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BWW Interview: Will Mann of HADESTOWN THE MUSICAL at Hobby Center Of Performing Arts

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BWW Interview: Will Mann of HADESTOWN THE MUSICAL at Hobby Center Of Performing Arts
Ensemble of Hadestown the Musical tour. Will Mann is in the center. Photo by Charles Erickson.

I recently sat down with Hadestown the Musical ensemble member, Will Mann, whom I have been a big fan of since his recent turn in the Broadway revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma! Hadestown the Musical is not the first time he has been to Houston and we talked about coming to the Energy City and what it's like being on tour at the moment.

Armando: Hi is this Will?

Will Mann: This is him! This is Armando?!

Armando: Yup! I am excited to talk to you, because I have been a fan of yours since I saw Oklahoma on Broadway.

Will Mann: Aww man, stop that is very much appreciated!

Armando: I have been following you on Instagram and when BroadwayWorld asked who you want to interview, I immediately said Will Mann! Your social media is like an adventure in content for Instagram.

Will Mann: (Laughter) That sounds appropriate, thank you.

Armando: My middle name is William and the way you spell W with the double Us, is how I kind of use it on social media sometimes.

Will Mann: Yeah man, my friends rib me for it all the time.

Armando: How have things been, where is the tour at right now?

Will Mann: Things have been going great, we at our first stop after the holiday break. We just started performances in New Orleans. I have never been here before so its exciting bringing a show like Hadestown with its jazz club vibes to the point of its inspiration.

Armando: What is one of the things you look forward to when coming to a city on the tour? Is there something you are looking forward to when coming to Houston?

Will Mann: The biggest thing I look forward to when coming to a new city. I have big boy habits, so when I find a great place to eat, I always want to return back to that town and find that place to eat. Finding new places that the locals really love.

BWW Interview: Will Mann of HADESTOWN THE MUSICAL at Hobby Center Of Performing Arts
Headshot of Will Mann

Armando: What is your spot in Houston?

Will Mann: I don't have one yet! Every time I come, they have us stay downtown and near the theater. There isn't much downtown that I have found yet. Most of the places close at 3 and it's a little hard getting around with car. I would love to hear from any of the BroadwayWorld Houston people if there are any great spots

Armando: There is a great sushi place near the Hobby Center called Sapporo, is there a food that I should not avoid?

Will Mann: Living in New York with its plethora of food, and that big boy mentality, I love all kinds of food so lay it all on me. One thing I have been looking for is tacos.

Armando: Oh man, Houston is all about tacos from food trucks. They are everywhere, and as someone who is not a native Houstonian, it is easy to get into the taco food truck mindset.

Will Mann: I dig some taco food trucks, I was in Detroit a few weeks ago and I know where I will be going when I return.

Armando: What has it been like returning back to theater? I assume you've been getting this question a lot.

Will Mann: I don't get interviewed a lot, so it's exciting being able to answer it! Funnily enough, once we get back on stage it feels like its been to work. However, audiences have been vocal about it being their first time back to the theater. There has been an outpouring of extra love from the audiences. We can't do stage door due to COVID rules.

Armando: Right, that's why you on your Instagram have been doing virtual stage doors?

Will Mann: I have been trying! It's been difficult to coordinate with the marketing team and being able to do so with every town we visit. I have been trying to do it with my social media and my fellow cast members. We feel bad when we walk back the stage door and we have to tell fans of the show that we can't do autographs or pictures. Most of Broadway is cancelling shows at the moment, and I just had to say it out loud thanks to our COVID Safety Managers for keeping us all safe.

BWW Interview: Will Mann of HADESTOWN THE MUSICAL at Hobby Center Of Performing Arts
Ensemble of Hadestown the Musical tour. Will Mann is one of the ensemble members in the center. Photo by Charles Erickson.

Armando: Yeah, with Omicron and everything right now you have to stay in your production group bubble.

Will Mann: Oh yeah, all of us in the cast acknowledged all the hard work that everyone is doing to keep us safe. We just got back from the break and we all had to recognize that anything could happen in the coming weeks, where this tour could potentially shut down for a short period of time, or there maybe a show with all understudies and swings. We've been lucky that that hasn't happened yet (knock on wood).

Armando: While I know Levi Kreis (currently playing Hermes) is great, when you posted on Instagram with yourself as a Hermes understudy, I was hoping that I could get to see you both in the role at some point because you would be great.

Will Mann: Aw man that is so sweet. Levi had a vacation and both Eddie Noel Rodriguez and I went for him that week. Eddie is abaolutely amazing and is another Hermes you should see, because he is from Puerto Rico and provides an amazing interpretation of the role as well through his LatinX experience. It was also fun being able to put on more of my own juice into it.

Armando: All the discussion right now surround swings and understudies. What is it like covering Hades or Hermes? Having seen the show in New York, I guess maybe you're in the Timothy Hughes track?

Will Mann: (Laughter) Actually yes and no. Our tracks are separated byvoice parts versus look parts. While both Timothy and I are tall guys, I am actually covering a different person's track entirely. Hadestown though is truly an ensemble piece, with all of us coming together to create this masterpiece. We are all individuals and we are bringing a performance from our places. Levi from the country of Tennessee, Eddie from Puerto Rico and me from California all bring different aspects to the role. Eddie actually counts on stage in Spanish, which is absolutely amazing.

Armando: My goodness, that's amazing! Well Will, I don't want to take too much of your time, where can everyone find you?

Will Mann: I want to host a virtual stage door for Houston on my social media on Thursday, January 6th after the show! You can find me on Instagram @uuillmann and catch my Instagram for more social media content!

Armando: Awesome, I am looking forward to it, can't wait to watch Hadestown and your social media content!

HADESTOWN THE MUSICAL with Music, Lyrics, and Book by Anaïs Mitchell will be at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, January 4th - 9th, 2022. Performances are Tuesday thru Thursday at 7:30 PM, Friday and Saturday evening at 8:00 PM, Matinees on Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 PM, and Sunday evening at 7:30 PM. A recent negative COVID test and/or double vaccination card must be presented at the door before entering. Tickets can be bought at thehobbycenter.org/events/hadestown, the Box Office at 800 Bagby Street, or by calling 713-315-2525.

BWW Interview: Will Mann of HADESTOWN THE MUSICAL at Hobby Center Of Performing Arts
Ensemble of Hadesotwn the Musical tour. Photo by Charles Erickson.

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