Meet Regan Duffy who is performing in White Christmas

Lyric Arts had a chance to interview Regan Duffy, who is performing, as Susan Waverly,  in White Christmas. Read on to hear what she has to say about her experience thus far!

LA: Tell us a little bit about why this particular play interested you?

RD: White Christmas interested me because I hadn’t done a Christmas play before and I wanted more experience with auditions an acting.

LA: For those that are unfamiliar with White Christmas can you tell us about the show?

RD:It is a funny, romantic Christmas play with lots of singing! 

LA: Talk about the character that you play in White Christmas. How have you developed this character?

RD: I play the part of Susan Waverly.  She is nine years old and very dramatic and sassy!  My parents might say she is a lot like me.

LA: Why should people come and see White Christmas?

RD:People should come to see White Christmas because it is a fun play that will get you in the Christmas spirit!

LA: What do you feel are the "wow" elements of White Christmas?

RD:The singing is amazing and the actors and actresses are really talented.

LA: What is your favorite aspect of the show?

RD: My favorite aspect of the show is the choreography.

LA: Tell us what is something that you are particular excited about this show coming to together? For example, a certain scene, costumes, set, lights, etc?

RD:I am most excited about my solo!

LA: Are musicals easier or harder then straight show or comedies? If so, why?

RD:I have no idea because I have never done a straight show!

LA: What is your favorite musical to watch?

RD: My absolute favorite musical to watch is My Fair Lady!

LA: What is your favorite thing to do around the holidays?

RD:I love playing outside in the cold snow and then going inside for some hot chocolate.  I also love watching the movie Elf.

LA: Which do you like better White Christmas the movie or the stage version?

RD:They are so different it is difficult to choose but I would probably say the stage version.

LA: To date what is your favorite role that you have played and why?

RD: Besides my role in White Christmas, my favorite role has been Kate in Annie at the Children’s Theatre.  It is my favorite because the experience was so amazing and overall I just really like the character.

LA: What is your dream character to play on stage?

RD: There are so many, I can’t choose one!

LA: Please tell us a little bit about yourself?

RD: I am 11 years old and I am an elite dancer at Dance Tech Studios in Forest Lake.  I go to school at North Lakes Academy, also in Forest Lake.  I live in Columbus, MN with my mom, dad, older brother, Quinn and older sister, Maggie.  I haven’t done a lot of theater but hope that I can continue.

LA: Any other area that you would like to comment on?

RD: I am having so much fun rehearsing for White Christmas.  Everyone is so talented and fun.  I can’t wait for the show to open!

Additional Show Added!

No, your eyes aren't fooling you.  We've added a show of White Christmas! Tickets are now available for Thursday, December 1st at 7:00 pm.  Don't wait, once again, tickets for this show are just flying out the door! Tickets are available by calling the Box Office at 763-422-1838 or purchase your tickets online.  Don't forget, the Box Office will be closing Wednesday at 1:00 pm and will be closed Thursday and Friday for the Thanksgiving holiday.

A great big thank you to everyone who came together to make this work!  This is just one fantastic show, that everyone's got to see.

Meet Jacleen Olson performing in White Christmas

Lyric Arts had a chance to interview Jacleen Olson, who is performing as Betty Haynes,  in White Christmas. Read on to hear what she has to say about her experience thus far!

LA: Tell us a little bit about why this particular play interested you?

JO: I was very interested in seeing how the writers of the musical were able to “bring the movie to life”.  In the movie, the majority of the songs are just sort of randomly placed in the scenes.  In the musical, however, Irving Berlin’s songs become part of the story line and help move the story along as a whole.

LA: For those that are unfamiliar with White Christmas, what can you tell us about the show?

JO: The obvious thing to tell people about WC is that there are countless memorable Irving Berlin songs in it.  One thing that sticks out to me personally, is how the show demonstrates the bonds and friendships people make with each other…how someone can come in to your life and have such an impact, that you carry it with you forever and would do anything for them. (ie: Bob, Phil, & Sheldrake’s relationship with Waverly, Betty & Judy being a team)

LA: Talk about the character that you play in White Christmas. How have you developed this character?

