Thursday's FRIDAY 5 (+1): ACT 1's Season Continues With The World Premiere of JACK AND THE GIANT
ACT 1's 2018-19 season continues with the world premiere of Jack and the Giant by Andrew Barbato and James Larsen, opening this weekend at Nashville's iconic Darkhorse Theater.
A "new spin" on the fairy tale classic Jack and the Beanstalk, in Jack and the Giant the scrappy orphan Jack has never left his tiny village on the fjord, but when a terrible storm delivers a curious sailboat to the shore, he embarks on an epic adventure to slay a mysterious giant and reclaim an enchanted golden harp.
Jack and the Giant is described as "a joyous, heartfelt, and family-friendly new folk musical." This new spin on the classic fairy tale "Jack and the Beanstalk" has a dynamic score and intriguing new characters. Directed by Jacob Heinz, the world premiere production features Dwayne Benn, Ryan Harrelson, Brett Myers, Caroline Nelson and Alaina Smith who found time this week to answer our questions for the latest Friday 5 (+1) on Thursday...
Read on to find out more about the members of the ensemble and then make reservations for the show that runs April 5-20.
Ryan Harrelson (JACK)
What was your first taste of "Live, Onstage" theater? Mamma Mia on Broadway when I was six years old! From the moment "Dancing Queen" played, I knew I was changed forever.
What's your favorite pre-show ritual? Prayer.
What's your most memorable experience of "the show must go on..."? When I was playing Brooke Wyndham in Legally Blonde, my jump rope got stuck in my costume at the height of my solo. I kept pulling at it and finally realized there was no time and way to fix it! I used it and bossed around an "inmate" who helped me get it untangled.
What's your dream role? My dream role is playing Lorelai Gilmore in the nonexistent musical, Gilmore Girls.
Who's your theatrical crush? My theatrical crush is Kristen Bell. Anyone who can play a Disney Princess and also a ruthless woman who gets sent to hell is clearly diverse and uber talented. Plus, she's married to Dax Shepard!
Why should people come see Jack and the Giant? People should come see the show to be reminded that it's okay to dream big dreams, and it's okay to ask for help to achieve them! It's fun.
Brett Myers (MR. PICKWICK)
What was your first taste of "Live, Onstage" theater? Well, a few years ago, I was in The Foreigner at Pull-Tight Players, and I was doing a dance on top of a couch. Then I jumped off, lost my balance, and landed face first on the stage. That was the first time I tasted the theatre.
What's your favorite pre-show ritual? I don't know if I'd call this a ritual, but lately I've noticed that my bladder gets triggered - in the style of Pavlov's dog - as soon as I hear the word "places."
What's your most memorable experience of "the show must go on..."? Last fall we were doing Smoke (directed by none other than Jacob Heinz) at the Bell Witch Festival pavilion in Adams. During the show, Justin Barnett and I came out dressed as Night Riders in black cloaks and masks, aiming rifles at Chris Strand onstage. Meanwhile, completely unscripted, a wandering dog (medium-sized black lab) approached us and began growling, trying to defend Chris. An audience member in the front row got up and held the dog back from pouncing. It really added to the tension of the scene. The show went on, and afterwards I got the dog's autograph at the stage door.
What's your dream role? The last time I answered this Friday 5 question, I said Seymour Krelborn. Last summer the dream came true and I played Seymour with The Renaissance Players. So now I'm going to test this Friday 5 magic and say...Maria in West Side Story. Let's see if this one comes true.
Who's your theatrical crush? Amelia from Jack and the Giant. Who doesn't love a book-nerd princess who's looking for adventure in all the wrong places?
Why should people come see Jack and the Giant? This is a show you've never seen before, with music you've never heard before, based on a story that's never been told this way before. It's so fresh, so vibrant, so full of heart and talent from everyone involved. It's an epic tale of adventure. Also, there's no intermission, which is sometimes enough for me to go see a show.
Alaina Smith (LUNA)
What was your first taste of "Live, Onstage" theater I've been involved in theatre my whole life. I barely remember a time when I wasn't performing.
What's your favorite pre-show ritual? I don't have strict rituals, but I try to get to the theatre early and go over my lines while I get into costume, so I make sure I'm ready for the show!
