Meet the Cast of WHEN SHE HAD WINGS: Trevor Williams and Jhulenty Delossantos

Trevor:
What’s your name and where are you from?
My name is Trevor Williams and I am originally from Kent, Ohio.

What character are you playing?
I’m playing the Sound Op. The Sound Op, along with the Wingman, is sort of representative of the environment surrounding B and the expression of her perception of the environment. It’s great because we get to be in these roles where we are omnipresent but only kind of halfway on the stage which is a really interesting thing to play with.

Is this your first time performing in a show for young audiences?
No. The second show that I did after moving to New Haven a few years ago was with New Haven Theatre Company. It was Shipwrecked! which actually has a lot of similarities in tone and delivery to When She Had Wings. I played a part somewhat similar to the Sound Op but I was part of the larger chorus of the show that surrounded the main character and kind of created the environment. It had the same sort of playful, sort of child-like imaginative kind of nature to it which was great. I’m really glad to be back inside that sphere.

Is there a difference between performing Theatre for Young Audiences and theatre for adults?
Absolutely. I think that you can expect a lot more from a young audience. I feel like adult audiences come in with more expectations and pre-conceived notions of what a show should be. Children are much more willing to play. They’re much more willing to take what they’re handed and work with it. I feel like children more readily access the portions of their imaginations that can really bring a show to life.

What has been your favorite part of the rehearsal process?
The exercises that Nick has brought to us to sort of break down the barriers with one another as a cast and also the barriers within ourselves. He’s done a lot of really great things that I was not expecting or not familiar with and I think I probably would have benefitted having gotten them earlier in my acting career. But I’m really glad to have them now. He’s definitely used exercises that I think were geared specifically towards this play but I feel like the application of them is very wide ranging and I’m planning to hang on to them for a long time.

What would you say to a kid coming to see the show?
Go ahead and come in attached to the ground but don’t expect to stay that way.

Jhulenty:

Can you tell me your name and where you’re from?
My name is Jhulenty and I’m from Yonkers, New York. I live in Bridgeport right now.

Can you tell me about your character in the show?
Yes, of course. My character goes by the name of Wingman. He and the Sound Op are basically the embodied imagination of B. So whatever B thinks or feels in the moment, we kind of have to represent her inner life. And how she reacts inside… all of her emotions… we demonstrate that through movement and sound.

What’s your favorite thing about the show?
What I love about the show is actually the role I’ve been given, honestly. Being able to represent somebody’s imagination and being able to represent somebody’s emotions without words is a very challenging and interesting experience. For us to be able to find ways to express how somebody else is feeling…it’s really important.

Have you ever performed for young audiences before?
No I haven’t, this is the first time!

Do you think there is something different about doing a show for young audiences?
Yeah there definitely is. It’s not like a regular straight play. We have to find different ways to deliver the message in a more comprehensive way. It’s usually not with words that we deliver our ideas, it’s more expressions and movement. The whole play is more about what you do and how that helps deliver the message.

What has been your favorite part of rehearsal process?
My favorite part is working with Nick, he’s a great director. His openness, his willingness to collaborate is just really fascinating. I really like the way he’s just so open to ideas and always willing to adjust. He’s just very adaptable, which is really awesome and I really think that it’s gonna really help the play.

Is there anything you want to say to kids who are coming to see the show?
Yes! You’ll love it! You’ll enjoy it! Come see the show! You will not regret it!

Is there anything else you want to add?
I would like to thank Nick for the opportunity and chance to do theatre for young audiences. This will really help me and allow me to become a better actor and find new ways and different techniques of working.

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Meet the Cast of WHEN SHE HAD WINGS: Johnson Flucker

Can you tell me your name and where you’re from?
My name is Johnson Flucker. My wife and I are empty nesters living in Trumbull, Connecticut. I’m from Pittsburgh originally.

Can you tell me a little bit about the characters that you’re playing in the show?
I play three characters, all of whom interact with the young girl B. The first character I play is her father. He’s a fellow trying to figure out how he can help his daughter transition from age nine to age ten. The second character I play is called “Attendant.”He is a fellow who shows up in the middle of the play looking for a runaway from a facility that takes care of people who have “wandered” inbody and mind.And the last character I play is called “Man.”He is an otherworldly type, perhaps not human, but more of a presence, that acts as a moral force and helps people reflect on realizing their true nature.

