Lance Anthony,
"Hedwig"

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Q: The character of Hedwig has a rather unique and specific story. What might the audience be surprised to find they have in common with her?

A: The simplest explanation of this story is that Hedwig is just looking to find her “other half” like everyone else.

Q: What is your favorite part of the show and why?

A: I love the end of the show. Once she realizes her “truth”. It’s four songs back to back, with almost no dialog, but so much emotion.

Q: Not counting this show, do you have a favorite rock musical? (And why?)

A: Jesus Christ Superstar is my favorite rock musical. I have loved it since I was a kid. I’ve been lucky to be involved in four productions (twice as Jesus, once as Judas, and once as   Director). Funny enough, Hedwig also loved Superstar as a child.

Q: What do you admire about Hedwig most?

A: Her tenacity. For all the shit she’s been through in her life, she keeps on trying, and she does with a sense of humor. 

 

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Alexis Willoughby, "Yitzhak"

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Q: You play the role of Yitzhak, who is Hedwig's loyal assistant and husband. What was your biggest challenge in playing a man?

A: I’ve always considered myself a tomboy so going into this role I thought the accent was going to be my biggest hurdle. I seriously underestimated how physically difficult it would be for me to play a masculine character. The first thing I became aware of is how often I cross my legs when I sit. I spend the majority of the show sitting, so I had to start paying extra attention and thinking of different ways of sitting to avoid defaulting to what feels more comfortable. Then, during rehearsal, Christy called me out for popping my hip when I stand, I do this due to an issue with my ankles and 90% of the time I don’t even realize it. So now I can neither sit or stand without thinking about it which sounds crazy. Another struggle, one that I don’t have to think about, is my body shape. It’s no secret that I’m physically female - as a matter a fact if you’ve seen me in a show with Christy in the past my chest has been on display for all to enjoy. So disguising a DD chest is also a potential struggle of playing a man. I think everything will work out though through the combined powers of JCam and Amazon Prime. 

Q: What is your favorite part of the show and why?

A: My favorite part of the show in all honesty is watching Lance. I’m not trying to kiss his ass or anything but he is so insanely talented that I don’t even mind when he verbally abuses me. My favorite scene is the one leading up to “Sugar Daddy,” when Hedwig tells the story of how he met his first husband, Luther. It’s such a sad story but so well-acted, and watching Lance have a conversation with himself as three different people is worth the price of admission. 

Q: Not counting this show, do you have a favorite rock musical? (And why?)

A: I have always been a fan of alternative theatre and really fell in love with acting when the rock musical became more mainstream. The first show I ever saw on Broadway was “RENT,” so obviously it holds a special place in my heart. I am also a huge “American Idiot” fan despite not liking Green Day. When Lance directed it he didn’t cast me, it’s fine.... but I would still love to do that show one day. I also love “Rock of Ages” and literally want to play all of the female roles and Drew so if anyone’s casting let a girl know.

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Christy McIntosh-Newsom, Director /
FCS Artistic Director

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Q: What is your favorite part of the show and why?

A: I have always loved “The Origin of Love.” It was actually the first song ever written for the show and serves as its thesis- at its heart, this show is about someone searching for their other half. This song is based on Aristophanes’ definition of love from “The Symposium.” I was probably the only student in my freshman college philosophy class that recognized the story and said, “This is from Hedwig!” 

Q: Not counting this show, do you have a favorite rock musical? (And why?)

A: Well of course I have such an affinity for “Evita,” having worked on that with our own Hedwig, Lance Anthony. But my favorite rock score has to be “Jesus Christ Superstar.” 

Q: In our inaugural season, we are putting Fairfield "center stage" by producing shows in venues that connect with the story. Why is Trevi Lounge the perfect place in Fairfield for Hedwig's story?

A: Hedwig is meant to be performing in a small bar next to his ex’s giant stadium performance. The authors of the show encourage those producing the material to tailor the show to the site. So because there is no stadium next to Trevi, we’re setting the rival concert at the made-up Amazon Prime Whole Foods Stadium! But Hedwig being a genderqueer character, I can’t think of a more perfect venue than Trevi Lounge, which is a home for the local LGBTQ community.  

Q: Many people are used to theatre being performed on a traditional elevated stage. Did not having this traditional stage and audience set-up help or hinder your direction of this rock musical? 

