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BWW Interview: Theatre Life with Corey Mach

BWW Interview: Theatre Life with Corey Mach
Corey Mach

Today's subject Corey Mach is currently living his theatre life as part of a play that deals with a true "legend" of pop music. I'm referring to that off-pitch sensation Mrs. Miller. Corey Mach portrays her accompanist Simon Bock in Mrs.Miller Does her Thing, which is now playing at Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia through March 26th.

Corey was last seen on Broadway in Hands on a Hardbody and the last revival of Godspell (Jesus/Judas standby). Off- Broadway credits include Invisible Thread at Second Stage Theatre (director Diane Paulus); and Chix 6 at the famed La MaMa ETC. On tour, Corey has performed in Wicked (First National), Flashdance the Musical (First National), and Rent. He will be seen soon on the HBO series Codes of Conduct. He appeared in the North American premiere of Tim Rice's From Here To Eternity at the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival. His many production credits at American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts include the world premiere of Sara Bareilles' Waitress; Pippin (Pippin); Violet (Monty); Harold & Maude (Harold); Andrew Lippa's The Wild Party (Burrs); and I Love You Because (Austin).

Mrs Miller Does her Thing might be about a woman who had no business becoming a professional singer, but make no mistake, with Debra Monk as Mrs. Miller and Tony Award Winner Director/Writer James Lapine attached, the show is sure to be very entertaining. With musical theatre talent like Corey Mach in the cast, the experience will be totally worth the trip. Check out Mrs. Miller Does her Thing at Signature Theatre for a slightly off- pitch - but definitely on-point - theatrical experience.

What was the first live theatre show you ever saw and what do you remember about the experience?

CATS! I was a very tiny tot, probably about six years old, so I don't remember much, but I specifically remember having an aisle seat and experiencing the "cats" walking past me in the beginning of the show as they made their way to the stage. I think having such a close encounter with the actors sparked my interest to pursue the need to do the same thing.

Where did you receive your training and who was your most influential teacher?

I began my Bachelors of Music degree at Baldwin Wallace Conservatory in 2006. The head of the musical program there is Victoria Bussert, an incredible educator and one of the smartest directors I've ever worked with to this day. She exhibits the perfect combination of sensitivity, passion, and business savvy. It was the perfect school for me, and I owe a huge portion of my career to Vicky.

BWW Interview: Theatre Life with Corey Mach
L-R Corey Mach, Will LeBow, Rebekah Brockman and Debra Monk in Signature Theatre's production of Mrs. Miller Does her Thing. Photo by Margot Schulman.

Can you please tell us a little something about Mrs. Miller Does her Thing? How does Director/Writer James Lapine treat this off-pitch musical icon and who is your character in the show?

Well, speaking of passion... James wrote this show over ten years ago, and this is the biggest, realized production thus far. It is definitely a passion project for him, which is evident in the writing, direction, and brilliant casting. It's a beautiful play about the ups and downs of fame, war, and denial. Mrs. Miller is a pure, conservative, church-going choir singer who, with the help of her accompanist Simon Bock (my character), is catapulted to fame. The aspect I so love about the writing is that Mrs. Miller is so earnest in her attempts to be a good singer that she never really realizes how bad she sounds; she just loves to sing. It's a trait that follows the character until the very end of the play, and it breaks my heart every night.

Do you have a particular "favorite" recording of a Mrs. Miller song?

There is a section halfway through "Downtown" where she completely forgets the words at the CLIMAX of the song and actually starts to laugh. Deb Monk does an incredible job of honoring that moment when we perform it in the show and it's one of my favorite parts of the play. It's just insane to me that whoever was mixing that recording of Mrs. Miller heard that take and said, "YEP, we'll press that one" (which is actually one of my lines in the play).

BWW Interview: Theatre Life with Corey Mach
Corey Mach and Sydney Morton in the national tour of Flashdance the Musical. Photo by Denise Truscello.

You were part of two shows that, in my opinion, never got the due they deserved. Flashdance the Musical never came into New York and Hands on a Hardbody had a shorter run on Broadway than it deserved. Can you please talk about your experience working on those two shows? Why do you think their outcomes were what they were?

It's a crapshoot. You can never predict the outcome of a show, especially when it's on Broadway. Flashdance is a commercial, household entity that was a lovely musical, and did great on tour, but maybe wouldn't have survived a New York run. Hands on a Hardbody suffered from what may have been a tricky marketing tactic, with a confusing title based off a not-as-well-known documentary. There are so many underlying factors that go in to creating a new musical, and they all have to be perfectly lined up in place to succeed on Broadway.

BWW Interview: Theatre Life with Corey Mach
Corey Mach singing "For Once in My Life" at Broadway Sings Stevie Wonder.

What does the rest of 2017 look like for you work-wise after Mrs. Miller Does her Thing closes?

The concert series I produce, Broadway Sings, is still alive and well: we'll be in Philly and DC with Broadway Sings Beyoncé & Bruno Mars, then at the Highline Ballroom in NYC in May with Broadway Sings Lady Gaga. Then in June, I'll be playing "Quasimodo" in Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz's Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Special thanks to Signature Theatre's Deputy Director of Creative Content and Publicity James Gardiner for his assistance in coordinating this interview.

Additional assistance was provided by Signature Theatre's Director of Marketing and Sales Jennifer Buzzell.

Theatre Life logo designed by Kevin Laughon.

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