Meet Cabaret 2014 Performer Anna Esposito

Anna EspositoAnna Esposito is a busy student who was able to set aside time to come perform with us in the Cabaret variety show, but do you know her dog's name, or which candy she has never tried? Check out some fun facts and see what Anna has to say about Lyric Arts before you come see her at the 15th Annual Cabaret Fundraiser this weekend! LA: What was the first show you were involved with at Lyric Arts? Anna: The first show I was involved in at Lyric Arts was Hello Dolly! and I was a dancing waiter! I had a blast working with a huge (and hugely talented!) cast and artistic team. It was a great introduction to a fantastic theatre company!

LA: How has Lyric Arts changed your life? Anna: Lyric Arts has changed my life by providing an amazing outlet for me and many others to do what we love – perform! I've met many fantastic people and gotten to work with so much talent and put on great work!

LA: What is the best part about being in a show at Lyric Arts? Anna: SO many things! First, the people...everyone is so welcoming and supportive and TALENTED! Second, the shows...always high quality, and shows people want to see and perform in! Third, the community within and outside the theatre!

LA: Without giving too much away, what do you feel are the "wow" elements of the Cabaret? Anna: The TALENT for sure! The cast of the Cabaret are people that I feel absolutely honored to work with. You are really seeing some of the best talent on one stage at once. As well as the creative team – Laura Bidgood is absolutely hilarious; your sides are guaranteed to hurt walking out! And the dance – we have some wonderful choreographers giving us some sweet moves!

LA: What three words best describe Lyric Arts?  Anna: Welcoming, Professional, Enjoyable and Diverse! (Oops, I gave 4)

LA: What is a dream show that you’d love to see produced on the Main Street Stage? Anna: Oh, wow! That's a good one...I think I'd have to I would love to see A Chorus Line. Mostly, I'd love to do A Chorus Line.

LA: What has been your favorite experience at Lyric Arts? Anna: My favorite experience at Lyric Arts is a tie between performing the awesome waiter choreography in Hello, Dolly! or performing in How I Became a Pirate. I love doing children's theatre. I think it's such a blast to be totally out there, and I think kids benefit so much from live theatre. They are some of the best audiences!

LA: Will you tell us a little bit about yourself? Anna: I am 21 years old, and a college student studying theatre education. I have a dog named Tulip, a younger sister who steals all my clothes, and I teach dance here in the Twin Cities. I also love guacamole and have never had an M&M!

LA: Can you give us a clue to which number you’ll be performing in the Cabaret? Anna: Hmm...you'll have to wait and SEE!

LA: Do you ever get stage fright? Anna: Right before I go onstage for the first time in the show (my first entrance) I do! I have a couple rituals I have to do beforehand. Once I'm onstage though....it all goes away! It's the place I feel the most comfortable.

LA: What is your biggest acting goal? Anna: My biggest acting goal would be to be able to perform for the rest of my life in roles that challenge and stretch me. I also love teaching and choreographing so to be able to do that successfully as well would be amazing.TicketNowButton

LA: Who is your favorite actress/actor? Anna: I honestly could not name just one! I think there are so many talented people out there – talented in lots of different ways! I also am so blessed to be able to work with crazy talented folk that I admire!

LA: What are your favorite plays? Anna: My favorite plays…I love almost everything by Neil Simon or David Ives!  As far as favorite musicals, right now I really love Violet! But I could list 100,000 more.

LA: Can you share any special ‘tricks of the trade?’ Anna: Never limit what you can or will do, no experience or role is beneath you. You can learn something from everything and everyone! Always be respectful and professional and prepared for anything. Be thankful for every opportunity that comes your way!

 

Meet Cabaret 2014 Performer Ben Schrade

Ben Schrade Ben Schrade is no stranger to the Main Street Stage, having been a part of three productions as a creative staff member, acted in multiple others, as well as teaching and playing music during education workshops. We're excited to welcome him back to the stage for the Cabaret Fundraiser! Read on for more about Ben and what makes him tick.

LA: What was the first show you were involved with at Lyric Arts? Ben: My first role at Lyric Arts was Gad in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in 2011.

LA: How has Lyric Arts changed your life? Ben: In Lyric Arts’ production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, I was cast opposite of a girl I had a crush on, and we played husband and wife. Fast forward; we are now actually husband and wife!

LA: What is the best part about being in a show at Lyric Arts? Ben: Lyric Arts likes to take a show and creatively find ways to enhance or reimagine. This is by rethinking a traditional set design, using unconventional costumes, or using the actors’ strengths and abilities to build a production that is uniquely their own. Creative.