JO: I play Betty Haynes in WC.  She is way different than any character I have played in the past.  I typically play more quirky, off-beat characters, so I really had to transport myself to how a mature, adult woman would act in the early 50’s. I thought about how actresses such as Grace Kelly and Elizabeth Taylor carried themselves in their movies.  They had so much poise and grace, and I definitely wanted Betty to carry herself in the same manner.  Betty also has a fun side, though. She isn’t afraid to playfully poke fun at Bob or Judy, or speak her mind…so I enjoy playing that part of her personality.

LA: Why should people come and see White Christmas?

JO: If you are one of those people who can’t wait to jump in to the holiday spirit, Lyric Arts is the place to go!  You will definitely leave the show with a smile on your face, love in your heart, and more than likely, wonderful songs stuck in your head that you may not be able to stop humming or singing for awhile! That’s okay though, it’s Christmas!!

LA: Talk about your fellow cast members, how do you see their characters developing? Any that you are particularly amazed at?

JO: Everyone seems to be figuring out something new about the character at every rehearsal, whether it’s a way they deliver a line, or carry themselves.  One performer in particular I simply love watching is Jon Stiff. He is such a natural on stage.  When he is rehearsing a number, he gives it his all, just as if he has a full audience in front of him. I admire him for always giving 110%.  I also REALLY wish I had his dance moves!

LA: What do you feel are the "wow" elements of White Christmas?

JO: Under Louis’ wonderful musical instruction, our entire cast sounds AMAZING.  We don’t necessarily have the biggest ensemble, but you will not be disappointed by the gorgeous sound we make together.   Also- Charise has given us great choreography.  The dancers are working SO hard. I can’t wait to see our audience’s reaction!

LA: What is your favorite aspect of the show?

JO: The “Old Hollywood” feel it has is my favorite aspect.  There unfortunately probably will never be an era quite like the movie musicals made in the 1940’s, 50’s, and 60’s- and I’m honored to be bringing that to life on stage.

LA: Tell us what is something that you are particular excited about this show coming to together?

JO: Irving Berlin was such an amazing and talented composer. I’m super excited to share so many of his memorable songs with everyone!

LA: For example, a certain scene, costumes, set, lights, etc?

JO: The Finale is going to definitely be magical, but I am truly most excited for opening night! I cannot wait to share with people what we all have been working so hard on.  I know each and every number is going to blow everyone away. 

LA: Are musicals easier or harder then straight show or comedies? If so, why?

JO: All productions take a lot of work, but I would say musicals are “harder” because you have to rely on your body so much more. I have done my fair share of straight shows and musicals, and I feel there is added pressure with musicals.  For example, if my voice becomes tired or I’m sick, I may be able to deliver my speaking lines alright, but my singing voice may not be working as well. The same sort of thing can happen if you are required to dance a lot.  If you sprain your ankle, and you’re a primary dancer in a musical, that is bad news!  Also- musicals typically have larger casts than straight shows, which then require a lot more costumes.  You can’t forget having to find an orchestra as well….so yes- musicals are harder!!

LA: What is your favorite musical to watch?

JO: The best musical that I’ve seen live was Tim Rice and Elton John’s, Aida.  Every element of that show is amazing. The music, choreography, costumes, lighting, etc. will completely blow you away.  The story itself is extremely powerful- it will leave you laughing and crying.

LA: What is your favorite thing to do around the holidays?

JO: Spending as much time with my family as possible is my favorite thing to do around the holidays.  Whether it’s Christmas shopping or making my Great-Grandma Dora’s lefsa recipe, it’s the time of year when my family is closest.  I have two nieces who are 3 ½ and 1, and it’s important to me to pass on our family traditions to them. Also- if you’re in my car, you will be listening to Christmas songs. No ifs, ands, or buts’.

LA: Which do you like better White Christmas the movie or the stage version? 

