Meet Kristo Sween, who is Performing in Cabaret

Meet Kristo Sween, who is performing as Herr Schultz in Cabaret, and who happens to be on the Actors Council at  Lyric Arts! Read on to see what he thinks of how rehearsals are going so far!

Where are you originally from? I was born in Platteville, WI. Moved to Red Wing, MN when I was 10.

Why did this particular play interest you? Cabaret is a bucket list musical for me. I love the way the club performances are mixed with the other songs throughout the show. Sometimes flowing, sometimes contrasting. This is an incredibly entertaining show.

For those that are unfamiliar with Cabaret can you tell us about the show? An American author travels to Berlin in the 1930s to write his next novel, and takes a room in a bohemian district called the Nollendorfplatz. He is quickly swept into the turbulent lives of the district’s inhabitants.

Talk about the character(s) that you play in Cabaret. How have you developed this character? I play Herr Schultz, the Jewish fruit grocer. He’s an optimist who is led by his heart in everything he does. His motivations are pure, honest and faithful. If I’m doing my job well, I’ll bring the audience along with me, even though we all know that the outlook for Jews in 1930’s Germany leaves little room for optimism.

Talk about your fellow cast. How do you see their characters developing? Any that you are particularly amazed at? First of all, I am amazed by the singing and dancing abilities of my castmates. Enormous pile of talent here.

What are some of the most impressive elements of Cabaret? For the audience, watching and getting involved in the parallel romantic relationships between Cliff and Sally, and Herr Schultz and Fraulein Schneider. The contrasting elements of those relationships flesh out the show for me.

What is your favorite number of the show? The music, choreography and execution of the Money Song just knocks me out. And scares me a little!

What is something you are particularly excited about for this show? For example, a certain scene, costumes, set, lights, etc? The set is astonishing!

Are musicals easy or harder to act than other types of theater? Why is this? Musicals are more work but can ultimately draw more depth of character from the actors because the singing takes it to another level entirely. You’re given more to work with. Transitioning from dialog to song, without losing or changing your emotional expression is a challenge, but very rewarding when you nail it!

What is your favorite musical (in theater) to watch?  I have to admit I haven’t been a huge fan of musical theater… UNTIL NOW! Of the musicals I’ve seen or performed in, I’ve got to say West Side Story still does the most for me.

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? Has everyone already said Neil Patrick Harris? He’s a genius.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself? I’m the father of an 11yo singer/actor/dancer named Hannah and 2 6yo boys, Austin and Henry. They sing and dance too. Might just have to put on a show! I’m married and work as the Director of Business Development for a downtown St. Paul litigation law firm. I’m a board member and chair of Marketing and PR for the Minnesota Grape Growers Association, I serve on the Vestry (Leadership team) of my church and I am the newly elected chair of the Lyric Arts Actors Council. In my spare time I sing lead vocals in a rock, blues, r&b cover band called The Wreck.

What was the first musical you ever saw on stage? The Sound of Music sometime around 1970.