PLAYHOUSE’S FEATURED EMPLOYEE BLOG

Posted 4/29/14

Meet Caroline Simpson– Our Lady of Many Talents 

Caroline Simpson-frame

Photo by John Moore

 

 

 

 

NAME: Caroline Simpson

AGE: 23

HOMETOWN: Bowling Green, KY

SCHOOL: Belmont University in Nashville, TN

 

 

 

 

Q: WHAT ROLES HAVE YOU APPEARED IN THIS SEASON? WHAT’S UP NEXT?

A: I’ve played Sally in Reefer Madness, Wendy in Peter Pan, Ensemble in Spamalot, and Linoleum in The Great American Trailer Park Musical. Coming up this summer I will play Dainty June in Gypsy and Penny in Hairspray.

 

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Caroline as Linoleum at Circuit Playhouse

Q: TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT WHO YOU ARE AND HOW YOU GOT HERE.

A: I am a Kentucky native who grew up loving musicals. I wasn’t actually in one until my freshman year of high school, but from then on I was hooked. I earned a Bachelor of Music in Musical Theatre from Belmont University, and auditioned for year-round work. Luckily, Playhouse on the Square hired me from Southeastern Theatre Conference!

 

Q: WHAT IS YOUR DREAM ROLE/ SHOW TO WORK ON?

 A: My dream show is Hair. It has inspired me so much, changed my life, and would be so much fun to be a part of. “Let the Sunshine In” has become my mantra for life.

 

Q: HOW DO YOU RELAX WHEN YOU’RE NOT IN REHEARSAL AND WORK?

 A: I really like to watch movies and hang out with my friends, and serenade people with my recorder.

 

Caroline in Belmont University's production of Les Miserables

Caroline in Belmont University’s production of Les Miserables

Q: WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST CHALLENGING ROLE?

A: My most challenging role was probably Eponine in Les Miserables when I was at Belmont. Ours was the first collegiate production of Les Miserables, and I wanted to make sure that I did the role justice because she is such a beloved character. It was also a dream role for me as well, so I really wanted a lot for myself.

 

Q: DO YOU HAVE ANY SPECIAL SKILLS?

A: Well, if you spend any time around me, you quickly discover that I love Jurassic Park and have a couple of dinosaur impersonations. I have basic balisong/butterfly knife skills and tricks, I can play the recorder (yes, the kind you played in music class) SUPER well, and I’m trying to teach myself how to play the accordion. Oh yes, and I can stand on my head!

 

Q: WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR AFTER PLAYHOUSE? WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN FIVE YEARS? WHAT’S YOUR BIGGEST GOAL?

A: I’ve been away from home for about a year and a half, so I will be visiting home for a little bit. But, I plan to keep auditioning! In five years, I think I will have moved to New York City. My biggest goal is to be happy and be doing something in my field.

 

Q: WHAT ARE YOU ADDICTED TO?

A: I am addicted to AliasSaturday Night LiveReno 911!American Horror Story, and Modern Family. I love olives and chicken nuggets. I also like world music a lot; I’ve recently discovered a band called Circus Contraption that I am obsessed with.

Caroline as Wendy at Playhouse on the Square.

Caroline as Wendy at Playhouse on the Square.

 

Q: WHAT’S THE BEST JOKE OR FUNNY STORY YOU’VE EVER HEARD?

A: I’m no good with jokes, but I do like hearing people’s misheard song lyric stories! For example: my friend thought “Promiscuous Girl” by the Nelly Furtado was “Mister Whiskers.” Things like that always crack me up!

 

Q: WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR SOMEONE WHO IS STARTING OUT IN THE THEATRE AS AN ACTRESS?

A: I’d say that if you can’t live without theatre and performing, go for it! Make sure that you love every step of the process, too. You never know where in the business you’ll end up. There are always highs and lows, but keep yourself happy and you’ll pull through.

“Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats!”-Voltaire.

 

Thank you for getting to know Caroline!

 

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Be sure to check back for my next featured Playhouse employee: Paul Swanson

Paul Swanson-WEB

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted 3/14/2104

Meet Nick Swanson– Our Talented Lighting Designer from Texas

Photo by John Moore

Photo by John Moore

 

 

 

NAME:  Nick Swanson

AGE: 25

HOME TOWN: Austin, Texas

 SCHOOL: Texas State University – San Marcos

 

 

 

 

Production of Reefer Madness at Circuit Playhouse.

Production of Reefer Madness at Circuit Playhouse.

TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT WHO YOU ARE AND HOW YOU GOT TO PLAYHOUSE

I am the Associate Company Lighting Designer for Playhouse on the Square’s 2013-2014 season. Before I arrived in Memphis, I was employed as the lighting design assistant at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and as an electrician at Goodspeed Musicals.

 

Q: WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON NOW?

A: I am currently designing Grace at The Circuit Playhouse. I am also in the pre-production design phase for Much Ado about Nothing and She Loves Me, which will open this June at the Davis Shakespeare Festival in Davis, California.

 

Q: HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START IN THEATRE?

Production of Hair that Nick designed in college.

Production of Hair that Nick designed at Texas State University

A: I took an elective in high school, and the rest was history…seriously. I was a football player who needed another class to fill my schedule, so at the beginning I didn’t have a huge passion for theatre. I thought it would be fun, because I had some friends in it. When I entered college and I had to declare a major, theatre seemed to work in high school, so why not college? It wasn’t until I was about to switch my degree to industrial engineering before I realized there has to be something I enjoy about theatre and I needed to find out what that was. The same semester I made that decision to find something new I loved about theatre. I met the new lighting design professor and I feel in love with painting the world with light.

 

Q: WHAT IS YOUR DREAM SHOW TO WORK ON?

A: I currently do not have a “dream show” to work on. I just want to work on anything and everything I can. I do tend

Production of Red

Production of Red at Circuit Playhouse

to enjoy more contemporary, progressive shows though.

 

Q: WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT THE PROCESS?

A: The thing that really gets me going about the design process is the collaboration between the director, designers, and technical staff. I love the different ideas, thoughts, and opinions that are formed from the early meetings with everyone and watching that vision morph into the final product on the stage.

 

Q: IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT THEATRE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

A: If there is one thing I could change about theatre, it would be a Harry Potter and Doctor Who musical. Yes,

together.

 

Q: WHAT ARE YOU ADDICTED TO (A TV SHOW, FOODS, MUSIC, ETC.)?

A: I am addicted to hummus and please, don’t help me with that.

Thank you for getting to know Nick!

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Be sure to check back for my next featured Playhouse employee: Caroline Simpson 

Caroline Simpson-frame

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted 2/3/14

Meet CharityRuth Haskins — Our Dancing Starlet 

Photo by John Moore

Photo by John Moore

 

 

 

NAME: CharityRuth Haskins

AGE: 23

HOME TOWN: Aberdeen, NC

SCHOOL: Western Caroline University in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina.

 

 

 

Q: WHAT ROLES HAVE YOU APPEARED IN THIS SEASON? WHAT’S UP NEXT?

A: I was Mary Lane in Reefer Madness, ensemble in Les Miserables, Tiger Lily and Mrs. Darling in Peter Pan. I am currently in the ensemble for Spamalot, touring with Free to Be You and Me, playing Miep in The Diary of Anne Frank, and I will be Agnes in Gypsy.

CharityRuth as Tiger Lily in Peter Pan Photo by Chris Neely

CharityRuth as Tiger Lily in Peter Pan
Photo by Chris Neely

 

Q: TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT WHO YOU ARE AND HOW YOU GOT HERE.

A: I grew up in a musical family (as in everyone played an instrument) and we would have bluegrass jam sessions.  I also started dancing at about five years old.  I would never give up dancing.  I started dancing for a ballet company when I was eleven and picked up two more around fourteen.  So my dream was to be a ballerina, until one day, I auditioned for my first musical, Fiddler on the Roof.  I was hooked by opening night and the rest is history.  I continued to perform in plays and musicals through high school and into college for baking and pastries.  After I graduated with my baking and pastries degree, I went to school for Music Education and Musical Theatre.  I just graduated from Western Carolina University with my BFA in Musical Theatre this year.

 

Q: WHAT IS YOUR DREAM ROLE/ SHOW TO WORK ON?

A: Well, I have two that I could never pick between: Kate in Kiss Me Kate and Elle Woods in Legally Blonde.

Photo by Chris Neely

CharityRuth and Kent Reynolds
in Reefer Madness
Photo by Chris Neely

 

Q: WHAT SHOWS ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT THIS SEASON AT PLAYHOUSE?

