I play adult Alison Bechdel. It's a challenging role for me vocally, and I'm leaning on the wise guidance of musical director Randal Pierce and vocal coach Stacy Chadwell.
What do you find most challenging about working on a musical versus a play?
I'm not sure I'd call it a challenge, exactly, since I love musicals and working on this one is pretty much pure pleasure, but I am reminded frequently during rehearsal that music is a direct and powerful medium, and part of my job as an actor is to be as direct and powerful. Acting in a well-made musical is all about clearing the high bar that the score sets. And on a purely technical level, singing well performance after performance requires a bit more rest and recovery time between shows.
Now that you have been in rehearsals for a while, what have you enjoyed most while working on this musical so far? Anything that has surprised you? Scared you?
The answer to all three of those questions is the same: I am surprised, scared, and even a bit pleased to find that my biggest task in working on Fun Home is not discovering and accessing the big emotions that the show calls for, but rather keeping my huge, overwhelming emotions in check enough to be able to perform. In twenty years of working, I've never had this experience.
How does great collaboration function?
My favorite collaborations have always been between obsessives who play well with others. When a small group of creative folks each have a burning desire to realize their particular vision and the ability to refine and integrate that vision into something larger than themselves? That, in my experience, is when magic can happen. On a less theoretical level, a comfortable room, a shared sense of humor, and snacks go a long way.
What is your favorite moment in this musical?
Working with director Robin Fawcett the other day on the very first moments of the show was a bit of a revelation. I had been thinking about my entrance as nothing much, a bit of dramaturgical throat-clearing before the music began. Was I wrong! As of this writing, it's my favorite moment in the show. Of course, ask me again in a day or two and I'm sure to have a different answer. This show is so rich.