JO: In my opinion, the stage version moves the story along a little better than the movie with its dialogue and musical numbers. That being said, the movie is a classic and just can’t be beat.  Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, Danny Kaye, and Vera-Ellen are irreplaceable.  It’s sort of like how no one can replace Judy Garland as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz.  There are just some shows, that no matter how wonderful they are, can’t replace the spot you hold for the movie in your heart.

LA: To date what is your favorite role that you have played and why?

JO: My favorite role I have ever played was  Hope Cladwell in Urinetown.  It was my first big comedic/singing lead role in college.  I learned so much doing that show…the biggest thing being that when you try be funny, you aren’t.  The more honest your character says their ridiculous lines, the funnier it is.  I can honestly say that I could play that role for the rest of my life and never get sick of it.  The show is hysterical, and I was blessed to be a part of such a wonderful production. 

LA: What is your dream character to play on stage?

JO: I would love to play Fanny Brice in Funny Girl.  Fanny Brice has so many different levels to her.  Of course she’s known for her comedic brilliance, but she also has a sensitive side as well.  I of course know I could never replace Barbra Streisand, but to get the opportunity to sing songs such as: Don’t Rain On My Parade, I’m The Greatest Star, People, and My Man, would be such an honor. 

LA: Please tell us a little bit about yourself?

JO: I was born and raised playing a lot of sports in Waconia, MN.  I did Prairie Fire Theatre growing up, but didn’t really start singing and acting until high school.  I participated in the fall musicals, and was a performer in our competitive show choir, Power Company.  We had the great opportunity to perform in competitions around the Midwest.  I was also part of the first softball team from WHS to go to the MN State Softball Tournament in 2002- something that I am very proud of, considering all the time I spent playing softball!  After I graduated high school, I attended MSU-Mankato where I obtained a B.F.A. in Acting. I currently live in Minneapolis and work at MacPhail Center for Music.  What many people aren’t aware of is that I am a proud cancer survivor.  I keep on fighting every day, but I’m here, doing what I love!!

LA: Any other area that you would like to comment on?

JO: I’m just so blessed to be a part of such an amazing show!

Meet Camber Carpenter who is performing in White Christmas

Lyric Arts had a chance to interview Camber Carpenter, who is performing as Mrs. Snoring Man,  in White Christmas. Read on to hear what she has to say about her experience thus far! LA: Tell us a little bit about why this particular play interested you?

CC: I really wish I could say that I love the movie and watched it with my parents by the fireside in my childhood, but if we’re honest here, I’ve never even seen the movie.  I auditioned because I knew it would be a show that my grandma would appreciate. She’s making a 5-hour trip to see it!

LA: For those that are unfamiliar with White Christmas can you tell us about the show?

CC: Two men meet two women, they don’t have snow, but they have a show. The show saves a WWII General’s inn. Then they have snow during the show! Also, Irving Berlin.

LA: Talk about the character that you play in White Christmas. How have you developed this character?

CC:I play Mrs. Snoring Man.  It’s strange to be married, because in real life, I am not. However, my stage husband, Jon, is asleep for most of our on-stage marriage, so it’s not too invasive. Anyway, Mrs. Snoring Man is a bit sour on life, except when it comes to winter weather. She thrives in snow. It’s the only thing that makes her happy, besides knitting. I think I’ve figured out a voice and walk for her...I’ve still got some kinks with the knitting, but am fully confident at least fake knitting skills will be stage-ready by opening night. 

LA: Why wouldn’t people come and see “White Christmas”?

CC: That’s the question. I can’t think of a reasonable answer to that.

LA: Talk about your fellow cast members, how do you see their characters developing? Any that you are particularly amazed at?

CC: There are some amazing people in this cast! Krista Kemp (plays Judy) is a shining light both on and off stage.  Renae Lewis plays Tessie and she stands out to me as an exceptional actress in that she is always thinking of ideas to make the show outstanding. Little things, especially for the ensemble to do in the background.  These are the things that differentiate a good show from a great one.

LA: What do you feel are the "wow" elements of White Christmas?