A: As excited as I am to do Spamalot, The Diary of Anne Frank, and Free to Be You and Me – Reefer Madness was probably the highlight of my year.  I had so much fun playing Mary Lane!

 

Q: WHAT ARE YOUR SPECIAL SKILLS?

A: I play the violin and I have some experience and background in  gymnastics, and of course, running in high heels!

 

Q: WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR AFTER PLAYHOUSE? WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN FIVE YEARS? WHAT’S YOUR BIGGEST GOAL?

A: I would really like to tour after Playhouse, either a national tour or working on a cruise ship.  I would love to play Elle Woods on Royal Caribbean.  In five years, I hope to be living and working in New York City.  I would be a tree in the background as long as I can make it to Broadway one day!  I will say though, my biggest goal is to play Kate in Kiss Me Kate on Broadway, Janet in The Drowsy Chaperone, or of course Elle!

 

Q: WHAT ARE YOU ADDICTED TO? (A TV SHOW, FOODS, MUSIC, ETC.)

A: I am so caught up on Once Upon A Time, the TV show! Team Captain Hook! I also think it is fair to say that I am addicted to the color pink.  If you even stepped foot in my room, you probably walked out with something pink on you.  And apple juice. That one, I still can’t figure out.

 

Q: WHEN YOU’RE NOT AT PLAYHOUSE, HOW DO YOU YOU SPEND YOUR TIME IN

CharityRuth, Kims Sanders and Bill Andrews in Spamalot Photo by Chris Neely

CharityRuth, Kim Sanders and Bill Andrews in Spamalot
Photo by Chris Neely

MEMPHIS?

A:  At the Zoo, T J Maxx, or Whole Foods! Also, I do spend a good bit of time volunteering at my church here in Memphis, The Life Church!

 

Q: WHAT’S THE BEST JOKE OR FUNNY STORY YOU HAVE EVER HEARD?

A:  I have never been very good at telling jokes. Oh, someone did say to me one time, “Theatre is easy.” And I laughed.

 

Q: WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR SOMEONE WHO IS JUST STARTING OUT IN THE THEATRE BUSINESS AS AN ACTOR?

A: It is never easy. There will be times when no one will believe in you. It’s lonely and you are asked to pull out the deepest pain you have felt in your life, time and time again.  But, you must never stop believing in yourself.  And don’t ever think you have made it and don’t have to work hard.  Always work on your craft.  Never let a feeling leave you, you will need it later!  My favorite teacher in college would say, “Sometimes in the most painful moments, we must remember: I can use this.”  Every second of hard work is worth it – for there is nothing like live theatre!  The stage is the happiest place on earth!

 

Thank you for getting to know CharityRuth!

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Be sure to check back for my next featured Playhouse employee: Nick Swanson 

Nick Swanson-WEB

 

 

 

Posted 11/13/13

Meet Austin Collins — Our East Coast Stage Manager

Photo by John Moore

Photo by John Moore

 

 

NAME: Austin Lee Collins

AGE: 23

HOME TOWN: Ashburn, VA

SCHOOL: I went to Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA and received my BFA in stage management.

PLAYHOUSE TITLE: Circuit Stage Manager

 

 

 

Q: TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT WHO YOU ARE AND HOW YOU GOT HERE.

A:  I grew up just outside of Washington D.C. in Ashburn, VA. I first found out about this internship 2 years ago at SETC. However, when I graduated from school, I ended up working for Royal Caribbean for a year to get some of my student loans paid off before I could do this internship.

 

Austin stage managing during A Tuna Christmas

Austin stage managing during A Tuna Christmas

Q: HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START IN THEATRE?

A: I started in theatre in middle school because it was something to do after school and some of my friends were in the shows. I got more into theatre in high school and have always been on the tech side of things for the most part, having only acted in a show twice. I started stage-managing my sophomore year of high school. My first show I ever staged managed was Alice in Wonderland and I have worked as either the stage manager or assistant since then. I dabbled in sound design a bit in college.

 

Q: WHAT IS YOUR DREAM SHOW TO WORK ON?

A: That’s a hard question. There are so many shows I would absolutely love to work on and if given the opportunity would say yes in a heartbeat. But I think for me it’s more about the experience of the show and the people involved that make it a dream show for me. So shows become my dream show or that special show to me after I’ve done them based on the memories created with my cast and fellow designers and technicians. As of right now, the shows that hold a special place in my heart are Aida, Parade, Charlotte’s Web, Alcina, Evita, and Reefer Madness.

 

Q: WHAT PRODUCTIONS ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT THIS SEASON AT PLAYHOUSE?

A: I was extremely excited for Reefer Madness and, as far as upcoming shows, I’m very excited for Other Desert Cities and The  Great American Trailer Park Musical at Circuit, and Spamalot at Playhouse.

Photo by Chris Neely

Reefer Madness
Photo by Chris Neely

 

Q: WHAT ARE YOUR SPECIAL SKILLS?

A: I can wing out my shoulder blades.

 

Q: WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR AFTER PLAYHOUSE? WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN FIVE YEARS? WHAT’S YOUR BIGGEST GOAL?

A: My plans for the future are to continue working in theatre and doing what I love to do every day.

 

Q: WHAT ARE YOU ADDICTED TO (A TV SHOW, FOODS, MUSIC, ETC.) ?

A: I would have to say I’m addicted to American Horror Story, Walking Dead, and Game of Thrones when it comes to shows. Food would have to be rice crispy treats and diet coke (or diet dr. pepper.) But above all things: Doctor Who.

 

Q: WHEN YOU’RE NOT AT PLAYHOUSE, HOW DO YOU THINK YOU’LL SPEND YOUR TIME IN MEMPHIS?

A: Probably hanging out with my fellow interns at the house and at other various places around Memphis. Watching Doctor Who on November 23.

 

Q: WHAT’S THE BEST JOKE OR FUNNY STORY YOU’VE EVER HEARD?

A: I’m not funny.

 

Q: ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO SHARE WITH YOUR AUDIENCE (FEELINGS, THOUGHTS, EXPECTATIONS, ETC.)?

A: Watch the Doctor Who Christmas Special!

 

Thank you for getting to know Austin!

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Be sure to check back for my next featured Playhouse employee:

CharityRuth

CharityRuth Haskins

 

 

 

 

 

Posted 10/15/13

Meet Kent Reynolds — Our Cuddly Character from Kansas 

Kent Reynolds

 

 

 

NAME: Kent Reynolds

AGE: 22

HOMETOWN: Kansas City, Kansas

 WHERE DID YOU GO TO SCHOOL? Drake University. Des Moines, Iowa

 

 

 

Q: WHAT ROLES WILL YOU BE APPEARING IN THIS YEAR?

A: Courfeyrac in Les Miserables, Ralph in Reefer Madness, Smee in Peter Pan, and Patsy in Spamalot

 

Q: WHAT IS YOUR DREAM ROLE/ SHOW TO WORK ON?

A: I want to play Max Bialystock in The Producers when I am older. I feel like he is a lead role that has all the features of a character role, which is what I like to play. 

 

Q: WHAT SHOWS ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT THIS SEASON AT PLAYHOUSE?

A: I am really excited for Peter Pan! It is my favorite story of all time, my favorite Disney movie, and favorite ride at Walt Disney World. I can’t help but cry a little bit every time that the ship takes off and flies through the Darling family nursery. It has such a feeling of magic and I feel like our world just needs a little bit more magic.

 

Photos by Chris Neely

Les Miserables
Photos by Chris Neely

Q: HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START IN THEATRE?

A: I saw Fiddler on the Roof with my dad when I was 8 years old at Starlight Theatre in Kansas City. During intermission my dad asked me if I liked the show, I told him that I did, and that someday I wanted to be in it. He laughed and asked me what part I would want to play, and without missing a beat, I told him Tevye. Two years later I auditioned for Fiddler on the Roof Jr, at the Kansas Academy of Theatrical Arts, and I got to play Tevye. From then on it has been all theatre.  

 

Q: WHAT ARE YOUR SPECIAL SKILLS?

A: I can make a horse galloping sound with my tongue.

 

Q: WHAT ARE YOU ADDICTED TO?

A: I have to say that I am addicted to Dexter. I still have not seen the final season, because I am waiting for it to come out in a box set. I am too impatient to wait a whole week between each episode, so I wait for the whole season so I can knock it out in just a few days. But really, I have not seen the last season so please, hold off any spoilers until further notice.

