BWW Interview: Meet the Cast of OKLAHOMA! at Musical Theatre Village
Ready to kick off their Spring production of OKLAHOMA! the cast of the show at Musical Theatre Village in Irvine, CA - Southern Orange County's home for musical theater - give an inside look into the making of their musical this season.
In this interview, Jennifer Noce, who plays Laurey Williams, and Joseph Bonofiglio who plays the parts of Jud Fry and Pete Skidmore, Ally Logo who plays Ellen, and Lindsey Ungerman who plays Ado Annie in the musical, talk about their experience being a part of Musical Theatre Village, their journey with theater, and what OKLAHOMA! as a classic musical story means to them.
Becoming Involved with Theater
I became involved in theater when I saw my neighbors performing at Musical Theatre Village (MTV) when I was about ten years old. I wanted to go up and do the show so I asked my mom if I could audition and she said I could. Ever since my first show in 2008 I have been performing onstage.
When I was 7 years old my grandmother made me watch Damn Yankees with her and from that point on, I knew I wanted to be an actor! While acting in a student film, someone mentioned MTV was performing the musical Little Shop of Horrors. I auditioned because it was the first production I was ever a part of in my early 20s and I had the time of my life!
I started theater when I was about 7 and I went to a theater summer camp. One pivotal moment for me was when I saw ANNIE GET YOUR GUN because it was one of the first shows on stage that I ever saw and watching people onstage seemed so incredible to me.
When I was in third grade my school did a production of YOU'RE A GOOD MAN CHARLIE BROWN. I loved Peanuts and being the center of attention so the show seemed like a good fit. I didn't have a big part or anything, but I distinctly remember feeling such a rush and such happiness being on the stage that I knew theater and I would have a beautiful blossoming relationship from then on.
On Working with the Cast and Crew at Musical Theatre Village
Noce: It's been a very out-of-body experience for me since it's been almost three years since I've done a production at this theater. The last production I did here was before I was even in college back in 2015 and way before I got a lot of the training and discipline that I have now. I did theater performances at Musical Theatre Village for six years before I left for college and a lot has changed since I left. Much of the family atmosphere was similar but many of the cast and crew members were different, so it was almost like starting over from scratch. It's been great for me to get to try new things and to experiment with new ways of going about my methods as an actor and to do it in an environment that will allow me to do it this way.
Bonofiglio: The experience playing the role of Jud has been outstanding. I have received amazing suggestions as well as a lot of praise for my ultimate performance. It seems to be the only theater I have been a part of that is constantly encouraging with no jealousy.
Logo: The cast and crew at Musical Theatre Village has been nothing but welcoming to me. This show is so much fun to be in and the people here have made it such a great experience.
Ungerman: It is a completely unique experience that can only be best explained hands on. It's more than a group of people putting on a show. It's a community of people that care about musical theater and about each other simultaneously. You end up doing little of everything so you really get a sense of the different facets it takes to make a show happen. It makes you gain a new appreciation for the art.
On The Message OKLAHOMA! Sends
Noce: For me, OKLAHOMA! is a classic musical story. It has the leading man trying to get his lover and how he ends up getting her at the end. Even though the story is very similar to many love stories today, the message still lives on. My brother, who is playing Will Parker, was talking about how a lot of the themes in this musical revolve around love and how one must earn love instead of just feeling like you always deserve it. This kind of storytelling leads to so many ways one can interpret the story including how Laurey doesn't just give in to Curly's flirting and how Curly changes his ways to become a more suitable partner for Laurey. The one thing that I want an audience member to take away from this is the ideals that love is complicated and finding the right partner can mean many different things. I want every woman in the audience thinking like Laurey and how they too want to wait for their man in shining armor instead of accepting ever attention given to them like that of Ado Annie.
Bonofiglio: I hope audiences will be entertained but on a deeper note: I hope people will see the parallel between early southern living and modern times. How not much has changed on how we view and treat people that are socially awkward or reclusive and do not seem to have proper education or upbringing. That sometimes we all can play a role on the reality of the way people feel and view themselves which in turn can lead to negative or positive actions of those individuals.
Logo: I hope audiences know that this is a very romanticized version of what OKLAHOMA! really was like at that time but that they will take away how much effort and times goes into a show like this one and how much everyone up onstage loves what they are doing.
Ungerman: OKLAHOMA! is one of those shows that manages to be both classic and relevant. There's at least one thing in the show that everyone can relate to. But I think the greatest thing about OKLAHOMA! are the characters themselves. Each is so unique and memorable you can't help but fall in love with them all ... even Jud! I hope that audiences leave our production of OKLAHOMA! with a grin on their face, a song in their heart, and, a skip in their step. And maybe even a little desire to try their hand at musical theater ... because everyone should try it at least once!
Tickets for OKLAHOMA! at Musical Theatre Village in Irvine, CA are now on sale and can be purchased here: http://www.musicaltheatrevillage.net/index.php. The show is currently running until March 11, 2018. Don't miss it!