What do you like about this show?
Well, I like it on two levels. The easy one to answer is that it’s extremely rewarding to play three contrasting characters. The reason I enjoy being involved in the play generally is because the playwright is exploring a very strong and important storyline with a lot of significance for the principal- my friend Olivia who’s playing the part of B. She’s playing the part of the young girl who’s trying to figure out what’s going on in life. You know many people say that around age nine, they kind of woke up and realized that everything was not just popcorn and Saturday morning cartoons, but relationships are important. And one’s first relationship is with one’s self. I think it’s a very important message for everyone, not just young people. Theatre’s job is to alert the audience with an eye for possible self-examination and transformation.

Is this your first time performing for young audiences?
Yes. I’ve done a lot of plays, most of them have been dramas, musicals, and a solo showfor adults. I do have a long music career that I was involved in before I acted and a lot of that actually involved young singers. I was a choir master for choirs of grades four through eight. So I’ve had a lot of experience training young voices. I did that for over 20 years.

What has been your favorite part of the rehearsal process so far?
Getting it on its feet- that old theatre expression- after everyone has discussed various things with the director and the other actors- getting it on its feet and beginning to see how it’s shaping up physically. The process of theatre is fascinating.There is the intellectual process that you go through to make decisions about what could make your character convincing and then you try it out. And sometimes what you thought doesn’t work. Sometimes it works better than you think. And sometimes something that never occurred to you emerges in the process and you can incorporate that into the work. And that makes it very much a living organism.

Is there anything you want to say to kids coming to see the show?
Well first of all, enjoy the show! Know that live theater is a very differentexperience than watching television or film or interacting with games. We are literally going to move our bodies and air in and out of our lungs. This is what makes theater such a wonderful, powerful, and transformative art form.  Have a great time! Enjoy the show.

 

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Meet the Cast of WHEN SHE HAD WINGS: Olivia Welch

Can you tell me your name and where you’re from?
My name is Olivia Welch and I am from Wallingford.

What character are you playing? Can you please describe your character in a few sentences?
I’m playing A. A is kind of an abstract, mystical character. Throughout the show a lot of layers are pulled apart as to who she is. She appears in B’s back yard at the beginning of the show and both B and the audience are trying to figure out who she is and why she’s here.

Is this your first time performing for young audiences? Do you think there is anything special about doing a show for young audiences?
I think it is actually! Kids are really honest. What we’ve been talking about in rehearsals is that kids are just like adults in that they want honesty onstage and so we’re working on being as true as possible, even with the crazy circumstances of the show.

What has been you favorite part of the rehearsal process so far?
All the props we get to play with! And for me, I just get to make crazy noises and explore really fun movement styles and play with the animalistic versus humanistic. That’s what’s been really fun- just getting to play around with everything whether it be the sound, the props, or the movement.

What would you say to kids coming to see the show?
I would tell them to strap in, get ready to fly with us, and just enjoy!

 

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BROWNSVILLE SONG Reunion

This was right before we parted ways: (L-R) Eric Ting, Catrina Ganey, Me, Sung Yun Cho, My Sister (Malenky Welsh), Elizabeth Nearing, Community Engagement Manager at Long Wharf Theatre, my other sister (Remsen Welsh) and Kathy Snyder. It was great to be back with my other family.

This was right before we parted ways: (L-R) Eric Ting, Catrina Ganey, Me, Sung Yun Cho, My Sister (Malenky Welsh), Elizabeth Nearing, Community Engagement Manager at Long Wharf Theatre, my other sister (Remsen Welsh) and Kathy Snyder. It was great to be back with my other family.

Written by: Kaatje Welsh (Devine in brownsville song)

As Lewiston comes to a close, I want to congratulate Eric Ting. I recently saw this beautiful production and was reminded of the show I did about a year ago – brownsville song (b-side for tray).
What I noticed in this production of Lewiston, was how the cast seems so close to one another, like they had known each other for a long time. That’s what I felt, while doing brownsville song. It was like family.

It was great fun, I had phenomenal cast mates, and the director was amazing. It was my first professional production, and also my first regional show – it traveled from Long Wharf Theatre to Suzanne Roberts Theatre in Philadelphia. After the show ended I missed walking home with my cast mates. We would walk all the way from South Broad St. to our hotel on South 18th Street. But before this turns sad, I actually did get to see them again. I saw some of the cast here, and there. We all met up some time ago, but we never had a real “brownsville song Reunion” until a few weeks back. We all agreed that we needed to see each other, and Eric (our director) who was directing a show called Lewiston at Long Wharf, which is an amazing show; it was beautifully written. Something that helped me understand the play a little better was a program called “Spark” at Long Wharf; both my sister Remy and I attended. It was here Eric Ting interviewed people involved in the production, and also talked about the production and what happens behind-the-scenes of Lewiston. We got to talk to the writer (Samuel D. Hunter), and the Stage Manager. The Dramaturg and the Managing Director of Long Wharf also spoke to us about the role they played in this production. It was a great experience being able to have a conversation with them, and ask questions. My sisters and I are actors, so it’s interesting for us to get a better understanding of what they have to do for a show.

