Sep 3, 2008


Last night, I hit up the Meet the Cast event at Joseph-Beth. (Were YOU there?) This cast is a fun bunch, let me tell you, and they had great stories to share. If you WERE'NT there, a pox upon you! But, ah, I am one nice chicken, and I will share some highlights.

On the Road
Elaine, Peter and Maureen all bring their dogs with them when they travel, which provides a source of comfort when continually going to new places. Europe is really dog-friendly, Elaine said, which meant she could bring Lola the Wonder Pooch everywhere, including rehearsals. Except Lola isn't too keen on when her mommy gets roughed up, so she would get too protective if Elaine was acting out a dying scene. "And, let's face it, I'm a lyric soprano," she said. "I either get married or I die."

Corey McKern said he enjoys traveling because he has always liked to stay in hotels. (Fresh linens everyday, um, yeah!!) He also likes catching up on reading. As does Tom, who said he also likes to explore antique stores when traveling. (Lorain Avenue Antiques District, dude.)

Starting Out
It's always interesting to hear how singers got involved in opera. Often, it surprises the singers themselves that they became opera singers. Jason "Farm Boy" Hardy went to business school to become a stockbroker. Gloria Parker almost went to law school, but singing wooed her to New York and before delving into opera, she sang on Broadway. Corey intended to pursue golfing, but, as he says, "I was such a good golfer, I became an opera singer."

One of the audience members asked the singers what they listen to on their stereos, which was perhaps one of the more enlightening questions of the evening. Shocker: Dean Williamson listens to country! (Opera News, are you reading this?!)

Corey digs alt-country. Carrie is into Christian contemporary rock. Tom likes The Beach Boys and the Stones. Elaine said she often listens to Spanish music because it reminds her of home, which is Miami. Gloria said she usually prefers quiet because she lives in NYC, so when she travels, it's a welcome respite!

Anyone who makes a living being on stage usually has an anecdote or two about on stage misshaps or follies. And this group was no different. Tom, a seasoned portrayer of Bartolo in both Figaro and Barber, explained how he was in a performance of The Barber of Seville, sitting in the barber's chair. While his character gets a shave, unfortunately the barber is a little too liberal with the shaving cream. It's covering his mouth and nose, and Tom couldn't breathe. The barber realized Tom was struggling and had to turn upstage to laugh, which was only contagious to Tom.

While it wasn't exactly a folly, Maureen McKay had a bizarre stage experience. At Wolf Trap Opera, she participated in an Improv Opera performance, at which the audience supplies the characters and setting. The outcome was: A brain surgeon meets Britney Spears in a forest. Guess who was Britney. Complete with head mic and "snake" draped across her shoulders. She did a "nasty dance" and sang "Ah! Je veux vivre" from Romeo et Juliet, all in the style of Britney. (Oh, please tell me this is on youtube!)

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