BWW Interview: Colin Bates Maturing Most Gracefully from BILLY ELLIOTT to DORIAN GRAY

BWW Interview: Colin Bates Maturing Most Gracefully from BILLY ELLIOTT to DORIAN GRAY

Director Michael Michetti's adaptation of Oscar Wilde's classic novella A PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY has already begun its run at A Noise Within, with opening night slated for September 29, 2018. Dorian Gray, a handsome youth seduced by the hedonistic luxuries he's suddenly introduced to, sells his soul to achieve what he truly believes will give him eternal happiness.

Though immersed in rehearsals, Colin Bates (who plays the titular role of Dorian) graciously found some time to answer a few of my inquiries into his creative thought processes.

Thank you for taking time for this interview, Colin. Glad I could finally catch you.

Sorry for the delay! We are in tech rehearsals right now and it's very intense!

BWW Interview: Colin Bates Maturing Most Gracefully from BILLY ELLIOTT to DORIAN GRAYWhat serendipity brought you and A Noise Within together?

A friend of mine Ryan Spahn, who I went to Juilliard with, referred me to Michael and referred Michael to me! He did ROMEO AND JULIET at Boston Court (with Michael) many years ago! I made a self-tape for Dorian (when I was In Paris) and that followed with a Skype callback (when I was in NYC) with Michael! Instant connection!!! The first time I met Michael was at A Noise Within on the first day of rehearsals!

Have you had the opportunity to see any of Oscar Wilde's work performed?

Never!!!! Although I am getting to see a lot of his work through Dorian's eyes, performed by this wonderful cast!!

BWW Interview: Colin Bates Maturing Most Gracefully from BILLY ELLIOTT to DORIAN GRAYAny notable differences in your character Dorian between Oscar Wilde's original interpretation and Michael Michetti's adaptation that you're performing?

Michael's adaptation remains very true to Oscar's novel. The lines in our play are pretty much the words plucked from the book arranged in a very skillful way. Although in Michael's adaptation, physical elements are used to tell certain sections of the story, I believe the storytelling remains in line with what Oscar Wilde wrote. And as far as the role of Dorian, Michetti and Wilde definitely agree that he is a young man who does feel bad about the lives he destroys around him, something that is missing from most portrayals of this infamous character. He is not necessarily sociopathic...

Oscar Wilde's works, when originally performed, were often coded and censored. BWW Interview: Colin Bates Maturing Most Gracefully from BILLY ELLIOTT to DORIAN GRAYWill A Noise Within's version be much more unabashed?

Yes! It's uncensored! Michael doesn't cut anything that most versions have cut from the story. He lays it all out in the open in his direction. You will see!!!

How would you compare Dorian to two other characters you've played before - Billy Elliott and OLIVER's Artful Dodger?

Dorian is in a different league than these two characters! Dodger and Dorian both BWW Interview: Colin Bates Maturing Most Gracefully from BILLY ELLIOTT to DORIAN GRAYsteal things...? They both have very important male companionship...? I guess you could say that the Dodger is greatly influenced by Fagin in the same way that Dorian is influenced by Lord Henry. But Dorian is selfish. He is a pleasure seeker. He is deeply saddened by all his wrong doings and it catches up with him in the end. Dodger is generous and loving to almost everyone around him. You can hardly compare these two characters! Billy is on a path! He is passionate. He has a goal. He succeeds in the end. Dorian is lost, running away from his past by constantly seeking new sensations. He fails in the end. Three very different characters, yet I love them all dearly!

How would you differentiate the audiences in the West End with those of Off-Broadway and of Los Angeles?

BWW Interview: Colin Bates Maturing Most Gracefully from BILLY ELLIOTT to DORIAN GRAYAudiences are wonderful everywhere! Truly!!! But first thing that comes to mind, when I was doing BILLY ELLIOTT in London , the audiences were extremely enthusiastic!! Ha, ha! Maybe that just comes with doing musical theatre!

You received your arts education from Julliard, Baltimore School for the Arts and The Royal Ballet. What did you initially want to be growing up? Dancer? Actor?

BWW Interview: Colin Bates Maturing Most Gracefully from BILLY ELLIOTT to DORIAN GRAYIt was a difficult choice in which art form to put my focus in when the time came to choose. But at first I wanted to be a dancer, then an actor, then a musician. And now I am all three, with acting being at the forefront!!

What's the one piece of advice your BILLY ELLIOTT director Stephen Daldry gave you that you use regularly?

"Get an education, go to college!" Ha, ha.! And he was thrilled (and still is) that I went to Juilliard.

BWW Interview: Colin Bates Maturing Most Gracefully from BILLY ELLIOTT to DORIAN GRAYDo you have a particular your warm-up routine you go through before your shows?

Each role I do requires a different warm up. But I started as a dancer in life, so mostly my warm ups now consist of stretching so I can feel "in my body" and ready to go! For Dorian, I will concentrate on diction work before each show because I speak so much and with a very posh accent!

BWW Interview: Colin Bates Maturing Most Gracefully from BILLY ELLIOTT to DORIAN GRAYWe know how vanity caused the down fall of Dorian. If you, Colin Bates, could amplify one of your own attributes to do good, what would that be and why?

I believe everyone is important, I like to remind people that they are special and important. If I could amplify my ability to make people (that I come in to contact with) feel loved and important and special, I would. Everyone needs that reminder to continue the cycle.

Thank you again, Colin! I look forward to seeing your Dorian's aging transformation.

Thanks!!!!!!

For ticket availability and schedule through November 16, 2018; log onto www.anoisewithin.org

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