What's your most memorable experience of "the show must go on..."? Working at Sacramento Theatre Company, we claimed we had a ghost in the theatre that liked to pop the buttons off costumes. More times than I can count I had to quickly resew buttons that our "ghost" popped to finish quick changes in time.
What's your dream role? Daphne in Fly By Night.
Who's your theatrical crush? I don't even know how to answer this one...right now Brett's Mr. Pickwick is giving me life.
Why should people come see Jack and the Giant? This show is a world premiere! We don't even have to get into the adorable songs, talented cast, or sweet story. It's funny, it's fresh. Come and support it!
Caroline Nelson (AMELIA)
What was your first taste of "Live, Onstage" theater I've always known that I wanted to perform, but it wasn't until I saw The Little Mermaid on Broadway that I felt the call to do theatre. I remember sitting in the audience watching "If Only" on the verge of tears and realizing that I wanted to be up on that stage telling a story and making people feel the same way I was. I started doing theatre soon after and haven't stopped since!
What's your favorite pre-show ritual? As silly as it may sound, I jump up and down a lot right before going on to channel my nervous energy into action.
What's your most memorable experience of "the show must go on..."? I've had a few, but my first (and the one I can never shake from my memory) is from my junior year of high school. We were doing The Wizard of Oz and I was in the ensemble, but had choreographed "the Jitterbug" number. Me and another jitterbug were supposed to spook the Tin Man by pulling him upstage and spinning him around. Well, opening night jitters got the best of us and we had too much momentum to stop before toppling on top of the cutout bushes. I had unknowingly busted my knee, but did the number and then went offstage and had a nice cry about it before changing into my next costume for the next scene.
What's your dream role? Eliza Doolittle.
Who's your theatrical crush? Benedict Cumberbatch - I got to see him play Hamlet in London and it was one of the most amazing pieces of theatre I've ever seen performed.
Why should people come see Jack and the Giant? This show and these characters will capture your heart. They'll make you laugh and cry - maybe at the same time. It's a show that literally anyone can enjoy and if shows aren't your thing it's only an hour and 20 minutes of your time! It's so unique and has an amazing message about breaking free of your comfort zone and trusting that everything that happens to you is happening for a reason.
Dwayne Benn (MOON/GIANT)
What was your first taste of "Live, Onstage" theater? When I was In high school, we didn't have a theatre/musical theatre program. It actually got cut my eighth grade year. When I started high school, I joined the choir and enough of us made a fuss about the program being cut that our director decided that she would organize a music revue. Fast forward to the spring semester of my freshman year and my director tells me she wants me to sing "Superstition" by Stevie Wonder. I was a little freaked out about my first solo, but I knew it and I knew I was ready. I straightened my shoulder length jet black hair, threw on a tuxedo, black sunglasses and walked out into the spotlight. Honestly, until that moment my freshmen year had been the worst. Then people found out that I could sing and decided that it was less okay to harass me.
What's your favorite pre-show ritual? Hmm. I can't say that I have any preshow rit...shots.
What's your most memorable experience of "the show must go on..."? ?I did a production of Smokey Joe's Cafe a couple of years ago and if you know that show it's a pretty vocally driven show. I sang the Victor track which is the highest male role and girl, was it ever. Look up the song, "I who have nothing." You'll think it's a duet. Anyway, as it goes, we were battling the winter weather and sickness during the run. One of our female leads was on the brink of losing her voice. One evening, right before her big number the director asks if anyone could sing the number if she (the director) danced the number. It was my big moment to sing this ballad that I have been waiting to perform for years. So, I said, "I volunteer as tribute." But alas, her voice magically showed up in time. Although I didn't get to sing the house down as a lad - I was ready!
What's your dream role? Effie Melody White. The moment I saw the 2006 screen production of Dreamgirls, I knew that I would be Effie before I died. She is the ultimate diva and her story is timeless. Now, some may say, "But you're a man"and to them, I interrupt with "YOU AND YOU AND YOU," while violent pointing, "YOU'RE GONNA LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE gasp for breath "MEEEEEEEEH!"
Who's your theatrical crush? Leslie Odom Jr. could get it any day of the week.
Why should people come see Jack and the Giant? People should see JATG because it's 90 minutes of joy, laughter, hope and promise. We'll take you on an adventure without leaving your attic. It's thrilling, a little romantic and has some great twists. Our show will tough you a few times...and you'll be into it.