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Front Porch Theatricals
Front Porch Theatricals

Front Porch Theatricals
introduces the cast of our May 27 - June 5 production of
THE SPITFIRE GRILL

Lindsay Bayer
Percy Talbot
Terry Wickline*
Hannah Ferguson
Erin Lindsey Krom*
Shelby Thorpe
Matthew J. Rush
Caleb Thorpe
Clay Singer
Joe Sutter
Becki Toth
Effy Krayneck
   
  Michael Petrucci
The Visitor
 

* Member, Actor's Equity Association

 

INTERVIEWS

The Spitfire Grill

Cast and Team Interviews

Name: Becki Toth

Role: Effy Krayneck

 

  1. Describe your experience working with your director, Rachel Stevens.

 

I just want to hang out with her in her brain, she has such an imagination! You can never tell what will happen next. She blows my mind. She takes a pretty straight story and adds a universe of creative ideas and whimsy.

 

  1. What special preparation have you undertaken to understand your character? Have you ever played someone like him/her?

 

To prepare for this role, I am living this character. The challenge is to make my character more than just comic relief, but to make her human and able to fit with the rest of the characters. I am working at finding her humanity

 

 

  1. How do you feel about working with a cast size of 7 (versus smaller or larger casts you have worked with in the past)?

 

I love the size of the cast. Everyone is on everyone’s team, helping each other. This is a group of pros; a room full of winners. I personally have experience as both an actress and director. I love to direct big casts, but I like to be in a small cast – you get more one on one time with the director.

 

  1. This is not your first time working with Front Porch Theatricals. What brought you back?

 

I realize that this is a show I might never get to do otherwise or again. I read through the characters and said, no, no no, can’t play that and then, YES I can. This is such a change from The Light in the Piazza – it is a little more comedic, less intense; less opera and more musical theater. I always love coming back to Front Porch – it’s like a family reunion and a pleasure. I am lucky to be part of the Front Porch Theatricals family.

 

The Spitfire Grill

Cast and Team Interviews

Name: Lindsay Bayer

Role: Percy Talbott

 

1.      Describe your experience working with your director, Rachel Stevens.

She is great. Her brain is super creative and she has obviously poured over the show and thought about each character and their stories. She brings a really fresh and creative take to what could be some two dimensional traps – but we are in such good hands, it doesn’t happen!

2.      What special preparation have you undertaken to understand your character? Have you ever played someone like him/her?

This character is atypical from what I usually portray. She has been through a lot, she is deeply complex with duality: childish and mature; dark yet light. It is fun to play her.

3.      How do you feel about working with a cast size of 7 (versus smaller or larger casts you have worked with in the past)?

You can find in each of them that they are actors first. Sure the voices are definitely there but they connect on an authentic level which I appreciate very much.

4.      This is not your first time working with Front Porch Theatricals. What brought you back?

Because I love it! Front Porch does shows actors want to do and on top of that they treat you like you are a one and only special princess. They make you feel special, heard and empowered. They care about the product as much and more than we do and it shows!

 

The Spitfire Grill

Cast and Team Interviews

Name: Matthew J. Rush

Role: Caleb Thorpe

 

1.      Describe your experience working with your director, Rachel Stevens.

Right from the callbacks I knew that our director Rachel Stevens would be special. I was excited to get the role.  The depths of her insights and her ability to communicate her vision to the actors is breathtaking. She is really, really collaborative, open minded and her feedback has helped me to bring those insights to the role.

 

 

2.      What special preparation have you undertaken to understand your character? Have you ever played someone like him/her?

 

The character I play, Caleb, is complicated. He’s always felt passed over and ignored. He is a man who thought he had the tools to cope with what life threw at him. But he found that because the world was changing he doesn’t have the tools to succeed in the new paradigm. He feels a bit neglected. His job is not what he thought it would be. His relationship with his wife isn’t what he thought it would be. He struggles. He is doing what he thinks is right to protect his family and home.

 

3.      How do you feel about working with a cast size of 7 (versus smaller or larger casts you have worked with in the past)? It is daunting and challenging to consider myself part of a cast that is so talented, deep and experienced. They are tremendous to work with. I feel very fortunate.

 

4.      This is not your first time working with Front Porch Theatricals. What brought you back?

 

Because you get to work with these  people. Directors are of the highest caliber. The talent is the region’s best. Almost like a month of people paid to take masters classes and I am a sponge ready to soak it up. The acting the singing, Deana [Muro, the Musical Director] – it’s all a professional experience.

 

 

 

The Spitfire Grill

Cast and Team Interviews

Name: Erin Lindsey Krom

Role: Shelby Thorpe

 

1.      Describe your experience working with your director, Rachel Stevens.

 

She has such a clear vision but is still amenable to what actors think – It is a joy to collaborate with her!!

 

2.      What special preparation have you undertaken to understand your character? Have you ever played someone like him/her?

 

It is tricky. When I was 12 I was like Shelby – a lot of coming out of my shell happened later in my life. The preparation I am doing is mining my own life.

I love the music. The songs never leave my head. It is wonderful (and annoying!). I put it on in the background when I read the newspaper. It is just beautiful.  

 

3.      How do you feel about working with a cast size of 7 (versus smaller or larger casts you have worked with in the past)?

 

I love this cast size. It is just the right amount of people. I am an only child, and I can become easily overwhelmed with larger groups.

