Interview: Maya Richardson of FOOTLOOSE at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres

Richardson is currently starring as Ariel Moore in the show.

By: Mar. 23, 2022
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Interview: Maya Richardson of FOOTLOOSE at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres I had the pleasure of interviewing Maya Richardson who is currently starring as Ariel Moore in Chanhassen Dinner Theatres production of Footloose! Thank you Maya for your time!

How has it been being back on stage in front of a live audience after the last few years?

It feels like remembering spring after a harsh winter. I forgot what it felt like to bring a group of people who don't know each other into an environment where they get to laugh together, breathe together and walk through the emotions of a story together. Not only is this sense of shared togetherness such a gift, we are putting on a show about grief, forgiveness, and learning to bloom again despite it all - in a world that is doing just that.

How has the role of Ariel compared to other roles you've done?

I have never played someone as multifaceted as Ariel, which wasn't something I was expecting until I read the script. She is fiery, tough and rebellious, yet also a soft, vulnerable dreamer at the same time. Footloose in general has so much more depth than I ever gave it credit for, and I am so thankful to delve in and explore that every single day.

What was your process for developing the character of Ariel?

I always start with Uta Hagen's "nine questions." I swear by it! I also like to make a playlist of songs that remind me of the character and jam to that on the way to rehearsals. Everything else comes from getting on my feet and playing; exploring my relation with other characters and working with the cast/creative team to bring the world we are envisioning to life.

How has it been playing your the role of Ariel?

Sooo much fun. It feels like I discover something new about her every day. Not only is it exciting to play a character that is so fearless and confident, it feels like I have been learning how to cultivate more of that energy in my own life. Ariel has been a gift in endless ways.

Do you have a favorite moment in the show?

Oh goodness, I could give you a million moments that I adore, but if I had to pick, it would be Act I, Scene VII. It is just Ariel and Ren, and the first time in the show that the stage is completely still and bare. There is something very special and vulnerable in the air. It's the first time in the show Ariel lets her walls down. No matter what kind of day I am having, this is a moment that without fail I feel I can ground myself into character, breathe, and truly connect with my scene partner - which is never hard to do when it is someone as lovely as Alan Bach (Ren).

How has it been working with the cast and the creative team for this production?

I cannot express how much of an absolute dream everyone is. It is cool to look around every day and be inspired by the people you work with. If I had to answer this question in one word, I would say "joy."

Have you faced any challenges in this production or with your playing the role of Ariel?

Despite Footloose being a high-energy, tons of fun musical, there are some pretty heavy topics. Ariel deals with a lot of tough things, and it is no secret that she is angry and wounded. I have found that I needed to create a balance with myself so I didn't drown in the tough scenes. I make sure to stay silly backstage, which is easy considering how much I adore the cast, and keep my favorite candy at my dressing room station for when I need it.

Do you have a dream role?

Eurydice, Hadestown.

Favorite spot(s) in Minneapolis?

Misfit Coffee on Lyndale has the best Matcha. Rewind in NorthEast or Flamingos Divine Vintage are my go to vintage/thrift stores. MilkJam Creamery has the BEST dairy-free ice cream. Hit those places and you've created the perfect Sunday afternoon.

For more information on Footloose at the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres and to see Maya on stage as Arielle, click here

Photo by Dan Norman, 2022


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