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Julian Wiles, Founder and Producing Artistic Director
Marybeth Clark, Associate Artistic Director

January 31, 2020

Meet Julie Duvall, Guest Costume Designer of “Our Town”

Filed under: Back Stage Blog — julianw @ 11:45 am
Featured: Costume Designer Julie Duvall.


Q: Were there any activities you did as a child that led to your passion for the arts?

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t doing something artistic or creative. I’ve always liked doing arts and crafts in school or at home. I spent hours drawing my own version of anime. I loved to dance, sing and listen to music. I played clarinet and saxophone in middle school and high school. An introduction to theatre class in college turned me on to theatre, which tied all my interests together.


Q: Where did you receive training?

I earned a bachelor of arts degree at the University of South Florida in Theatre Design and Technology. I studied set, costume, and lighting design. I earned my Masters in Fine Arts degree at the University of Missouri, Kansas City in Costume Design and Technology.


Q: What other companies have you most recently designed for?

Most recently, I worked with Pure Theatre on an interactive production of Oscelola’s Muse. I took a break from theatre design to raise my two daughters, Ava (13) and Anna (11). Before, I was the head of the Costume Design Program at the College of Charleston for five years.

Featured: Costume Rendering of Emily by Julie Duvall.
Featured (from left to right): Charleston Stage Professional Resident Actor Mary Kate Foley as Emily Webb and Charleston Stage Acting Ensemble Member David Loar as Editor Webb in “Our Town”.


Q: Please discuss your process as the Costume Designer for Our Town.

First, I read the script to get a general feel of what the play is about and how it made me feel. Then, I analyzed the script for all costume information. I noted the year it took place (1901, 1904, 1913), the setting (Grover Corners, New Hampshire), the time of year (spring and summer), the time of day, the weather, the occasion, and the style the show was written (minimalistic, theatrical–set on a stage). I then studied what is said about each character by other characters, what a character says about (him/her)self, and what is noted in the stage directions. I looked at the occupation, age, gender, lifestyle, and class of each character. I also tracked characters entrances and exits to plan out costume changes (stage managers provided some of this information). Once this was done, I met with the director, Marybeth Clark, and the design team and, together, came up with a concept or approach on how the overall production would look. We decided to keep the production in the era it was set, and keep the Stage Manager character in the same era as the play. We talked about how the costumes were to be the focal point of the show because of the sparse scenic elements. We chose to minimize the number of costumes for each character in order to keep with the abstract nature of the set design and echo the hazy nature of memory. I tried to keep characters in simple, unpretentious clothing of the middle class, but visually stimulating for the audience. Marybeth wanted a color pallet based on a drop Julian Wiles designed for the show. The colors are bright, saturated, and lively, which reflects the joys and simple beauty of daily life. This led me to choose costumes that were a bit more colorful than was usual back in the Edwardian period (tan, navy, & black). In contrast, Act III is in somber black for the funeral. I researched 1901-1913 fashion, life, and professions in books and on-line—Pinterest was my favorite source. Finally, I pulled as many costumes I could from Charleston Stage’s costume stock. I redesigned most of the women’s gowns to give them the line and details common in early 1900’s. We ordered corsets to help maintain the proper silhouette and physical movement of the era. I designed a few original pieces: Emily’s first act look, Rebecca’s “gingham dress,” and Mrs. Webb’s ensemble.

Featured: Costume Rendering of Rebecca by Julie Duvall.
Featured (from left to right): Charleston Stage Performance Troupe Member Katie Blumetti as Rebecca Gibbs and Charleston Stage Professional Resident Actor Anthony Lazzaro as George Gibbs in “Our Town”.


Q: What are you most excited about that audiences will experience with your designs for Our Town?

I hope some of the trimming details will be fun to see, but I hope nothing stands out as a distraction. I aim to always serve the play and it’s own idea of “truth.”


Q: Tell us a little more about yourself.

I absolutely love spending quality time with my wonderful and talented husband, Frank Duvall and our two daughters, Ava and Anna. When I’m not designing costumes, I teach. I taught sewing, rendering, pattern drafting, and fashion history at the Art Institute of Charleston for five years, before it closed. Now, I substitute for mainly middle school and high school classes on James Island. I like to paint, knit, shop, read and sew quilts in my free time. I also try to find time to take long walks at James Island County Park.


Performances of Our Town run February 5 – 23 at the Historic Dock Street Theatre. For tickets, click here.

My Mom and I and “Our Town”

Filed under: Back Stage Blog — julianw @ 11:18 am
Featured: Founder and Producing Artistic Director Julian Wiles.

