Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Spamalot - Meet Cast Member Drew Holcombe

What do you find appealing about your character and this show?
Spamalot is an absolutely unbelievable show. With a basis like Monty Python, people come in expecting to see their favorite scenes from the movie, but they also don’t want a carbon copy. Spamalot rides that line perfectly – some scenes are almost exactly the same as in the film, but there are also new characters and plot twists that help it stand on its own two feet, so you definitely don’t need to have seen the movie to understand the show.

Having been a fan on the show for years, I’m beyond excited that I’ve been given the opportunity to experience it on the other side of the fourth wall! My favorite part of being in this ensemble is that we get to completely change characters every time we’re on stage – the ensemble gets to play the silly residents of Camelot, the dreary monks, and everything in between. As a result of this, we get to explore different styles of singing and dance, something not offered in most musicals, which aren’t usually as fluctuating. After taking a long hiatus from musical ensembles, I’m glad I get to experience being a part of one in a show like Spamalot that makes it a challenging and rewarding experience.

What have you learned about yourself being in this ensemble?
More than anything, I think this production has broken down a lot of my dancing barriers. I came into this show with a whopping one semester of ballet under my belt, so I definitely expected the choreography to be a struggle. But once we started working on the first couple numbers, I realized that my own convictions of not being a dancer were holding me back far more than my lack of experience. I definitely have had to put in a lot of effort to make everything happen (especially the tap!), but I’ve gained a lot of confidence in my own abilities that I didn’t have before.

What do you want the audience to experience/take away from this show?
The thing I love about comedies is that people don’t see them expecting to walk out with a moral or a new way to look at life. They expect mindless entertainment, and in a lot of ways,that’s what you get. But the side effect of silly shows like Spamalot is that you get to create this incredible connection between everyone in the room as everyone laughs their butts off together. There’s a lot of hostility in the world today, so I think it’s important that we have shows like Spamalot to diffuse the tension and bring us together.

How does this show differ from other shows you have worked on?
Considering my background is almost entirely in educational theatre, this show is extremely different from everything I’ve done before. Working with a cast of adults is a new experience, though age definitely hasn’t been the barrier I expected it to be. Being the youngest member of the cast was intimidating at first, but I’m incredible lucky to work withamazing people who help me remember that I’m a welcome part of this cast. This will also be the first time I get to perform for multiple weeks – the most performances I’ve had in a previous show is just six. I’m excited to learn how to keep my energy up throughout the extended run.

I also haven’t been in a musical ensemble since the first musical I was in, which was Fiddler on the Roof at West Springfield High School, over four years ago. Now that I’m used to having speaking roles, being in the ensemble has presented me with a lot of challenges. You have to be just as engaging as always, but it’s hard to do when you don’t get to make many of your own acting or vocal choices for the sake of cleanliness. I’m thrilled that I get to be a part of this show and learn this other side of music theatre!

How long have you been acting and what made you get involved in theatre? How did you get involved with LTA?
I’ve been involved in theatre and music since I was little, but I didn’t really become invested in performing until high school. That’s when I realized that, by breaking down the barriers of film and bringing the audience and performers together, theatre can connect people in a powerful and profound way. As soon as I realized the power of those connections, I knew I had to keep performing for the rest of my life.

As for this production, I’ve been researching summer performing opportunities throughout my spring semester. Before LTA’s season was announced, I saw that the dates of the show would work with my schedule, so I made a note to audition. When I found out the show would be Spamalot, I instantly knew it would be a perfect fit for me. I’m thrilled to be a part of this production and can’t wait to share it with an audience!

Monty Python's Spamalot will be on the LTA stage from August 8 - August 23.  Get tickets at www.thelittletheatre.com

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