 

Reefer Madness Photo by Chris Neely

Reefer Madness
Photo by Chris Neely

Q: WHEN YOU’RE NOT AT PLAYHOUSE, HOW DO YOU THINK YOU’LL SPEND YOUR TIME IN MEMPHIS?

A: AT THE ZOO!!!

 

Q: WHAT’S THE BEST JOKE OR FUNNY STORY YOU’VE EVER HEARD?

A: What do you call a nosy pepper? Jalapeno Business

 

Q: WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR SOMEONE WHO IS JUST STARTING OUT IN THE THEATRE BUSINESS?

A: Get involved in any way possible. This business is all about getting your name out there. Once people know you and they like you, it is hard for them to forget about you. If you do not put yourself out there how are they going to know how great you are, and the amazing things you can do for them?  

 

 

 

Thank you for getting to know Kent!

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Be sure to check back for my next featured Playhouse employee:

Photo by John Moore

Photo by John Moore

 

 

 

Austin Collins

 

 

 

 

Posted 9/17/13

Meet Patrice Trower — The Saucy Costume Technician 

 

NAME: Patrice N. Trower

AGE: 23

HOME STATE: Georgia

WHERE DID YOU GO TO SCHOOL? Valdosta State University

PLAYHOUSE TITLE: Costume Shop General Tech

 

 

Q: TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT WHO YOU ARE AND HOW YOU GOT HERE.

A: I am a costume technician, wardrobe member, and designer. I became interested in costumes when I entered college and took a technical course in my school’s costume shop. I applied to Playhouse… twice. I originally found the job on Backstagejobs.com and applied, and then when I was at SETC I handed in my resume hoping for the best, which happened!

 

Patrice working on piece for  Reefer Madness

Patrice working on a costume piece for     Reefer Madness

 

Q: HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START IN THEATRE?

A: I got into theater because of a friend in high school.  She was “all about theater” and I was just looking for something to do after school. Of course then it was the acting side, but when I started making costumes, I knew technical theater was for me.

 

Q: WHAT IS YOUR DREAM SHOW TO WORK ON?

A: Any show. All shows have some quality that is hard to deal with either physically or abstract. They are also very fun, working through challenges and learning from mistakes that can also be something that you can use in the future.


Q: WHAT PRODUCTIONS ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT THIS SEASON AT PLAYHOUSE?

A: I am most excited about Spamalot… I love the comedy of Monty Python, both the comedy shows and movies. Working on a live production of Spamalot will be hard because of the actual work I will be doing, but it will also be really fun and exciting. Fun shows equal a fun cast.

 

Q: WHAT ARE YOUR SPECIAL SKILLS?

A: I learn about people quickly. This really helps with working in people’s personal space, which often happens when you work in costumes. Knowing how to predict the actions of others helps to manage the stress of doing a quick costume change backstage.

 

Outfit created by Patrice for 5 Lesbians Eating A Quiche. Photo by John Moore.

Outfit created by Patrice for 5 Lesbians Eating A Quiche. Photo by John Moore.

Q: WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR AFTER PLAYHOUSE? WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN FIVE YEARS? WHAT’S YOUR BIGGEST GOAL?

A: I would like to go to grad school. I have a few in mind, but nothing anchored down. Before I go, I would like to see the world and work in places I could not go to when I make that three-year commitment for grad school.

 

Q: WHAT ARE YOU ADDICTED TO?

A: I used to say that reading and watching TV were my addiction, but as of now, working on perfecting my craft and learning more about what I do and how to do it better. Also sleep. That would be my top addiction!

 

 

 

 

Thank you for getting to know Patrice!

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Be sure to check back for my next featured Playhouse employee:

Kent Reynolds

 

 

 

 

Kent Reynolds

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted 8/6/13

Meet Morgan Howard — Our Hometown Chanteuse

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NAME: Morgan Howard

AGE: 23

HOMETOWN: Memphis, Tenn.

WHERE DID YOU GO TO SCHOOL? Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, Ky.

 

 

 

 

Q: WHAT ROLES WILL YOU BE APPEARING IN THIS YEAR?

A: Eponine (Les Miserables), Mae (Reefer Madness), and Ensemble (Peter Pan)

 

Q: TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT WHO YOU ARE AND HOW YOU GOT HERE.

A: I am an actress, a singer, and a dancer that loves all forms of art. I find the people who choose to commit their lives to art fascinating and inspiring. I’ve known since I was very little that my life would not be complete if I was not living life that way. The thing that defines me the most is my passion for life. Every day is an adventure in my eyes and I thrive on the energy that exists in the world around me.

I was offered this job through UPTAs. Although there were other options for me after I graduated, I knew immediately that I had to accept this internship. It is an incredible opportunity to work on the season they have prepared, but being close to my little sisters and the rest of my family made this job the perfect choice for me.

 

Q: WHAT IS YOUR DREAM ROLE/ SHOW TO WORK ON?

A: Some shows I have always dreamed of working on in a professional theatre are:

Les Miserables, Reefer Madness, Title of Show, Angels in America, Oleanna, Kiss Me Kate, Singin’ in the Rain, Anything Goes, King John, and Wizard of Oz.

 

Q: WHAT SHOWS ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT THIS SEASON AT PLAYHOUSE?

A: Les Miserables, Reefer Madness, Great American Trailer Park, and hopefully Hairspray!

 

Q: HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START IN THEATRE?

A: I started doing theatre when I was 7 years old. My very first role was Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol at Theatre Memphis right here in town! It has been a part of my life ever since.

 

Q: WHAT ARE YOUR SPECIAL SKILLS?

Morgan in Winter Carnival of Magic  Photo by Michael Messing

Morgan in Winter Carnival of Magic
Photo by Michael Messing

A: I was a magician’s assistant for three summers in a row, so I know how to be cut in half and how to eat fire!

 

Q: WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR AFTER PLAYHOUSE?

A: I feel as though I have three paths in mind after this job. I will either try and find a job similar to this one as a company member in a professional theatre, move to San Francisco to pursue a film/songwriting career, or move back to New York.

Q: WHAT ARE YOU ADDICTED TO?

A: I am definitely addicted to Taco Bell.

 

Q: WHEN YOU’RE NOT AT PLAYHOUSE, HOW DO YOU THINK YOU’LL SPEND YOUR TIME IN MEMPHIS?

A: I don’t imagine I will have much time away from Playhouse with the hours you work as an intern, but I would love to explore downtown more. Even though I grew up here, there is a huge difference once you turn 21. I love live music, I’m sure downtown will become a frequent hangout for me. I know that whatever I end up doing outside of Playhouse, I expect some of the other interns to be with me. We all get along so well already, and I can’t wait to make more memories with them!

 

Q: WHAT’S THE BEST JOKE OR FUNNY STORY YOU’VE EVER HEARD?

A: So…I probably shouldn’t be admitting this, but for the sake of a laugh, I will. Back in March, I accepted the internship here. The next step was to send in an audition video for Les Miserables. Knowing that Eponine would be the right/best role for me, I spent a few weeks working on “On My Own”. When I work on a piece I write my lyrics down in my lyric book, study them, then get the song on its feet not really looking at my book again. I have also always found it very important not to watch any YouTube videos of the song while I am working on it. I got a friend to film me, went home, and sent it in an email to the director.

I went to YouTube to watch what some other performers have done with it. The first video I watched was the performance of Lea Salonga playing Eponine. At the end of the song, I noticed that the words were switched around from what I had done. So, I thought to myself, “Okay, that’s kind of weird, but I guess it’s a big budget production so they can do whatever they want with it.” I then watched a clip of Samantha Barks performing the song. When it got to the same part, I noticed again that the lyrics were switched. And that’s when it hit me. I had switched the verses! I couldn’t believe it, all I could do was laugh out loud in astonishment. Here is a song that every girl in musical theatre knows by heart and I messed up the lyrics for my first impression to this new company. Needless to say, I ended up getting the role (although I’m still not sure to this day that anyone knew and I am not going to go around asking).

 

Morgan Howard as Eponine Photo by Chris Neely

Morgan Howard as Eponine
Photo by Chris Neely

Q: WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR SOMEONE WHO IS JUST STARTING OUT IN THE THEATRE BUSINESS?

A: Honestly, the advice I would give to anyone trying to pursue this career is to be yourself. In theatre and in life, being yourself is the most important thing. By making your own choices, having your own opinions, and finding what it is that truly makes you happy you find yourself. Only when you are not afraid to live life, do you discover what life has to offer you and what you have to offer others. Sometimes you may get lonely and sometimes it will be incredibly hard to stand up for yourself, but you owe yourself that much.