CC: Probably everyone says this, and I’m sure I’m biased as an ensemble member, but those dance numbers will knock you over. Also, the pancake scene, which is not really a scene, it’s just a line.

LA: What is your favorite aspect of the show?

CC: I haven’t seen it in action yet, but I have a feeling the snow machine is going to win my heart.

LA: Tell us what is something that you are particular excited about this show coming to together? For example, a certain scene, costumes, set, lights, etc?

CC: Oh, I should have mentioned the snow machine here, I guess.

LA: Are musicals easier or harder then straight show or comedies? If so, why?

CC: Musicals are harder in the sense that the actors need to work on music and dancing in addition to the dialogue.  But straight plays are usually more difficult in terms of material and emotional depth.

LA: What is your favorite musical to watch? 

CC: Man of LaMancha! It inspires me to live upward and tilt at windmills.

LA: What is your favorite thing to do around the holidays?

CC: Having a snowball fight with my brother, age 30.

LA: Which do you like better White Christmas the movie or the stage version?

CC: Since the first question, I still haven’t see the movie, so I definitely prefer the stage version.

LA: To date what is your favorite role that you have played and why?

CC: The witch in “Into the Woods.” WHY? Oh, goodness...she’s got banter, a hook nose that sometimes falls off without enough spirit gum, and then she has a sexy dress at the end.

LA: What is your dream character to play on stage?

CC: Aldonza in “Man of LaMancha.”

LA: Please tell us a little bit about yourself?

CC: I’m just really excited about life. And I love to travel.

LA: Any other area that you would like to comment on?

CC: I’d just like the thank the technical crew for their work. It’s incredible what they do and I can’t thank them enough.

Meet Lara Moll who is performing in White Christmas

Lyric Arts had a chance to interview Lara Moll, who is performing in White Christmas. Read on to hear what she has to say about her experience thus far! LA: Tell us a little bit about why this particular play interested you?

LM: I have never done a Christmas show so I was glad to hear there was one that my age group could have been a part of. Christmas is my favorite time and this just adds to the awesome fun leading up to the special day.

LA: For those that are unfamiliar with White Christmas can you tell us about the show?

LM: It takes place in the 1950’s after World War 2. Bob and Phil were a part of the army but are now top performers. They meet Betty and Judy Haynes and each have an instant connection! Then when they arrive to Vermont Bob and Phil realize that the owner is their own past general Waverly with Martha and Susan , his granddaughter. It has great music and dancing numbers with romance, conflicts, and great fun!

LA: Talk about the character that you play in White Christmas. How have you developed this character?

LM: I am part of the ensemble and am the only teen in the cast though I try to act as an elite and older performer. I play Gayle in Bob and Phil’s chorus, then I also play the Blind Folded chorus girl. I try to act as a bubbly, smart, young adult and try to dance with a differing style.

LA: Why should people come and see White Christmas?

LM: Because it’s apart of the wonderful season. The show is exciting and will hopefully make you stand and cheer. This amazing cast  put there time into it. We did this for you, the audience, to bring you happiness this season!

LA: Talk about your fellow cast members, how do you see their characters developing? Any that you are particularly amazed at?

LM: I have seen a huge development in everyone. I love how Judy has evolved because she seems just so cool. But Martha is the one I’d want to hang out with because she’s quick, smart and an awesome singer!

LA: What do you feel are the "wow" elements of White Christmas?

LM: The harmony because sometimes it splits into six part harmony and it creates and angelic feel sometimes. Also “I love a piano” because the dance number makes a big smash in the show. What is your favorite aspect of the show? I think it would be the last number because its what this show is for, singing White Christmas. Its magical the way it has turned out along with the harmony and happiness filling the theater.

LA: Tell us what is something that you are particular excited about this show coming to together? For example, a certain scene, costumes, set, lights, etc?

LM: I’m excited for the costumes and hair and make-up! I love being so different and in this since I’m playing an adult I’ll be very attractive looking in an adult way.

