Lyric Arts had a chance to interview Kate Beahen , who is performing as Ado Annie 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?
KB: I was in the show a few years ago and enjoyed every moment of it! Revisiting a show as an actor is fun and challenging.
LA: For those who unfamiliar with Oklahoma! can you tell us about the show?
KB: Oklahoma! is a landmark in music theatre history, being the first successful Broadway show to incorporate dance as a tool to further the plot. It's a story of a charming cowboy who falls in love with a stubborn, strong young woman who is being pursued by an angry, dirty farm hand. Oklahoma is on the verge of becoming a state and the people of the territory are fighting to stay together!
LA: Talk about the character that you play in Oklahoma!. How have you developed this character?
KB: Ado Annie Carnes is best friends with Laurey. She's recently "developed" into a young woman that boys take a shine to. -- she loves the new attention and finds it hard to say "no" to all of the boys who'd like to kiss her, or in Ali Hakim's case, drive her to the "ends of the world." ---- I've had a lot of fun developing this character. I've given Ado a lot of heart and although she comes across as a bit "simple" or not as smart as the other characters, there is something beautiful about how logistically she thinks. She's the kind of girl who likes whichever boy she's currently with the best-- and she "never thinks of no one, less he's with her." She may reveal too much and her child-like approach may frustrate some, but she is very lovable. I want the audience to love Ado as much as Will Parker does!
LA: Why should people come and see Oklahoma!?
KB: It's filled with incredible dance numbers, fantastic characters, charm and some of the most memorable Rogers and Hammerstein tunes of all time!
LA: Talk about your fellow cast members, how do you see their characters developing? Any that you are particularly amazed at?
KB: Stephanie, who plays Laurey has taken a natural, gentle approach to Laurey and it's incredible to watch. She is so easy to watch on stage and her moments are so believable. The crowd is going to love her!
LA: What do you feel are the "wow" elements of Oklahoma!?
KB: The incredible ensemble! We have a really strong, energetic group of singers and dancers that will blow you away!
LA: Tell us what you found to be unexpected in Oklahoma!? (It can be anything involving the show; music, script, history, etc.)
KB: Oklahoma ends three times before it ACTUALLY ends. The audience might get up for a standing ovation before they realize we've got a few more songs to sing!
LA: Tell us about something in particular that excites you regarding how this show has come together. For example, a certain scene, costumes, set, lights, etc?
KB: My costume is going to be incredible! Hand-made by Kris Livingston with awesome, bright colors that scream "Ado Annie!"
LA: Are musicals easier or harder then straight show? If so, why?
KB: I find them to be much easier. Music helps an actor more than you know-- especially when youperform the music of an incredible composer. Music feeds emotion, story and drives the plot. If you feel lost, you've got a song around the corner that will carry you through.
LA: What is your favorite musical to watch?
KB: I'm a huge Sondheim fan and a well-produced production of Sunday in the Park with George is my idea of Music Theatre Heaven.
LA: Being that Oklahoma! takes place during the turn of the century, what do consider the best invention of this century? Why?
KB: Was the push-up bra invented at the turn of the century? I think Ado would say that's her favorite invention.
LA: To date what is your favorite role that you have played and why?
KB: Adelaide in Guys and Dolls. -- a very similar character to Ado Annie!
LA: What is your dream character to play on stage?
KB: Dot in Sunday in the Park with George or Drood in the Mystery of Edwin Drood.
LA: Please tell us a little bit about yourself?
KB: I'm originally from the beautiful flat lands of Minnesota and I grew up doing theatre at Lyric Arts Pocket Theatre. My first show with the company was Mischief and Eve and I believe it was 1996! I was involved with the community and its theatre until I left for college. I attended Florida State University and got my degree in Music Theatre in 2009. After school I lived in New York until I moved back to Minnesota this past summer. I'm glad to be back and so proud of what an amazing theatre company Lyric Arts has come to be!