Sunday, September 30, 2012

Hairspray Cast Spotlight: Carson Fox

The fantastic Mr. Fox!
Carson Fox is a junior at Enka High who is making his ACT Mainstage debut in Hairspray as a member of the Corny Collins Chorus!  Though he's a newcomer to ACT, he's a veteran performer.  From an opera at the Diana Wortham Theatre to the Asheville Symphony Chorus at both Arden Presbyterian Church and the Asheville Civic Center to the stage at Enka High, Carson has performed all over town.  We're so glad he's added ACT to his resume!

Carson, what convinced you to audition for Hairspray?
It has been a dream of mine to perform at Asheville Community Theatre ever since I saw my first musical there, Peter Pan. When I saw that they were holding auditions for Hairspray though, I had to go for it. I think that Hairspray is a bright and funny show, and I am so glad that I was cast! Everything about my experience here has been amazing!

Now that you're here, what have you enjoyed the most?
Well, my favorite moment during rehearsal was on Ron's birthday.  Ron tried so hard to hold a music rehearsal with us, but every few minutes there came balloons, cake, or visitors! I absolutely could not stop laughing

But my favorite number to perform is "You Can't Stop The Beat!" This is not only my favorite song from this musical, but it is the most fun to perform. It's so catchy, and Tina choreographed some awesome dances for it. This song is the closing number, and if it doesn't end the show with a bang for anybody else, it definitely will for me.

Carson with his most serious hat
When you're not at the theatre, what are you up to?
That depends on the time of year, and what I've gotten myself into! I go to school 5 days a week, and stay afterschool almost every day participating in some kind of practice or club. Every Sunday I attend Maple Ridge Baptist for church service. In between school and practices, I keep myself busy with school work or exercise.

You've performed all over town - is there anything in your Hairspray performance that will surprise people?
A lot of my friends and family know me as a quiet and respectful person to be around, especially my church family. If anything will be surprising to anybody who knows me, but not too well, it will surely be the "corny" kid that I am onstage!

Don't miss Carson in his ACT debut - get tickets here!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Hairspray Cast Spotlight: Phaidra Foor

Happy Birthday, dear Phaidra!
Today, Saturday, September 29 is cast member Phaidra Foor's 13th birthday! Happy happy birthday to Phaidra - and what better way to end a birthday than with 300+ people laughing, clapping, and jumping to their feet cheering?

So now that we know what your birthday will be like, what's a more typical day for you?
I usual wake up in the morning at 7, and then do all my chores like dishes and feeding the animals. Then my mom or carpool drives me to school. I go to Evergreen Community Charter School and have 4 classes a day, social studies, language arts, science and math. After school I come home, do homework, get all my stuff done. Then if I have time I love to go outside and do hand stands and flips and cartwheels. Then when my dad gets home, I grab a snack and head to rehearsal.

What has been your favorite part of rehearsals?
Just going on stage and dancing to the beat! But I also love hanging out with the other Junior Council Members during our breaks. We can always find some way to be entertained. :)

Do you hang out together when you're not at ACT?
Two other cast members and I have hung out downtown but other than that our friendship stays in the theater. We have a great cast. And I think I have connected with all the cast members!

Have you done many shows before?
I was cast as Zeneeta in last fall’s Music Man Jr. and I was a Munchkin in ACPA's Wizard of Oz. Other than that I haven't had much theater experience. I auditioned for Hairspray because I thought it would a great experience and something to take up my afternoon time. I love singing and dancing and I loved the Broadway production of Hairspray, so I knew that this show would be fun and exciting for me. :) None of my friends have ever seen me onstage, and before this show I was a very shy person. So I think a lot of people will be surprised that I even wanted to do the show!

Besides coming to see you, what would you tell a friend to encourage them to see Hairspray?
We have the best Tracy, Seaweed and Maybelle! They will blow you away. The show will just make you smile and laugh. You will love it! The whole cast and creative team have made a great show that is definitely worth seeing.