LA: Are musicals easier or harder then straight show or comedies? If so, why?

LM:Well I am so very use to musicals it seems easier than pretty much anything. But when I did do my first straight show it was really easy, except I had to have facial expressions. But in musicals I just smile brighter than the sun and that makes it a little easier.

LA: What is your favorite musical to watch?

LM: My favorite musical to watch is 7 Brides for 7 Brothers. Its so romantic and joyous. Full of energy, great dancing, and actors that are the best I’ve ever seen. But on stage my favorite show is Billy Elliot, because it’s the best show I’ve ever seen.

LA: What is your favorite thing to do around the holidays?

LM: I like to go shopping and seeing the décor, but not too early, because its everywhere. I also love to watch the normal holiday movies like Home Alone (my favorite), A Christmas Story and many others!

LA: Which do you like better White Christmas the movie or the stage version?

LM:I love the stage version better! I saw it at Anoka high school and I was in awesome. It was great and I felt like I was in it. I hope this one will seem as great!

LA: To date what is your favorite role that you have played and why?

LM: That would have to be Brenda from Hairspray. My middle school did it and everyone was so into my character because I smiled every minute of each lively song. And my only line was “9 months” after Corny Collins asked how long will you be gone, which practically implied I was a pregnant teen.

LA: What is your dream character to play on stage?

LM: I dream of playing Christine in Phantom of the Opera because I feel I have a connection and love the music and story. Then I also want to play Millie or one of the brides from 7 Brides for 7 Brothers. Its my absolute favorite show!

LA: Please tell us a little bit about yourself?

LM: I am 14 years old and I go to Anoka High. I’ve been involved with theater since I was in 2nd grade. I have had 7 years of tap, ballet, and jazz. I play the clarinet and love to try new things. I have 3 sisters and 3 dogs. I love to sing, hang out at church, watch movies, spend loads of time with friends and meet new ones.

LA: Any other area that you would like to comment on?

LM:Not really except I hope to make you smile, thanks for reading.

Meet Krista Kemp who is performing in White Christmas

Lyric Arts had a chance to interview Krista Kemp, who is performing, as Judy Haynes, in White Christmas. Read on to hear what she has to say about her experience thus far! LA: Tell us a little bit about why this particular play interested you?

KK: White Christmas happens to be my very favorite show!  My aunt, Lynn took me to see it when it came through the Ordway a few years ago and it was one of the most magical theater moments I’ve ever experienced- in fact I took my husband to see it when it returned a few years after that!  Such a feel-good show with so many wonderful songs and dances.

LA: For those that are unfamiliar with White Christmas can you tell us about the show?

KK: White Christmas is a lovely show with big heart- the characters really embrace the Christmas spirit of kindness and giving, and it’s all wrapped up with show stopping song and dance- who doesn’t want a little of that each holiday season!?

LA: Talk about the character that you play in White Christmas. How have you developed this character?

KK: I play Judy Haynes, the younger, slightly mischievous sister.  Judy has a kind heart but definitely knows how to get what she wants. Judy and Betty have a wonderful sister relationship- Judy not only looks up to Betty but is also very protective of her.  If I can manage to bring even the slightest bit of spunk and energy that I’ve been fortunate enough to experience in Judy I will considerate it a huge success!

LA: Why should people come and see White Christmas?

KK: There are just so many reasons!  I’ll just list a few: tap dancing, Irving Berlin, heart-felt moments, tap dancing, showy costumes, AMAZING cast with jaw-dropping talent, and did I mention tap dancing? ; )

LA: Talk about your fellow cast members, how do you see their characters developing? Any that you are particularly amazed at?

KK: So many amazing talents in this group- it is honestly such an honor working with them.  I would have to say that, while I have honestly been impressed by everyone, Regan Duffy, who plays Susie, just blows me away- talk about spirit!  She is always ready to work, definitely knows her material, and on top of it all is just flat out spectacular- what can I say- she’s born with it!

LA: Are musicals easier or harder then straight show or comedies? If so, why?