A Remembrance by Julian Wiles, Charleston Stage’s Founder and Producing Director

“You brought me all the way to New York to see a play without scenery?” That was what my Mom said back in 1988. I had brought her to New York as a Christmas present to see several Broadway shows, the first of which was the fiftieth anniversary of Thornton Wilder’s Pulitzer prize-winning Our Town. “Just wait,” I said to her as she gazed on the bare almost empty stage. “You’ll see, there’s more here than meets the eye, and it’s a love story so keep your eye on George and Emily.” And in a few moments as the play began, and as Emily Webb and George Gibbes fell in love, my Mom, as well as the rest of the audience, was mesmerized by the extraordinary power of this simple play—one of the greatest American plays ever written. It is my favorite play.

Sadly, too many people only know Our Town from a dreary high school literature class and have never seen an actual performance of this classic on stage. And of course, Our Town was written not to be read but to be performed.

In 1938, Our Town was considered revolutionary, radical, and avant garde, because playwright Thornton Wilder brazenly discarded scenery (or most of it), did away with props, and dared to present a play without any of the glitzy “window dressing” or dancing girls that audiences had come to expect. After all, this was the era of the Ziegfeld Follies and Busby Berkley musicals, so to strip away all of the spectacle for a Broadway show was startling to audiences. And even today, in an era where multi-million dollar Broadway musical spectaculars like Wicked and The Lion King are the norm, the simplicity of Our Town retains its special power to move audiences. In fact, Our Town remains one of the most produced plays on earth.

There was a method to Wilder’s no scenery, no props madness. He set this simple story of George and Emily on a nearly bare stage because he wanted us not to look at the scenery but to focus our eyes on something else. And that something else is everyday life— for it’s within everyday life that we actually live. Wilder wanted us to see that too often we take so much of our day-to-day lives for granted— breakfast each day, racing off to work or school, the landmarks in our lives— falling in love, marriage, children, friendships all taken for granted. By focusing on the seemingly mundane day-to-day tasks, he wanted us to see the simple wonder of being alive on this earth. But Wilder doesn’t sugarcoat this in a “just stop and smell the roses” sentimentality, he shows us there are also disappointments in life too, that many hopes and dreams remain unfilled. Such is life.

And that is the magic of Our Town. Like all great plays, Our Town invites us to look at life from different angles and, in doing so, gain new perspectives of what we too often take for granted.

Charleston Stage’s new production with its fine cast under Associate Artistic Director Marybeth Clark’s direction will bring Our Town off the page, out of your memory of that long ago stodgy English class, and on the stage where it belongs.

In the end, my Mom was not disappointed when she first saw Our Town in New York back in 1988 and at 92 years old now, is looking forward to seeing George and Emily fall in love once more. She already has her tickets. I know she won’t be disappointed.

Performances of Our Town run Feb. 5 – 23 at the Historic Dock Street Theatre. For tickets, click here.

January 22, 2020

Meet Shea O’Neil, Costume Designer for “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe”

Filed under: Back Stage Blog — julianw @ 11:57 am
Featured: Costume Designer Shea O’Neil


Q: Were there any activities you did as a child that led to your passion for the arts?

I was raised by a single mother growing up which led to a lot of self-guided alone time. My imagination was my best friend and when my Mom realized how “in the clouds” my thinking was she put me into a lot of acting classes. I started out as a performer, up until my senior year of high school. I was lucky enough to attend a magnet arts Middle-High School in my hometown that, oddly enough, offered a costuming class as an elective. I took that my senior year… and the rest all just sort of fell into place. Having had a lot of training from the ages of 10 to 17 of how to act and embody a character was the best kind of costume design training I could’ve asked for.


Q: Where did you receive training?

As stated I went to a wonderful school called “Manatee School for the Arts” in my hometown of Bradenton, FL. From there I went on to a 2 year program (a sort of art school boot camp I like to refer to it as) called Florida School of the Arts. There I got an A.S. degree in Technical Theater with a focus in Costume Design. When I was attending FloArts I entered into the undergraduate design competition at S.E.T.C. (Southeastern Theater Conference) and won first place for a costume design I did at FloArts for Clue The Musical which, yes, is a musical based off of the board game. From that conference I was recruited by Toni Leslie-James who, at the time, was the Professor of Costume Design at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA. I studied under her and learned everything I could from her (she has been a working Broadway designer since 1992.)


Q: What other companies have you most recently designed for?