Come see Phaidra in Hairspray!  Buy tickets here!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Hairspray Cast Spotlight: Lupe Perez

Lupe as Mr. Pinky
If you have been an ACT patron since the 1990s, you certainly remember Lupe Perez from his onstage roles in The Fantasticks, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Ain't Misbehavin', Fiddler on the Roof and Bye Bye Birdie.  And you've enjoyed his directorial efforts with 1940s Radio Hour, You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown and Dames at Sea.  But after an almost 20 year absence (during which he and his partner have been raising their three lovely children), Lupe has returned to the ACT stage in Hairspray as the flamboyantly fashionable Mr. Pinky!

Lupe, what brought you back?
I wanted to enjoy working on and being in a show again! It was also a chance to work with my friend Jerry Crouch.   Plus, I get to perform with my 11 year old daughter, Maria. And actually, that's been my favorite part of the rehearsals - watching Maria dancing and hamming it up. It's like she's a totally different person!

What's your favorite number to perform in the show?
I get to perform as a wildly over-the-top dress shop owner, with fabulous assistants, helping the lead character and her mother realize a dream! Plus, I am dressed all in Pink, as my character is Mr. Pinky!

Theatre is obviously in your blood, but you've taken a break for the past two decades.  Are there people in your life who have never seen you onstage?
Yes. In addition to my children, there are a few nieces, in laws, and my coworkers.

Co-stars! Lupe and his daughter Maria backstage at Hairspray
Do you think anything will surprise them?
I am usually very quiet and calm outside of the theatre, and the character (and this show) is very much the opposite.

What’s the #1 reason someone should see this show? 
All of us have had a moment (or know someone who has) where we felt we didn't belong or weren't appreciated, or were bullied or overlooked. The main character, her mother, her best friend, and many others in this story come to realize how hard that struggle is, and the joy of having a moment (or more) where they turn that all around. There is a joy and electricity as a performer and as an audience member, being witness to that moment!

Don't miss Lupe's return to the stage! Get tickets here!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Hairspray Cast Spotlight: Keturah Dickerson

Keturah Dickerson is making her ACT debut as "Motormouth" Maybelle in Hairspray, and ever since she auditioned, anyone who has seen her perform has been trying to explain the phenomenon by basically doing a mime routine that suggests that the audience will be blown into next week, then will raise their hands towards the sky, then will pass out. Because words are ineffectual.

So, Keturah, what brought you to ACT?
I auditioned for Hairspray because I wanted to explore an opportunity to do something different and meet new people.  I've met some new friends in the show.  Mark, Lessie, Echo and Danielle and Cassidy, but I hung out the most with Elizabeth.

Where have we seen you before? 
You may have seen me singing at my church (Restoration Church of Asheville) or at the citywide prayer vigil for Trayvon Martin.

What is a typical day like for you?
Keturah as Maybelle in THE blonde wig! Photo by Ewa Skowska.
I go to work at 8:00 am, then grab dinner in the car on the way to rehearsal, then rehearse at rehearsal, then papers when I get home (I am in school at American Intercontinental University as a Business Management Major).

What has been your favorite moment from rehearsals? I love when Ron (the musical director) has character voices to express himself in music rehearsal. And also learning Tina's choreography and running lines with Libby.  

Which number in the show are you most excited about performing?  
I'm most excited about performing "I Know Where I've Been." I think the people in my life will be surprised to see that I'm learning how to act outside my usual singing.

What are your favorite costume pieces?
Edna's yellow suit and Maybelle's blonde wig!

What’s the #1 reason someone should see this show?
The story line - it's one that shows how people worked together to make change happen.   The show is funny and will make you cry.  It's an experience everyone in Asheville should have.

Ready to have your socks knocked off?  Get tickets to Hairspray!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Hairspray Cast Spotlight: Richard Blue

Relaxed Richard at Rehearsal
Richard Blue has played a candlestick who sings (Lumiere in Beauty and the Beast at Asheville Community Theatre) and a feline who rhymes (The Cat in Seussical: The Musical at Hendersonville Little Theatre), among other roles around Western North Carolina.  So he's used to performing in unusual costumes.  But in Hairspray, he slips into the role of Edna Turnblad - and her footwear!  "My costumes are over the moon," reports Richard. "But the most difficult part is the high heeled shoes."

