Q: Where did you grow up? Were there any activities you did as a child that led to your passion for the arts?
A: Technically, I grew up in Northern Kentucky, only 10 minutes from Cincinnati, Ohio. So, it is just much easier for me to say I am from Cincinnati, even though many of my friends here like to give me grief about it, haha. I know it’s confusing but… tomato-potato, am I right?Anyway, I grew up very blessed to be in a thriving arts community. So by the time I was 8, I was acting in shows and I haven’t looked back since.
Q: Where did you receive your training? How did this prepare you for your work in the theatre world?
A: I went to school at Western Kentucky University. There, I got a B.F.A. in Performing Arts with a concentration in Acting. I also double minored in Musical Theatre and Performing Arts Administration. My time at WKU really exposed me to many different styles of performance and gave me many opportunities to explore my craft. I am very grateful for how they prepared me.
Q: You are playing the iconic role of Lennie. Please discuss the challenges/rewards of performing this character and what are you hoping audiences will take away from your performance?
A: Lennie is definitely one of the more challenging roles that I have played. With his given circumstances it has been quite the exploration to find the story I want to tell through him. I think so many times Lennie is seen as an iconic role because of the cognitive barriers he struggles with and the challenges he faces. However, I think he’s so much more than that. I want audiences to take away that Lennie is so much more than the label society tries to put on him. Instead we should think about his loyalty and his compassion for others and his zest for life. Those are the things he should be defined as.
Q: Why is “Of Mice and Men” still relevant for audiences to see? How does this classic story inspire you?
A: I think this show is still relevant today because it discusses so many different issues we are still facing in America. The show looks at racism with the mistreatment towards Crooks, sexism with the glorification and dehumanization of Curley’s wife, and ableism with the remarks thrown at Lennie. In a time where we are seeing so much discrimination towards minority groups, a story like this needs to be told. This story inspires me because even though it doesn’t have the happiest of endings (Spoiler Alert!!! But honesty not really because if you haven’t read this book by now then what are you doing….) we still see those on the outs find comfort with one another and they show the power than coming together can create.
Q: You are also a Resident Actor this season. What are some of your duties and what is one of your favorite things about being a part of Charleston Stage?
A: I am a Resident Actor with Charleston Stage and boy what an incredible time it has been so far. Along with performing in the company’s season, one of my main duties is to teach as a part of the education program. I teach two classes with one of my incredible fellow Resident Actors every week, and a Performance Troupe class with the always wonderful Marybeth Clark. I sometimes also travel to schools in the area for in school workshops. It can be busy at times but is incredibly rewarding. One of my favorite things about working with Charleston Stage would be a tie between working on “Of Mice and Men,” because it has been a blessing to perform a dream role right out of graduating college, and the class I get to teach with Marybeth every week. She is an incredible educator and every week I learn so much just from teaching alongside her.
Q: What other roles will you be performing with Charleston Stage this season?
A: After “Of Mice and Men,” you can see me in “A Christmas Carol” as the Ghost of Christmas Past and Herb in “Junie B.”. After the new year I will also be in “Number the Stars,” “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time,” “The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley,” and “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast” where I will be playing LeFou!
Performances continue running Oct. 19 – Nov. 4 at the Historic Dock Street Theatre. Ticket sales available online by clicking here.