KK: I would say musicals are easier but that’s probably because I LOVE musicals so very much.  For me, acting is a skill that doesn’t come easily.  It’s definitely something I have to work hard at- so learning music and fun dances isn’t as challenging as trying to portray truth in each character.

LA: What is your favorite musical to watch? 

KK: Hmm… this is a tough one.  I grew up watching musicals instead of cartoons so I have many favorites.  My Fair Lady, Shall We Dance, Funny Face, but Wizard of Oz is probably my all time favorite.

LA: What is your favorite thing to do around the holidays?

KK: Oh, so many fun things- but I have to say decorating for Christmas is one of my favorite traditions.  Ever since I can remember, my family has decorated for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving- no black Friday deals for this family!  We would turn on the Christmas music and turn our entire house into a winter wonderland!

LA: Which do you like better White Christmas the movie or the stage version?

KK: Hands down- stage version- no contest.  The stage version offers more heart- not to mention more wow moments that really are better experienced in live theater- you’ll have to come to the show to find out what I mean!

LA: What is your dream character to play on stage?

KK: I know this is going to sound super cheesy but Judy Haynes is my dream role- has been since I first saw the show and I was incredibly humbled and beyond excited when Becky offered me the role.  I just hope I can bring even the slightest bit of joy to her that I have been fortunate enough to experience viewing.

LA: Please tell us a little bit about yourself?

KK: I am a paralegal at a family law firm by day.  I am married with two adorable kitties.  My husband and I enjoy traveling and spending as much time with our 8 nieces and nephews as possible.   I’ve been dancing since age three and was in my first community theater show at age seven- after that there was just no turning back!

Meet Rick Gabriel who is performing in White Christmas

Lyric Arts had a chance to interview Rick Gabriel, who is performing, as General Henry Waverly,  in White Christmas. Read on to hear what he has to say about his experience thus far! LA: Tell us a little bit about why this particular play interested you?

RG: I have watched the movie with my dad since I was six.  To have a chance to be in it and being in a Lyric Arts production.was plenty of motivation. 

LA: For those that are unfamiliar with White Christmas can you tell us about the show? 

RG: Two showbiz types end up in Vermont to watch two young ladies they were getting to know.  Their former commanding officer, General Waverly, runs the inn where the two girls are going to perform.  He isn’t having much luck running the inn, so they decide to help out by rehearsing their Broadway show at his inn.  A lot of twists and turns occur and create some confusion.

LA: Talk about the character that you play in White Christmas. How have you developed this character?

RG: I play General Waverly.  I am relying on the issues that many young men who get out of the armed services face today.  How do they fit back in to our society and what are they going to do. 

LA: Why should people come and see White Christmas

RG: A great talented cast who can sing and dance (I don’t do either in the show). 

LA: What is your favorite musical to watch? 

RG: Wicked

LA: What is your favorite thing to do around the holidays?

RG: Be with family and friends

LA: Which do you like better White Christmas the movie or the stage version?

RG: There is enough of a difference that I like them the same. 

LA: To date what is your favorite role that you have played and why?

RG: Pilate in Jesus Christ Superstar.  It is a historical character who many people don’t like.

LA: What is your dream character to play on stage? 

RG: Tevye in Fiddler On the Roof.

LA: Please tell us a little bit about yourself?

RG: I grew up in the suburbs of Detroit where I taught school for 8 Yrs.  Moved to Milwaukee and taught in the area for 4 yrs.  Came to Minneapolis in ’86 and have taught here since in Anoka-Hennepin.  I have directed for 38 Yrs and am now doing the acting side of things.  This is my 4th show since I stopped directing.

Meet Renae Lewis who is peforming in White Christmas

Lyric Arts had a chance to interview Renae Lewis, who is performing, as Tessie,  in White Christmas. Read on to hear what she has to say about her experience thus far!

LA: Tell us a little bit about why this particular play interested you?

RL: I am a huge Christmas fanatic. I have loved the movie and saw the Broadway musical in 2006. I am one of those people that watch the movie any time of the year. It just brings me a sense of happiness and we can forget the troubles of the world for a little bit of time.