Life is too short and too fleeting to worry about anything, much less how other people receive you. If you be yourself, friends will find you. And then you will know that they truly love you for exactly who you are. Theatre will always be a home for you. And the friends you make here will always be a family to you. That is what I am finding here at Playhouse. And I feel so incredibly lucky every single day for that.

 

Thank you for getting to know Morgan!

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Be sure to check back for my next featured Playhouse employee:

Patrice Tower

 

Patrice Trower

 

 

 

Posted 7/23/13

Meet Jessica Graham — Our Kentuckian With a Heart for the Arts! 

Jessica Graham

Photo by Brittany Sowacke

 

Hi folks, I’m Jessica, and I am the new Administrative/Front of House intern. I’m excited to introduce you to our 2013-2014 interns for the new season. I’ll be introducing you to a new technician or performer in our In The House bi-weekly blog. This week we begin with me!

AGE: 23

HOME TOWN: Greenville, Kentucky

SCHOOL: Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, Ky.

Q: TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT WHO YOU ARE AND HOW YOU GOT HERE.

A: I started performing on stage at the age of six in the musical Annie as orphan Molly. Theatre has been home ever since. When I came to college, I discovered that I really enjoyed special event planning, working with people and promoting/supporting theatre to the community and I was good at it too! Arts administration just made sense.

Q: CAN YOU TELL US SOMETHING YOU LOVE ABOUT THE ADMINISTRATION PROCESS?

A: I love hearing what the public has to say about the show, the theatre or an event. They are so excited and ready to have a good experience. Theatre has such an amazing impact on people and I love seeing the audience react to it.

Q: WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE PRODUCTIONS YOU’VE WORKED ON IN THE PAST? WHY?

Portrait Photo Shoot

Portrait Photo Shoot

A: I recently worked on Batboy, which was a hilarious show with amazing music. Noises Off was the kind of show where anything could happen and one night (the final performance) the stage began falling apart at the beginning of the last act. The Yellow Boat was a very creative and moving children’s play, one that is always close to my heart.

Q: WHAT IS YOUR DREAM SHOW TO WORK ON?

A: I would love to work on Once, Angels in America, and Falsettos. They are all such incredible shows, in their own way either through the music, and the approach to their story telling. I wish I could’ve seen Angels in America here.

Q: WHAT PRODUCTIONS ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT THIS SEASON AT PLAYHOUSE?

A: Reefer Madness, Spamalot, Almost Maine, and The Great American Trailer Park Musical.

Q: WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR AFTER PLAYHOUSE? WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN FIVE YEARS? WHAT’S YOUR BIGGEST GOAL?

A: I’d really like to move to either Chicago or New York City and work for a theatre company. In a few years I’ll go to grad school and eventually start my own theatre company that produces theatre without charging a price.

Q:WHAT ARE YOU ADDICTED TO (A TV SHOW, FOODS, MUSIC, ETC.)?

A: Doctor Who, but I’m a huge nerd and I love all cult TV shows. I also am addicted to bluegrass music, cartoons, and animals.

Series-4-Photos-doctor-who-for-whovians-32576076-1280-1024

Q: WHEN YOU’RE NOT AT PLAYHOUSE, HOW DO YOU THINK YOU’LL SPEND YOUR TIME IN MEMPHIS?

A: At the Zoo, live music locations and sleeping.

Q: WHAT’S THE BEST JOKE OR FUNNY STORY YOU’VE EVER HEARD?

A: What did the fisherman say to the card magician?

     Pick a cod, any cod!

 

Thank you for getting to know Jessica!

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Be sure to check back for my next featured Playhouse employee:

225045_1984741145310_218997_n

 

 

 Morgan Howard

 

 

 

 

Posted 7/5/13

Meet Kathleen Kovarik — Our Wonderful Costume Intern and Resident Hat Hoarder

Portrait by John Moore

Portrait by John Moore

 

 

 

 

Graduated from Mount Union University (Alliance, OH)

Obtained MFA from Kent State University (Kent, OH)

Hometown: Akron, Ohio

Playhouse Title: Costume Shop Management Intern

Age: 26

 

 

 

 

 

TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT WHO YOU ARE AND HOW YOU GOT HERE.           

I was born and raised in Ohio, living with my Mom, Dad, and little brother, Mikey.  I love historical clothing, old fashioned hats, Japanese cooking, Rock ‘n’ Roll, and doll collecting.  I interviewed with Rebecca Powell, our Resident Costume Designer, and she liked me, so she offered me the position.  She enjoys embarrassing me by telling everyone that I am the most overqualified intern she has ever employed! I acquired my BFA in Fine Arts and Japanese Language from Mount Union University and gained my MFA in Costume Design from Kent State University.

 

Q: WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE PRODUCTIONS YOU’VE WORKED ON IN THE PAST?  WHY?           

A: My thesis project was Ragtime at Kent State in 2012. It was a beautiful production and I am still so proud of all the actors and technicians I worked with to make it happen.  I also worked on an original production of A Wrinkle in Time at the Oberlin Summer Theater Festival in 2010.  There were some wonderful designs in that show and the director was brilliant.

 

Q: WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT BEING A COSTUME DESIGNER?

A: I love seeing everything come together, the collaboration and discussion that happens behind the scenes.  I love making good art.

 

Q: HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START IN THEATRE?

A: My parents were involved in theatre in college and my mother loves musicals, Andrew Lloyd Webber most of all!  I also knew all the words to The Rocky Horror Picture Show before I knew what any of them meant. It really started for me when my parents were playing the guitar and flute in the pit for a high school production of Grease when I was in 5th grade.  My babysitter was playing Jan, so I had to sit through Tech Week and two weekends of shows.  I loved every minute.

 

Q: WHAT PRODUCTIONS HAVE YOU ENJOYED MOST THIS SEASON AT PLAYHOUSE? WHICH ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO NEXT SEASON?

A: I have enjoyed working on most shows, but I have especially enjoyed being able to work on costumes that get lots of stage time!  It’s so exciting to see something you’ve built from scratch become an integral part of a scene and help an actor portray their part.  My favorites have been Elle Woods’ pink Playboy Bunny outfit in Legally Blonde, Mary’s grey floral dress in Zombies from the Beyond, and Norma Desmond’s blue suit for “As if We Never Said Goodbye” in Sunset Boulevard.  Next season, I look forward to Les Miserables, Clyborne Park, Reefer Madness, and Gypsy!

 

Q: WHAT IS A TYPICAL DAY LIKE FOR YOU AT PLAYHOUSE?

 A: Love and frustration.

 

Q: WHAT ARE YOUR SPECIAL SKILLS?

 A: Rendering, research, draping, and making stupid mistakes.

 

Q:WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR AFTER PLAYHOUSE?  WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN FIVE YEARS?  WHAT’S YOUR BIGGEST GOAL?

A: After Playhouse, I hope to move to Chicago or D.C. with my boyfriend, Greg, and get a job as a costume shop supervisor or manager.  In five years, I plan to go to Harry Potter World and Japan.  My biggest goal is to continue doing what I enjoy and being able to survive doing it.

 

Q: WHAT ARE YOU ADDICTED TO (A TV SHOW, FOODS, MUSIC, ETC.)?

A: Chocolate and Takarazuka, an all-female musical theatre troupe based in Japan (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BiYEgRQo7Uo).

 

Q: WHEN YOU’RE NOT AT PLAYHOUSE, HOW DO YOU SPEND YOUR TIME IN MEMPHIS?

 A: Swing dancing, Contra dancing, reading, and sleeping.


Q: ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO SHARE WITH YOUR AUDIENCE (FEELINGS, THOUGHTS, EXPECTATIONS)?

A: Support NPR, TEDtalks, and free podcasting.  They’re awesome and I learn new things every day because I can listen to them at work!

 

Thank you for getting to know Kathie!

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Be sure to check back for my next featured Playhouse employee:

Jessica Graham

 

 

Jessica Graham

 

 

 

Posted 5/28/13

Meet Nick Lerew — Our Songwriting Performance Intern from North Carolina

Portrait by John Moore

Portrait by John Moore

 

 

 

 

 

Graduated from Greensboro College (Greensboro, NC)

Hometown: Raleigh, NC

Playhouse Title: Performance Intern

Age: 23

 

 

 

 

 

 

TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT WHO YOU ARE AND HOW YOU GOT HERE.

