Blog By: Sydney Moody; Marketing Intern
In this series of blogs, we got a sneak peak into the lives of our lead Joe Caskey as Billy Bigelow and our Music Director David Andrew Rogers. In today’s blog, we will interview our lead Julianne Reynolds who plays the role of Julie Jordan, who is the love interest of Billy Bigelow. We started off our interview by asking Reynolds how she got interested in theatre and how she got into professional theatre.
Reynolds: “I started performing in high school, and when I played Fantine in LES MISÉRABLES, I was hooked. Exploring my emotions through her music was immediately therapeutic. I was also drawn to the communal part of theatre. I have always loved being around artists and learning best when I’m collaborating with others.
Then, I went to Oklahoma City University to study voice. I was paired with my voice teacher Dr. Catherine McDaniel, who teaches a well-rounded classical technique that completely transformed my singing. I was fortunate enough to be in four operas during my time in school, even though I didn’t consider myself a classical singer when I got there. Then, I took some time off after college before I tried performing. CAROUSEL is only my second professional production ever.”
Wow! That is incredible that CAROUSEL is her second professional production ever! It is always interesting and special seeing the progress that actors and actresses can make when it comes to getting ready for a show as a lead, so we asked her how she prepared as a lead in and out of rehearsals.
Reynolds: “My preparation for this audition started with tackling the crossover R&H style of singing in voice lessons, which is not quite opera, not quite musical theatre. Once I got called back for the role of Julie, I watched some productions of the show, and read the Hungarian play that CAROUSEL is based off of. After I got the part, I started memorizing the material and trying to piece all of it together.
I realized pretty quickly how complex this character truly is, and that the work wasn’t going to just be in my mind, but in my heart. I actually wrote Julie a letter and talked to her as if she were a friend. I have always tried to take her point of view seriously and not judge her words or decisions. She is a victim in more ways than one, and her story isn’t archaic at all. People today are going through the same things Julie does. I wouldn’t feel like I was doing her story justice if I was looking down on her.
We started rehearsals for this show scene by scene, just because of how many moving parts there are. There have been dance rehearsals and blocking rehearsals happening simultaneously. For a show of this nature, it has been important to genuinely connect with scene partners and build trust. That way we can lean into stretching ourselves as individual artists and make the show as great as we can together. Now we’re running the show from start to finish, as well as incorporating the design and production side.”
As Reynolds explained to us, getting ready for a show takes so much work, especially in the professional industry. Some people end up choosing something else as their career path, so we asked Reynolds if she had a different career path along the lines or if she wanted a career in the arts for a while.
Reynolds: “To be honest, performing is the only career I ever ‘planned’ to have. I tried to have a career in technology, but the entire time I knew it wasn’t the right fit. Being an artist really is my favorite job in the world.”
Artists love what they do, and like everyone they have their favorites. Those in the theatre community have a show that stole their heart, whether it be from the memories they have made while being a part of the cast, the acting being amazing, or the terrific dance numbers. Everyone has their dream show that they wish they could perform once or do it again. We asked Reynolds what her dream show is.
Reynolds: “Corny answer, but CAROUSEL is definitely one of them! Some others that come to mind are SWEENEY TODD, SHE LOVES ME, WICKED, and WAITRESS. I want to play roles that scare me, because I see that as an opportunity to expand my abilities as a performer.”
We have learned so much from our blogs so far, from a younger, fresh perspective to a mature, professional perspective. We were curious if Reynolds had any advice to share with people in theatre or trying to get into theatre.
Reynolds: “Don’t accept the limitations others put on your artistry, nor any limitations you might place on yourself internally. There is always room to grow. Also, I wish someone had told me this years ago: figuring out what you like to sing/perform really matters! It motivates us to do the work, and people trying to hire us can usually tell if we aren’t connected to the material anyway.”
What an amazing interview we had with Julianne Reynolds. Don’t forget to visit our website and get your tickets for CAROUSEL to see our amazing actress live! CAROUSEL will be performed at the Civic Center from July 5-10.