LA: For those that are unfamiliar with White Christmas can you tell us about the show?

RL:It is the story of 2 Broadway guys that somehow find themselves at an inn in Vermont over Christmas. They come up with the bright idea to put on a show at the inn, they also include their new friends the Haynes sisters. There are a few twists that make the story humorous and interesting.

LA: Talk about the character that you play in White Christmas. How have you developed this character?

RL:I am playing the character of Tessie, she is the stage manager of the show being staged at Pine Tree Inn. Tessie seems to live in a state of exasperation all the time. I have never been an actual stage manager but I can imagine what it would be like to corral up to 60 people in a musical. That stresses me out just thinking about it.

LA: Why should people come and see White Christmas?

RL:We have such a great cast of talented people! Even if you don’t know the story, you will leave the building singing the songs and maybe even dancing a little bit. It will definitely put you in the holiday mood!

LA: Talk about your fellow cast members, how do you see their characters developing? Any that you are particularly amazed at?

RL: Everyone has done such a great job with their character development. People will instantly fall in love with Bob, Phil, Judy and Betty. I think everyone has taken time to really explore the little things about each character and made them their own. You will be amazed by Susan! She is a little dynamo.

LA: What do you feel are the "wow" elements of White Christmas?

RL: There are so many. All of the big group numbers are so great but I will say that Snow is one of my favorites.

LA: What is your favorite aspect of the show?

RL: I love the feeling of joy you get just from watching the characters come together.

LA: Tell us what is something that you are particular excited about this show coming to together? For example, a certain scene, costumes, set, lights, etc?

RL: I really can’t say because it would ruin the surprise.

LA: Are musicals easier or harder then straight show or comedies? If so, why?

RL: I think a lot of times musicals are more fun. You still get the character development as will a straight show but you also get to sing and dance.

LA: What is your favorite musical to watch? 

RL: Singing in the Rain and White Christmas are at the top

LA: What is your favorite thing to do around the holidays?

RL: I love going to the Macy’s display downtown and seeing the Hollidazzle parade. Making cookies while watching every Christmas movie I own.

LA: Which do you like better White Christmas the movie or the stage version?

RL: I love the movie but the stage version gives a little bit more depth to the characters.

LA: To date what is your favorite role that you have played and why?

RL: I had the opportunity to play The Sour Kangaroo in Seussical the Musical this summer. I had so much fun being sassy and we had such a great cast of people that made the show amazing.

LA: What is your dream character to play on stage? RL: Besides The Sour Kangaroo, I would love to play Eulalie in The Music Man again. And if there is ever a stage version of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, I want to play Aunt Bethany.

Meet Laurel Kaeferlein who is performing in White Christmas

Lyric Arts had a chance to interview Laurel Kaeferlein, who is performing, as Martha Watson,  in White Christmas. Read on to hear what she has to say about her experience thus far! LA: Tell us a little bit about why this particular play interested you?

LK: Just like everyone else, “White Christmas” is a holiday classic to me.  Interestingly, though, a huge part of why I tried out for this show is because of Mark (one of my friends).  The two of us LOVE to sing all of the songs to this show together, and I couldn’t imagine not auditioning for this show because of that.

LA: For those that are unfamiliar with White Christmas can you tell us about the show?

LK: Typically, stage productions are made into movies, but this one is in reverse:  the movie “White Christmas” was released in 1954 (which is what most of the show is set in), but the stage version was only released in 2004.

LA: Talk about the character that you play in White Christmas. How have you developed this character?

LK: Martha Watson is the Innkeeper who helps General Waverly run the Inn, coordinate entertainment, and keeps everything running.  She is a busy-body who causes the crisis in the show when she misunderstands a phone conversation, thinking that Bob is going to take-over the Inn. Martha’s character is different from the movie version of her, because in the stage version, she is an ex-Broadway star, a singer and a dancer instead of a spinster.  She’s also a little racy in her comments with the General, leading the audience to wonder if there’s something going on between the two of them.

