BWW Interview: THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG's Sid Solomon
THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG just completed a run on the Orpheum stage in Minneapolis this weekend and one of the national touring company's main understudies, Sid Solomon, may be familiar to some of you local theatre-goers. Solomon appeared in productions at the Guthrie, Children's Theatre, Mixed Blood, Park Square, Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company, Gremlin Theatre and Walking Shadow during his time in the Twin Cities early in his career.
For more on that time, what brought him here and his roles in the show, as well as Equity, Solomon answered 6 Questions & a Plug:
Since you're playing several roles as an understudy, can you tell what that is like? How much time before a performance do you find out you'll be on as a specific role, and is it hard to change between characters when you're doing it sporadically?
My job is to be ready to go on for any of the four roles that I understudy at a moment's notice. Our actors have been remarkably sturdy and healthy throughout the course of our run, so I've yet to be in a situation where I didn't have at least a few hours' notice. But anytime the show is happening, I'm in the building and ready to go. And yes, it can be difficult to switch between roles, especially in the handful of scenes in which all four of my characters are onstage at the same time. It's like a giant puzzle that you're constantly trying to solve.
This show is very technical - when things go wrong, it's all planned but you likely have every move choreographed. Does the best laid plan ever so REALLY wrong and not to plan? Such as, do the props, set pieces or actors sometimes not perform as expected, and how does that affect what you're doing on stage?
Any time you see a show - whether it's a school play, community theater, or a professional production - there's always at least one thing that goes wrong. That's the nature of doing live theater, and why it's so exciting. With our show, we're fortunate that when something really does go wrong, the audience typically can't tell. So yes, plenty have things have gone wrong for us during the tour, but hopefully no one has noticed.
You have a history with Minneapolis theatre, having a BFA from the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater program, and stage time at the Guthrie and Children's Theatre Company, but you're not from Minnesota. Can you talk a bit about what brought you to the city for your training and early career, and what is your favorite memory from that time?
I grew up in New York and began my professional training at LaGuardia Arts High School (otherwise known at the High School of Performing Arts.) When it came time to look for colleges, the U of M/Guthrie BFA Program was recommended to me by some faculty members at my school. The Guthrie's reputation is unparalleled, and the program's dual focus on classical training and a true collegiate experience was something I was excited about. I came to Minneapolis for the first time for a weekend of callbacks the spring of my senior year of high school and I was blown away. So when I got accepted to the program, it was an easy choice to say yes.
I have a lot of favorite memories from my time as an actor in the Twin Cities. My apprentice year at Children's Theatre Company was incredible, getting to work with their Resident Company and basically learning how to be a professional actor and be consistent at the highest level. The three shows I did with Walking Shadow Theatre Company were among the most challenging and rewarding work that I did during my time in Minneapolis, especially John Heimbuch's brilliant The Transdimensional Courier's Union. And of course, my first time performing on the Guthrie stage, appearing in Romeo and Juliet and The Comedy of Errors in rep with The Acting Company.
You're the VP of Actor's Equity and I noticed you've been meeting with local Equity members via social media. What are you talking with them about, and do you find there to be any major differences or similarities between actors' careers here and those in NYC?
I'm actually one of six Vice Presidents at Actors' Equity Association, and specifically I am the union's Eastern Regional Vice President.
The tour has presented me with the fantastic opportunity to meet with Equity members across the country, and to talk to them about their experiences as working artists in different cities and towns. We have 52,000+ members, and it's my responsibility to represent them all, so any chance to meet and engage with Equity stage managers and actors is a treat.
And yes, New York is a very different market from the Twin Cities. But at the end of the day, most stage managers and actors I meet with want the same fundamental things: opportunities to work, fair wages and working conditions when they work, and to have a chance to make a decent living.
What are you working on with Equity and your work with #FairWageOnstage currently?
At Equity, we are always working to improve the lives of our members, primarily by securing fair and decent wages and working conditions for stage managers and actors through negotiations with our employers. #FairWageOnStage is an organization of which I'm a core member, and which works alongside and in support of Equity to accomplish these goals, often through member-to-member engagement and grassroots organizing. As a VP, I always have my fingers in lots of different pots, so suffice it to say that I'm always working on something.
You're on national tour - do you have any jobs lined up for when the tour ends or things you'd like to do next?
One of the best things about a National Tour is that you don't have to look for work for almost an entire year. As of right now, we're scheduled to wrap up our show in the middle of August. After that I look forward to going home, seeing my wife (who I met here in Minneapolis), my 16-year old dachshund Gigi, and maybe even planning a trip to the State Fair.
More info on the show: https://broadwaygoeswrong.com
Photo: SId Solomon, courtesy of the Hennepin Theatre Trust