Going back to the reunion – After we all went to see Lewiston, we went to “The Study” to celebrate Eric’s amazing show and also celebrate the brownsville song Reunion.

Here are some photos of our reunion taken at The Study:

When we first met up on Saturday. (L-R)  Stage Manager Kathy Snyder, Sung Yun Cho, Merell in Brownsville Song, and then there’s me, Devine in Brownsville Song.

When we first met up on Saturday. (L-R) Stage Manager Kathy Snyder, Sung Yun Cho, Merell in brownsville song, and then there’s me, Devine in brownsville song.

This is (L-R) Sung Yun Cho, Merell in Brownsville Song, Catrina Ganey, Lena in Brownsville Song, and then there’s Kathy Snyder, Stage Manager.  They were all talking about a funny incident in one of the performances.

This is (L-R) Sung Yun Cho, Merell in brownsville song, Catrina Ganey, Lena in brownsville song, and then there’s Kathy Snyder, our stage manager. They were all talking about a funny incident in one of the performances.

Here’s Eric Ting, Director, making some funny faces.

Here’s Eric Ting, Director, making some funny faces.

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Meet the Cast of WHEN SHE HAD WINGS: Olivia Florence

Olivia Florence blog

Can you tell me your name and where you’re from?
My name is Olivia Florence and I am originally from Hamden. I’m now living in Willimantic.

Did you ever come to Long Wharf as a kid? Have you been here before?
Yes I have. It’s always been a dream of mine to be working in this theatre so to be honest I’m really excited about being here. I’ve always had a great respect for the shows that have been performed here. I’ve always just been fascinated with theatre and my love of it definitely grew from being here as a child.

Can you tell me about the character that you’re playing?
I’m playing the role of B. B is a 9 year old tenacious little spitfire with an objective of being in the air and flying. She loves Amelia Earhart and everything that has to do with the sky. For her there are no limits.

What’s your favorite thing about the show?
What I really love about this show is just how it can strike a chord with a person of any age. I think it can do a lot of different things for a lot of different people and I think there’s true value in a show that’s able to touch the hearts of people ages nine to ninety. I’m excited to be a part of that.

What has been your favorite part of the rehearsal process so far?
My favorite part of the process is definitely just getting closer with the cast and getting to know my director and everybody that I’m working with. I just have such a great respect for everybody involved in all aspects of theatre so it’s really nice to get to see how things are done in such a great space, especially at Long Wharf.

What would you say to kids coming to see the show?
Buckle up and get ready for a great adventure on a flight you’ll never forget!

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Whos was Louis Anquetin? | My Paris

Louis Anquetin blogLouis Anquetin (1861 – 1932) was a French painter who is played in My Paris by Andrew Mueller . Anquetin was born in Étrépagny, France and educated at the Lycée Pierre Corneille in Rouen. In 1882 he came to Paris and began studying art at Léon Bonnat’s studio, where he met Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. The two artists later moved to the studio of Fernand Cormon, where they befriended Émile Bernard and Vincent van Gogh. Around 1887, Anquetin and Bernard developed a painting style that used flat regions of color and thick, black contour outlines. This style, named cloisonnism by critic Edouard Dujardin, was inspired by both stained glass and Japanese ukiyo-e. One example of this can be seen in Avenue de Clichy: Five O’Clock in the Evening (above right), argued by Dr. Bogomila Welsh-Ovcharov as being inspiration for Van Gogh’s famous Cafe Terrace at Night.

Andrew Mueller

Andrew Mueller

He eventually fell from the public’s eye after abandoning the modern movements, opting instead to study the methods of the Old Masters. Thus, Anquetin’s works following the mid-1890s, such as Rinaldo and Armida, were especially Rubensian and allegorical in nature. In 1907 he met Jacques Maroger, a young artist who shared his interest, with whom he collaborated. Later in life, Anquetin wrote a book on Rubens, which was published in 1924. He died in Paris.

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Cha-U-Kao, May Milton, and Valentin the Boneless | My Paris

Cha-U-Kao blog

Toulouse-Lautrec’s portrait of Cha-U-Kao

Tiffany Mann

Tiffany Mann

Cha-U-Kao
In our production of My Paris, Tiffany Mann plays clown Cha-U-Kao. Cha-U-Kao was the name of a French entertainer who performed at the Moulin Rouge and the Nouveau Cirque in the 1890s. Her stage name came from the “chahut-chaos”, a dance derived from the cancan. She was depicted in a series of paintings by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Cha-U-Kao soon became one of his favorite models. The artist was fascinated by this woman who dared to choose the classic male profession of clowning and was not afraid to openly declare that she was a lesbian.

