BWW Interview: Darick Pead of INTO THE WOODS at Winspear Opera House
The national tour of INTO THE WOODS might be closing after their Dallas performances, but that doesn't seem to affect actor Darick Pead's passion for the project. This also won't be the first visit for Mr. Pead, who last appeared on tour in Disney's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, to the Winspear Opera House, a favorite venue on his itinerary. But, for this familiar fairy tale, Mr. Pead has made a grand transformation from Belle's Beast to Rapunzel's Prince (and a couple of other funny friends). While visiting a California theme park before his show in LA, Darick chatted with me about his journey across the country.
Name: Darick Pead
Hometown: Orem, Utah
Current Role: Rapunzel's Prince, Florinda, Milky White in the national tour of INTO THE WOODS
Kyle Christopher West: Growing up, what first inspired you to perform?
Darick Pead: There were probably a couple of things; I grew up in a family of eight kids...I'm actually number seven of nine [children, but] one passed away when she was only a couple of hours old. I'm at the bottom end of the pecking order, so I grew up watching my siblings do shows in high school. I remember watching my brother and sister in MAN OF LA MANCHA, and my other sister helped with PETER PAN. I loved going and I loved watching. In 5th grade, I was not a very good student, but a teacher pulled me aside one day and said, "I want to help you in growing and learning," so she let me be in the show even though I was so behind in school work. I would say the combination of that teacher and my family's love for music [inspired me].
Kyle: Before we talk about INTO THE WOODS, tell me about some of your performing experience post high school.
Darick: I've done a lot of stuff regionally: THE DROWSY CHAPERONE, DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS, 110 IN THE SHADE. In college, I did quite a few, like THE ELEPHANT MAN. After college, I moved to New York, and I was able to be on the tour of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST for three years. The second year of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, we went to Dallas and performed at the Winspear! That venue is so special. I hope we get to see the chandelier do its thing, too, because that is probably the most beautiful centerpiece of a theatre I've ever seen!
Kyle: What was it like touring the country with such an iconic show like BEAUTY AND THE BEAST?
Darick: It was fun, man. I love that story, and it's fun to make believe with that every night. If there's anything I hated, it was probably the crappy makeup I had to put on every day [laughs]. That was probably the hardest thing, but it's a small price to pay for being a part of something so cool.
Kyle: With no pun intended about your transformation from Beast to Prince, what is it like to play a role so different from your last big tour?
Darick: Well, one thing is I can show up at half hour call and not have to put on makeup [laughs]. This version of INTO THE WOODS is presentational; it's not [designed] with trees, a forest, and a tower. It asks the audience to come along with us on this make believe journey with ladders as towers and hobby horses, guitars and a piano onstage. I play the prince, but I also play Milky White, the cow; and Florinda, the stepsister.
Kyle: This version of the show takes a uniquely intimate approach to the material. What can you tell me about the new direction?
Darick: One of the reasons Fiasco Theatre decided to do this show is because they wanted to do a musical, and what's something similar to the classic-style Shakespeare shows [they] usually do? Obviously, that's Sondheim. There's a cleverness factor [to this production], but I don't think we try to be clever; it's just a bunch of actors telling a really good story.
Kyle: One silly question I like asking people is about onstage mishaps and mistakes you had to overcome.
Darick: Oh, there are too many to count; most of them are mine, I'm not afraid to admit. But this is the most recent one: I tripped and I fell on Jack a little bit and he started laughing a little bit. And then I started laughing and the audience started laughing and we just couldn't stop. Another time, somebody had forgotten their mask in the dressing room, and they were supposed to be onstage immediately. I could hear this clunk, clunk, clunk, clunk as they were trying to get back to their spot, and the amazing person playing the trumpet fanfare onstage just delayed the fanfare forever. I think it went into a minor key because she was trying to hold it for so long.
Kyle: Shifting gears a little bit, I also understand you're the co-creator of a youth program. Tell me about that.
Darick: In Omaha, Nebraska, on the BEAUTY AND THE BEAST tour, I got to know my dresser [who lived] there. He told me he had always wanted to do a theatre camp, and [we eventually] formed it. [At our camp], every kid has to audition the first day. We give them a song and then they work with a voice teacher all week with that song. Then, a director (usually me or one of my friends) helps them with the acting side of things. It's cool because they get one-on-one [training] with an acting coach, plus a voice teacher who's local, who they can continue to work with once we leave. They also get to work with a choreographer on all of the group numbers. It's this really cool opportunity; I wanted to make sure if they were going to come hang out for a week, they were going to learn something.
Kyle: It looks like Dallas is currently listed as the final stop on your tour. What's next for you after that?
Darick: We haven't heard anything about the tour continuing or coming back, so our group is officially done after Dallas.
Kyle: Well, I'm looking forward to catching the show. I'll let you go back to enjoy your time in LA. Have a great show tonight.
Darick: I'm actually at Universal Studios now. Thanks!