The LDTC is gearing up for its summer season. As our summer company is starting to arrive, we are thrilled to have been able to catch up with Emily Dennis, the sole actress in the LDTC’s first show of the 2019 Summer Season Tell Me on a Sunday. Here are a few things Emily is looking forward to, what has challenged her, and a little about her character.
What was your first production at the Lake Dillon Theatre Company?
My first production with the Lake Dillon Theatre Company was Kander and Ebbs classic musical Cabaret back in 2016.
What is your favorite part of working on a musical?
There are many aspects I enjoy – everything from learning the music, to trying on my costume for the first time, to the anticipation of opening night – I love it all! As a performer, I have acted in many films and TV shows, which is something that I absolutely love doing, but there is nothing quite like getting live feedback from an audience. The synergy that happens between the actor and the audience as they experience the moments of the show together, and the awareness that these moments will never happen again exactly the same way twice, is pure magic.
How is doing a one-woman musical different than working with a cast?
When you work with other actors in musicals or plays, you are constantly assessing the information that is being given to you by your counterpart and depending on the way they choose to deliver a particular line will inform how you respond. In a one-woman musical, it is much more cerebral. It is important to create clear images in your head of the characters that will not appear on stage for the audience to witness. For example, visualizing how the characters dress, their age and their status are a few of the things that will definitely inform how they make you move, think, and feel about them. The background you create for the imagined people you “interact” within the show is equally as important as the work you do learning the character you are portraying yourself. The hope in doing this work is that the audience can see the characters you created as easily as if they were there in the room.
Joshua Blanchard is the director of Tell Me on a Sunday. What excites you about working with him?
I had the great pleasure of sharing the stage with Josh in Cabaret, and I was in the audience to witness his incredible work in the play Constellations. I also got to work under his direction for the LDTC’s 25th Anniversary Show. Needless to say, I am ridiculously excited to work with him again in this capacity! Josh is a brilliant actor himself, and he brings that expertise to the shows he directs. I wholeheartedly trust Josh and feel super safe to play around with different acting choices and that is so important in a director/actor relationship. He has a lot of creative and innovative ideas for Tell Me on a Sunday, and I am pumped to bring his vision to life! I feel so honored to have this opportunity, and I’m gonna savor every second!
What is your favorite song by Andrew Lloyd Webber?
I am a huge Andrew Lloyd Webber fan so it is hard to pick just one favorite, but I have a special place in my heart for his musical Jesus Christ Superstar as it was the first Webber musical I performed in when I was 6 years old, and it was also a favorite soundtrack that accompanied many family road trips when I was growing up. “I Don’t Know How To Love Him” and “Heaven On Their Minds” are some of my favorites from that show.
What is the most challenging thing about working on a one-woman musical?
The preparation and the sheer volume of material increases greatly when working on a one-woman musical. Since this is my first experience performing in a one-woman musical, I can’t fully predict what the most challenging thing will be, but I anticipate my rest and recovery period between shows will be taken much more seriously. Even though this show will require extra groundwork, I am excited to take this challenge on!
What is the most exciting?
I am definitely excited for the new experience and creative challenge that a one-person show offers. This show is particularly enticing to me due to the wide variety of musical styles that are showcased throughout the show. I am also excited to portray a character that has such a universal story which includes: falling in love, telling Mom about said love, heartbreak, loss, more love, telling Mom about new love, and more heartbreak. It is also always exciting to be back at my second home at the Lake Dillon Theater Company too :).
Can you tell us a little about your character?
My character is an English woman from Muswell Hill who has newly arrived in New York City brimming with optimism. In this interpretation of Tell Me on a Sunday, she is a singer-songwriter who sets out to seek success, companionship, and of course, love. Throughout the course of the show, you watch as she tackles similar patterns of behavior and how her anxieties, frustrations, and heartaches seem to be repeating themselves. Ultimately, she learns that you create your own happiness and that your own self-worth is not determined by another person.
How do you relate to your character?
In all honesty, I am VERY similar to this character in both her strengths and her vulnerabilities. It’s been quite cathartic to learn this music and relate it back to my own life. I would say the number one similarity between her and I is our ability to move on and bounce back after a painful life challenge. The character feels her life experiences deeply and has a wide emotional spectrum which is something I relate to very much. I admire the resilience of this character and her ability to stay strong and open in the face of adversity.
How are you different?
I’m not British…but I wish I was!
We are so excited to have you back at the LDTC. Why do you enjoy working with the LDTC?
The community that Chris, Josh, and the rest of the incredible staff have fostered at the Lake Dillon Theater Company is something so beautiful and rare in the professional theater world. I have made numerous lifelong friends from performing in shows here – both in the cast and in the audience – and that is something I absolutely don’t take for granted. The audiences here are whip-smart, and I love hearing their various observations from the show when talking with the audiences afterward. Lastly, we all know Summit County is one of the most picturesque places on earth so that’s an extraordinary bonus!
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