Lyric Arts had a chance to interview Eric Pringle, who is performing 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?
EP: White Christmas interested me because even though it’s such a fun, lighthearted show, it still has amazing depth and heart to it. Also, I’ve missed being on the Main Street Stage and didn’t want to see another opportunity pass me by!
LA: For those that are unfamiliar with White Christmas can you tell us about the show?
EP: The show centers around Bob Wallace and Phil Davis, two WWII vets who, ten years after the war’s end, are the biggest music stars in the U.S. They plan on taking their gig to Miami for a holiday show, but fate interjects and they find themselves on a train to Pinetree, Vermont with the Haynes sisters. Laughter and drama ensue, and everything builds up to their Christmas Eve production.
LA: Talk about the character that you play in White Christmas. How have you developed this character?
EP: I’m in the ensemble, so I play many different roles: “Jim” (a member of Bob & Phil’s chorus), the train conductor and, my personal favorite, the “Blindfolded Chorus Boy.” My mom would be so proud!
LA: Why should people come and see White Christmas?
EP: It has every element that you would want in a holiday production: amazing music by Irving Berlin, high-energy production numbers, characters that are both hilarious and heartwarming, and amazing scenery and costumes. If you’re looking for something to give you the warm-tinglies this holiday season, White Christmas is a must-see. It is the best production I have ever been a part of.
LA: Talk about your fellow cast members, how do you see their characters developing? Any that you are particularly amazed at?
EP: I can’t single any one person out because everyone is going above and beyond what’s being asked of them. Obviously our four leads are amazing, but there honestly isn’t a weak link in the entire cast. I believe choreographer Charise Schrupp said it’s the most talented cast she’s ever worked with. And if Charise said it, you know it’s gotta be true!
LA: What do you feel are the "wow" elements of White Christmas?
EP: Definitely the music and dancing. The music is so beautifully orchestrated and the dances, though very difficult, compliment it perfectly. I think another ‘wow’ element in the show would have to be the final two numbers – “White Christmas” and “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm.” They give me goose bumps when we do them in rehearsal because they come across so powerfully and this amazing cast does them such justice!
LA: What is your favorite aspect of the show?
EP: I know it may sound weird, but I’ve actually really enjoyed the late nights and blood, sweat and tears that have been put into this production. It’s amazing to look back on where we started and see how far we’ve come since that first rehearsal in September. It’s been so much fun hanging out with this cast and getting to know everybody!
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?
EP: I can’t wait to see the set and our final costumes, but I think both “Blue Skies” and “I Love a Piano” will be showstoppers and I’m anxious to see how they’re received by an audience.
LA: Are musicals easier or harder then straight show or comedies? If so, why?
EP: I think it depends on the show and the actor. With musicals, you’re learning intricate song and dance numbers in addition to dialogue, and it’s important to perfect both so they don’t fall flat. Musicals advance the plot through song, so getting facial expressions, tone, etc. is equally as important as learning lines. All in all, they help keep the show’s genuine charm intact.
LA: What is your favorite musical to watch?
EP: I’ve seen so many great shows over the years. “The Lion King” on Broadway was visually stunning, but locally I’ve really enjoyed “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” “Kiss Me Kate,” “Oklahoma!” and “All Shook Up.” I had the chance to see “9 to 5” at the Ordway this summer and was blown away; Dolly Parton is a fantastic songwriter!
LA: What is your favorite thing to do around the holidays?
EP: Seeing my family and friends and just enjoying some downtime. I know it sounds a bit cliché, but I’ve really come to appreciate this time with family and not take it for granted. There’s nothing better than listening to Christmas songs on the radio surrounded by the ones you love.
LA: Which do you like better White Christmas the movie or the stage version?
EP: The stage version, because I think it incorporates all the aspects of the movie that everyone loves, but also throws in more humor, joy and amazing music.
LA: To date what is your favorite role that you have played and why?
EP: Probably the Cowardly Lion in “The Wizard of Oz,” but it was also fun channeling my inner dork as Peewee Drummond in “Meet Me in St. Louis” at Lyric in 2009.
LA: What is your dream character to play on stage?
EP: No question, Will Parker in “Oklahoma!” Hands. Down.
LA: Please tell us a little bit about yourself?
EP: I work in the communications/public relations field by day and coach learn-to-skate classes by night. I’m a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, River Falls. I love to dance. I love hugs. I geek out over the Olympics every single time. I’m the last remaining “single Pringle” in my family (ladies: take note), and I’m often reminded of that.
LA: Any other area that you would like to comment on?
EP: I am so lucky to have discovered Lyric Arts a few years ago! The people I’ve met will be friends for life.