I have only designed at one other theater. I was the Costume Designer and 1-man-costume-shop for the Barter Players. The Players is an offset of the Barter Theatre in Abingdon, VA. (which is the oldest professional rep theater in the country). The Players was the Children’s theater part of the company. I was the Designer in Residence there for almost 3 years and designed over 24 productions with them, including 4 regional tours and 1 national tour that was based off of a Disney book series. I have assisted a good friend/designer that I met at VCU at many places in between leaving VCU and working at The Barter. I assisted her at Virginia Rep (Richmond, VA) and The Warehouse Theater (Greenville, SC).

Featured: A rendering by Shea O’Neil of Aslan in “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe”.
Featured: Charleston Stage Professional Resident Actor Katelyn Crall as Aslan.


Q: Please discuss your design process.

So first, like all designs, it begins with a meeting/chat with the director. My job is to facilitate the director’s vision while bringing my knowledge of the history of clothing and other various things to the table. For this show the key phrases I took from that first meeting were “Game of Thrones meets How to Train Your Dragon/Nordic Viking.” After that I got to work researching images that spoke to me and started to put together a Powerpoint for each character/look in the show. Once I showed that to the director then I started doing my sketches (for every sketch that you see that is good, there are about 20 ones that get ferociously scratched out) once those get drawn, then they get approved by the director. I then move to the “finding fabric” and actually figuring out the logistics of how to build/buy or pull from stock the things that I have drawn. I have meetings with the person in the shop who makes the patterns for the clothing (which is sometimes me as well) and talk over how I believe these things are constructed, and the process begins for real.

Featured: A rendering by Shea O’Neil of the White Witch.
Featured Right: Charleston Stage Performance Troupe Member Eden Stroble as the White Witch.


Q: What are you most excited about that audiences will experience with your designs?

I’m excited for the audience to see the amount of love, care, and artistry that the whole Costume Department and I have put into this show. One thing I learned in my time as the Barter Players Costume Designer was that most “family” or “children’s theater” tends to be patronizing to children. Gives them cartoonish pops of color and simplified costumes. But children, more than adults, have such beautiful and vivid imaginations. So giving them a real world that is extremely well flushed out is what I am most excited for these families and groups of school kids to see with this show. Children of all ages (and that includes adults) deserve the most inspiring thing I can offer and I’m excited to give it to them.


Q: Tell us a little more about yourself.

I really love knitting and have recently picked up baking and cooking as a lovely hobby. I spend a lot of time in the costume shop so when I’m not here I tend to do things that are very relaxing. i.e. going to see movies, a fine night of eating out (because I LOVE eating out at restaurants). I also have my own costume business on the side where I make costumes and various things for people on a commission basis. I also really love hiking and things that are outdoors which is a nice way to clear out my brain in between and kind of reset my headspace before heading into the next production.

Featured: Charleston Stage Performance Troupe Members in “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe”.
Featured Center: Charleston Stage Professional Resident Actor Katelyn Crall as Aslan and Charleston Stage Performance Troupe Member Sophie Rees as the White Witch in “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe”.

Performances of “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe” run Jan. 25th and Feb. 1st at 11am and Jan. 25th, Jan. 26th and Feb. 1st at 2pm. For tickets, click here.



October 1, 2019

Jesse Siak, a Man of Many Faces

Filed under: Back Stage Blog — julianw @ 1:26 pm

 

 

Q: You are no stranger to the Dock Street Theatre stage. What are a few of your favorite past roles that you’ve performed with Charleston Stage?

I’ve actually gotten to play several “bucket list” roles at Charleston Stage! Among those are George in Of Mice and Men, Dr. Frankenstein in Young Frankenstein, William Shakespeare in Shakespeare in Love and Leo Bloom in The Producers.

 

Q: Do you have a favorite piece written by Edgar Allan Poe?

I honestly wasn’t a fan of Poe when we were learning about him in high school, mostly because I didn’t understand his impact and style. It’s on everyone’s list, but “The Raven” is absolutely amazing. His use of imagery is astounding and haunting, and the gradual crescendo and repetition is so much fun. It’s dark and simple, but so complex. People spend their lives analyzing it and for good reason!

 

 

Q: You are playing the iconic role of Edgar Allan Poe. How have you prepared to take on this historic figure?

