BWW Interview: Erin Mackey Talks about A TASTE OF THINGS TO COME at Bucks County Playhouse
A brand new musical, A TASTE OF THINGS TO COME: UNDRESSING BETTY CROCKER ONE SONG AT A TIME, begins at Bucks County Playhouse on January 30, 2016. This show is about a group of friends who form a woman's cooking club in the 1950s. I had the opportunity to speak with Erin Mackey who is playing the role of Connie Olsen in the production. Mackey is best known for her Broadway credits playing Glinda in WICKED, Oona in CHAPLIN and most recently Mary Catlett in AMAZING GRACE. I spoke to Mackey about this brand new musical and what audiences can expect as well as her first role on stage.
Kelli Curtin: Could you tell me about A Taste of Things to Come?
Erin Mackey: A TASTE OF THINGS TO COME is a brand new musical. It is about four women, who are about the same age, and they all went to high school together. The show takes place in the 1950s and 60s. Act one takes place in 1957 and act two takes place in 1967. The musical follows the lives of these four women and shows how transformative this time period was. For these four women they try to figure out where they fit in and ask if they want more from their lives.
A TASTE OF THINGS TO COME is also about friendship. These four friends have been there through it all together. The music for this show is fun, it is reflective of the 50s and 60s, and the audience will be transported through time with the music in the show.
Kelli Curtin: Could you tell me a little about your character, Connie Olsen?
Erin Mackey: Connie is married to a man named Thor. In the first act she is pregnant, and throughout the show secrets are revealed. All the women in the show have different personality traits, I would say that Connie is the least worldly and naïve. I don't want to give too much away, but Connie in the second act is a very different person. For me personally, I really like playing this character, I find truth in this character.
Kelli Curtin: What can audiences expect from this show? Why should they come see this production?
Erin Mackey: A TASTE OF THINGS TO COME is a brand new show with an original story and score. People who have lived through the 1950s and 60s will especially relate to this story. It is a show that everyone will enjoy though. It is a fun show, and it is a show with heart. This production will makes people think about the friendships in their lives and how important those people are in our lives. The theme of friendship is something everyone can relate to and it is timeless. There are some heavy issues addressed in A TASTE OF THINGS TO COME, but it is still a show that is fun and humorous with a lot of heart.
Kelli Curtin: Why is a show about women's friendship in the 1950s important/relevant today?
Erin Mackey: There has always been a special connection with women's friendships that stand the test of time. Many of us greatly value our friendships with other women. It is a special bond in our lives that cannot be replaced. For me personally, I always set up activities to do with my friends and we end up just talking for hours. A TASTE OF THINGS TO COME is a show that reflects on women and their place in society - it looks at how women look, act and talk - these themes are still relevant today, and it reflects on where we are as a society on our views about women and how we need to move forward.
Kelli Curtin: You have mentioned in previous interviews that you are a foodie. How does that help you in this show which is about a women's cooking club in the 1950s?
Erin Mackey: Knowing how to cook absolutely helps me in this show, I love to cook. When I initially heard about A TASTE OF THINGS TO COME, and knew it involved a story about a cooking club, I was on board. The women in this show are not the greatest cooks, for example they use shrimp from a can, which was very popular in the 50s. Personally, I love the idea of themed baking, I have made themed desserts for other shows I have been in.
Kelli Curtin: You have a successful career on both the stage and screen. Did you always want to be an actor? When did you realize you wanted to be on Broadway?
Erin Mackey: I did always want to be a performer. I grew up in Orange County, California and there are tons of Arts there. When I was eight years old, I was cast as Jane Banks in Mary Poppins in my elementary school's annual show. My parents were so encouraging. In playing Jane Banks my confidence shifted, I was really shy, and this really helped boost my confidence.
I love telling stories, and I have been really lucky to be able to play great roles in which the audience gets to go on a journey with me during the show. I knew I wanted to be on a stage since I was eight, and I have been really lucky in this business with all the roles I have had a chance to portray.
Kelli Curtin: Do you have a favorite role to date? Is there a role you would like to play that you have not yet had a chance to play?
Erin Mackey: I love all the roles I have had the opportunity to play for different reasons. However, I had the chance to play Clara in THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA in California, which was a dream role of mine. It was an incredible production and everything I wanted it to be. I also loved playing Nellie in SOUTH PACIFIC at Paper Mill Playhouse and I played the same role in Wichita, Kansas.
I love Rogers and Hammerstein musicals! So I would love to play Laurey in OKLAHOMA! or Anna in THE KING AND I. I would also love to play Marian in THE MUSIC MAN and Christine in THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA.
Kelli Curtin: In your opinion, why is live theatre important?
Erin Mackey: Live theatre has always been important throughout time. Through live theatre we learn things about society and it gives us a chance to reflect on things that we see in a live theatre piece. In a world where everything is digital, live theatre is now more important than ever. Live theatre gives us a chance to be in the same room with others and to collectively force us to have an experience with others. That experience can only happen once and cannot be replicated.
Erin Mackey can be seen in A TASTE OF THINGS TO COME at Bucks County Playhouse from January 30 through February 21, 2016. For more information and tickets visit their website at www.bcptheater.org or call their box office at (215) 862-2121.
Photos courtesy of Bucks County Playhouse