Lyric Arts had a chance to interview Merry Blomquist, who is performing, as Ruth, 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?
MB: I’ve known Oklahoma! since I was about 5 years old. I’ve always loved it. I think that’s because of the conflict between Jud and Curly over Laurey, how everything was staged. But mostly I think it’s because I’ve always loved romances and this is a perfect example of fear and love.
LA: For those who unfamiliar with Oklahoma! can you tell us about the show?
MB: Basically it’s a story set in the Oklahoma territory about Laurey, the niece of Aunt Eller, a handsome cowboy, Curly, and an aggressive farmhand, Jud. Curly and Jud are both in love with Laurey and both want her to go to the dance with them. Jud is so frightening that Laurey goes with him and its all about how Laurey’s dream was finally fulfilled.
LA: Talk about the character that you play in Oklahoma!. How have you developed this character?
MB: I’m basically ensemble, just a background character, but I have a name. All of the kids have names. Mine is Ruth. Background characters don’t really sound that important, but they are every bit as important as the lead roles. Did you ever see a play without the ensemble? It’s almost impossible to produce a play without ensemble. The ensemble really adds to the sparkle of the show which, as my mom says, I have a lot of.
LA: Why should people come and see Oklahoma!?
MB: I think people should come to see Oklahoma! because it is a heart-warming, enjoyable show with just the right amounts of love, joy, sorrow, and fear. I really do love this show. The way some of my favorite parts are staged, I’m just amazed every time I see them whether it’s the Broadway production, the movie, or bits and pieces of this production. I really think that basically everyone will enjoy it.
LA: Talk about your fellow cast members, how do you see their characters developing? Any that you are particularly amazed at?
MB: The actors in the lead roles are really playing their parts well. It seems to me that they are all working hard at knowing what their role felt like or what emotion they expressed at a certain time. It is really amazing to me to see how, really everyone, works so hard to make sure that everything goes right. Dann, our director, really chose amazing people.
LA: What do you feel are the "wow" elements of Oklahoma!?
MB: I think that the thing that I’m always amazed at every time I’m in a play at Lyric Arts is the bonding between cast members. Every single time I’m in a play, although I’ve only seen this at Lyric Arts, the cast gets really close, practically like family. I am really emotional and so I think I feel that more than anyone. I get really close to other kids, the director, stage manager, and most adults. I am really enjoying becoming a part of an even bigger family here at Lyric Arts.
LA: Tell us what you found to be unexpected in Oklahoma!? (It can be anything involving the show; music, script, history, etc.)
MB: One thing my mom and I were actually kind of surprised about was that there is no Dream Laurey, Dream Curly, or Dream Jud. The real ones play Laurey, Curly, and Jud in the dream. Which is perfectly fine with me cause all three of them are amazing at their roles.
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?
MB: I’m really excited to see the whole show come together. I love watching these things come together to form an amazing play that hundreds of people see and love. Costumes, lights, set, characters, their all part of a wonderful procedure that I love to see and be a part of.
LA: Are musicals easier or harder then straight show? If so, why?
MB: I think that musicals are actually harder than a regular show, because the director has find good actors that fit the part that can sing. I would think that would be kind of difficult. Also there has to be a music director and she would have take time out of rehearsal or make extra rehearsals so that she could teach us the songs and almost all the songs have lots of different parts to it and she would have to separate the cast into the parts: alto, tenor, bass, soprano, those all have to be sufficiently filled.
LA: What is your favorite musical to watch?
MB: I think my favorite musical to watch would either be The Sound of Music, Oklahoma!, or Oliver!. Maybe some others too. I love basically all musicals since I love to sing.
LA: Being that Oklahoma! takes place during the turn of the century, what do you consider the best invention of this century? Why?
MB: I think that the best invention would probably be the telephone because then people can communicate more and more efficiently.
LA: To date what is your favorite role that you have played and why?
MB: I think my favorite role would have to be when I played Marta in The Sound of Music at Lyric Arts in 2007-2008. I loved that play. I love remembering acting in it and I love going to the costume shop and finding Gretal’s and my dresses that we wore in the wedding. They are always in the same spot right next to each other. Sisters forever.
LA: What is your dream character to play on stage?
MB: I would like to play a main role such as Maria or Leisl in, of course, The Sound of Music. I basically want to play a main role, although I don’t know exactly what role.
LA: Please tell us a little bit about yourself?
MB: I have 3 sisters, Annika, Ceili, who is also in Oklahoma! along with my dad, and Ruby, 1 brother, Stefan, and 1 cat, Tybalt. He was named after Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet whom my dad played in college. Both my parents were actors in high school and college and all of us kids inherited the love of theater. Even Stefan shows signs of talent in theater. I love my family. I love to sew, cook, act, and basically do domestic things. Weirdly enough, when I grow up I want to own a bed-and-breakfast. I really love that kind of stuff.
LA: Any other area that you would like to comment on?
MB: The whole cast and staff are really amazing and do their job beautifully. I just want to thank Lyric Arts in general for being so welcoming and just being so…….amazing, really. I love that theater. This theater always produces absolutely amazing shows and I really think that even people who don’t usually enjoy plays will love any performances from Lyric Arts Main Street Stage. Thanks for always being there and creating a wonderful atmosphere of friendship that I love to work in.