BWW Blog: Mark Price of Off-Broadway's A CHRISTMAS CAROL - Comfort Zones, Operas for Turtles, and Playlists

M.P. Music for the turtles, I love it!

J.S. It's hard to recollect my earliest influences because my Dad played music all the time, and still does.

M.P. My household too, there was always music.

J.S. I loved Raffi as a kid, and did early music classes. My mother also played music when she was carrying me, so I think that had a lot to do with it as well.

F.V. Also, all the great MGM musicals growing up.

M.P. What are your views on scaling down orchestras so that actors can play instruments in shows today?

F.V. Hmm...this is a tricky question. And heavily influenced by what I was talking about earlier regarding the recent NY Times article about stagehand's salaries, and the piece in the Chicago Tribune about touring contracts. Anyone with exceptional music ability and great skills as an actor should be able to showcase both. There's no reason why actors shouldn't be doing some of those shows. If it serves the storytelling well, then it's a great outlet for multi-disciplined artists. But I think there should be a place for shows that were written to have specifically a large sound and orchestras. That's how they were written and meant to be performed. There shouldn't be any cutting corners.

J.S. I agree, people should be able to showcase themselves, but then again, there's no way to replace the sound of a full orchestra. Those are two different kinds of shows.

M.P. Any thoughts on performing Christmas shows after Christmas?

J.S. I was worried at first but I think personally, my shows have felt stronger since Christmas has passed.

M.P. I agree. The piece is pretty delicate with the relationships being the focal point. Christmas is probably one of the least important things in the show, even though it's written around the actual holiday itself.

J.S. It's the spirit that we're talking about more than the words or the day.

F. V. The themes are universal.

M.P. Yes, much gratitude to our adaptor and director for that. So Franca, you also play at Marie's Crisis piano bar downtown, does that inform what you do onstage as well?

F.V. Yes, one thousand percent. Each night when I'm there, it's about the crowd, the people, the music, and not about me, so it becomes this fantastic, crazy improvisational theater experiment. It's also been a huge acting lesson for me, it's a great character study, and I get to deal with my stage fright, which I still battle with in ways I didn't even realize. It's kind of like doing stand up comedy in a way. It provided material for my musical solo show in the NY International Fringe Festival, CLASSICALLY TRAINED, PRACTICALLY BROKE.

M.P. Love that! And Jessie, you also have a band don't you?

J.S. Yes, My friend Alex Weston put together a band recently. He's a fantastic composer. We just finished recording our first EP Kill The Weathermen. Very excited.

M.P. Okay, last question. Top three tunes that would be on your New Year's playlist this year.

J.S. Solas-"Flowing Bowl," Whole album of Trumbone by Three by Bennie Green, J.J. Johnson, and Kai Winding, Rachmaninoff-Vespers and also a great acoustic version of "Wrecking Ball" by Sondre Lerche.

F. V. Pharrell Williams-"Happy," Any of the Bach Brandenburg concertos because they always make me happy, Loretta Lynn & Conway Twitty-"You're the Reason our Kids are Ugly."

M.P. Yes, I love it, and love you guys. So inspiring, thank you!

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Guest Blogger: Mark Price MARK PRICE Broadway: Mary Poppins (Robertson Aye), Wonderful Town (Ensemble), All Shook Up (Dennis), Rocky Horror Show (Riff Raff), Mamma Mia! (Pepper), Dance of the Vampires (Boris), You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (Snoopy u/s), Paul Simon’s The Capeman (Anthony Krzesinski), Chicago, Beauty and The Beast (Lefou). Regional: Sherlock Holmes & The Suicide Club (Alley Theater), Lend Me A Tenor (Paper Mill Playhouse), Assassins (Milwaukee Rep), The 39 Steps (George Street Playhouse), Into The Woods (Alliance Theater), Sondheim Celebration at Lincoln Center, Our David (NY Premier/Kitchen Theater), Sweeney Todd (Tobias) at the Kennedy Center, for which he received a Helen Hayes Award nomination, and 70, Girls, 70 for City Center Encores! Film & T.V.: Law & Order, Broadway’s Finest, The Tony Awards, and The Rosie O’Donnell Show. He is a BFA graduate of Ithaca College and has taught workshops and classes for AMDA, NYFA, The Performing Arts Project, as well as college and training programs around the country. Visit www.aboutmarkprice.com, @aboutmarkprice