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Showing posts from May, 2018

The Nance - meet music director Christopher Tomasino!

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Tell us a little about yourself.  I am the Music Director for The Nance.  I have music directed numerous shows at the theatre, most recently Legally Blonde, and I will be music directing the upcoming production of Jesus Christ Superstar.  I have been music directing at LTA since its production of Chicago in 1988 and counting The Nance will have worked on 32 shows here.  In addition to LTA, I am the music director for Bishop Ireton High School’s theater arts program.

How does this show differ from other shows you have worked on?  I mainly work on musicals, though I have provided musical input on some plays that had minor musical elements.  However, this is the first show I have worked on that I would say is primarily a play with music.  Roughly I would say the play to music ratio is 60/40.  Most musicals have songs that provide the exposition, develop characters, propel the story line, and provide the resolution.  With The Nance the music, which is original to the show, provides atmosph…

The Nance - meet choreographer Stefan Sittig!

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Tell us a little about yourself. I am the choreographer for The Nance and very excited to be working on this production!This is my 8th show with LTA and my 2nd time working with Frank Shutts, after In The Heights back in 2015 (which was an amazing experience all around!)I have directed and/or choreographed nearly 80 productions, and while I did have a lot of offers that conflicted with this, I jumped at the chance to work on this piece and with Frank (and producer Mary Beth Smith Toomey) again!I couldn’t turn this opportunity down! I have worked on shows Off-Broadway, internationally, regionally up and down the East coast, as well as for dozens of colleges/universities and community theatres and I always seem to come back to LTA.The level of professionalism and collaboration is so high for a community theatre.It’s very impressive.
How does this show differ from other shows you have worked on? As much as I love musicals, I always find that projects that are less traditional, be they pla…

The Nance - meet cast member Danielle Comer!

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What do you find appealing about your character and this show?I really love how fun these characters and this show are. Lots of what they do is to make people and each other laugh and there are so many high energy scenes and it’s just FUN. At the same time the show deals with a lot of important issues regarding the gay community especially during this time period as well as a look at love in general. It’s a great balance of entertainment and something deeper.
What have you learned about yourself in playing the role of “Joan”?I’ve learned more about how I can push myself as an actor, not only mentally and emotionally, but physically as well with all the dancing and singing the show requires. I think I definitely surprised myself with how confident I’ve become in my portrayal of someone so different from myself in real life. It’s really satisfying to look at a challenging role and think “Hey! I think I’ve done a pretty good job!”
What do you want the audience to experience/take away from …

The Nance - meet cast member John Paul Odle!

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What do you find appealing about your character and this show? For one, it’s a role that is extremely foreign to me. My background couldn’t be farther than that of Ned’s, and the world he lives in is quite different from today, though in many cases unfortunately, not all too dissimilar. For the show, it has been a real eye-opener to see all the vaudeville sketches, as I’ve been too indoctrinated by the fanfare of modern cinema. The wonderment that is vaudeville and burlesque never leaves your mind, as it should.
What have you learned about yourself in playing the role of “Ned”? Though our backgrounds and circumstances are very different, I do like the parallel of our “entrance” into theatre. While I had a passing interest all my life in acting and the stage, I was very much pushed onto the stage in high school, and sort of rocketed off from there. With our theatre trajectories so similarly plotted, I’ve found that I encountered many of the same bumps in the road. Being overwhelmed and …

The Nance - meet cast member Charlene Sloan!

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What do you find appealing about your character and this show?
I just love this show. I love the music and the comedic style of the time period. I also love that the play has an important story to tell, and it shows both sides. It shows the hard times and the good. It shows the horrible discrimination suffered by the gay community in the late 1930s, and how performers of the time used comedy to deal with those realities. My character Sylvie is tough and principled, yet she remains understanding of other viewpoints. She is more than the stereotypical burlesque dancer, she is complex, politically aware and does her best to stay in control of her life and fight for what she believes is right.
What have you learned about yourself in playing the role of “Sylvie”?
I’ve learned that what drives me towards a particular role is exactly what scares me about playing that role. Lately, I’ve been driven to try for parts that are way out of my comfort zone. It may be uncomfortable at the time, but I…

The Nance - meed the director Frank D. Shutts II!

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Tell us a little about yourself:I am Frank D. Shutts II, the director.The Nance marks the twenty-third main-stage production I have directed for the Little Theater of Alexandria since 1989.I have served as the theatre’s President and in several board positions.

How does this show differ from other shows you have worked on?This show is a melting pot of theatrical genres.Part musical and part comedy with a touch of drama.It takes place in the late 30s, the twilight of vaudeville and burlesque.While I am familiar with the concepts of those forgotten styles of entertainment, the table work for this show made me delve deep into their history and discover their charm.I love directing shows that broaden my knowledge in preparation!This one certainly did.

What made you get involved in theatre? How did you get involved with LTA?Theater has always been a part of my life.I thought I would be an actor until my high school theater teacher said to me, “You’re a director.You see how it all comes toget…

The Nance - meet cast member Janice Rivera!

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"This is an unusual production being that it is a play with music, not a musical. Because of the Burlesque setting we see little mini “plays within a play” with highlights of sketches and dances that are modeled after the ones you would have seen during the heyday of Burlesque. What is particularly clever is how the sketches and dance numbers highlight and parallel the storyline but aren’t actually a part of the narrative as would be the case with a normal “musical” production."
Janice Rivera (Carmen/Dance Captain) is thrilled to have a second time at LTA to fly her Bandera Latina. She was last onstage here as Camila in In the Heights. Previous roles: Aldonza in Man of La Mancha at MCP and Lucille in Parade and Judas Iscariot in Jesus Christ Superstar (both WATCH nominations) at SMP. Other roles include Cathy in The Last Five Years (SCT) and Mrs. Walker in The Who’s Tommy and Ethel in Footloose (LTA). She has also been the sound designer for several LTA shows, including Spama…

The Nance - meet cast member Jack Stein

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“Working on The Nance has been a terrific opportunity and challenge on so many levels. First, tackling a play that’s never been performed locally is a huge responsibility as we are literally introducing the community to the piece which may influence decisions about future local productions. Second, this is an important piece of work that deals with themes faced by every minority group in our nation with respect to perception, stigma, and acceptance. Third, as a play with (lots) of music we are required to focus on both aspects equally to ensure a balanced production.  It’s been an honor to be selected to work on it at LTA and has given me renewed respect for the skill required to pull off the many classic vaudeville and burlesque sketches which on the surface may seem easy and light. The performers who originated them were comic geniuses who devoted countless hours perfecting the routines. I hope to pay them honor in recreating some of them in The Nance.” 

Jack B. Stein (Efram) is prou…

The Nance - Meet cast member Chuck Dluhy!

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What do you find appealing about your character and this show?
I love The Nance because it is a very unique play that incorporates drama, romance, slapstick comedy, musical numbers, politics and real-life history. The appeal of my character is that Chauncey is not afraid to stand up for what he believes even in the closeted world of Depression-era NYC.Although he could be described as “self-loathing”, he has a lot of love inside of him if he can only recognize that he is worthy of the wonderful man who comes into his life. I like the fact that he is Republican and conservative because he is a hard-working fellow who doesn’t believe in taking handouts. I also enjoy the intense demands of the role – switching from an emotional, dramatic arc to the outrageously hilarious, vaudeville sketches to singing a song.

What have you learned about yourself in playing the role of “Chauncey Miles”?
Like Chauncey, I think everyone keeps a part of themselves hidden from family, friends, co-workers and…