By the end of a show, actors say, “WE should do this next…” or “WE can do this…” Because the actors feel so invested in it, they also want to invest in Lyric Arts. Community.

LA: Without giving too much away, what do you feel are the "wow" elements of the Cabaret Fundraiser? Ben: The cast is wonderfully talented. There won’t be a number you don’t like. Quality.

LA: What three words best describe Lyric Arts?  Ben: Quality. Caring. Community.

LA: What is a dream show that you’d love to see produced on the Main Street Stage? Ben: Jekyll & Hyde

LA: What has been your favorite experience at Lyric Arts? Ben: I love accompanying the theater education workshops!

LA: Please tell us a little bit about yourself? Ben: I graduated North Central University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education: Vocal Performance. I started performing in 2006, playing the role of Frederick in Pirates of Penzance, and my latest role was at Bloomington Civic Theater’s Striking 12!. I have been the Music Director at True Light Covenant Church since January 2011, and recently was Music Director for Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type here at Lyric Arts. I’ve been known to longboard to rehearsals, and this summer I will be playing in the pit band for RENT!

LA: Can you give us a clue to which number you’ll be performing in the Cabaret? Ben: Acts 1:18.

LA: Do you ever get stage fright? Ben: Of course, but it’s exhilarating!

LA: What is your biggest acting goal? Ben: Riff in West Side Story

LA: Who is your favorite actress/actor? Ben: David Tennant and Sandra Bullock

LA: What are your favorite plays? Ben: West Side Story, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, House of Blue Leaves, Pirates of Penzance, Company, Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat, and The Importance of Being Earnest.

LA: Can you share any special ‘tricks of the trade?’ Ben: Don’t let your nerves get the best of you in an audition. Everyone in that room wants you to succeed and be awesome.

 

Meet Cabaret 2014 Performer Molly Jo Hall

You may know Molly Jo Hall from her work with Lyric Arts’ education programming, or her roles in multiple productions on the Main Street Stage, or from her performance as a gorilla in this past year’s Halloween Parade (could you tell it was her?). Learn more about Molly Jo before you see her perform in the Cabaret variety show.Molly  Jo Hall  

LA: What was the first show you were involved with at Lyric Arts? Molly Jo: My first show at Lyric Arts was Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in 2011. I was cast as Mrs. Potiphar, "wailing woman,” Apache Dancer understudy, and Gad's Wife–which was the role where I was cast opposite of my now husband, Ben.

LA: How has Lyric Arts changed your life? Molly Jo: It gave me a place as an actor, choreographer, and teacher to test the waters and learn to develop my skills in a safe, educational, and honest environment.

LA: What is the best part about being in a show at Lyric Arts? Molly Jo: A professional and fast rehearsal process and an intimate work space on stage. The thrust stage makes for fun and creative staging that is constantly being used for different shows in different and unique ways. Not to mention, as a semi-professional theater, Lyric Arts provides large productions at a high quality level that are available to the performing community of all levels, beginners and experienced.

LA: Without giving too much away, what do you feel are the "wow" elements of the Cabaret? Molly Jo: There are some pretty incredible vocalists in this production, and some numbers may surprise you and show your favorite Lyric Arts performers in a new light.

LA: What three words best describe Lyric Arts?  Molly Jo: Growing. Opportunity. Intimate.

LA: What is a dream show that you’d love to see produced on the Main Street Stage? Molly Jo: Musicals: West Side Story, Company, Next To Normal or The Last Five Years. Straight Plays: The House Of Blue Leaves, The Diary of Anne Frank or A Streetcar Named Desire

LA: What has been your favorite experience at Lyric Arts? Molly Jo: Being a pastor's daughter myself and playing the role of Ariel Moore in Footloose, a far more rebellious pastor’s daughter, was incredible. With the show being a rather long run filled with high-energy dance numbers, emotionally raw scenes with a complex character, and vocally strenuous numbers, that show was emotionally and physically draining. I refer to that show as Performance Boot Camp. I was able to grow as a performer in dance, vocally, and as an actor.

LA: Please tell us a little bit about yourself? Molly Jo: I was born and raised in the Twin Cities and I am the youngest of three sisters. I started singing in the church choir and continued all through school including college. I graduated with a BA in Children and Family Ministries with a minor in Theatre from North Central University. I'm currently working as a nanny, a workshop instructor for the Lyric Arts education program, and performing and choreographing throughout different theaters in the Twin Cities area. I was married last May to a wonderful musician and teacher, Ben Schrade, and we live in Anoka.