Richard is a retired Rhode Island high school English teacher (28 years) who currently teaches one class at Blue Ridge Community College "to keep may hand in." He lives in Flat Rock with his "ever tolerant" wife Doreen.

Richard? Nope - this is EDNA! Photo by Ewa Skowska
We asked Richard about his favorite moment from rehearsals.  He replied, "Seeing the show develop.  I've done many, MANY shows over the years and this one will easily be one of, or THE best I've ever had the pleasure of being in."

Have you met any new friends?
"I've always said that community theatre is an easy way to meet a great many people at once.  The same is true this time, though I feel like a grandfather being the oldest member of the cast."

What’s the #1 reason someone should see this show?

Don't miss Richard in what may be his most incredible transformation yet!  Click here for tickets!

Hairspray Yourself!

Here at ACT, we always do something special for Opening Weekend.  Opening Night, there's always a pre-show champagne reception.  The first Saturday is "Sweet Saturday" and we give away chocolates before the show.  The first Sunday we call "Q&A Matinee" - there's a talk-back with the cast, crew, and artistic team immediately following the show.  All of this is free with your ticket!

But for Hairspray, we're ratcheting up the fun another notch or two.  In the Lobby before each Opening Weekend performance, we're snapping "Hairspray Yourself" photos.  Our fabulous costume designer, Deborah Austin, has pulled out a selection of scarves, a gaggle of glasses, and a murder of wigs (What's a good "w" word for a group? Couldn't think of one, and since these wigs are killer, ACT hereby announces that a group of wigs and a group of crows are now to be referred to as a "murder").

You choose a wig, a scarf, a pair of glasses, and your best facial expression - we'll take the photos!  They'll be posted on our Facebook page - you can tag yourself or not.

All this and free champagne?  Or chocolate?  Or an insider scoop? Yes, please!

Opening Weekend dates are:
+ Friday, September 21 at 7:30 pm
+ Saturday, September 22 at 7:30 pm
+ Sunday, September 23 at 2:30 pm
And tickets? You can get them here!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Hairspray Cast Spotlight: Kirby Gibson

The luminous Kirby!
Kirby Gibson is a fresh college graduate from UNC Asheville's Drama Department who loves musical theatre! ACT audiences have seen Kirby on the Mainstage a time or two before, first appearing in the Ensemble in RENT and then singing back-up for Ty Shelton in Diva*licious. But she wasn't a big fan of Hairspray - that is, before the rehearsals started!  "This process has really made me come to appreciate what Hairspray has to offer," Kirby says. "I felt that this particular musical could benefit from the diversity and talent combination I have to offer. Given some of the subject matter of the show (integration, racism, bullying) and myself being a bi-racial individual, it seemed like a great fit for me to try and be a part of."

What are some of those moments from rehearsal that changed you into a Hairspray fan?
I loved the moments in music rehearsals where everyone would sing and all the parts were there, and it just sounded great. It's just so satisfying. Same goes for learning choreography. You have to get through learning it all, but once you have it down, it's so satisfying to just pull it out and do it!  However, I have a feeling my favorite moment has yet to come. I always get very excited when we do our first run-through with all the lights! I am stoked!

Which number in the show are you most excited about performing?
"Welcome to the 60's" is exciting because it is the first appearance of The Dynamites in our full-on costumes and wigs. We also get to shine a little with a couple of brief solos. But we are going to look and sound amazing, and the number in general is big and impressive, so it should be great. "Run and Tell That" has always been a favorite of mine, even before I knew much about the musical. It's just great fun to sing and dance to. The energy is high, the song is fun, it's just a good time all around. Wes as Seaweed does a great job and I love the choreography. By the end of the number I am good and out of breath!

Now there are also numbers that I'm not in, that I'm just excited about the audience seeing! "Nicest Kids in Town" is a great number and one of the first in the show. It might be my favorite choreography in the show, and everyone in it worked incredibly hard. It just looks great, and the song is one of the catchiest for me and one of the most fun to sing. Another high energy number."It Takes Two" is brilliantly performed by our leads, Brad and Elizabeth. It makes for one of the funniest moments in the whole show. I can't stop laughing every time I get to see it.