 

4.      This is not your first time working with Front Porch Theatricals. What brought you back?

 

This is far and away the best company I have ever worked for – from taking care of the actor, to everyone being treated the same – actors, interns, -- we are like a big family.

 

 

 

 

The Spitfire Grill

Cast and Team Interviews

Name of actor: Clay Singer

Role: Joe Sutter

 

1.      Describe your experience working with your director, Rachel Stevens.

It has been a blast. She has a wonderful way of communicating with all the actors. She allows open dialogue to blend where people see their character going but she also has an idea of where she is going. It is refreshing.

 

2.      What special preparation have you undertaken to understand your character? Have you ever played someone like him/her?

 

Like all characters in the show, he is a dreamer—more so than many. Everyone can identify with wanting to strive for something great and the beautiful thing about Joe is that he finds his joy and beauty. He was uncomfortable in his home at the beginning of the show, but learns to love it through Percy’s eyes and how she helps the town to grow and develop.

 

3.      How do you feel about working with a cast size of 7 (versus smaller or larger casts you have worked with in the past)?

Coming from a range of different cast sizes at Carnegie Mellon University, it is always fun to work with a small cast – you get to know everyone quicker, build bonds with them and the rest of the people in the production. It creates a fun, energetic rehearsal room!

 

4.      This is your first time working with Front Porch Theatricals. Why did you choose to come out and audition for them and how is that experience going so far…?

 

I have seen Front porch Theatricals productions since my freshman year. I always found them to be excellent – the first one was in the Heights, the production values were just great. I am honored to be part of my first how here!

 

 

 

 

 

The Spitfire Grill

Cast and Team Interviews

 

Name of actor: Trent Soyster

Role: Assistant Choreographer, Intern

 

1.      Describe your experience working with your chorographer, Alivia Owen.

 I have known Alivia for a while from the CLO Academy. To be able to be on her level, to assist her, marks a transition for me – going from a student to looking up to her as a fellow choreographer/collaborator. It is so exciting that I get to do this twice this year. [Trent will be back for Floyd Collins in August!]

 

2.      What special preparation have you undertaken to get ready for your role?

I was assistant stage manager for The Last Five Years and assistant choreographer for The Light in the Piazza and now I am lucky to be the assistant choreographer again. The main difference is now I am part of the action and have a say in what’s going on on stage – not just organizing. It is a chance to work with actors and develop relationships with them not just with actors’ “things”.

 

3.      How do you feel about working with this cast?

I get to do some teaching. And the choreography is really cool. It is modern-contemporary-ish. It is very different than Piazza.  It works perfectly for this show. I love the ensemble nature of the work.

 

4.      This is not your first time working with Front Porch Theatricals. What brought you back?

 

I think that it is unique to be able to work with a professional cast and professional staff at this young age (high school). You often can’t find  early hands on experiences where my ideas are being used, and I feel like I am contributing, and that my ideas are worthy of consideration. It is so short a process, and we are here many nights that we form tight buddy-buddy attachments. That is not to say that it’s relaxed. Everyone is here to put on a great show and they put in great work. As a result, the shows are always great.     

The Spitfire Grill

Cast and Team Interviews

 

Name of actor: Anne Amundson

Role: Assistant Stage Manager, Intern

 

1.      Describe your experience working with your director, Rachel Stevens.

 

It is fascinating and really good to work with her. She knows what she wants and for an assistant sage manger, that is really good. The experience is about what I expected for a large musical with a small cast.

 

2.      What special preparation have you undertaken for this role?

 

This is my first time as an assistant stage manger, but so far it is meeting my expectations I would definitely recommend to others.

 

3.      This is your first time working with Front Porch Theatricals. Why did you choose to come out for this experience?

 

I chose Front Porch Theatricals because I saw both shows last season and loved them. I know people who worked with FPT and they loved the experience. I knew I wanted experience in stage management and directing, since my career goals are playwriting and directing. And the Front Porch Theatricals’ internship gives me that hands on opportunity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Spitfire Grill

Cast and Team Interviews

Name of Actor: Michael Petrucci

Role: The Visitor

 

1.      Describe your experience working with your director, Rachel Stevens.

Awesome! It is a rare experience to work with someone who is so in depth. She can have a 15 minute talk about a 5 minute scene. She is putting so much backstory into the artistry. The script is great and the cast is great, but she is taking it to the next level!

 

2.      What special preparation have you undertaken to understand your character? Have you ever played someone like him/her?

I did  a lot of research – thinking back on dark times in life – I am a bit of a method actor, for this character it makes me seem standoffish at times. It’s so nice to have such a depth of character.  It’s a fun one!

 

3.      How do you feel about working with a cast size of 7 (versus smaller or larger casts you have worked with in the past)?

To be this intimate is amazing. And some familiar faces in the room made it easier. The swell of talent is ridiculous!

 

4.      This is your first time working with Front Porch Theatricals. Why did you choose to come out and audition for them and how is that experience going so far?

 

I thought after the first table read/sing through, “If you can’t get excited [by the talent] I don’t now what you’re doing here.” Now through rehearsals we are bringing it all together. It is the icing! This is such a nurturing environment for actors. I like having producers in the room. They are “educated”, they have been on stage, done this before. It is amazing to see the talent they bring together. The internships are more like hands-on apprenticeships. It puts you on your game vey quickly. You have to strive to be excellent. It is a big open environment, a collaborative effort. You see all the gears turning. It’s a big team effort!