BWW Interviews: SISTER ACT Stars Talk 'Sunday Intermission Covers,' Challenge Broadway Community
Anyone who travels for work knows that living out of suitcases and sleeping in hotels every night can be taxing. Well, recently three members of the SISTER ACT First National Tour decided to liven up life on the road by creating "Sunday Intermission Covers."
Every Sunday, Ashley Moniz, Chris Cooke, and Tad Wilson quickly change costumes and then set up in front of a camera to sing a new, stripped down song. Recently the three spoke to BroadwayWorld about the project and their challenge for the rest of the Broadway community.
I would imagine that living, traveling, and working with as many musical people as you do that there was a lot of singing going on even before you started these videos. Is that a big part of the tour life for you guys?
A: Yea, us three used to jam around on the guitar and play around with different songs, and that's how it started. As we were playing around with a bunch of songs, we started singing "Let It Go." And then said, "How can we make 'Let It go' different, because everyone is doing different covers of 'Let It Go' right now?"
Once we kind of worked with the "bada-bas," making it our own, I was just like, "Guys, what if we filmed this?" But there's a lot of pressure in the theater world. People come up with all of these amazing production videos all the time, and we just thought it would be so much fun if we just sang it in costume. And then we were having so much fun with that, we just thought, "Why don't we try to do this every week?" Tour gets a little boring sometimes (laughs).
And our show's actually closing at the end of June, so there were 13 weeks left, and we thought it would be fun if we did a cover every week as we're closing out the tour.
So, where did the idea to do it during intermission come from? The Saturday Intermission Pics (#SIP) are a big thing online. Did that provide a bit of inspiration to do your covers during intermission?
T: Yes, that was actually Ashley's idea. She talked about the Saturday Intermission Pics and then she quickly said we should do Sunday Intermission Covers, and we had a good laugh about it, but then it stuck. And so the element of the intermission, obviously it won't be an "intermission cover" if you don't do it during intermission. The other thing is that it's such a small amount of time, it's such a challenge to get the song done with all of the chaos that's happening backstage.
So to squash any conspiracy theories, all of these are actually filmed during intermission of your Sunday shows? They aren't filmed earlier and just released as "Sunday Intermission Covers?"
A: Yea, they actually are filmed during Sunday intermission. There are times afterwards were we run around going, "Did they call places? Did they call places? We have to get in costume."
T: You can watch them too. Look they're not perfect. Chris and myself are not guitar players, but this has pushed us to get out of our comfort zone. But, if you watch the videos, they're not polished. That's an element of it too, that was never a goal. It's just fun. It's just kind of like a jam session; it's a peek into the backstage life of touring actors and Broadway actors. But it gives a different side, a fun side. But if anyone has conspiracy theories that these things are done at other times, just watch me in the videos.
C: You'll notice too with me, I'm always kind of seriousness in them, I started to realize, because I'm terrified I'm going to miss the show (all laugh). I'm wearing double-layer costumes. I try and change ahead of time, so that right when the show starts, I can just go on stage, but I'm terrified I'm going to miss the show.
Have there been any that you've had to shoot multiple times. Like some that just were awful and you had to scramble to get done in time?
A: There's actually been times when people walk in. In Portland a dresser came in and knocked over the camera. So, yeah that definitely happens. There was even one day when we filmed at intermission at the matinee and the camera wasn't working, so we had to film again at the evening show. But it was still Sunday; we always film on Sunday. What we keep saying is that if something happens and we don't get a good cut, well that's kind of hilarious! We'll post what we have.
C: Initially we were like, "We have to make these really perfect," then we realized that's gonna be impossible. If someone walks in, and goes, "Hey, what are you guys doing?" we need to laugh and keep going, because that's the beauty of it, and people really feel like they're backstage watching these. While we were filming once, they were like, "Ladies and gentlemen, just a public service announcement," and we were like oh we've got to stop. Then we realized that was so fun for people to hear that, and for people to realize that we're clearly doing it at intermission and anything can go wrong.
T: We talked about experimenting with different locations and actually being backstage at some point. I guess we've just got of scratch the surface for this.