Thursday, October 30, 2014

Beyond the Stage: ONCE Cast Member Exclusive

Watch Erica Swindell as Reza in ONCE this week
at The Orpheum Theatre, Memphis TN.
Winner of 8 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, ONCE is finally in the house and playing at the Orpheum Theatre now through Sunday, November 2nd!

We recently caught up with cast member Erica Swindell for a quick Q&A.  Erica, who plays Reza in ONCE and is also the show's Dance Captain, gave us the scoop on her role, the show, and her personal experiences as a performer.  Check out what she had to say and make plans to see Erica in action this week at the Orpheum.

Main and Beale: Thank you for being with us Erica!  We'll get started with a question from one of our Orpheum fans. At what age did you begin performing?  Did you start out training to be a triple threat?

Erica: I started performing when I was about 7 years old.  I began my training with the violin at the age of three and found my way to acting and singing later on.

Main and Beale: Is this your first trip to Memphis?  What are you looking forward to doing while you're here?

Erica: This is my first visit to Memphis!  I am hoping to see as much live music as possible.

Main and Beale: Well you came to the right place! Speaking of music, the music in ONCE is famous, but a lot of people don't know what to expect from the story.  Can you describe the show for those who haven't heard of it before?

Main and Beale: ONCE is the modern everyman's journey.  It's about passion, music, love, hardship, and rebirth.  Through live music play and sung by the cast onstage you will expect to be moved unexpectedly.

Main and Beale: Tell us a little bit about your role, both your character and your job as Dance Captain.

Erica: I play Reza who is the Czech best friend and housemate of the main character, Girl.  Reza is a loyal, fierce, and colorful woman who is a true survivor.  I also play violin as Reza in the show musically.  As Dance Captain, I work to maintain the movement and physical storytelling in our show and keep it as close to Steven Hoggett's original vision as possible.

Erica Swindell and ONCE Tour Company © Joan Marcus
Main and Beale: You mention movement.  We've heard that ONCE had a Movement Director as opposed to a Choreographer.  What is the difference between movement and choreography, and how does it play a part in ONCE?

Erica: [Steven] Hoggett's work digs deep into your soul.  He creates physical manifestations of emotional experience.  He is a storyteller first, which threads a much deeper heart string throughout the show.  We never dance or move simply because it's a musical.  It is seamlessly interwoven with John Tiffany's direction and the beautiful music created by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova.

Main and Beale: In your opinion, what makes ONCE different from other musicals?

Erica: Everyone has a unique experience when they see the show.  There are so many characters and stories to connect to.  Mostly it is different because of the actors also being the orchestra.  And we let you drink onstage before the show.  Which also doesn't hurt.

ONCE plays at the Orpheum Theatre now through November 2nd.  For more information or to purchase tickets click here or call 901.525.3000.

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