Lyric Arts had a chance to interview Alana LaBissoniere, who is performing, as Aunt Eller, in Oklahoma!. Read on to hear what she has to say about her experience thus far! LA: Tell us a little bit about why this particular musical interested you?
AL: I saw an opportunity to be in a show I love with a director and stage manager I adore.
LA:For those who unfamiliar with Oklahoma! can you tell us about the show?
AL: It is the quintessential American Musical. It has something for everyone: love, humor, romance, excitement, corny jokes and a bad guy!
LA: Talk about the character that you play in Oklahoma!. How have you developed this character?
AL: I love Aunt Eller. She is old enough to not worry about what other people think and just wants people to be happy. She speaks her mind and takes charge wherever she goes. I look to my mother and grandmothers for their warmth and candor as inspirations for Aunt Eller.
LA: Why should people come and see Oklahoma!?
AL: Again, it has something for everyone. And my son is playing Will Parker. Isn’t that reason enough?
LA:Talk about your fellow cast members, how do you see their characters developing? Any that you are particularly amazed at?
AL: I have enjoyed watching Phil Skredtvedt as Curly come alive. I was in a production of Oklahoma! before with Phil, where he played Will, so it’s really fun to see a different side of him.
LA: What do you feel are the "wow" elements of Oklahoma!?
AL: The beautiful music, the characters, the story all coming together
LA: Tell us what you found to be unexpected in Oklahoma!? (It can be anything involving the show; music, script, history, etc.)
AL: I think what strikes me most about this show is that people either love it or hate it. There is no in-between, well, it’s “okay, I guess” kind of attitudes when you talk about it.
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?
AL: I can’t wait to put the overture together—to set the scene with set, lights, props, movement and then that beautiful opening Curly gets to sing.
LA: Are musicals easier or harder then straight show? If so, why?
AL: I consider myself a singer first, so musicals have always been easier for me. I did a play last fall with Freshwater Theater. It was the first straight play I had performed since college. We did The Book of Liz by David and Amy Sedaris. I played 3 characters. It was hard work. In a straight play, I feel so much more exposed. In a musical I can hide in the music.
LA:What is your favorite musical to watch?
AL: West Side Story
LA: Being that Oklahoma! takes place during the turn of the century, what do consider the best invention of this century? Why?
AL: The inside bathroom-not having to go outside to the outhouse is pretty nice and always taken for granted.
LA: To date what is your favorite role that you have played and why?
AL: Jack’s Mother in Into the Woods. It was hard work, but it was such an ensemble show and we had a wonderful cast.
LA: What is your dream character to play on stage?
AL: Eva Peron, but I may be too old now to play her.
LA: Please tell us a little bit about yourself?
AL: I am a wife and mother, who finally landed my dream job with flexibility enough to “play” at night. My 2 favorite places on earth: Aspen, CO and Madeline Island in Lake Superior.
LA: Any other area that you would like to comment on?
AL: Thank you to Lyric Arts for this wonderful opportunity. I am having a wonderful time and hope to perform at Lyric Arts again!