Lyric Arts had a chance to interview Renae Lewis, who is performing, as Ellen, 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?
RL: The biggest interest was that it is such a classic. I also knew most of the creative staff and wanted to work with them again.
LA: For those who unfamiliar with Oklahoma! can you tell us about the show?
RL: The show centers around Laurie and Curly. They are in love with each other but they don’t want to admit it. There is also some conflict between the farmers and the cowmen and who should be taking Laurey to the Box Social.
LA: Talk about the character that you play in Oklahoma!. How have you developed this character?
RL:I play Ellen, this is an ensemble role but also one of Laurey’s friends. This is a different role for me, I am not the giggly, gossipy, girly type. It is a lot of fun though.
LA: Why should people come and see Oklahoma!?
RL: We have a really great ensemble of characters. The songs will be stuck in your head for days and you may find yourself tapping your toes along with us. Oklahoma is also one of the most famous musicals of all time.
LA: Talk about your fellow cast members, how do you see their characters developing? Any that you are particularly amazed at?
RL: There are so many little details that everyone has been adding to their characters. From Gertie’s laugh, to Jud’s lurking, and Ali’s pedaling, there are so many details for people to pick up on.
LA: What do you feel are the "wow" elements of Oklahoma!?
RL: There are quite a few…I don’t want to spoil it for anyone.
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?
RL: I am excited for “Many a New Day”, it is a chance for us girls to have our moment to shine and sing some really great harmonies.
LA: Are musicals easier or harder then straight show? If so, why?
RL: They can be, you have to add the whole singing and dancing aspect to the dialogue. You may have deeper character development in straight shows but you usually aren’t dancing when delivering your line.
LA: What is your favorite musical to watch?
RL:I saw Wicked for the first time in September of 2010, I was in the front row. I cried at the beginning of the Overture, it was just so amazing to see so closely. I have so many favorites though. Even if I don’t like a particular show, I can usually find at least one song that I love from it.
LA: Being that Oklahoma! takes place during the turn of the century, what do consider the best invention of this century? Why?
RL: Cars! I love being able to jump in and drive just about anywhere I want to, plus they are more comfortable than horses.
LA: To date what is your favorite role that you have played and why?
RL: I loved playing Tessie in White Christmas, but my favorite was the Sour Kangaroo in Seussical.
LA: What is your dream character to play on stage?
RL:I would love to play the Cowardly Lion…who says it has to be a boy?!?!?!
LA: Please tell us a little bit about yourself?
RL: I work full time for a factoring company and I am going back to school in the fall to finally finish my Bachelors degree in Psychology.