LA: Can you give us a clue to which number you’ll be performing in the Cabaret? Molly Jo: I am a princess, a murderer, and a scientist.

LA: Do you ever get stage fright? Molly Jo: I do, I do. There are two times for sure. First, waiting in the wings to go on stage. I am always worried I'm going to forget something. The second would be before EVERY audition. I believe Chorus Line said it best: "God, I hope I get it!"

LA: What is your biggest acting goal? Molly Jo: I would like to continue performing as long as I can in theaters throughout the Twin Cities area. I would love the chance to work at the Children's Theater Company. I hope to someday make this a family affair. We could be like The Family Von Trapp.

LA: Who is your favorite actress/actor? Molly Jo: I am more and more impressed with Gary Oldman; that man has done everything and well! I also love Emma Thompson and Kelli O'Hara. TicketNowButton

LA: What are your favorite plays? Molly Jo: West Side Story, Les Miserables, Funny Girl, Jekyll and Hyde, Little Women, 'Night Mother, Of Mice And Men, Our Town, and Twelve Angry Men

LA: Can you share any special ‘tricks of the trade?’ Molly Jo: Being unkind gets you nowhere. I believe a director and fellow actors care just as much about your character offstage as they do about the character you're playing onstage. Challenge yourself constantly, be humble with roles you get and don't get, and thank God for all the open doors you've been given.

Meet Cabaret 2014 Performer Zach Marleau

Performer Zach Marleau - of Godspell and It's a Wonderful Life fame - took a minute to talk hobbies, high school, and favorite plays with us (shocker - they're mostly musicals!). Come see Zach again on the Main Street Stage in the 15th Annual Cabaret variety show, May 9th and 10th. Zach Marleau

LA: What was the first show you were involved with at Lyric Arts? Zach: Hairspray was my first Lyric Arts show and I was one of the ‘Nicest Kids in Town’ (Brad).

LA: How has Lyric Arts changed your life? Zach: Lyric Arts has given me the opportunity to show my versatility on stage as an actor, singer, and dancer that I had yet to prove on stage before.

LA: What is the best part about being in a show at Lyric Arts? Zach: The professional vibe that Lyric Arts presents itself with.

LA: Without giving too much away, what do you feel are the "wow" elements of the Cabaret Fundraiser? Zach: The differences between the performers’ selections of music.

LA: What three words best describe Lyric Arts?  Zach: Exciting. Versatile. Professional.

LA: What is a dream show that you’d love to see produced on the Main Street Stage? Zach: Oh gosh, this answer changes all of the time, but right now I would have to say Spring Awakening – but I know that's a long shot.

LA: What has been your favorite experience at Lyric Arts? Zach: My favorite experience would have to be working with such great people!

LA: Will you tell us a little bit about yourself? Zach: I am currently a junior at Forest Lake High School. I actually don't have any hobbies outside of theatre, so when people ask me what my favorite hobbies are, I get really quiet and awkward....... :)

LA: Can you give us a clue to which number you’ll be performing in the Cabaret? Zach: I would do anything for this song because I love it. *hint*

LA: Do you ever get stage fright? Zach: I don't get stage fright, but I do get nervous when I have to do a lot of dancing on stage.

LA: What is your biggest acting goal? Zach: To never have a restriction of what I can do on stage.

LA: Who is your favorite actress/actor? Zach: Robert Morse originated the role of J. Pierpont Finch in How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and his presence on stage (specifically in that production) is something that I greatly admire.

LA: What are your favorite plays? Zach: The Music Man, Cabaret, The Producers, Memphis, Book Of Mormon, Pippin, and Chicago.

LA: Can you share any special ‘tricks of the trade?’ Zach: Being kind. (Awww, Zach you're so sweet!!)

Meet Cabaret 2014 Performer Colin Hutchins

Cabaret 2014 performer Colin Hutchins talks talent, dream roles, and happiness. Check out what the actor, most recently seen in Godspell on the Main Street Stage, has to say, and then come see him perform May 9th and 10th in the big show! Colin Hutchins2LA: What was the first show you were involved with at Lyric Arts? Colin: Hairspray was my first show at Lyric Arts, and my first role after I moved to the cities. I played one of the Corny Collins kids (IQ) and had such an amazing time I had to keep coming back.

