BWW Interviews: Brooke Wilson Talks TUTS Underground's Season Opener REEFER MADNESS
Last season, TUTS Underground fulfilled their promise of bringing an edgier brand of theatre to Houston audiences. Now entering their sophomore season, they are continuing to push the envelope with the darkly satirical and laugh-out-loud musical, REEFER MADNESS. Playing the role of Sally, Brooke Wilson took some time out of her busy schedule to let Houston audiences know why they don't want to miss this production of REEFER MADNESS.
BWW: I am so excited that TUTS Underground is doing REEFER MADNESS this season. I'll admit, as soon as we saw the cast listing for this production we immediately started geeking out. It has a really impressive cast with a lot of excellent Houston talent.
Brooke Wilson: It's really cool. It's like a reunion of sorts. It was kind of cool, we were all just playing around because everyone is pretty much at least somewhat familiar with each other, so it's a really fun group to play around with for sure. We're laughing until we cry, and everyone is doing a really good job, and we're, you know, really pushing the envelope. [Laughs]
BWW: You're playing the role of Sally in this production of REEFER MADNESS. I'm really excited to talk to you about that because it is my favorite role in the show!
Brooke Wilson: Oh, so no pressure! [Laughs]
BWW: Not at all! For readers that may not be familiar with this production, can you tell us a little bit about the role that you are playing?
Brooke Wilson: I play Sally, who is for lack of a better term, the whore of the reefer den. She loves to have a lot of fun with the men who come in and out of the reefer den. She seduces the men and college boys that Jack brings in. She seduces them to stay in the den with her, you know, her other unmentionables.
BWW: One of the best parts about the character of Sally is that she is both sexy and quirky. Do you feel like you relate to the character in real life?
Brooke Wilson: [Laughs] I don't know if I would call myself sexy, but I can definitely relate to her in the way that the character is a little clumsy. And, she's kind of in her own little world sometimes, and will sometimes say the most obvious of things. [Laughs] Yeah, I guess I can relate to her just in a little bit of the quirks, and I guess a little bit in the sexuality part. [Laughs] I never thought would be in an interview though. [Laughs]
BWW: Compared to other productions, like THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS or HANDS ON A HARDBODY, the lines and lyrics of this show are just really funny and over-the-top. So, how much fun has it been preparing for a show that is so campy?
Brooke Wilson: It's so fun to just really be able to play, just kind of throw stuff out there, and really use our sense of humor. And, Bruce Lumpkin is doing a really great job of letting us play, letting us use our own humor, and our own communicabilities to kind of come up with our character's archs a little bit. It's a little less rigid and a little bit more free being able to just come in and hype up the camp of all of it. Everyone who is working on it is very smart and kind of understands the little jokes that are in it. Even if the audience doesn't necessarily get it right away, there are a few parodies and musical theatre things that we think are really funny. So, it's definitely different because of all of the playing, and the improved bits that are us being us, or miming something that enhances the words written on the page.
BWW: There are a lot of memorable lines and lyrics in REEFER MADNESS. Do you find any getting stuck in your head?
Brooke Wilson: Oh man. Well, there is definitely the song at the end where I get to sing as Lady Liberty. [Laughs] That's really fun to sing. One of my favorite lines is in Act II. I won't give away the ending or anything, but I say, "She fell down," and I think it's really funny. For me, "The Orgy" just gets stuck in my head because it is so repetitive.
BWW: Have you seen the original cult classic movie REEFER MADNESS?
Brooke Wilson: Yeah I have. I think, kind of in vein that we're doing it, it is just the right level of campiness. I feel like that movie is so funny.
BWW: What has been your favorite part about being involved with TUTS Underground's production of REEFER MADNESS?
Brooke Wilson: I mean, really and truly, it is about getting to show my comedic chops and just being able to be ridiculous and everyone embracing it: the entire creative team, the director, the cast. It just feels like a really safe environment to play in, which is so important. Also, it's just so fun to get to go to work every day with your good friends. Also, just to laugh. [Laughs] I have literally been laughing until I've cried at some points, which doesn't happen all of the time. It might happen on break or something, but we're actually in rehearsal for the show cracking up next to each other. It just doesn't get much better than that.
BWW: Has preparing for the role of Sally presented you with any unique challenges?
Brooke Wilson: I know we've been talking a lot about all of the campiness and stuff, but definitely making her still be a real person has been the challenge. It's like, we all have to make the audience believe that we are playing real people even though we are playing up the camp so much. We still have to play the honesty of the situation, which is something that you always want to do as an actor. In this piece it is especially difficult because it is so campy. I guess my biggest challenge would be keeping her honest most of the time.
BWW: Without giving too much away, why do you think audiences should be excited to see REEFER MADNESS?
Brooke Wilson: Honestly, and this may sound kind of repetitive, but because of the comedy factor in it. Everyone in the show is a comedian. But, also because of the voices. It is a really strong group of musicians. The choreography is wonderful, and everyone is doing such a good job. It's a really wonderful opportunity to come and laugh for a couple of hours. There is not much downtime where you're not gut-busting laughing. Not to put too much pressure on us. [Laughs] I would say that you get a really funny show on top of the wonderful voices and acting that is going on. This is one of the stronger casts that I felt like I've been in, and it is definitely becoming one of my favorite shows.
BWW: What advice do you have for someone hoping to make a career in the performing arts?
Brooke Wilson: I would definitely say, first and foremost, be true to who you are and what makes you unique and special. Stay true to what makes you stick out. I think that is probably why I got cast in this production. I was being true to who I was, using my take on it and my sense of humor, and it worked. Anything that I have done that I feel proud of is because I was just sticking to who I know that I am. Anytime that I try to be something that I'm not, I try to do what I think the casting director wants, or a song that I think that they want me to sing, if I can just go back to who I am, usually it works out in my favor.
If you don't have your tickets yet, now is the time to get them! Don't miss this darkly funny season opener. Now open, TUTS Underground's production of REEFER MADNESS will run in the Zilkha Hall of the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts until Sunday, October 5, 2014. For more information about TUTS Underground or to book your tickets to REEFER MADNESS, please visit http://www.tutsunderground.com.
Images provided courtesy of TUTS Underground.
From This Author Kristina Nungaray