What else should we know?
The Dynamites' wigs! Incredible!
The wigs all look stunning and wonderfully styled - they're my favorite costume piece! I'm also a big fan of my Dynamite dress, shiny and purple!

And, whether you know someone in the cast or not, this show is going to be the definition of a good time. There are 48 very talented performers of all ages, and even more folks behind the scenes who have worked so hard to make this show what it is. The set, costumes, and lights are all incredibly impressive. Everything put together makes a fun, energetic, musical comedy.

Come see Kirby!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Hairspray Cast Spotlight: Leslie Lang

Leslie and her handsome husband, James
Leslie Lang is back on the ACT stage after starring in last spring's Chicago as "Liz" and "Go To Hell Kitty."  What made her come back? Leslie says, "I had such a good time doing Chicago I was anxious to try and get back up on that stage.  ACT is by far the best Community Theatre I have ever worked with.  It is definitely a "Community."

In between the evening and weekend rehearsals, Leslie can be seen on Sundays singing on the praise and worship team at Skyland United Methodist Church. 

What's it like to be a working mom and wife by day and a star of the the stage by night?  Leslie lets us behind the scenes:

"My typical day begins with my spoiled rotten toy poodle "Sammy" grunting for me to turn off the alarm because he is too comfortable cuddled up on the other half of the bed. My fabulous, handsome, fun husband James is most likely making our coffee so we can go outside on the back porch before we start our day.  My gorgeous, mature, smart, reliable daughter is running out the door to enjoy breakfast at Asheville School and catching one of her teachers for clarification before classes begin.  (Note - Sammy and I are probably still in the bed while everybody is going full throttle and my coffee is getting cold on the back porch.)  So.... I will finally get up and convince Sammy to move and then I have to pick up our shitzu off of her Princess Zoey bed and head out to the back porch with James. 

Mother and daughter or sisters?
Shortly after, James will head off to his job at Asheville School where he works in the IT department.  He loves what he does and he really loves being able to see Elise thrive at the school. I leave and go to Givens Estates where I thank the Lord daily for my job as the Marketing Representative.  I meet with a huge variety of people who inquire and move into Givens Estates.  I get to hear peoples stories everyday.  I get hugs and smiles everyday!!!  After work, I stop by the house to see the two most spoiled dogs in the world, kiss my husband and take off for the theatre for "HAIRSPRAY!!"  I get even MORE hugs and smiles there!  (Not a bad day huh???)

Once rehearsals are done, I call James to let him know I am on the way. He will greet me with a glass of wine, candles lit and a huge hug. (Seriously... are you jealous?) (Editor's note: Yes!) We will sit down at the TV to decide what to watch on our DVR. I will send my daughter a text (because that is by far the best form of communication with your children these days....) to let her know that I am home and downstairs.  We all discuss our day, most likely have some laughs, love on the spoiled doggies some more and head to bed."

How does she do it?  Fortunately, being a member of the cast of Hairspray is a lot of fun!  "You can't help but make lots of new friends.  We usually go out afterwards once a week. (Thank you Pack's Tavern...)"  

Leslie Lang in full Velma Von Tussle mode! 

Leslie could not be more different from the character she plays in Hairspray, Velma Von Tussle.  Velma is a conniving and closed-minded former beauty queen - she was crowned "Miss Baltimore Crabs" in her heyday.  And the audience will really get to know the inner workings of Velma in a number by the same name!  Leslie says, "It is such a funny number.  Poor Velma just does not get it.  She is stuck in the past and can't seem to change with the times."  What else? Leslie practically screams, "My WIGS!!!! They are sooo fun.  Stephen Veltman has done an incredible job with so many wigs." 

Don't miss the lovely Leslie Lang as the venomous Velma in Hairspray - the show opens Friday, September 21 and runs for four weekends through Sunday, October 14. Need tickets? Get them here 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Hairspray: First Look at the Set

Can you believe this space housed Felix Ungar's Manhattan apartment just three weeks ago?

The set for Hairspray is designed by none other than our fabulous Technical Director, Jill Summers.

So cool.

So's the set!