LA: How has Lyric Arts changed your life? Colin: I have met some truly amazing people through my work at Lyric Arts. Being new to the Cities a year ago, I was apprehensive to jump into the theater scene here, but I've made so many connections and forged so many close friendships that my confidence and excitement have only grown.

LA: What is the best part about being in a show at Lyric Arts? Colin: Everyone is giving their time and energy to projects they want to be a part of, and that dedication really builds a sense of community throughout the casts I've been a part of.

LA: Without giving too much away, what do you feel are the "wow" elements of the Cabaret? Colin: I've said it of all the shows I've been in this year and the Cabaret will be no exception: the depth of talent available at this theater is astounding. We've got a group here with some impressive abilities and I think the audience will appreciate how talented this group of people really is.

LA: What three words best describe Lyric Arts?  Colin: Community. Talent. Quality.

LA: What is a dream show that you’d love to see produced on the Main Street Stage? Colin: In the Heights. It's an amazing show with some great themes and messages, killer music, and is really accessible for most of Lyric Arts’ audience. The fact that I'd love to play Benny may or may not have something to do with it, but that's for another interview.

LA: What has been your favorite experience at Lyric Arts? Colin: Dancing. I have some basic skills as a dancer (meaning I can move), but every show I have been in has pushed my dance ability and allowed me to grow and learn in a constructive and creative environment.

LA: Will you tell us a little bit about yourself? Colin: Minnesota born, Wisconsin raised, Minnesota returned. I have a job in healthcare IT that has nothing to do with my major or theater, but it allows me to do what I love on the side. Happy to be in Minnesota again, happy to have been a part of the Lyric Arts family for the last year, and happy to have such an amazing network of friends and peers around me. Basically? I'm happy.

LA: Can you give us a clue to which number you’ll be performing in the Cabaret? Colin: I'm kind of a self-righteous door to door "salesman" in one number, and in the other, audiences will enjoy an adorable taste of what's to come on Broadway in the future.

LA: Do you ever get stage fright? Colin: I don't, really. My mother put together once that my nervousness manifests itself in me being cold, so I guess it's possible I get nervous (read: cold) before going on stage without realizing that it's stage fright?

LA: What is your biggest acting goal? Colin: To keep being happy and excited about the work I do. I've been lucky to play a lot of my dream roles lately, so my goals right now just include doing work I love and to keep loving what I'm doing.

LA: Who is your favorite actress/actor? Colin: I honestly couldn't tell you. I think Audra McDonald is wonderful, so let's say her?

LA: What are your favorite plays? Colin: Too many to say for too many reasons. Suffice it to say that, for how much I love musicals/plays, I have a very small sampling of things I've actually seen/done. Always looking to find a new favorite or something wonderful!

LA: Can you share any special ‘tricks of the acting trade?’ Colin: Love what you're doing and let it show. If people see that you care and are committed, they're going to respond to your ideas (good or bad) in a more positive way and be more willing to work WITH you. Nothing says 'that's someone I want to work with again' better than a positive attitude and demonstrated commitment.

Meet Cabaret 2014 Performer Kyler Chase

We got a chance to catch up with Kyler Chase, who will join us in the 2014 Cabaret variety show in just a couple short weeks. You'll recognize him as Freddie from last season's Noises Off, and if you love him in the Cabaret, you'll have to come see him perform in RENT later this summer! See what Kyler has to say about emcee Nick Menzhuber's jokes, and 'nerding out.' Kyler ChaseLA: What was the first show you were involved with at Lyric Arts? Kyler: My first role here was the wonderfully neurotic Freddie in Noises Off.

LA: How has Lyric Arts changed your life? Kyler: I’ve been introduced to some absolutely fabulous people, many of which I’ve had the pleasure of working with on other projects outside Lyric Arts as well.

LA: Best part about being in a show at Lyric Arts? Kyler: Very appreciative audiences! And not just during the show. During the meet and greet afterwards, it’s awesome to hear what everyone thought and all their favorite parts.

LA: Without giving too much away, what do you feel are the "wow" elements of the Cabaret Fundraiser? Kyler: It cannot be overstated how bad Nick Menzhuber’s jokes are.

LA: What three words best describe Lyric Arts? Kyler: First Rate Shows

LA: What is a dream show that you’d love to see produced on the Main Street Stage? Kyler: You mean besides Rent and Into the Woods? I think The 39 Steps would be a fantastic choice for this stage.

LA: What has been your favorite experience at Lyric Arts? Kyler: I could watch Neal Skoy fall down a staircase for hours.

