BWW Interview: Drew Redington's 'Holiday Break' on Broadway
Company of Holiday Inn (Joan Marcus)
Drew Redington is one of the lucky few who decide to take a break from their college classes and study abroad on Broadway. An Elon Musical Theatre student, Redington just wrapped up his jump-roppin', tap dancin' role in the ensemble of "Holiday Inn: The New Irving Berlin Musical"
I was lucky enough to sit down with Drew and hear about the journey from his hometown of St Louis, Missouri to the Grand White Way.
Christopher Castanho: Excited to be chatting with you today! Why don't you tell us a little bit about where you're from...
Drew Redington: I am originally from St. Louis, Missouri. I went to school for Musical Theatre at Elon University and I've been there for about two years. The winter of my sophomore year I came up and auditioned for "Holiday Inn" and kept getting called back. Four months later I found out I got the job.
CC: How many auditions and callbacks did you do before getting the job? How was that process?
DR: I went through four auditions total. I did the open call in January of 2016, then I got called back in February and two callbacks in March. I found out Mid-April and started rehearsal in late July, so luckily I had some time in order for me to move to New York.
CC: Since you're from St. Louis have you ever worked at The Muny?
DR: I grew up at the Muny, I started working there in 2006 as a kid. When I started going to college I became a part of their equity ensemble. I've worked there for the past couple summers and I've gotten to meet a lot of cool people. It's ten days of madness, putting a show together, and it's over before you even start it. But it's AWESOME. So many people from New York come in, so many people from college, and then all these directors and choreographers, it's really cool. There's really nothing like it anywhere else.
CC: What's your favorite show that you did there?
DR: My favorite would have to be "Hello Dolly" because there was one night where it started raining, but we didn't stop the show. We kept doing the title song "Hello Dolly" in the pouring rain, which was unbelievable. Everyone was soaked on stage, the audience was standing under their umbrellas. It was really cool to do such an iconic number in the pouring rain.
CC: What's it like to have booked "Holiday Inn" your first Broadway show and know you'll have to go back to school soon?
DR: It's interesting because I took a little bit of a break so I could move here [to New York] and figure some things out. But it's funny because I just ordered books for one of the classes I'm starting, part of me is like 'Oh my gosh, I'm going back to school!' Although it's really not as stressful as I think some people may think it could be. I am continuing to work and do school at the same time, but I grew up doing theatre and a lot of kids did the same thing: you would do your homework at rehearsal. I only really have a year left of school, so it'll be great as I'm staying in the city while completing my education online.
CC: I'm sure you've had a lot of educational moments while doing your Broadway show, whether it's recording the cast album or performing in the Macy's Day Parade. What was your favorite part of being in an original company of a Broadway musical?
DR: I think the coolest part of doing Holiday Inn, in general, was that we got to do all of the fun things you can possibly do for a Broadway show. Not everyone gets to perform in the Macy's Day Parade, not everyone gets to do the Today show. But my favorite thing we did was definitely the parade, I remember growing up watching it on TV and being obsessed watching all of the Broadway performers, thinking "I want to do that!" It was surreal for me to wake up at 6 o'clock that morning and realize "Oh my gosh, I'm on the giant green of the Macy's Day parade." It also happened so fast that you don't realize what's going on until after it's happened, but that was such a blast. Totally crossed that off my bucket list.
CC: Who's your favorite performer that you work with in "Holiday Inn"?
DR: That's hard, especially with this show because I interact with literally everyone on stage. Another ensemble member of mine, Jonalyn Saxer, she and I do a lot together in the show. It's fun to interact with her and we have our own little storyline that goes through the show, so that's fun to do every night. I feel like everyone in the ensemble, Amy Van Norstrand, who's my dance partner in at least five of the numbers, we see each other constantly on stage, but it's also a blast backstage because all of us are running around. So I really get to interact with everyone. I think it's really cool that we all get to see everyone on stage because I feel that doesn't happen as often in most shows. I am lucky enough to get to work with everyone, which is so fun!
Drew (CENTER) and the company of Holiday Inn. (Sara Krulwich )
CC: I always love certain moments on stage, is there a special moment during the show that you look forward to?
DR: I always love doing the jump-rope section, which is during one of our "house [dance] numbers" in the show and it's such a fun time when everyone joins in at the end during the big tap break. It's so joyous and freeing: you don't have to worry about anything. That's- if not one of my favorites- my favorite moment in the show.
CC: How long did you have to learn the show?
DR: We had a six-week rehearsal process. We started in July of 2016 and moved into the theater at the end of August. We did tech for about a week and started previews September 1st. It was a lot to learn but definitely enough time to do so.
CC: As the show was at the Goodspeed Opera House before, are there people who were in previous editions of the production that made it to the Broadway company?
DR: Yes, I think we have three girls, total, who did the tryout at Goodspeed and Muny. It's funny because some of them have been wearing the same costumes they've been wearing for the past three years. It's really cool though that they got to travel with this show to Broadway.
CC: What movie musical do you want to see produced on Broadway next?
DR: I love "Singin' In The Rain", it's the movie that made me want to tap dance...But that's been a musical on stage before... I'd have to say "It's Always Fair Weather" because I want to see someone tap dance on roller skates like Gene Kelly!
CC: What's next for you after "Holiday Inn"?
DR: I have a few other jobs lined up, so I am excited I start working again and start school. I'll be able to officially start living in New York, and get to know the city better, which is exciting.
"Holiday Inn: The New Irving Berlin Musical" closed on January 15th after having completed 117 performances and 38 previews. Starring the Tony-Nominated Bryce Pinkham, Corbin Bleu, and more. Featuring music and lyrics by Irving Berlin and a book by Gordon Greenberg and Chad Hodge, inspired by the 1942 film. The Broadway production is directed by Greenberg, with choreography by Denis Jones.
Be sure to follow Drew on Instagram to watch his journey.