I just graduated from Greensboro College a little over a year ago with a Bachelor’s Degree in Acting and found out about Playhouse on the Square by attending their Unified Professional Theatre Audition.

 

Q: WHAT ROLES HAVE YOU APPEARED IN THIS YEAR?

A: Emmett in Legally Blonde

Paul in Hot L Baltimore

Artie Green in Sunset Boulevard

Burt Healy in Annie

Rick in Debbie Does Dallas

Chris in Miss Saigon

 

Q: WHAT PRODUCTIONS WERE YOUR FAVORITE TO WORK ON THIS YEAR?

A: Finishing up my year at Playhouse with Miss Saigon has been the perfect way to finish up my internship.  Working with our Director, Jordan Nichols, was a treat and the entire cast was completely committed to this production from Day One.

 

Q: WHAT HAS IT BEEN LIKE PLAYING CHRIS IN MISS SAIGON? WHAT DO YOU DO TO PREPARE FOR A ROLE LIKE THIS?

A: The entire process of Miss Saigon has been an absolute treat.  The cast and creative team were 100% committed from Day One.  So much of the story hinges on the relationship between Kim and Chris and I have been very fortunate to have such a talented and kind person to work with in Maya Naff, who plays Kim.  This show requires so much commitment vocally and emotionally from everyone involved.  With a show as beautifully dynamic as Miss Saigon, I’ve had plenty of work to sink my teeth into.  This story deserves to be told and is an important look at how our actions set forth consequences that we must own.

 

Q: WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE ROLES YOU’VE PLAYED IN THE PAST? WHY?

A: I loved playing Lt. Joseph Cable in South Pacific, while I was in school.  Other than getting the opportunity to sing “Younger than Springtime,” I got to see how much this show meant to the men and women who served in the military. Every night before the show, we would ask any veterans to stand and every performance we had a veteran who had actually served during WWII. It was breathtaking to see their loyalty to their past and the memory of that period in American history.

 

Q: WHAT ARE YOUR SPECIAL SKILLS?

A: I play guitar and ukulele and am also a songwriter. I record my music as often as I can find some quiet down time and put them on my music website for people to hear and give me feedback on them. You can hear my music at www.nicklerew.com and “Like” me at www.facebook.com/NickLerewMusic.

 

Q: WHAT IS YOUR DREAM ROLE/ SHOW TO WORK ON?

A: I would love to play Robert (Bobby) in Stephen Sondheim’s Company one day. I have to wait a little while though since the show begins on Robert’s 35th birthday.

 

Q: WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR AFTER PLAYHOUSE? WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN FIVE YEARS? WHAT’S YOUR BIGGEST GOAL?

A: I would love the opportunity to perform on Broadway or at other great regional theatres across the nation and the world. In 5 years, I see myself singing and playing music and reading and doing exactly what I want to be doing as a 27 year old. My biggest goal is to record a full length album and release it to the public independently.

 

Q: WHAT ARE YOU ADDICTED TO (A TV SHOW, FOODS, MUSIC, ETC.) ?

A: I’m addicted to listening to new music and then finding the artists that inspired them and then listening to them to see how they inspired them. Recently, I’ve been really into the current indie folk music scene and seeing how the 1960’s Folk revival has inspired the music we hear today.

 

Q: WHEN YOU’RE NOT AT PLAYHOUSE, HOW HAVE YOU SPENT YOUR TIME IN MEMPHIS?

A: Because we spend the majority of our time working or rehearsing at the theatre,  my free time is rather limited.  However, when I do have a little downtime, I spend it playing guitar, reading, and writing.

 

Q: WHAT’S THE BEST JOKE OR FUNNY STORY YOU’VE EVER HEARD?

A:

Knock Knock.

Who’s there?

Little Old Lady.

Little Old Lady who?

I didn’t know you could yodel!

 

Q: ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO SHARE WITH YOUR AUDIENCE (FEELINGS, THOUGHTS, REFLECTIONS, ETC.)?

A: This year I’ve had a lot of great experiences that I wouldn’t change for anything.  I’ve learned a lot about where my priorities lie and what is important to me.  I look forward to moving on from Memphis and seeing this as a beautiful chapter in my life.

Thank you for getting to know Nick!

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Be sure to check back for my next featured Playhouse employee:

Portrait by John Moore

Portrait by John Moore

 

 

Kathie Kovarik

 

 

 

Posted  4/29/13

Meet Kat Gering — Our Thrifty Props Intern from Indianapolis

Portrait by John Moore

Portrait by John Moore

 

 

 

Graduated from Ball State University (Muncie, IN)

Hometown: Indianapolis, IN

Playhouse Title: Properties Intern

Age: 24

 

 

 

 

 

TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT WHO YOU ARE AND HOW YOU GOT HERE.    

I discovered Playhouse on the Square last spring at SETC (Southeastern Theatre Conference), an annual theatre convention and job conference.  After graduating college, I spent the summer working for Opera New Jersey.  In August of 2012, I packed up and moved to Memphis to begin my internship here with POTS.

 

Q: WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE PRODUCTIONS YOU’VE WORKED ON IN THE PAST?  WHY?  

A: Favorite past productions include The Wild Party (Ball State University); I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change (Cornerstone Center for the Arts); RENT (Muncie Civic Theatre); and Chicago (Muncie Civic Theatre).  There will always be a soft spot in my heart for community theatre.  While it may be lacking the budget or expertise of professional theatre, I have always found so much joy in the collaboration of volunteers who do community theatre work.

 

Q: WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT BEING A PROPS DESIGNER?

A: Props work is so much fun!  I love the creative freedom that comes with my job.  I like working with my hands: sculpting, painting, and building something for a show is so exciting.  I also enjoy the “scavenger hunt” aspect of working in props; sometimes you spend hours searching thrift shops and antique stores looking for that perfect vintage furniture or unique piece of set dressing.  I love helping to create the world of a play; adding little details that bring life to the characters and their story.

 

Q: WHAT IS YOUR DREAM SHOW TO WORK ON?

A: I would love to work on Matilda: The Musical.  I loved both the book and the movie when I was a kid, and the design aspects for the show look incredible.

 

Q: WHAT PRODUCTIONS HAVE YOU ENJOYED MOST THIS SEASON AT PLAYHOUSE?

A: I loved working on Zombies from the Beyond because I got to create a bunch of silly zombie/alien props.  I’m also very proud of Time Stands Still currently running at Circuit Playhouse.  The set was beautifully designed by Douglas Gilpin, and I really enjoyed the challenge of set dressing for this space.

Set dressing is a design aspect that requires collaboration between the Scenic Designer and Props Master and it entails all the little details that go into a set: artwork hanging on the walls, photos decorating a night stand, menus attached to a refrigerator; that kind of thing.  I love getting to know the characters in a play and imagining how they would decorate their space and what kinds of things they would have in their home.

 

Q: WHAT IS A TYPICAL DAY LIKE FOR YOU AT PLAYHOUSE?

A: There is no such thing as a “typical” day at Playhouse, especially for an intern!  As the only person in the Props Department, I have the unique challenge of creating and maintaining my own schedule.  I am responsible for things like creating a prop list, balancing a props budget, and producing sketches or designs for special pieces.  Some days I have production meetings or individual meetings with a director or other designers.  Other days, I could be out running errands, checking out local thrift shops, hardware stores, and arts/craft stores.  Some days I sit in on rehearsal to watch the actors work and get a better idea of the play as it develops.  During tech week (the week leading up to opening night), most of my time is spent in the theatre doing last-minute work on the show.  My favorite days, though, are the ones where I’m at my desk or in the shop building, painting, and making props.

 

Q: WHAT ARE YOUR SPECIAL SKILLS?

A: Aside from theatre, one of my biggest passions in life is rugby.  I started playing in high school, and played for my college team as well.  Since I was a little kid, I’ve always been in some kind of sport, anything from gymnastics to soccer.  I like to stay active and get outside as much as possible.

 

Q: WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR AFTER PLAYHOUSE? 

A: After POTS, I hope to start an apprenticeship or begin working full-time.  I would love to work in Chicago, but the South is beginning to grow on me…

 

Q: WHAT ARE YOU ADDICTED TO ?

A: Grey’s Anatomy is my guilty pleasure.  I come from a medical family, and I’ve always been fascinated by medicine and how the human body works.  I remember watching E.R. with my mom when I was little and thinking it was so cool that doctors and nurses get to take care of people.

