BWW Interview: Theatre Life with Erin Weaver
Today's subject Erin Weaver is currently living her theatre life onstage at Imagination Stage in Bethesda, MD playing the title role in Wonderland: Alice's Rock & Roll Adventure. The production continues performances now through August 13th.
Anyone that has seen Erin onstage knows that she is one of the most versatile performers the area has to offer. She has played in everything from Shakespeare to Theatre for Young Audience pieces. She even performed in a musical while on roller skates. How's that for variety?
Some of her many area credits include A Wrinkle in Time, Miss Bennett: Christmas at Pemberley, Ordinary Days, and Or at Round House Theatre; Sense and Sensibility, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Comedy of Errors, and Romeo and Juliet at Folger Theatre; Xanadu, The Last Five Years, and Company at Signature Theatre; A Lump of Coal for Christmas at Adventure Theatre; Mother Courage and Her Children at Arena Stage; and The Night Fairy at Imagination Stage.
Erin has also performed in theatres across the country in a variety of roles. A few of these credits include Gossamer and Cinderella at People's Light & Theatre; You're a Good Man Charlie Brown and Mary's Wedding at Two River Theatre Company; Syncopation at Act II Playhouse; and An Artist's Workshop at Azuka Theatre.
She is married to director/writer/god of theatre Aaron Posner. The couple has one daughter named Maisie who maybe will follow in her parents' footsteps. Read Erin's answer to that question and see for yourselves.
Two things are for certain. Wonderland: Alice's Rock & Roll Adventure at Imagination Stage is the perfect way for your whole family to experience theatre together and Erin Weaver is one talented and remarkable performer. If her name is in your program, you've got nothing to worry about. She is easily one of the best in the area and with Wonderland: Alice's Rock & Roll Adventure you will totally see why this is true.
Where did you grow up and at what age did theatre become a part of your life?
I grew up in Glassboro and Cherry Hill, New Jersey so I'm a true Jersey Girl! Theatre was always part of my life because my mom and dad are both theatre people. They met doing theatre in college and are both very active in educational theatre and community theatre in South Jersey. My brother is a lighting designer. My little sister is an actor. My other brother was afraid to tell my parents that he WASN'T going to be actor. Not quite the usual situation... So acting and theatre has always been part of my life.
What was your first paid performance job?
My first major theatre job was playing young Cosette and Eponine in the first national tour of Les Misérables in Philadelphia for about six months when I was ten. It was an amazing experience.
Can you please tell us a little something about Wonderland: Alice's Rock & Roll Adventure? What makes this take on the material different from other adaptations of Lewis Carroll's story?
The Rock n' Roll! It's clear that [creators] Rachel Rockwell and Michael Malher were having a great time pulling from all these classical rock influences, and it is totally fun for all of us to play around in that world. We are telling a really great, really important story about a young girl growing up and asking great questions about who she is and what kind of person she wants to be when she grows up. You can feel how much fun the kids-and adults-in the audience are having, and we're having a great time up there, too.
The cast generally greets audience members after each performance of Wonderland: Alice's Rock & Roll Adventure. What are some of the best comments you've had from the younger audience members thus far?
Because I'm playing a seven-and-a-half-year-old some of the little kids are really confused when they meet me afterwards in the lobby. And they get even more confused if they see me with my five-and-a-half-year-old daughter Maisie. They say things like "You have a kid?" and when I tell them my real age, they look at me as though I might keel over any moment! But overall, they mostly seem to just love it. "So much fun" is a comment we all hear a lot.
You are married to director/writer Aaron Posner. How did the two of you meet and had you worked with him prior to becoming a couple?
I assistant directed for Aaron and that is how we got to know each other. I had seen a lot of plays he had directed, and I had a great deal of respect for him. Our professional relationship has grown with our personal relationship. It is not always easy, but we love working together. We totally respect each other, and that is what makes it work... with him, or with anyone else.
You were the lead in Xanadu at Signature Theatre. The role required you to sing and act while on roller skates. Did you find mastering the roller skating part of the job challenging?
I loved learning to roller skate. Roller skating was not hard. Dancing on roller skates while singing was a lot harder, but it was also a ton of fun.
Your performance credits range from musicals and modern plays to the classics. Is there one particular genre of theatre you prefer performing, or are they all equally rewarding?
There is no single kind of theatre I like better than any other. I care about great stories and working with strong ensembles. There is something particularly special about working in children's theatre. When the audience is young, we have the opportunity to have a real impact. Their hearts and minds are more open. It can be really rewarding.
You have a young daughter that I imagine is turning into a theatre kid. Will you and Aaron be encouraging your daughter to pursue a job in the arts?
Right now, Maisie wants to be an actress, singer, and a chef. She does love the theatre world we live in, and we love that. I know Aaron and I would both love to work with her at some point. I would love Aaron to direct both of us in a play someday. But then... who knows. It is up to her. If that is her path, then great! If it is something else, then we will support her in that, too.
With all of the technological distractions that younger theatergoers have nowadays, what do you think is the best way to get younger types interested in attending live theatre?
What's that great line from Field of Dreams? "If you build it, they will come." Do great plays. Tell great stories, and tell them well. That is all that really matters.
After Wonderland: Alice's Rock & Roll Adventure concludes its run, what upcoming projects do you have coming up?
Next up I am doing another show for young people. It is called Me...Jane and it will be at the Kennedy Center in the fall. It is about Jane Goodall, who is certainly a remarkable woman and tremendous role model for young people in general, and young girls in particular. So that is very exciting, and something I am particularly excited to share it with Maisie.
Special thanks to Imagination Stage's Marketing & Communications Associate Shea Bartlett for her assistance in coordinating this interview.
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