BWW Interviews: Angels Without Wings' HALEE-CATHERINE CULICERTO With The Friday Five on Thursday

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Inspired by BroadwayWorld.com's Friday Six, welcome to Nashville.BroadwayWorld.com's latest installment of The Friday Five: five questions designed to help you learn more about the talented people you'll find on stages in the Volunteer State. Sure, it might be Thursday on your calendar (same as mine, actually), but with Angels Without Wings premiering tonight at Darkhorse Theatre, it just seems like perfect timing to talk to Halee-Catherine Culicerto, who's been part of Angels for quite some time now.

Halee is part of the cast of the debut production of Angels Without Wings, but earlier she helped shepherd and shape the show by directing a staged reading at the Z. Alexander Looby Theatre of Vanderbilt professor Jamie Cutler's play. Cutler's now in the director's seat for the debut production (that plays through Sunday at Darkhorse). Joining Halee onstage is a starry cast that includes Britt Byrd, Elizabeth Walsh, Courtney McClellan and 2010 First Night Most Promising Actor Kyla Lowder.

Byrd leads the cast as Lois, a Philadelphian of Jewish heritage who has a knack for keeping the girls in line in the absence of the program's commanding officer, Major Marcus, played by Kevin Shell. Shell has fraternal chemistry with Sean Hills who plays younger brother Guy Marcus, the ladies' man who works on the planes in close contact with the women.

Farm girl and tomboy Madge, played by Halee-Catherine Culicerto, is on a journey of self-discovery, which leaves her and the other girls in the program-"They served the nation with courage and dedication. They taught us all to fly, to reach for the sky."-Lydia (McClellan), Peggy (Briana Ferrié), Sissy (Walsh), and Mary Jane (Lowder), interminably tied together.

Angels Without Wings, described as "the patriotic story of six women who beat the odds to become the first women in flight in the Army Air Corps during the World War II era" will land at Nashville's Darkhorse Theatre for an August 2-5 world premiere engagement.

Singer/songwriter turned playwright and director Jamie Cutler originally wrote the play as a musical based on the life of her mother, one of the women who made history during World War II and finally received her wings in 1994. "It was hard for the women to discuss those days since they went for so long without recognition. I am honored to be the vessel that is spilling over the story about the first women in flight in the Army Air Corps," Cutler said.

The cast will perform Angels Without Wings August 2-5, at the Darkhorse Theater, 4610 Charlotte Ave., Nashville, TN. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday.

Here's your chance to get to know Halee-Catherine better, so read on gentle theaterati-and then go to the Darkhorse for the premiere of Angels Without Wings.

BWW Interviews: Angels Without Wings' HALEE-CATHERINE CULICERTO With The Friday Five on Thursday

What was your first "live onstage" taste of theater? Like many young girls, I auditioned for Annie.  I made it to the callback where I would have to cold read...as a first grader. All the other little girls' mothers were feeding them their lines so they could actually act the lines. OH NO. Not me. I had to show everyone that I could read it all by myself. Needless to say, I was not cast. I did get to perform my audition song on the stage though and being the little diva I was, I knew I never wanted to leave.

What is your favorite pre-show ritual? Not so much a "pre-show" ritual, but I make sure that in every show that I've been in that I wear my Aunt Gertie's heart pin.  I've been able to wear it on or under at least one costume in each show since being cast in my first leading role. Unfortunately, my character in Angels isn't much of a jewelry girl, so I am wearing her watch instead.

What's your most memorable "the show must go on" moment? When performing in Damn Yankees, I had on ridiculously high platforms so that I didn't look like a pygmy next to the leading man.  One night as I was walking away in a huff from the actor who played Applegate, I awkwardly fell down the stairs. He had been yelling all the horrible things that would happen to Lola if she left his service when I fell. As the audience gasped while I got up, he yelled, "And I hope you fall down the stairs!" I gave him a dirty look as Lola, but the audience roared with laughter thankfully.

What's your dream role? Sarah Chagall in Dance of the Vampires or Daisy Hilton in SideShow.  

Who's your theatrical crush? RoBert Westenberg (Into the Woods, Secret Garden, etc.).  Hearing him sing "Lily's Eyes" with Mandy Patinkin puts chills down my spine. Then again, that guy who played Eddie/Dr Scott in Rocky Horror at Boiler Room is pretty cute too.   

 

 

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Jeffrey Ellis Jeffrey Ellis is a Nashville-based writer, editor and critic, who's been covering the performing arts in Tennessee for more than 25 years. He is the recipient of the Tennessee Theatre Association's Distinguished Service Award for his coverage of theatre in the Volunteer State and was the founding editor/publisher of Stages, the Tennessee Onstage Monthly. He is a past fellow of the National Critics Institute at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center and is the founder/executive producer of The First Night Honors, held during Labor Day Weekend, which honor oustanding theater artists in Tennessee in recognition of their lifetime achievements and includes The First Night Star Awards and the Most Promising Actors. Midwinter's First Night, held the first Sunday in January after New Year's Day, honors outstanding productions and performances throughout the state. Further, Ellis directed the Nashville premiere of La Cage Aux Folles, The Last Night of Ballyhoo and An American Daughter, as well as award-winning productions of Damn Yankees, Company, Gypsy and The Rocky Horror Show, with Ellis honored by The Tennessean as best director of a musical for both Company and Rocky Horror.


 
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