LA: Why should people come and see White Christmas?

LK: Are you kidding?  Why wouldn’t people come see it?!  The singing in this show is phenomenal!  Aside from the principals in the cast, the ensemble’s voices are outstanding! 

LA: Talk about your fellow cast members, how do you see their characters developing? Any that you are particularly amazed at?

LK: Other than the vocal talents that I mentioned above, the cast has powerful stage presence.  Rick Gabriel looks and sounds like the General from the movie, Judy and Phil have huge chemistry and are darling together, Bob and Betty have voices to die for…but what truly amazes me are two of the ensemble dancers:  Jon Stiff and Jaquie Dickson. They dance like nobody’s business!  

LA: What do you feel are the "wow" elements of White Christmas?

LK: Jon Stiff’s tap-dancing.  Holy guacamole, can that man tap-dance!

LA: What is your favorite aspect of the show?

LK: I think it’s the director.  Seriously…Becky Rizzio is so enthusiastic that I’ll bet that she hasn’t slept a full night since she started directing the show.  She is so invested in the show that she makes me want to please her.  I’d do my best without her, but there’s something so wonderful about having a powerful director with a vision and love for the cast members at the same time that makes me want to give something even I don’t know that I have inside of me. 

LA: Tell us what is something that you are particular excited about this show coming to together? For example, a certain scene, costumes, set, lights, etc?

LK: We are all anxious to see the set.  We haven’t been on the stage yet since Sherlock Holmes is still playing in the theater, so we’re all excited to see how it’s going to fit together on the stage.

LA: Are musicals easier or harder then straight show or comedies? If so, why?

LK: I consider myself a singer who can act, so I can’t imagine doing a show that doesn’t involve huge musical numbers!  I love comedies, though…as long as I can sing.  ;-)

LA: What is your favorite musical to watch? 

LK: Wicked.  I imagine everyone else will list that show, but it’s true.  Wicked is my favorite.  I guess my number 2 show is “West Side Story”.

LA: What is your favorite thing to do around the holidays?

LK: Sing at my church.  In fact, in order to do “White Christmas”, I have to cut down my singing to only one service (verses the three I normally sing).  My favorite day of the year is Christmas Eve because of the music, the colors (red is my absolute favorite color), the lights and the “Reason”.  I’m typically at church from 3pm to midnight on Christmas Eve.

LA: Which do you like better White Christmas the movie or the stage version?

LK: Wow.  That’s a tough one.  I liked the movie version before I was in the stage version, even though I’d seen the stage version at the Ordway.  Now that I’m walking through each of the scenes, I understand the story in a different way.  I enjoy Martha’s songs so much that it’s hard for me not to like the stage version better right now!

LA: To date what is your favorite role that you have played and why?

LK: Well, to be honest, I gave up theater after High School because I thought I wasn’t good enough.  I’ve been singing for years at church and at other events, but it wasn’t until this summer when I auditioned for “Anything Goes” and ended up with the lead of “Reno Sweeney” that I discovered that theater is where I belong.  I was typecast as “Reno”…it was the most perfect role for me and I loved every second of it.

LA: What is your dream character to play on stage?

LK: Unfortunately, my dream roles are cast by 20-something women instead of 40-something women, so I’m going to have to re-think what my “dream roles” are.  I would love to be either Elpheba or Glinda.

LA: Please tell us a little bit about yourself?

LK: I am a happy, loving, affectionate enthusiast who thinks that we’d have world peace if everyone in the world learned how to play the tambourine.  I sing all day everyday, much to the dismay of my three children (although my husband doesn’t seem to mind it).  I am also the infamous substitute teacher known as “Mrs. Ladybug”.  (My last name, Kaeferlein, means “ladybug” in German, so I use it as my pseudonym when I sub.

LA: Any other area that you would like to comment on?

LK: Due to my demonstrative, enthusiastic and loud nature, I am often misunderstood among “normal people”.  When I got back into theater, I realized where I came from.