 

Q: WHEN YOU’RE NOT AT PLAYHOUSE, HOW DO YOU SPEND YOUR TIME IN MEMPHIS?

A: I like cooking, so I try to get to the farmers market on Saturday mornings as often as I can.  My older brother is a chef-turned-organic farmer, and he has taught me the importance of eating healthy foods and supporting independent farmers.

I also enjoy going to music and art festivals; Memphis has everything!  So far my favorites have been Cooper-Young Festival and Starry Nights at Shelby Farms during the holiday season.

 

Q: WHAT’S THE BEST JOKE OR FUNNY STORY YOU’VE EVER HEARD?

A: This is my all-time favorite cheesy joke:

What’s Beethoven’s favorite fruit?

A bah-na-na-naaaaaaa!

 

Q: ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO SHARE WITH YOUR AUDIENCE (FEELINGS, THOUGHTS, EXPECTATIONS, ETC.)?

A: These are a few of my favorite quotes-

The more we realize our minuteness and our impotence in the face of cosmic forces, the more amazing becomes what human beings have achieved.

-Bertrand Russell

I believe in Michelangelo, Velasquez, and Rembrandt; in the might of design, the mystery of color, the redemption of all things by Beauty everlasting, and the message of Art that has made these hands blessed. Amen. Amen.- George Bernard Shaw

I would rather entertain and hope that people learned something than educate people and hope they were entertained. – Walt Disney

 

Thank you for getting to know Kat!

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Be sure to check back for my next featured Playhouse employee:

 

 

Nick Lerew

 

 

 

 

Posted 3/12/13

Meet Colin Morgan — Our Hilarious Performance Intern Whose Talent Is No Joke

 

 

 

Graduated from Iowa State University (Ames, IA)

Hometown: Sioux City, Iowa

Playhouse Title: Performance Intern

Age: 24 and a 1/2

 

 

 

 TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT WHO YOU ARE AND HOW YOU GOT HERE. 

 I really like playing make-believe and had to find a job where I could continue to do it forever. My first acting gig was in Snow White as a chipmunk with an over-active bladder. I lost the chipmunk costume and started to pretend I’m a big people. Last year, I was playing Hedwig in Des Moines, and Dave Landis appeared after our final Sunday performance and said I need to come to  the UPTA (didn’t know what that even was yet), stands for Unified Professional Theatre Auditions. So, I hopped on four buses and auditioned, and now I’m here. Friggin’ magic!

 

Q: WHAT ROLES WILL YOU BE APPEARING IN THIS YEAR?

A: Joe in Angels in America; John in Miss Saigon; Rooster in Annie;

  Trenton in Zombies from the Beyond ; and Warner in Legally Blonde. 

Annie - Playhouse on the Square
Q: WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE ROLES YOU’VE PLAYED IN THE PAST? WHY?

A: Hedwig in Hedwig and the Angry Inch ;  Claudius in a hamlet.; Berowne in Love’s Labor’s Lost; Angel in RENT, and Hunter in [title of show]. These roles were awesome because they were a challenge and the families built in each show were very special to me.

 

Q: WHAT IS YOUR DREAM ROLE/ SHOW TO WORK ON?

A: I would love an opportunity to play the Emcee in Cabaret or Bobby in Company. However, I would do just about anything. It’s too fun.

 

Q: WHAT HAS IT BEEN LIKE WORKING ON ANGELS IN AMERICA? WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO PREPARE FOR THE ROLE?

A: Angels has been an incredible amount of work. Our first read-throughs together were very incredible and terrifying. Workingwith such incredible Memphis greats (the entire cast and director) has been awe-inspiring, as well as pull-your-hair-out challenging. These folks didn’t just bring a gun to a knife fight, they brought full friggin’ arsenals. With a play as iconic as this, you owe it to your audience to tell the story in the best possible way, and they are all doing it. We are constantly exchanging articles about AIDS, Republican ideas, the 80s, homosexuality, and Mormons. It continues to shock me how relevant this play still is.

 

Q: WHAT ARE YOUR SPECIAL SKILLS?

A: I like to drum, improv, pretend to play piano, mental math, problem solve, write, swear, and grow/groom mustaches.

 

Q: WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR AFTER PLAYHOUSE?

A: After Playhouse, I will be heading to Door County in Wisconsin to perform Love’s Labor’s Lost and Macbeth with Door Shakespeare Company. When that concludes in August, I will head to Ft. Collins and play Enjolras in Les Miserables with Midtown Arts Center. I’m very excited. After all of that, I plan to head to Chicago and pursue a very serious goal of taking improv classes, clowning school, and continue to do what I love. But who knows? That’s exciting.

 

Q: WHAT ARE YOU ADDICTED TO (A TV SHOW, FOODS, MUSIC, ETC.) ?

A: Pretty much anything on HBO, FX, and AMC. Coffee. Young Avenue Deli’s chili cheese fries (two servings at a time, please). Pretty much eating really good food that is disgustingly bad for you. Also, anything sour. GIMME-GIMME!

 

Q: WHEN YOU’RE NOT AT PLAYHOUSE, HOW DO YOU  SPEND YOUR TIME IN MEMPHIS?

A: Is this a trick question? Kidding, mostly. (We work a lot). Um… probably exploring the city. Trying to find live music and art and food. My incredible girlfriend, Cassie Thompson (She’s stinkin’ talented and great.) is the BEST tour guide. We get into a lot of trouble.

 

Q: ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO SHARE WITH YOUR AUDIENCE (FEELINGS, THOUGHTS, EXPECTATIONS, ETC.)?

A: This has been an incredible year and I can’t believe it’s almost done. I wish I had a time machine and Big League Chew.

Thank you for getting to know Colin!

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Be sure to check back for my next featured Playhouse employee:

Portrait by John Moore

Portrait by John Moore

 

 

Kat Gering

 

 

 

 

Posted 2/26/13

Meet Eileen Peterson — Our Little-Town Louisiana Starlet With A Big-Time Voice

 

 

 

 

Graduated from Northwestern State University (Natchitoches, Louisiana)

Hometown: Woodworth, Louisiana

Playhouse Title: Performance Intern

Age: 23

 

 

 

 

 

 TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT WHO YOU ARE AND HOW YOU GOT HERE.

I come from Woodworth, Louisiana. I started acting at a community theatre called Family Playhouse when I was nine and from then on I was hooked. I went to a performing arts high school and in college, I majored in Theatre with a double concentration in Musical Theatre Performance and Directing and Performance. I got to Playhouse on the Square through an audition conference called the Southeastern Theatre Conference (SETC). I auditioned, got a callback and, well, here I am!

 

Q: WHAT ROLES WILL YOU BE APPEARING IN THIS YEAR?

A: I have performed as Elle’s Mom/ Paulette(u/s) in Legally Blonde, the lovely and intelligent Mary in Zombies from the Beyond, and the Star-to-Be in Annie. Most recently, you may have seen me on the Playhouse Stage, performing as Mary/Heather in Sunset Boulevard. You can also catch me later this year as the Narrator in Charlotte’s Web, and coming very soon, as the adorable Tammy in Debbie Does Dallas, and finally, Ellen in Miss Saigon.

 

Q: WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE ROLES YOU’VE PLAYED IN THE PAST? WHY?

A: I loved playing Grace in William Inge’s,Bus Stop. I felt that that role really pushed me as an actress. I also loved my cast and if I could, I would do the whole thing over again. I really enjoyed my time in Our Town as Emily Webb. I learned so much about myself as an actress during the rehearsal process. I also adored the material; I believe Our Town is a work of love. One of the roles I’ve had the most fun playing is Death Girl in a friends original work called The Wrath of Death Girl. My friend is a crazy-good playwright and his work just makes sense to me.

 

Q: WHAT IS A TYPICAL DAY LIKE FOR YOU AT PLAYHOUSE?

A: Hm…that’s a tough one. Busy, for sure. Sometimes, I spend the day working in the costume shop. Recently, I find myself filling my entire day with rehearsals, which is just a dream. I also have to make sure I give myself time to stretch, work on lines, and relax.

 

Q: WHAT IS YOUR DREAM ROLE/ SHOW TO WORK ON?

A: I’d love  to work on Songs for a New World. I remember spending hours listening to the soundtrack. I would beg my voice teacher to let me learn the songs from the show. I had an opportunity to work on the show my freshmen year of college and it only fueled my desire to be a part of Jason Robert Brown’s work.

 

Q: WHAT ARE YOUR SPECIAL SKILLS?