LA: Please tell us a little bit about yourself? Kyler: Chances are if you don’t catch me nerding out over Star Wars or Doctor Who, you’ve found my evil twin… and it’s already too late…

LA: Can you give us a clue to which number you’ll be performing in the cabaret? Kyler: Just know that should you choose to visit the restroom during the number, you may be charged a fee.

LA: Do you ever get stage fright? Kyler: Stage fright has never been that much of an issue for me. I usually have a few butterflies before an improv show, but other than that, I’m normally most worried that the lights will come up!

LA: What is your biggest acting goal? Kyler: If I can wake up in the morning and only do what I love, I’ll be set.

LA: Who is your favorite actress/actor? Kyler: I love actors that can completely disappear into a role. Gary Oldman, Hank Azaria, and Tim Curry are my big three.

LA: What are your favorite plays? Kyler: Anything by Thornton Wilder. I can’t get through The Skin of Our Teeth without chills.

LA: Can you share any special ‘tricks of the acting trade?’ Kyler: Be fearless! If not, fake it!

Meet Cabaret 2014 Performer Warren Sampson

Warren SampsonWe're excited to have Warren Sampson joining us on the stage again to perform in the 15th annual Cabaret Fundraiser!  Previously seen on the Main Street Stage in Annie, Death of a Salesman, and Hormel Girls, Warren shared with us why he loves Lyric Arts, and some of his tricks of the trade. LA: What was the first show you were involved with at Lyric Arts? Warren: I was Drake in Annie. Incredible fun!

LA: How has Lyric Arts changed your life? Warren: I have met so many great new friends and have found a new place to see shows with my family.

LA: What is the best part about being in a show at Lyric Arts? Warren: The people you meet!

LA: Without giving too much away, what do you feel are the "wow" elements of the Cabaret? Warren: The variety of songs and of shows presented.

LA: What three words best describe Lyric Arts? Warren: Creative friendly people!

LA: What would be a dream show that you’d love to see produced on the Main Street Stage? Warren: Jesus Christ Superstar.

LA: What has been your favorite experience at Lyric Arts? Warren: Shaking hands with the man who actually knew the Hormel family and crafted the tombstone of JC Hormel.

LA: Can you give us a clue to which number you’ll be performing in the Cabaret? Warren: I'm the old guy representing ‘Old Musicals!’

LA: Do you ever get stage fright? Warren: Every. Single. Time.

LA: What is your biggest acting goal? Warren: To stay active long enough to give Lear a real run for his money.

LA: Who is your favorite actress/actor? Warren: Gary Oldman

LA: What are your favorite plays? Warren: Macbeth, Betrayal, the Music Man

LA: Can you share any special ‘tricks of the acting trade?’ Warren: Acting is more 'detail stuff' and less 'emotional stuff' than you realize. And I find it works better if you don't think as much about becoming the character, but instead find ways for the character to become you.

Donations Are Rolling In!

We're officially in preparation mode for the 15th Annual Cabaret Fundraiser, coming up on May 9th and 10th, 2014. May seems like a long way away with all the crazy weather we've been having, but now that it's officially spring the time is flying by! wine bottles

We wanted to give a quick update and remind everyone that tickets are on sale now online or by calling the box office at 763-422-1838.

We’re accepting donations through April 26th, and we’re still in need of bottles of wine for our fun wine drawing game! To play the game, guests make a $15 donation, and then choose a bottle of wine anonymously by number. Who knows... some players will walk away with some expensive, delicious selections!

If you'd like to donate a bottle (or three) to this fun game, we would love to have your support. Did you know that just a $15 donation from one bottle of wine would buy activity books for a whole education workshop class? Ten bottles could buy new drills for our scene shop volunteers! If you'd like to make a contribution, you can drop off a donation at the box office during regular business hours, mail it to the theater (420 East Main Street, Anoka, MN 55303) or schedule a pickup by calling 763-422-1838.

We've received a lot of very generous silent auction donations - here's a sneak peek of a few great items you could take home from the silent auction!

  • Keurig coffee maker
  • Nikon Coolpix camera
  • Bloody Mary drink supply basket
  • Beach supply basket
  • Herb garden supplies
  • Famous Dave's barbecue kit
  • Liquor chiller refrigerated tap machine
  • Margarita supplies
  • Trendy, stylish purse and scarf combo from Jenson's in downtown Anoka
  • Beautiful homemade scarves
  • Delicious Rainy Lake coffee supplies and mugs
  • Home decor items
  • And so much more!
herb garden basket beach basket Cabaret Bloody Mary Basket