I grew a mustache. That’s it. Just kidding. The great thing about this role is that the end of Poe’s life is actually quite the mystery, and the events surrounding his death are equally confusing. I’ve been trying to tap into the shell of Poe and the effects his writings might have had on him. As an artist myself, I know how easy it is to be swept away in our work and sometimes the line between fiction and real life is blurred. I’ve also been trying to find the balance of Drunk Poe, Crazy Poe, and those beautiful moments where Poe isn’t “performing” and just gets to “be.” Basically, I’ve just been trying to find the heart under the floorboard.

Q: What makes this production a great play for Poe fans and first-timers?

Julian has done such a terrific job of incorporating Poe’s works into a through line of a show. As Poe gets swept up in his writings, so do we. This play is a mystery, and just like Poe’s works, it doesn’t necessarily spell things out for the audience. Some of it is bizarre, some absurd, some spooky, and some moments are so simple, real, and precise, you can’t help but lean in and try to figure out what comes next. It’s accessible, but doesn’t play down to the audience. And Poe fans will get to see some of their favorite works come to life onstage–I think that’s pretty cool.

 

 

Q: You are also the Associate Director of Education. What are your duties for that?

I’m going on my 7th year at Charleston Stage. As Associate Director of Education, I help train the Professional Resident Actors as teachers, lead our in-school outreach workshops, help administrate TheatreSchool classes and Performance Troupe, teach middle school classes, run the TheatreWings High School Apprentice Program, and direct MainStage and Family Series Shows–and really anything else that may be needed. I’m never bored, and always grateful.

 

Q: What excites you about working for Charleston Stage?

I think one of my favorite things about my job is that I never have the same day twice. I’m always doing something different, growing as a teacher, performer, professional, and human being. I truly love the people I work with, and my students are the best in the world. We are a community that wants so much to spread the joys of theatre to as many people (and kids) that we can. Like many great theatres in this Charleston Community, we strive to bring professional, quality theatre to our patrons, new and old and educational programs to anyone who will listen. Every day, we try to learn and get better and never settle for anything other than our best.

 

Performances of Nevermore! Voyage Into the Netherworld run Oct. 16 – Nov. 3 at the Historic Dock Street Theatre. For tickets, click here.

 

 

 

 

September 13, 2019

View an Exclusive Interview with Resident Actor Colin Waters, Starring as Willard in “Footloose”

Filed under: Back Stage Blog — julianw @ 3:35 pm

 

 

Q: You’re a returning Resident Actor! What are you most excited about with joining Charleston Stage for a second year?

I am so grateful to be back with Charleston Stage for a second season. The community of other artists we work with and patrons we interact with are so supportive. I am so excited to gear up for all of the upcoming shows. They’re all so different and entertaining. I am also so excited for another year of TheatreSchool classes and to get back to helping teach so many young theatre artists.

 

 

Q: You are playing the iconic role of Willard. What are you looking forward to with this experience?
One of my favorite things about Willard is how he is presented as such a big, loud personality, but really he’s very gentle. “Mama Says” is a BOP to sing, but I think what most excites me are Willard’s really quirky, fun and sometimes oblivious scenes he shares with other characters throughout the show.

 

Q: Why is Footloose still relevant for audiences to see?
Footloose is a show with crazy vocals and high-energy, challenging dancing. Audiences can’t sit still in their seats and not sing along to the songs. This production is well-known not just in the theatre community but also by so many that grew up watching the movie, so I think this is why audiences enjoy it so much.

 

 

Q: What other roles will you be performing with Charleston Stage this season?
Next for Charleston Stage, I can be seen as: Captain Nimrod in Nevermore! Voyage Into the Netherworld, the Manager in Elf The Musical, Mayor Josiah Dobbs in Bright Star, and I will also be in Our Town and Junie B. Jones: The Musical.  I am also excited to announce that I will be directing The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.

 

Q: What makes you “Cut Loose”?
Videos of otters sliding down water slides, feminism, and waking up a few hours before you are supposed to be awake only to realize you get to sleep a few more hours.

 

Final four performances of Footloose run Sept. 19th thru Sept. 22nd at the Historic Dock Street Theatre. Tickets available online by clicking here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 9, 2019

View an Exclusive Interview with Resident Actor Julia Kelly-Davis, Starring as Rusty in “Footloose”

Filed under: Back Stage Blog — julianw @ 10:45 am

 

 

Q: Where did you grow up? Were there any activities you did as a child that led to your passion for the arts?
I grew up in Anthem, Arizona, and I always sang and danced around the house. My first show I ever performed in was Seussical: The Musical when I was 10 years old and I played Gertrude McFuzz!