Poster of May Milton by Toulouse-Lautrec

Poster of May Milton by Toulouse-Lautrec

Anne Horak

Anne Horak

May Milton
May Milton, an English music hall refugee who was engaged by the Moulin Rouge for a single season, is played by Anne Horak in My Paris. Toulouse-Lautrec’s poster captures her off-kilter attractions: pale skin, red hair, a double-jointed leg wrenched out from under the skirt of a little girl’s white dress, revealing a glimpse of a red-patterned lining. Unlike the artist’s posters for other performers, which were advertisements for Parisian nightspots, May Milton’s was created to promote an upcoming tour of the United States that may have never taken place. According to critics, the English dancer May Milton was short on talent and physical beauty. After just one winter on the Paris stage, she reportedly departed for New York, never to be heard from again. Her enduring fame rests on the poster by Toulouse-Lautrec designed for her American tour, which, apparently, never materialized.

Sketch by Toulouse Lautrec of La Goulue and Valentine the Boneless.

Sketch by Toulouse Lautrec of La Goulue and Valentine the Boneless.

Timothy Hughes

Timothy Hughes

Valentin the Boneless
Valentin the Boneless (1843 – 1907), portrayed by Timothy Hughes in My Paris, was the stage name of Jacques Renaudin, a French Cancan dancer and partner of La Goulue. He was the brother of a notary from Sceaux. Not much is known about his early childhood but it is believed that he was a wine merchant by day who was dancing at night in his free time at the Moulin Rouge, where he met Louise Weber, also known as La Goulue. Le désossé and Weber danced the ‘chahut’, an early form of Can-can. He was tall and slender. His name derived from the elasticity of his articulations. He could perform difficult contortions with grace, almost as if he were boneless. He would move from position to position with astonishing beauty. Le désossé was never paid for dancing because he loved to do it and refused pay. He retired in 1895 and what he did after the Moulin Rouge is not well known.

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René Grenier and Henri Rachou | My Paris

henri and rene blog

Portrait of Henri de Toulouse Lautrec by Henri Rachou (left) and Portait of Rene Grenier by Toulouse-Lautrec (right)

John Riddle

John Riddle

René Grenier
In the musical My Paris, John Riddle portrays René Grenier. Albert (René) Grenier (1858–1925) and Toulouse-Lautrec were fellow students in the Paris atelier of academic history painter Fernand Cormon during the 1880s and became fast friends: Toulouse-Lautrec even lived briefly with Grenier and his mistress, Lili, an actress and model, and made several portrayals of the couple. They took Toulouse-Lautrec to parties, dance-halls and cabarets, and photographs of the time show him dressed up with his friends in exotic costumes. Meanwhile, another set of friends at Cormon’s studio – Emile Bernard, Vincent van Gogh and Louis Anquentin – widened his horizons artistically and helped him find his own style.

Josh Grisetti

Josh Grisetti

Henri Rachou
Henri Rachou (1856-1944) was a portrait and landscape painter who is portrayed by Josh Grisetti in our production of My Paris. Rachou studied with the great painter Léon Bonnat at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Rachou met and befriended Toulouse-Lautrec there, and famously painted his portrait in 1882. Both artists later went on to study in Fernand Cormon’s studio. Rachou’s work was largely inspired by impressionism, and he exhibited his work at the Salon starting in 1880. He later became the curator of the Musee des Augustins in Toulouse, where he died in 1944.

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Who Was La Goulue? | My Paris

La Goulue blog

Louise Weber  1866 – 1929) was a French can-can dancer who performed under the stage name of La Goulue (“the glutton”). She also was referred to as the Queen of Montmartre. In our production of My Paris La Goulue is portrayed by Nikka Graff Lazarone. Very little is known about her early childhood, but it is believed that Louise Weber was born into a Jewish family from Alsace that eventually moved to Clichy, near Paris. Her mother worked in a laundry. As an impoverished young girl who loved to dance, Weber is said to have enjoyed dressing up in laundry customers’ expensive clothing and pretending to be a glamorous star on a great stage. At age 16, she was working with her mother in the laundry, but behind her mother’s back began sneaking off to a dance hall dressed in a customer’s “borrowed” dress.

