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BWW Interview: Doug Fowler of ME & JEZEBEL at MainStage ILC

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MainStage Irving-Las Colinas returns to performing in-person productions with Me & Jezebel, running July 23-August 7.

BWW Interview: Doug Fowler of ME & JEZEBEL at MainStage ILC Name Doug Fowler

Hometown Denton, Texas

Role Bette Davis

Lorens: What made you fall in love with theatre and pursue your career?

Doug: Ya know, I don't know. I've always loved the theatre. The first show I remember going to, I was four or five, and my mom took me to see Aladdin and The Magic Lamp at TWU. And I can remember just being entranced by the entire experience. One of the things I've always loved most about the theatre is the immediacy and the feedback you get from the audience.

Lorens: How does it feel to be back on stage after spending time in quarantine during the pandemic?

Doug: It's amazing to be back on stage. I'm so thankful for this experience because there was a point during quarantine where I thought that this was a way for me to phase out of [performing.] I wasn't sure how comfortable I'd be with everything but with the vaccine [and safety protocols] in place I feel more comfortable in public and around people. It's affirming to be back around people and being back around people you consider family.

Lorens: What keeps you coming back to the stage?

Doug: What drives my interest in shows is the theatre and the production team. The production team usually more so than anything. If I feel comfortable with the production team's vision or I've worked with them in the past then I'm more likely to feel like it's going to be a good experience. It's that comfortability factor that keeps me going back to working with those people.

Lorens: What was your process in creating your version of Bette Davis for this show?

Doug: Oh my gosh. When I found out that they were interested in having a man play her I started researching her. She has certain characteristics: like a specific cadence in the way she talks and very dry wit about her. As far as prepping for her I was online Googling and watching interviews with her through the years, watching her mannerisms, listening to her speak, and finding out more about her as a person. As a performer, I've seen her work and I've always loved her as a performer. I've watched many of her movies but as far as being her that is something completely different than watching her in a movie. That's where those interviews come in because they have given me an insight into her as a person and all the things she's faced throughout her life.

Bailey Maxwell as <a href=Elizabeth Fuller (left) and Doug Fowler as Bette Davis (right) " height="333" src="https://cloudimages.broadwayworld.com/upload13/2116195/Bailey%20Maxwell%20%26%20Doug%20Fowler%202.jpg" width="500" />
Bailey Maxwell as Elizabeth Fuller (left) and Doug Fowler as Bette Davis (right)

Lorens: You're known around DFW for your kindness, would you say you and Bette Davis are alike in any way?

Doug: There's a moment or two in the show where you get a real glimpse into Bette's soft side where she's talking about her daughter and the hurt that she experienced with the book her daughter wrote about her. I've said this about other characters that I've played but it's more fun playing characters that aren't like you because you get to play with a side of yourself that you don't normally get to deal with. But for the most part, Bette and Doug are not anything alike.

Lorens: You've added some great roles on your resume over the past few years, are there any that you're particularly proud of?

Doug: I LOVED being Brother Boy in Sordid Lives. A lot. He's another character that I was drawn to and immediately fell in love with. There's a lot of Doug in Brother Boy. I loved being Albin and Zaza in La Cage Aux Folles. Oh, and Ben Franklin in 1776! Those are the ones that come to mind.

Lorens: You've worked closely with BJ Cleveland for several years. How would you describe his directing style?

Doug: As a person, and my best friend, he's very concerned and wants to do anything to help you. When I was sick with Covid back in September he would bring me things even while he lived in Fort Worth. He's willing to go the extra mile for his friends. And as a director, honestly, it's the same. When you're in a production with him he likes to work through things and he likes to make sure you're comfortable with it and if you have any questions we'll talk about it. He wants to make sure you're comfortable and feel good about what you're doing and he's not going to let you go out on stage and look foolish.

Lorens: In theatre every performance is completely different than the last, what are some of your most memorable onstage mishaps?

Doug: In the Irving Arts Center when it first opened we were the first show in the Dupree Theatre. We were doing the Musical Comedy Murders of 1940 and I was playing a butler who was an undercover agent and the maid was undercover too. There was a scene where we had to wrestle on top of this desk. The second weekend into the run we were wrestling on the desk and the desk collapsed onstage and the glass top had completely shattered underneath us!

Lorens: Many of our readers are aspiring performers, what is some advice you would give them to pursue a performance career?

Doug: One of the main things is to learn something from everyone. Let each person in the show teach you something. You can either use it or toss it but try to learn as much as you can.

Lorens: What is one thing you would change about the DFW theatre community?

Doug: Our ability to communicate. Being able to have a productive conversation with people without anyone getting their feelings hurt.

Lorens: If the rest of your career was a choose-your-own-adventure opportunity, what roles might you choose to follow after Bette?

Doug: I definitely want to do another musical. Musicals are where my heart is.

Lorens: Thank you so much for your time today and I hope you have a fabulous run for Me & Jezebel!

After a long year of streaming, MainStage Irving-Las Colinas returns to performing in-person productions with Me & Jezebel, running July 23-August 7. This three-week run of full-capacity, ticketed shows is directed by B.J. Cleveland and stars Doug Fowler and Bailey Maxwell. Me & Jezebel is a hilarious play based on a true story about Elizabeth Fuller spending four weeks with Bette Davis in her home during a hotel strike in Manhattan.

Tickets are available now at www.mainstageirving.com.


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