A:

I am certified to teach archery.
I also have a B-horror film scream. It’s quite frightening.
I have a few stage dialects as well: Standard British, Cockney, Brooklynese, and Irish.

Aside from those skills, I’ve picked up a lot of costuming know-how. I have worked on wigs, hats, shoes, crafts, and I’ve even designed a few show.

 

Q: WHAT SHOWS ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT THIS SEASON AT PLAYHOUSE?

A: Miss Saigon. I can’t wait to work with my cast and director to put this show on its feet. I’m really looking forward to playing Ellen and working with some insanely talented people.

 

Q: WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR AFTER PLAYHOUSE? WHAT’S YOUR BIGGEST GOAL?

 A: I want to absorb as much theatre as I can. In five years, I hope to still be a working actor, maybe in a big city, maybe not. I would love to travel. My biggest goal is getting to work in the theatre everyday. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I’m so lucky to get to do what I LOVE and be paid for it.

 

Q: WHAT ARE YOU ADDICTED TO (A TV SHOW, FOODS, MUSIC, ETC.) ?

A: Reading. I’m a big reader; I prefer fiction. I’m currently addicted to Doctor Who. I listen to musicals non-stop, but on the off chance I’m not listening to musical theatre, I’m probably listening to my favorite band, Mae.

 

Q: WHEN YOU’RE NOT AT PLAYHOUSE, HOW DO YOU THINK YOU’LL SPEND YOUR TIME IN MEMPHIS?

A: Adventures. I want to explore. I come from a small town, so to be released into a bigger city is exciting. I’d love to see the Memphis sights. I want to spend some time outdoors. Oh…and sleeping.

 

Q: WHAT’S THE BEST JOKE OR FUNNY STORY YOU’VE EVER HEARD?

A: A mushroom walks into a bar. The bartender says, “We don’t serve your kind here.”  The mushroom replies, “Why not? I’m a Fun Gi!” (Thanks Dad!)

 

Q: ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO SHARE WITH YOUR AUDIENCE (FEELINGS, THOUGHTS, EXPECTATIONS, ETC.)?

A: I am so excited to work at Playhouse on the Square. I love my job. I feel so lucky to have the opportunity. I look forward to growing as an artist and taking a journey with our audiences.

Thank you for getting to know Eileen!

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Be sure to check back for my next featured Playhouse employee:

 

 

Colin Morgan

 

 

 

Posted on 1/29/13

Meet Nick Bursoni — Our Ever-So-Talented Costume Shop Management Intern

 

 

 

Graduated from Illinois Weslyan University

Hometown: Niles, Illinois

Playhouse Title: Costume Shop Management Intern

Age: 24

 

 

 

 

 

 

TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT WHO YOU ARE AND HOW YOU GOT HERE.

I attended Illinois Wesleyan University and got a BFA in Design and Technology with a focus in Costume Design and Hair and Make-Up.  I came to Playhouse through UPTA (Unified Professional Theatre Auditions). I had come down to Memphis from Bloomington, IL alone. I interviewed with Rebecca Powell and Amie Eoff, the Resident Costume Designer and Circuit Playhouse Designer. At the time, Rebecca Powell did not have a voice and Amie was doing all the talking for the two of them. During my interview, Rebecca’s few words to me were that she really liked my dress shoes. After my interview, I knew that Playhouse on the Square was the place that I wanted to work. After a few phone calls and weeks of waiting, I was offered the job and I took it within hours of getting the call.

 

Q: WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE PRODUCTIONS YOU’VE WORKED ON IN THE PAST? WHY?

A: A few of my favorite productions that I really enjoyed working on have been A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline, Once Upon a Mattress, and Xanadu. Every show has its different traits, but these really stand out as being my favorites. Once Upon a Mattress was my first big, fully rendered, musical. I was a Senior in college when I designed this show. It taught me a lot and I am able to look back and remember college, but also remember who I was and how I have grown. Xanadu was just a fun show. The cast was amazing to work with and every moment had me running around backstage, changing clothes, or constructing a centaur. Working on A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline will be a show that I always remember. Not only did I have many of my fellow interns that I truly loved to be around backstage and in the show, I was able to work with Renee Kemper. Renee made my job as a dresser fun, entertaining, and always made me feel special. It is a production that I will never forget.

 

Q: WHAT IS YOUR DREAM SHOW TO WORK ON?

A: My dream show to work on is Titanic: The Musical. It was one of the first shows that I saw that inspired me to do theatre. Not to mention that it is one of my favorites ( if not my favorite) time period.

 

Q: WHAT PRODUCTIONS ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT THIS SEASON AT PLAYHOUSE?

A: I was very excited to work on Zombies from the Beyond because it was able to give me a chance to do special effects make-up on Zombina (Emily Draffen), who let me airbrush her blue for 5 weeks. I am looking forward to working on Sunset Boulevard which is a fun period show that has many built costumes that are fun to work on.

 

Q: WHAT IS A TYPICAL DAY LIKE FOR YOU AT PLAYHOUSE? 

A: No day at Playhouse is typical, but most of my days are spent in the costume shop. As Intern Costume Shop Manager and hair and make-up designer, I am either sewing, attending production meetings, curling wigs, or cleaning the shop, but my favorite daily task is working and laughing with the girls in the shop. Rebecca always makes me laugh.

 

Q: WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR AFTER PLAYHOUSE? 

A: My most recent plan for after Playhouse is grad school. I am applying to schools all over the USA at the moment. I’m not sure where I am going yet, but I should know that by April 1st.

 

Q: WHAT ARE YOU ADDICTED TO (A TV SHOW, FOODS, MUSIC, ETC.) ?

 A: Some of my addictions include PeiWei, puppies, RuPaul, and jeans.

 

 Q: WHAT’S THE BEST JOKE OR FUNNY STORY YOU’VE EVER HEARD?

A: One time on retreat….

 

Q: WHEN YOU’RE NOT AT PLAYHOUSE, HOW DO YOU SPEND YOUR TIME IN MEMPHIS?

A: Currently, I am in hard and heavy on work for grad school interviews, but when I am not doing that, you will most likely find me trying to learn how to knit, cleaning my apartment, or at the movies.

If you want to know more about Nick Bursoni or see what he is up to next, visit www.nicholasbursoni.com.

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Be sure to check back for my next featured Playhouse employee:

Eileen

 

 

Eileen Peterson

 

 

 

 

Posted on 1/8/13

Meet Noby Edwards — our Angel in America from Illinois

 

 

 

 

 

Graduated from Drake University(Des Moines, Iowa)

Hometown: Oak Park, Illinois

Playhouse Title: Performance intern

Age: 22

 

 

TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT WHO YOU ARE AND HOW YOU GOT HERE.

Well, I’m originally from the Chicago land area; went to school in Iowa. I had heard a bit about Playhouse because during my Junior year I had met Dave Landis during Drake theatre reunion (Go Bulldogs!) and was able to learn a little bit about the internship program here. Also,  last year I had a very close friend, Sarah Hoch, who was also an intern, and she told me a lot about how wonderful Playhouse was and so during the winter of my Senior year, I came out and auditioned at UPTAs and I guess lady luck was on my side because here I am!

 

Q: WHAT ROLES WILL YOU BE APPEARING IN THIS YEAR?

A: This year, so far, I have played Pilar in Legally Blonde, Charlie in Zombies from the Beyond, I was in the adult ensemble of Annie, and I’m currently working on The Left Hand Singing, where I am playing Honey. After that I’m moving on to Angels in America: Parts 1 & 2, where I will be playing the Angel, and then finally Miss Saigon where I will be playing Gigi!

 

Q: WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE ROLES YOU’VE PLAYED IN THE PAST? WHY?

A: Definitely Little Red in Into the Woods, mostly because I was far too old to play that character and it gave me such a cool perspective on being a kid. Plus, it was so  much fun to go back to my childhood for a few hours every night.

 

Q: WHAT IS YOUR DREAM ROLE/ SHOW TO WORK ON?

A:There are so many it’s hard to pick just one! Probably a tie between Evita and Mama Rose from Gypsy.

 

Q: WHAT IS A TYPICAL DAY LIKE FOR YOU AT PLAYHOUSE?

A: Well, recently, because we had morning matinee performances of Annie for school groups, a typical day for me would be to get up, head over to the theatre, get my makeup, wig, and all that fun stuff on, and perform in an Annie school matinee. Then I would head over to our education building at Varnell, where I would typically work on things like study guides for the  shows that we do that are school appropriate. After that , I would typically have rehearsal in the evenings! I think the best part about my job is when I get to work with the kids. They are hilarious and always keep you on your toes!