A: It’s been such a fun challenge! Our main goal is to make sure that the audience can see all of the action while still giving special love to as many individual audience members in different sections of the venue as possible! So we’ll look at every number and I’ll move around to make sure there are no sight line issues and sometimes say, “can you venture over to these seats because they haven’t had a visit from you in a while?” I love that it’s such an intimate venue- closer to the original off-Broadway production. 

Q: What have you learned from directing Hedwig and the Angry Inch?

A: “Hedwig” is so unique in that it is part-rock concert, part-stand up comedy routine, and part-one (wo)man show. I’m used to working with large ensembles, and getting to work one-on-one with Lance in crafting each section of the show has been amazing. It’s also a unique experience in that Yitzhak’s character is so defined by the actress playing him and the relationship with the actor playing Hedwig, so we are all discovering as we go! ” 

 

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Emily Frangipane, Choreographer

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Q: What is your favorite part of the show and why? 

A: I love when Hedwig talks about finding your other half. That your other half doesn’t necessarily have to be the opposite sex, your other half is your other half. Regardless of who you have had relationships with in the past. 

Q: Not counting this show, do you have a favorite rock musical? (And why?)

A: Without a doubt. RENT. The music moves me. The story touches me. And my first experience with RENT was waiting online for 8 hours for front row seats.

Q: This show breaks down gender roles with a genderqueer title role and a male character played by a woman. How was your choreography influenced by this twist on traditional gender roles?

A: I didn't want to choreograph according to how which gender is typically “supposed to” or “allowed to” typically move. I trusted Lance and Alexis to be truthful in their characters physicality; to be exactly as the felt they needed to be. I just tried to tell the stories that the lyricist gave me through movement, and let their specific character choices come through. 

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Eli Newsom,
Executive Producer / Music Supervisor

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Q: What is your favorite song from this show and why?

A: I'm torn between two songs so I will break the rules of this question and choose both: "The Origin of Love" and "Wicked Little Town", because of their beautiful melodies and somber lyrics. I'm very much moved by the examination of loneliness in music and theater, and I think these two songs effectively depict Hedwig's desire for connection. Wanting to see Hedwig succeed in finding this connection is, in my opinion, at the core of what makes this show so memorable for audiences.

Q: Not counting this show, do you have a favorite rock musical? (And why?)

A: While I'm a lifelong fan of the classic rock musicals that started first as albums, like Jesus Christ Superstar and Tommy, my favorite rock musical theatrically is Next to Normal. This Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-Winning masterpiece explores several unlikely subjects of for a musical: grief, depression and other mental illness. Through its powerful and melodic pop-rock score and vibrant characters, I think it will stand the test of time for decades to come.

Q: What are challenges producing this show?

Our challenges as a team are, in my opinion, the same things that have us alertly excited --- we will be performing our season at six different venues, so first off, each space has its own variety of technical demands regarding stage & audience layout & size, lighting & sound needs, and crafting the production budget is unique for each show. Secondly, since many of these venues are not primarily theater spaces, our aim is to elegantly immerse our production into the existing space. I think our Artistic Director Christy has done such a great job choosing shows for each space that will allow us to both explore a fresh artistic approach to some of these older shows, as well as highlight these venues around Fairfield in an exciting way for audiences.

 

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Jessica Camarero, Costume Designer

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Q: What has been your biggest challenge in creating the look for Hedwig?

A: Placing all of those tiny rhinestones. So many rhinestones! This show has some interesting pieces in it so I'm trying to figure out how to put my own spin on those things while staying true to the characters. I don't know if this show is challenging as it is exciting. It's very rare that I get an opportunity to do a show with only two actors. Because of that, I have more of a opportunity to focus on details like hand painting and rhinestoning that I don't usually get to do when I have a cast of 40. It's been fun so far to flex those not often used muscles! 

Q: What is your favorite part of the show and why?

A: I love when Hedwig gets into the audience and... interacts with various people. It's a lot of fun to watch and anyone who comes to the show should be prepared for anything and everything! You never know when the lady herself is going to set her sights on you!

Q: Not counting this show, do you have a favorite rock musical? (And why?)

A: American Idiot. I could do that show a million times over and never get tired of it! It was just so high energy and fun and fast paced... there was never a dull or boring moment backstage during that show!