BWW Interviews: Georgia Kate Haege and Jeff Drushal from MAMMA MIA
Mamma Mia has come to The Overture Center in downtown Madison this week! The feel good musical that is jam packed with catchy tunes is going to be in the capital city for a few more days. Georgia Kate Haege, who is playing Donna Sheridan for the second time, as well as Jeff Drushal (who plays Sam Carmichael) were kind enough to provide me a little bit of time this morning. In the final stretch of the national tour, I got the chance to sit down with these two lovely performers to chat about their show and what they have going on next.
Georgia - since you've played Donna before, is this a dream role of yours?
G- Oddly enough, before I got cast I had never seen the movie or the show. But I loved Abba from childhood because I'm Australian. They were as big in Australia as they had been here - I think they were possibly bigger there actually. So, I didn't really know much about the storyline at all. So I thought I'd audition because the breakdown of the character seemed like a good fit. Then after I got cast, I watched it all. And now that I'm in it, it seems tailor made. For one thing - it's age appropriate. I might be a tad young for it, since she's forty and I'm just shy of forty. Also, the fact that Donna sang in a rock band and I've done a lot of that as well and the songs you get to do! The big belty numbers and the ballads- I'm trained classically as well as in pop vocals, so I feel like it's a good mix of my vocal technique. And the fact that Donna's a sharp, spunky woman - she fits my demeanor. I often think that I'm so lucky that she is such a perfect role.
Do either of you have a favorite song from the show?
G - It's funny, the songs that I like to sing myself are some that others sing. Like 'Super Trooper' for example, is fun because it's like a party. We get choreography and the jumpsuits so there's comradery with the other ladies. I do love 'Slipping Through My Fingers', it's a really poignant moment between Donna and Sophie. It's emotionally charged and nice to sing. I also love listening to 'Does Your Mother Know' - it's great to watch on stage too with all the jumps and dancing.
J- I can't get 'Under Attack' out of my head. I don't know why -I can't seem to shed that one for some reason. I have to walk around in a tux the whole time.
G - You're in that crazy top hat too. That's really catchy for sure.
J- Other ABBA melodies are always in your head.
G - All the songs are great. There's such a range from the ballads and the poppy, up-tempo too.
J- I get a kick out of 'S.O.S.' It was not necessarily a duet in its original carnation. But in the show, it's two people who are having a two-sided conversation that they just can't communicate for some reason because of their relationship difficulties. But that's the fun of the show is seeing the songs in a different context.
G - I have to give credit to Catherine Johnson who wrote the book for finding new ways for the songs to be used out of context, it's astounding.
Jeff - have you ever imagined yourself playing Sam or is there a different role you'd kill to play?
J- It's funny - I wasn't a huge ABBA fan growing up, I was a rock-n-roll guy. It was fun to rediscover this music and see why it's so popular. That's been fun to dig into something that a lot of people connect to. That's the part that's fun for me. To get to play Sam, who is the everyman guy - I'm usually playing bad guys or much more evil bad characters.
G - He likes to play characters that are more what he's really like.
J - [laughing] Thanks Georgia. I'm actually headed off to grad school - that's my next stop. I get to dig into more Shakespearean roles and transition into the 'dad' chapter of my life. Embrace some things I haven't gotten to do in the past.
Jeff - Where are you headed?
J - The University of Florida. For an MFA in acting - I get to be a gator.
Georgia, did you have any plans after the show is over?
G - I'm going back to New York - where my home base is in the states. I'm feeling out different auditions, because we're on the road I can't audition in person. So we send out tapes - most of the cast does this. I've gotten a couple of call backs but I can't be in the room so I asked if we could Skype. So I think I'll just get back to take a minute and decompress before I continue to do these crazy shenanigans. I've heard MAMMA MIA is on a cruise with the Royal Caribbean and I think I'd be okay with doing that. I love the ocean. I'm going to see if I can submit for that. I could be doing this same show on a boat. I would like something new just for the challenge, but that would work for me. I love it. I wouldn't do it if I didn't love it.