BWW Interview: Kira Galindo of SHOW BOAT at Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre
Show Boat was first performed on Broadway in 1927 at the Ziegfield Theatre. The musical is based on a novel by Edna Ferber. Show boats, boats that traveled up and down rivers to perform at different towns along the river, are a real part of Americana from the 1800s and early 1900s, but they went out of fashion with the growth of the film industry. Ferber actually spent several days on a show boat in 1924 where she compiled research for her book. At the time, the most popular performing arts pieces were light comedies by vaudeville writers. Show Boat broke the mold with its focus on historical accuracy, realism, and foray into social issues. Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre will be bringing Show Boat to Central PA, and Broadway World had the opportunity to interview Kira Galindo, who will be performing the role of Julie.
BWW: First, tell us a little about yourself.
Kira: I am a native to Arizona, that's where I'm based and where all my family is. I have been performing since I was around 12. I was kind of pushed into it by my mom, who said I needed to get involved in the arts. She pushed me to audition for Music Man in high school, and I was bit by the acting bug. I especially love musical theatre because the music is so emotional. I was very introverted, and it gave me an outlet to be able to express myself. Theatre gives you a chance to express those real emotions that you want to get out.
BWW: I understand that you have appeared in Show Boat previously. Were you in the same role in that production? If so, what have you learned about the role as you've reprised it for this production?
Kira: Yes, I did perform Julie when I was in it before. The first time I was so flattered to be asked to do the role that I researched a lot about the character and the show, so I had a great foundation to begin with. This time, we have a brand-new cast, so the vibe and the chemistry is different, and we're all finding new things in the show. New aspects of the show and understandings of the characters are popping up that are quite wonderful.
BWW: Given that show boats went out of fashion in the early 1900s, what themes in the show will contemporary audiences be able to relate to the best?
Kira: The show is a drama with some light-heartedness woven in. I think with our society a lot of the themes are poignant to what's going on right now. A big theme is racism and the dividing of races. Even now for modern audiences, people will have some feelings and some opinions on these tough themes, and that's good. It also brings up questions like: Do you feel safe in this environment? Are these people friends? Can I trust them? And am I okay to be me? Those are just a few of the themes that are in it.
In my opinion, it also deals with love in a lot of different varieties. What we do for love, dramatic love, first love, unrequited love, passionate love. Love permeates the show, especially with the different couples that are in it. They all have a different perspective on love and how they display love. The show also explores the relationship between love and fear.
I think the audience will enjoy, have a variety of feelings, and have opinions that arise because of the show. And that's good because we need to think about those things. Because we can think "hey, that did happen, I'm glad I didn't go through that" or "how can I make sure that I don't do those things in today's world." And these are all things we need to be thinking about today.
BWW: On the website, the show is described as a "powerful story of loyalty and freedom". How do you see those themes playing out in the story?
Kira: Those are intense descriptions. Being Julie I can answer it from her perspective. I feel like the loyalty is tied in with the love thing for Julie. She is so loyal to the people she loves, and she expects to get that back. She is open to them, and when things happen in their relationships it's intense for her. She loves Magnolia and Steve so much and that love sets her free. And she is devastated when loyalty is broken. But you really see the freedom she finds in love in the end.
BWW: There are so many iconic songs in Show Boat. Which song is your favorite, and why?
Kira: My favorite would have to be "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man." For Julie it's the happiest she gets to be in the entire show. Everyone is being free to be themselves, and they feel safe and secure. They get to be themselves--Queenie and Joe and Magnolia and workers. They enjoy themselves and it's very freeing in their private space to just be singing.
BWW: When it first appeared on stage audiences were so powerfully impacted by the music that they actually failed to applaud. In your opinion, what is it that makes the music so powerful?
Kira: Yes, I actually experienced that with this show when I did it 2 years ago. Julie's last song is "Bill", and she's out of sorts while she sings it, and you really feel her emotions-it's a powerful song. The music used to tell me, "I feel so sorry for you because nobody claps." And I was like, "no that's great." I want them to be enthralled by the story and what she's going through and how she feels. The goal is to have the audience be carried away by the performance.
I think people get carried away by the words and stories and how the actors convey it. Sometimes the songs are a little wordy, but the music helps to give it a beautiful foundation. When the actors are connected with what they're singing, when all those elements work together, you get sucked into it. I find that the interpretation of the actors is very important.
BWW: If show boats were to experience a resurgence, would you want to perform on one? Why or why not?
Kira: I have always wanted to perform on a cruise boat, so I would like to. I think it's fun to come into a town and to get to see the country in a different way. I think it would be interesting to meet different people, see different areas, and see parts of the country you might not otherwise see that maybe haven't been touched by so many people yet.
BWW: Why should people come see this particular production of Show Boat at Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre?
Kira: It's poignant to what is going on in society, and it's wonderful how a classic musical can still have an impact on a modern-day society. That's one really great reason to come see it. The music alone is another reason. It sweeps you away and it hits the topics of love, loyalty, and justice. It's just a beautiful show. There is also comedy and laughter. To have drama you need comedy and vice versa. It's about being human. There are good parts and not good parts and it hits on all those. It's the perfect mix of entertainment and real feelings and theatre. You will not be disappointed-especially with this cast. We have a wonderful show in the making.
So, don't miss out. Purchase your tickets for Show Boat by visiting www.dutchapple.com. The show runs March 22-April 28.