 

Q: WHAT SHOWS ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT THIS SEASON AT PLAYHOUSE? 

A: Again, I’ve got a tie going for this one! The straight play I’m most excited about is Angels in America: stellar cast and beautiful script to work on, but the musical I’m most excited for is Miss Saigon. It was my favorite as a kid (I was a little strange).

 

Q: WHAT ARE YOUR SPECIAL SKILLS?

A: I do an awesome impression of a beauty contestant from the television program Toddlers and Tiaras.

 

Q: WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR GOALS AFTER PLAYHOUSE?

A: My biggest goal is just to be able to support myself doing theatre for the rest of my life.

 

Q: WHAT ARE YOU ADDICTED TO (A TV SHOW, FOODS, MUSIC, ETC.) ?

A: I love love love reality TV, the trashier the better. I also love bacon. It’s not just a food choice. It’s a lifestyle.

 

Q: WHEN YOU’RE NOT AT PLAYHOUSE, HOW DO YOU SPEND YOUR TIME IN MEMPHIS?

A: That aforementioned reality TV addiction takes up a lot of my time. I’m considering joining a 12-step program.

  

Q: ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO SHARE WITH YOUR AUDIENCE?

A: My favorite color is pink and my favorite animals are a tie between the Sloth and the Slow Loris.

Thank you for getting to know Noby!

 

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Be sure to check back for my next featured Playhouse employee:

Portrait by John Moore

 

 

Nick Bursoni

 

 

 

 

Posted on 12/20/12

 Meet Richie MacLeod — Our Very Flexible..I Mean, Versatile Performance Intern

 

 

 

Graduated from University of Virgina

Hometown: Roanoke, VA

Playhouse Title: Performance Intern

Age: 22

 

 

 

 

TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT WHO YOU ARE AND HOW YOU GOT HERE.

I’m from Daleville, Virginia, right outside of Roanoke, and went to college at UVA in Charlottesville, VA. I did a little of everything in high school: class, sports, part time job, acting, etc…but decided I wanted to pursue acting at the collegiate level and professionally. At UVA, I majored in Drama and American Studies and worked at Heritage Theatre Frestival during the summer (while occasionally teaching dance at a camp and working at a law firm). I got to Memphis via auditioning at SETCs this past year.

 

Richie MacLeod

Portrait By John Moore

A: So far:

  • Elle’s Dad/Winthrop in Legally Blonde and Billy in Zombies from the Beyond
  • Ensemble (Lt. Ward, Servant, Harold Ickes) in Annie.
  • Ensemble (Myron) in Sunset Boulevard
  • Mr. Hardwick, et al in Debbie Does Dallas
  • Ensemble in Miss Saigon

 

Q: WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE ROLES YOU’VE PLAYED IN THE PAST? WHY?

A:

  • Young Soldier in Parade….I love to sing “Old Red Hills of Home”
  • Ren in Footloose…because I just gotta dance!

 

Q: WHAT IS YOUR DREAM ROLE/ SHOW TO WORK ON?

A:

  • J. Pierpont Finch (How to Succeed)
  • Riff (West Side)

Shows I want to work on: A Chorus Line, West Side Story, Ragtime

 

Q: WHAT SHOWS ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT THIS SEASON AT PLAYHOUSE? 

A: I’m looking forward to all the shows but I’m VERY interested to see how Debbie Does Dallas works out.

 

Q: WHAT ARE YOUR SPECIAL SKILLS?

A: Gymnastics skills. Most anyone who has done a show with me knows that I’m constantly stretching.

 

Q: WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR AFTER PLAYHOUSE? 

A: Not sure where I’m headed after Playhouse; this audition year will decide. I eventually want to be in NYC working. My biggest goal is to work consistently in the NYC theatre community for as long as I can and enjoy exploring new and revived roles in the American Theatre canon.

 

Q: WHAT ARE YOU ADDICTED TO (A TV SHOW, FOODS, MUSIC, ETC.) ?

A:

  • I really like cheese.
  • Dance moms on Lifetime
  • Puppies
  • Sometimes, I really enjoy frat parties.

 

Q: WHEN YOU’RE NOT AT PLAYHOUSE, HOW DO YOU THINK YOU’LL SPEND YOUR TIME IN MEMPHIS?

A: So far, I’ve been going to the movies and sleeping…

 

Q: WHAT’S THE BEST JOKE OR FUNNY STORY YOU’VE EVER HEARD?

A: Well, currently what makes me laugh is the time during mic check when I decided I would do a kick and ended up ripping my jeans all the way to the knee……What a proud moment that was. 

 

Q: ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO SHARE WITH YOUR AUDIENCE?

A: I love otters…..and the triple time step!

Thank you for getting to know Richie!

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Be sure to check back for my next featured Playhouse employee:

 

 

Noby Edwards

 

 

 

Posted on 12/09/12

Meet Heidi Hill — our Administrative/Front of House Intern

Heidi Hill

Portrait By John Moore

 

 

Hi there, I’m Heidi.  I am the Administrative/Front of House intern at Playhouse and one of the best parts of my job is the people that I work with. You might assume that a bunch of theatre folk running a company together would be  fun, interesting, and a little insane at times. You would be right.

Each one of the people that work at Playhouse is not only unique, but exceedingly talented, and it’s a shame that not all of our patrons know more about them. That is why, starting this week, I will be featuring a different POTS employee on a bi-weekly basis, so you can get better acquainted with the people who bring life to Memphis’ Only Professional Resident Theatre Company!

With that said, let me introduce  my first featured Playhouse employee–me!

 

 

 

Graduated from Northern Michigan University

Hometown: Ishpeming, Michigan

Age : 23

 

Q: HOW DID YOU GET STARTED AT PLAYHOUSE?

A:I graduated from NMU in May of 2011 with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies and a minor in Theatre. I started work at   Playhouse on the Square in June of 2011. I never planned on moving 16 hours away from home to a city like Memphis, TN. It has been a wild ride here, so far, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of this season has in store!

 

Q: WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE PRODUCTIONS YOU’VE WORKED ON IN THE PAST? 

A:

  • Rent – Northern Michigan University
  • Anatomy of a Murder – Lake Superior Theatre
  • Next to Normal – Playhouse On The Square
  • Avenue Q – The Circuit Playhouse
  • A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline – Playhouse On The Square

 

Q: WHAT IS YOUR DREAM SHOW TO WORK ON?

A: Les Misérables

 

Q: HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START IN THEATRE?

A: My first role on stage was a Security Duck  in HONK! The Musical at Westwood High School. I had one line and that was about all I could muster. I was really really shy, but I had been trained in vocal performance since the fourth grade, so musicals were pretty fun for me. I gained confidence on stage and performed all through high school and continued my involvement on stage through college and now theatre is one of my biggest passions and I just can’t shake it.

 

Q: WHAT PRODUCTIONS ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT THIS SEASON AT PLAYHOUSE?

A:  Miss Saigon, Sunset Boulevard, Debbie Does Dallas, Angels in America

 

Q: WHAT IS A TYPICAL DAY LIKE FOR YOU AT PLAYHOUSE?

A: It’s different almost every day. I love that about my job. In the morning, I spend time at my desk scheduling volunteers, answering phones, and whatever other tasks the Playhouse staff have me and our administrative/performance intern, Richie do. In the evenings when there are performances, I house manage whatever show is running, usually at Playhouse, sometimes at The Circuit Playhouse, and occasionally for our POTS@TheWorks shows at TheatreWorks.

When I’m not working on a performance, I am also involved with the events and festivals that we host at our theatre, such as the Indie Memphis Film Fest or productions put on by Ballet Memphis. Of course, there’s always striking and loading in the sets,where I’m on light crew. My favorite nights to come to work are the special events and fundraisers that we put on at the theatre. Curtain Up was our most recent fund raiser. This is where I learned to bar tend, even though I’d never used a martini shaker in my life before that moment. There’s always something new and it keeps things exciting.

 

Q: WHAT ARE YOU ADDICTED TO (A TV SHOW, FOODS, MUSIC, ETC.) ?

A: My addictions include Michael Bublé, Mint Mackinaw Island Fudge Ice Cream, the TLC channel, especially Long Island Medium, and the shows Shark Tank and Modern Family.

Thank you for getting to know me!

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Be sure to check back for my next featured Playhouse employee:

 

 

Richie MacLeod