BWW Interview: Erin Stegeman Talks Musical Mondays at the Whitefire
Erin Stegeman is thrilled to be back as Cersei for the encore LA run of Shame of Thrones: The Musical, a role she originated Off Broadway. In real life, she's married to Khal Drogo, has a spanking new son, and is (barely) functioning between matcha lattes. Erin is known for the cult hit musical feature she created and starred in,Once Upon a Time: The Rock Opera, and the award-winning Hulu anthology, "Fun Size Horror" (writer/director/actor). She has a comedy feature in development with Panther Films and is working on producing the music for her third show, a rock opera about Beethoven, debuting Off Broadway this fall.
What challenges does it take to bring Shame of Thrones to such a small space?
Stegeman: Going from a 200 seat off Broadway house to a 99 seat black box without losing the spectacle is definitely a challenge. Luckily our show has always had a minimalist POV with regards to set and design. It's all about the characters and performances, so relying on our choreographer, Mandie Hittleman (who also plays Daenerys),to make it more dance-heavy, adding some audience interactive elements, and utilizing projections (which we've never done before)has been key. The show is definitely much more of a workout now!
I understand the cast is large with many returning from the original. Is the production the same or have there been changes?
Stegeman: When we had to transfer venues for our extension in New York, we had to share a set with another show in production, which looked like an apartment. We tried to make our castle set work with the space,but it was proving impossible, and with just 2 days to get the show up, we decided to do some quick rewrites and set our show in (Game of Thrones author) GEORGE RR MARTIN's home. It ended up being the happiest accident and added a whole new comedic device that we could play with visually. Having a little more time to incorporate that element into this run, that was our primary focus. We also opened up some of the roles to all genders, which has been a lot of fun and just goes to show that's it's ultimately about the energy and talent an actor brings.
Game of Thrones ha been such a hit on TV. Did the original stage musical provoke a feverish reaction?
Stegeman: I would compare our show to all of those "Top 21 Tweets from Last Night's Episode" articles you see pop up on Monday. We are the meme response to the show, and the audience totally gets that and loves it. We take some liberties with the characters, timelines, and plot points, but there's so much campy fun nobody seems to mind. We've had a lot of non musical theater fans attend our show simply because they love GOT and really enjoyed it. HBO even came and loved it! There's a reason most of our cast has continued to be a part of our show - we have a blast doing it and the audience can feel that.
What is the music like? It was a rock opera. Is it still in that style or does it have new and varied music?
Stegeman: Since our original run, we've added a fun "Magic Mike-Esque" solo for Cersei. Peter Frintrup and I had written it as a demo and snuck it on the original album as a bonus track. People seemed to respond to that one, so it was added. Plus Cersei's become the show's "big bad", so it makes sense. Stylistically, my music producer, Martin Blasick, and I decided to tonally shift some tracks more rock as opposed to "musical theater with some rock" for NYC, and we've kept that for this run.
I understand LOST: The Musical is up after SHAME OF THRONES: The Musical. You should also consider doing something with Bates Motel.It would make a very ghoulish rock opera. Did you see that with Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore? They made it great, very watchable and entertaining.
Stegeman: Um....i wrote and directed a Bates Motel parody called "Normero's First Date" that Vera and Nestor retweeted. It was the best day of my life. Then I met them in person and they both mentioned the sketch, and I'm pretty sure I died a little that day. And even more bizarre, our SOT writer/producer Steven Parker was in it - it was the first time we worked together. I can't believe this question right now. Jaw. On. The. Floor. I'm a massive, probably unhealthy, Bates Motel fan. Writing a musical for that show may just do me in.
Anything else you care to add?
Stegeman: We've also been releasing a bunch of GOT parody content for outube.com/EpicRobotTV, including a sketch series about the characters in therapy called "GOT THERAPY?" and several Hamilton and Disney GOT musical mash up vids.