I try and think of how character actors from this time period would move, how they would speak, and how they would react to the situation at hand.
Daniel Coleman: I play Joe Pendleton. He is a boxer who gets in a plane crash and his souls is taken 60 years too soon and his body is cremated before he can be sent back. Through his journey he changes into different people in order to attempt to fulfill his goals. I took the time to research and find out what personality traits make my character unique.
Tom Benson: I play Tony Abbott. He’s Mr. Farnsworth’s personal secretary and Mrs. Farnsworth’s lover. He’s also the man who conspires and succeeds to kill Farnsworth. Tony is a complicated character to play. Immediately you think, bad guy. However he’s more complicated than that. He does love Julia and wants to be with her. The fact that Farnsworth has money doesn’t hurt, but I believe deep down, he is a man driven by passion. He’s a guy who wants it all, at any price. It’s finding his redeeming qualities and playing his opposites that make it fun to explore him. He’s a human being. We all have positive and negative qualities that make us who we are.
Kelly Ahlman: I play Bette Logan. She is a strong and determined young girl who has to fight to get her father out of jail. She starts by hating and ends up falling in love with the man who, she at first believes, framed her father. It has been an enjoyable challenge developing this character. She is smart and dedicated, yet a bit naive when it comes to love. The audience does not see so much of her, as some of the other characters, so I have to make sure they get to know the amazing person she is in brief moments. She can read between the lines and sees something in the eyes of others that may not be obvious unless you take a step back, and look with your heart.
Well, we sure are convinced, this is going to be one amazing show! There's just two short weeks left before opening night, so be sure to get your tickets today!