 

Q: Where did you receive your training? How did this prepare you for your work in the theatre world?
I was a part of my local theatre, Musical Theatre of Anthem. I was able to receive dance training and vocal lessons from the instructors at this company, and they have been such great teachers and role models throughout my life.

 

 

Q: You are playing the iconic role of Rusty. What are you looking forward to with this experience?
I am so excited to be playing the role of Rusty. I love singing “Let’s Hear It For The Boys” with all of the amazing ladies in the cast!

 

Q: Why is Footloose still relevant for audiences to see?
Footloose is such a classic story that all audiences can enjoy. The whole cast has worked so hard on both our dancing and vocals, and we hope to give everyone who comes to see us a great experience through this upbeat musical!

 

Q: You are also a Resident Actor this season. What are you most looking forward to with this experience with Charleston Stage this season?
I’ve already grown so close with all of my fellow Resident Actors, and I can’t wait to continue on this journey with them. We’ve had so many opportunities through both educating and performing to grow in our craft, and we have had the best time doing it.

 

 

Q: What other roles will you be performing with Charleston Stage this season?
After Footloose, I will be playing Annabelle Lee in Nevermore! Voyage Into the Netherworld, The Reverend in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Jovie in Elf The Musical, and Lucy in Bright Star!

 

Q: What makes you “Cut Loose”?
Monday dark days with my RA pals.

 

Performances of Footloose continue running Sept. 12th thru Sept. 22nd at the Historic Dock Street Theatre. Tickets available online by clicking here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 19, 2019

View an Exclusive Interview with Former Resident Actor Brian Nabors, Starring as Chuck in “Footloose”

Filed under: Back Stage Blog — julianw @ 10:52 am

 

Q: Brian, you’re returning as a Guest Artist for Footloose after having joined us as a Resident Actor last season! What are you most excited about with coming back for our first production of Season 42?

Performing at the Historic Dock Street theatre is a once in a lifetime experience! I made so many great friends and memories last season so I was incredibly excited to be asked back for Footloose. I can’t wait to share the stage with all these talented artists again and to bring to life such a fun and energetic show!

 

Q: You are playing the iconic role of Chuck in Footloose. What are you looking forward to with this experience?

Having just played Gaston in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast it seems that my roles at Charleston Stage tend to be villains. I always love exploring these characters, seeing what makes them tick, and finding out why they are the way they are. Plus, I get to wear a cool leather jacket.

 

Q: Why is Footloose still relevant for audiences to see?

Footloose is a story about a younger generation rising up and speaking out about the injustices they see in their community. I think that is an incredibly poignant theme to bring up today and I think this production is going to stand out because of the talent and handwork that everyone is pouring into it.

 

Q: What makes you “Cut Loose”?

I “cut loose” by hanging out with friends and exploring the vibrant night life of Charleston! The dancing I do onstage is definitely better than the moves I bust out on a Friday night!

 

Performances of Footloose run Aug. 28th thru Sept. 22nd at the Historic Dock Street Theatre. Tickets available online by clicking here.

 

 

 

 

August 13, 2019

View an Exclusive Interview with Resident Actor Mary Kate Foley, Starring as Ariel in “Footloose”

Filed under: Back Stage Blog — julianw @ 2:16 pm

 

 

Q: Mary Kate, you’re a returning Resident Actor! What are you most excited about with joining Charleston Stage for a second year?

It is an honor to be back! I love working with the passionate, hilarious, talented people here at Charleston Stage. I’m definitely most excited to continue working with our theatre school students! We work with the best kids ever. I can’t wait to see how our students grow on stage and off this year. 

 

Q: You are playing the iconic role of Ariel in Footloose. What are you looking forward to with this experience? 

I’m having so much fun jumping into Ariel’s red cowboy boots! I think the stage version of this story sheds a beautiful new light to her character- she’s more grounded, more intelligent, and she has bigger dreams. I think audiences will love this Ariel just as much as the film version! Also, there is nothing more fun than singing “Holding Out For A Hero” with the incredible Julia Kelly-Davis, Katelyn Crall, and Madison Daning.

 

 

 

Q: Why is Footloose still relevant for audiences to see?

Footloose may be whimsical and fun, but it does have a lovely, serious message: Spread joy, be forgiving, and move through life with an open heart and mind. 

Besides that sweet message, this production features killer dancing and jaw dropping vocals! I have never been a part of a cast with this much talent. It is not to be missed! 

 

Q:  What other roles will you be performing with Charleston Stage this season?