Nikka Graff Lanzarone

Nikka Graff Lanzarone

Dancing at small clubs around Paris, Louise Weber quickly became a popular personality, liked for both her dancing skills and her charming audacious behavior. In her routine, she teased the male audience by swirling her raised dress to reveal the heart embroidered on her panties and would do a high kick while flipping off a man’s hat with her toe. Because of her frequent habit of picking up a customer’s glass and quickly downing its contents while dancing past their table, she was affectionately nicknamed “La Goulue” (The Glutton). Eventually she met the Montmartre painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir who introduced her to a group of models who earned extra money posing for the community’s artists and photographers. Louise Weber was taken under the wing of Jacques Renaudin, a wine merchant who danced in his spare time under the stage name “Valentin le Désossé”. They danced at the renowned Moulin Rouge in Montmartre when it first opened, performing an early form of the Cancan known as the “chahut.” The two were instant stars, but it was Weber who stole the show with her outrageously captivating conduct.

Booked as a permanent headliner, La Goulue became synonymous with the Cancan and the Moulin Rouge nightclub. The toast of Paris and the highest paid entertainer of her day, she became one of the favorite subjects for Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, immortalized by his portraits and posters of her dancing at the Moulin Rouge. Having achieved both fame and fortune, in 1895 Weber decided to part company with the Moulin Rouge and strike out on her own. She invested a considerable amount of money into a show that traveled the country as part of a large fair; but her fans who had lined up to buy tickets at the Moulin Rouge did not take to the new setting, and her business venture turned into a dismal failure. Following the closure of her show, La Goulue disappeared from the public eye. Suffering from depression, she drank heavily and dissipated the small fortune she had accrued while dancing. Alcoholic and destitute, La Goulue returned to Montmartre in 1928. She eked out a living selling peanuts, cigarettes, and matches on a street corner near the Moulin Rouge; no one recognized the severely overweight and haggard former Queen of Montmartre. She died a year later.

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Who Was Yvette Guilbert? | My Paris

yvette guilbert blog

Portrayed in My Paris by Kate Marilley, Yvette Guilbert (1865– 1944) was a French cabaret singer and actress of the Belle Époque. Born into a poor family as Emma Laure Esther Guilbert, Guilbert began singing as a child but at age sixteen worked as a model at the Printemps department store in Paris. She was discovered by a journalist. She took voice and acting lessons on the side that by 1886 led to appearances on stage at smaller venues. Guilbert debuted at the Variette Theatre in 1888. She eventually sang at the popular Eldorado club, then at the Jardin de Paris before headlining in Montmartre at the Moulin Rouge in 1890. For her act, she was usually dressed in bright yellow with long black gloves and stood almost perfectly still, gesturing with her long arms as she sang. An innovator, she favored monologue-like “patter songs” (as they came to be called) and was often billed as a “diseuse” or “sayer.” The lyrics (some of them her own) were raunchy; their subjects were tragedy, lost love, and the Parisian poverty from which she had come.

Kate Marilley

Kate Marilley

During the 1890s she appeared regularly alongside another star of the time, Kam-Hill, often singing songs by Tarride. Taking her cue from the new cabaret performances, Guilbert broke and rewrote all the rules of music-hall with her audacious lyrics, and the audiences loved her. She was noted in France, England, and the United States at the beginning of the twentieth century for her songs and imitations of the common people of France. She was a favorite subject of artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, who made many portraits and caricatures of Guilbert and dedicated his second album of sketches to her. Sigmund Freud attended performances, including one in Vienna, and called her a favorite singer. George Bernard Shaw wrote a review highlighting her novelty. Guilbert made successful tours of England and Germany, and the United States in 1895–1896. She performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Even in her fifties, her name still had drawing power and she appeared in several silent films (including a star turn in F. W. Murnau’s Faust). She also appeared in talkies, including a role with friend, Sacha Guitry.

Her recordings for La Voix de Son Maitre include the famous “Le Fiacre” as well as some of her own compositions such as “Madame Arthur.” She accompanied herself on piano for some numbers. She once gave a performance for the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII, at a private party on the French Riviera. Hostesses vied to have her at their parties. In later years, Guilbert turned to writing about the Belle Époque and in 1902 two of her novels (La Vedette and Les Demi-vieilles) were published. In the 1920s there appeared her instructional book L’art de chanter une chanson (How to Sing a Song). She also conducted schools for young girls in New York and Paris. Guilbert became a respected authority on her country’s medieval folklore and on 9 July 1932 was awarded the Legion of Honor as the Ambassadress of French Song. Yvette Guilbert died in 1944, aged 79. She was interred in the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.

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