Lyric Arts had a chance to interview Keith Reilly, who is performing as Leo Clark/Maxine in Leading Ladies . 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?
KR: First off, guys posing as women.....That in it self screams good humorous times! I actually wasn't familiar with the script when I heard that Lyric Arts was doing this show. I had heard good things about the script and also heard that Bob Neu was going to be directing it. I have wanted a chance to work with Bob for quite some time and after I read this show, I was hoping that this could be the opportunity. I got cast and here we go. The characters are big and fun and challenging. I knew it would be a show that would be a lot of work but could have a wonderful payoff.
LA: For those that are unfamiliar with Leading Ladies can you tell us about the show?
KR: Two English, Shakespearian actors who are down on their luck are performing in the town of York, Pennsylvania when desperate times bring about an opportunity. From an article in the paper they find that a woman is looking for her two long lost nephews to leave them a large sum of money. Jack and Leo, the actors, decide to pose as these nephews so that they can get the money and continue to live out their acting dreams, only to find out they aren't long lost nephews but nieces. They decide to continue on with the plan and hilarity ensues. It's a comedy. It's a love story. It's an all around good time.
LA: Talk about the character that you play in Leading Ladies How have you developed this character?
KR: My character is Leo Clark\Maxine. It's a very big character. Very much larger than life at times. Character creation always comes from a collaboration between the actor and the Director. Basically I had an idea of the characterization for both Leo and Maxine from reading the script so I bring that to the table. During the rehearsal process Bob, the director, then helps steer my character to match his vision of the show. I always start with a strong base and then the rehearsal process helps with shaping and molding that character and discovering new things about the characters.
LA: Why should people come and see Leading Ladies?
KR: Well...Amber Rose Reilly is in it. Have you seen that girl act? Seriously, we have a very strong cast with an excellent director steering the ship. If you love a good comedy, and who doesn't, you should come see this show. I mean, who doesn't love the hilarity of two English guys in dresses!?
LA: Talk about your fellow cast members, how do you see their characters developing? Any that you are particularly amazed at?
KR: It's an amazing cast and everyone is wonderful to work with. Everyone is working so hard and it's always a pleasure to watch characters develop and to see the things that are discovered. As far as amazed….I guess I’m always amazed at the amount of talent that exists in the Community Theater world.
LA: What do you feel are the "wow" elements of Leading Ladies?
KR: Did I mention that Amber Reilly is in the show? Ok, enough of that. Just showing some love. Maybe scoring some brownie points.
There are a lot of "wow" elements in this show. Usually people think wow with musicals because there are big flashy numbers, but there is a lot of wow with this show. Just seeing the sketch of the set made me go, “wow”. I actually said it out loud. It's going to look amazing when it's done.
I think when people see the characters, costumes and the energy in this show it will make them say wow.
LA: What is your favorite aspect of the show?
KR: That's a hard question. I don't know if I have one favorite aspect. I'm just excited that I get to be a part of this production. I think audiences will really have a fun time with this one. It sure has been fun watching things come together and I can't wait to see what else is discovered. We still have a lot of rehearsal time left.
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?
KR: Costumes are very exciting. I have seen some of the costumes that are going to be worn by Leo and Jack when they are playing Maxine and Stephanie. Good humor.
I’m quite excited to see the completed set. The drawing looks amazing.
One of my favorite scenes in this show is at the climax of the show when Stephanie ends up in a hilarious situation. I don’t want to go into detail because I don’t want to ruin things for the audience, but I think that is going to be a huge laugh scene!
LA: Are comedies easy or harder to act than dramas or musicals? If so, why?
KR: It all depends on the show, but in general comedies can be more difficult. Comedy is all about the timing. You have to find that sweet spot to make it funny and get the laugh and every audience is different. What one person finds funny, the next person may not. The biggest thing in a comedy is timing. It takes a lot of work to get the timing of everything just right.
LA: What is your favorite comedy (in theater) to watch?
KR: That’s a hard question. I’m never good with the favorite questions. I’m a big musical fan and one of my favorite musical comedies that I have seen in recent years is Avenue Q…Hilarious! Not for the kiddies!
LA: Do you have a favorite theatrical actor that you like to see on stage, either local or national? Why do you like to watch this person on stage?
KR: I don’t really have an answer to this question. As I said, I’m not really great with the favorite questions. I just really enjoy seeing good theater no matter who is involved.
LA: To date what is your favorite role that you have played and why?
KR: Again with the favorite question…..J/K
I have many roles that I have loved playing but my most recent is Chad in All Shook Up. Such a fun role, cast, musical….. I got to rock out, be involved in some great comedic moments and just have a great time.
LA: Please tell us a little bit about yourself?
KR: A little bit about me…..I have a lot of favorites.
I’m a computer tech by day. I work for Anoka County and have for the past 12 years. I’m married to the wonderful Amber Rose Reilly. When I’m not taking up all of my free time with theater, I love riding my motorcycle, listening to music, spending time with my lovely wife, two Pharaoh Hounds and bird named Scooby Doo, and I also like long walks on the beach….Oh Wait.
LA: Any other area that you would like to comment on?
KR: I just want to say that Lyric Arts in Anoka is a truly wonderful theater. Come and see this show and support your local theater. You won’t be disappointed.