The season ahead is going to be so fun! I get to play some super fun ensemble tracks in Nevermore! and Elf The Musical, Mom in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Emily Webb in Our Town, and will close the season as Margo in Bright Star. 

 

Q: What makes you “Cut Loose”?

Coffee!!!!!

 

Performances of Footloose run Aug. 28th thru Sept. 22nd at the Historic Dock Street Theatre. Tickets available online by clicking here.

 

 

 

 

August 7, 2019

View an Exclusive Interview with Resident Actor Justin Gaskill, Starring as Ren in “Footloose”

Filed under: Back Stage Blog — julianw @ 3:31 pm

 

 

Q: Where did you grow up? Were there any activities you did as a child that led to your passion for the arts?
I grew up in Somers Point, NJ. I always would watch television and movies wondering how I could do that. So, my parents encouraged me and I started taking acting courses in middle school. I eventually ended up going to a performing arts high school in South Jersey, which is where I realized this is something that I wanted to pursue!

 

Q: Where did you receive your training? How did this prepare you for your work in the theatre world?
I first received my basic training at a performing arts high school in South Jersey. Then I attended Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, PA, for Musical Theatre. My program really pushed us to be the most rounded theatre artists we could be. I had rigorous acting, music, and dance courses, while also learning how to stage manage and focus lights. It was an experience that prepared me to come perform with Charleston Stage!

 

 

Q: You are playing the iconic role of Ren. What are you looking forward to with this experience?
I am looking forward to doing a show with such a popular following. I am so excited to perform such popular music, and do some fun, energetic dancing! I am also so excited to connect and perform with the fellow Resident Actors. This is a show I have always loved and I am so thrilled to be such a big part of it!

 

Q: Why is Footloose still relevant for audiences to see?
Footloose is still relevant for audiences to see because it is a timeless story. People have always loved Footloose, as it was such a big deal when the movie came out. It will always be a big show. I think this production will standout because it is so high energy! The audience will want to stand up with the cast and sing and dance along.

 

Q: You are also a Resident Actor this season. What are you most looking forward to with this experience with Charleston Stage this season?
Meeting new people, pushing myself as a performer and teacher, and just enjoying the experience! This city is full of history so I’m excited to perform in such a beautiful place. I am also honored to be performing in the Historic Dock Street Theatre. It is such a privilege to be part of the Resident Acting Company this season.

 

Q: What other roles will you be performing with Charleston Stage this season?
I will be featured as multiple different roles in Nevermore! Voyage Into the Netherworld, Ensemble in Elf The Musical, The Dad in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, and Billy Cane in Bright Star, as well as roles in Our Town and Junie B. Jones: The Musical.

 

Q: What makes you “Cut Loose”?
Some good music, my personal favorite right now is Lizzo, and a frozen drink.

 

Performances of Footloose run Aug. 28th thru Sept. 22nd at the Historic Dock Street Theatre. Tickets available online by clicking here.

 

 

 

 

March 20, 2019

View an Exclusive Interview with Liz Duren, Starring as M’lynn in “Steel Magnolias”

Filed under: Back Stage Blog — julianw @ 8:54 am

 

1)   Who are you playing and what excites you most about performing this iconic role?

I’m M’lynn. You called the role iconic and I suppose it is, but I can see how easy it is to take that idea and create this caricature of a southern lady with big hair and snappy one-liners… but what I love about this story is, at its heart, it’s true.  “M’lynn” was a mother who had a daughter and these close friends and it’s a story about how we love and how we hold each other up.

 

 

 

2)   What’s your first memory of Steel Magnolias?

I saw the movie first when I was living in Europe at the time and I remember how heartsick it made me for home. Southern women and big hair and all.

 

3)   What do you think is the important message of Steel Magnolias and why does it still resonate with audiences today?

Every woman can find themselves in one of these characters.  It’s the “Sex and the City” of the 80’s.

 

 

4)   There are so many famous one-liners from Steel Magnolias. Which one is your favorite and why?

Pretty much anything Ouiser says.

 

 

 

5)   If your character had to distinguish between whether something was “Blush” or “Bashful”, what would their response be?

Waiter, I’ve tried Blush wine, but what is bashful?  ha ha ha ha

 

6)   Please share your thoughts on performing with an all female ensemble.

It’s no different for me whether it’s all male and female. It’s all about giving and listening and really being present in your role that makes ensemble acting so fun… but for this show, several of these women are already my friends and the affection you all will see is so real. THAT has made this show really special for me.

 

 

Performances of Steel Magnolias run March 21st – 24th at the Historic Dock Street Theatre. For tickets, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

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