Saturday, July 11, 2009

New Interview with Stephanie Fredricks

Crown City Theatre's Passionella from The Apple Tree - Stephanie Fredricks - talks about her passion: the theatre.
Q: How many plays have you done for Crown?
This is actually my first show with Crown and my third stage production since I moved to Los Angeles three years ago. So I’m averaging one theatre production per year. I’d better get busy! And…knowing that this is only my first role with Crown makes me wonder how I could improve the experience, but… I’m having such a blast!
Q: What are the challenges of playing Ella/Passionella and making her delightful to the audience?
Ella and Passionella have two completely different personalities but, unlike someone with a mental disorder, they are completely aware of each other. Ella is meek, awkward, clumsy and completely talent-free! Passionella is beautiful and confident – a movie star! I find playing the different characters to be the easy part. The challenge comes when Passionella is feeling nervous or threatened and I have to bring little bits of “Ella” into her personality.
Q: What is the appeal of the three musicals that make up The Apple Tree? Do you think Passionella is the best of the three?
All three musicals have that “careful what you wish for” theme which will never lose its relevance. As far as which one is the best I’ve found that each audience responds differently to each act. Some people really connect to the charm of The Diary of Adam and Eve. Others laugh out loud at the campy flavor of The Lady or The Tiger? And, there are those audience members that respond the most to the old-school humor and Cinderella story of Passionella. It’s just a question of what appeals to the individual.
Q: How do you like teaching acting to young children?
I love teaching! It has a lot to do with that “if I knew then what I know now” thing. To have the opportunity to help prepare young people (and their parents) who want to pursue careers in theatre, film and/or television is a really gratifying experience. It’s important that they understand that their job isn’t to “book the gig.” It’s to audition and build relationships with casting directors, theatres, producers, etc. Those are the people that are eventually going to help them develop their careers. And, the only thing they can control is how prepared they are and what they do in their audition. Everything else is out of their hands.
Q: How many musicals have you done? Is it your favorite type of theatre?
I don’t know that I could actually count the number of musicals that I’ve done and come up with an accurate number. I love all types of theatre. For me, it comes down to the project I’m doing, the role I’m playing, and the people I’m working with. And, really, there’s nothing like live theatre. You never know what’s going to happen and you just have to roll with it!
Q: What role do you really want to play?
Growing up, there were so many roles I wanted to play and I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to play them. Now, I’m too old to play them! I’d have to say the next dream role on my list would have to be Galinda/Glinda in Wicked. Aside from the fact that it’s an absolutely hilarious role, to have the opportunity to use different vocal styles and personalities, and to really be able to grow with a character over the course of the show . . . well, it just doesn’t get any better than that. If it does, then it hasn’t been written yet.
Q: Who are your acting idols?
Too many to innumerate in multiple mediums! When I was a kid I wanted to be Jody Foster. I’ve been a fan of hers since she was the Coppertone baby! But, I remember seeing Meryl Streep in Sophie’s Choice and it changed my life. I’d never seen anyone in a role like that – such emotional range, multiple languages, she even made me laugh! I just didn’t realize that was possible. It was definitely something to aspire to. Since then I can honestly say there have been dozens of actors, both male and female, that I have learned so much from. In fact, it’s rare that I leave a play or a film where I didn’t learn something from someone’s performance.
Q: What is your favorite musical of all time? Why?
That is probably the toughest question you could’ve asked me. There are so many to choose from, and while my head keeps buzzing about every musical I’ve ever known in hopes to not leave one out, I keep returning to West Side Story. The genius of Bernstein’s score and Sondheim’s lyrics notwithstanding, it is the best telling of a story through dance that I’ve ever seen. That show, in its original form, was like the perfect mating of writers, director, and choreographer that any show has ever had!
Q: How have your audiences been for The Apple Tree?
I’m so appreciative of theatre audiences especially those that support small companies. In our current economic situation I’m truly touched that people are still doing what they can to treat themselves to the things they enjoy while supporting the arts. I have hope that theatre in Los Angeles will continue to grow and thrive despite the difficulties it faces as long as there are still people who love it!

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