An Interview with Jonny Stein, playing Puck in Met by Moonlight

Jonny Stein Jonny Stein

Q: Where are you from?

San Rafael, CA

Q: How did you hear about The Music Theatre Company? What made you audition for the Young Artists’ Program?

I am good friends with Hannah Dawe and Patrick Sulken, the writers of Met by Moonlight. We went to the same college [Northwestern University] and I was in a few shows with them their senior year. I’ve seen their work before, and I couldn’t resist auditioning!

Q: Have you had any experiences with Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream?

This past year, we had an entire unit on Shakespeare in my acting class – one of the scenes I worked on for class was a Demetrius and Helena scene from Midsummer. My partner and I did much analytical work with the play to better understand the characters – we really enjoyed working on the play.

Q: What is your process of developing a character? How do you begin?

The first thing I like to do with a character is find how I can sympathize with him. Sometimes this process is easy, but sometimes it is less so. At first glance with this script, I wondered why Puck found the misery of mortals so entertaining, and why he sought to intentionally perpetuate it. As we delved deeper into the show, however, Puck comes to life and, for me, has a very human reason for doing magic.

Q: What do you want audiences to take away from the production?

I hope this show can be both fun and thought-provoking for the audience. I hope that audiences will be able to recall their experiences with love and their very natural but sometimes silly behavior when beginning relationships, and that they glean their own message from the show.

Q: What song is currently your summer anthem?

“Find My Way” – The Gabe Dixon Band

Q: What is your favorite food on a hot summer day?

An extra extra chicken, black beans, rice, and salsa verde (hold the onions) burrito from La Cumbre Taqueria in San Mateo, CA.

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An Interview with Gabrielle Browdy, playing Starveling in Met by Moonlight

Gabrielle Browdy Gabrielle Browdy

Q: Where are you from?

Deerfield, IL

Q: How did you hear about The Music Theatre Company? What made you audition for the Young Artists’ Program?

I had heard amazing things about TMTC through a few friends who have been involved in past productions of the Young Artists’ Program, and thought it would be a great experience to audition and be a part of this year’s program.

Q: What is your process of developing a character? How do you begin?

I always start by asking myself simple questions: Who am I? Where am I? What do I want? Why do I want it?

It’s important to me to clearly have all my superobjectives and tactics stated so that I am able to strongly explore the depth of my character.

Q: What do you hope to gain from YAP? What experiences are you most looking forward to?

I hope to gain many friendships and strong bonds during this year’s program. The whole cast is so incredibly welcoming, and it has been exciting to learn new things from other actors with whom I have not yet worked.

New work is always very exciting because no one has ever played the character that you will be playing. This makes the process incredibly exciting! I am excited about the final product and I can’t wait to keep learning, growing, and smiling throughout the program.

Q: What do you want audiences to take away from the production? 

When audiences view our production for the first time, I want them to see the relationships and ideas in the text and for them to relate to some of these characters’ experiences.

Q: What song is currently your summer anthem?

My summer anthem definitely has to be “Cruise” by Florida Georgia Line, I can never stop dancing when that song comes on!

Q: What is your favorite food on a hot summer day?

Raspberry lemonade iced tea!

An Interview with Eva Friedman, playing Hermia in Met by Moonlight

Eva Friedman Eva Friedman

Q: Where are you from?

I live in Deerfield, IL, but I’m moving to Boston to attend Northeastern University at the end of the summer!

Q: How did you hear about The Music Theatre Company? What made you audition for the Young Artists’ Program?

I learned about the program when I saw Merrily We Roll Along at TMTC two years ago. I was in the YAP show that summer and I met some truly amazing people who are now some of my closest friends. I love the professional atmosphere of TMTC. I feel at home here.

Q: What is your process of developing a character? How do you begin?

I want the characters I play to seem like real people, and I believe the small details are what make a person complete. I like to write everything out—both what the script tells me about the character and other information I discover on my own. This ranges from basics, such as her likes and dislikes, to more minute details. Seeing all this information in front of me helps me make bolder character choices. I try to take risks in rehearsals because that’s the only way to figure out what feels right.

Q: What do you hope to gain from YAP? What experiences are you most looking forward to?

I want to gain a better sense of a professional rehearsal process, and I am most looking forward to seeing how audiences react to our show. This piece has never been performed before – I find this to be exciting and just a little bit terrifying. I have never been in an original musical before, and sometimes I stop and think: “Wow. I am about to sing a song that no one outside this cast and crew has ever heard before.” And this is very exciting to me.

Q: What do you want audiences to take away from the production?

I hope people have a better understanding of how applicable Shakespeare’s themes are to any context. The play revolves around love, which is possibly the most complex concept in the word and yet somehow the most widely understood. Though there is a modern twist, the story itself is virtually the same. I hope that the audience can connect to these characters and gain a deep understanding of how love affects those bewitched by it.

Q: What song is currently your summer anthem?

“Carry On” (Fun) and “We Are Golden” (MIKA).

Q: What is your favorite food on a hot summer day?

DQ chocolate dipped cones!

An Interview with Danny Kapinos, playing Quince in Met by Moonlight

Danny Kapinos Danny Kapinos

Q: Where are you from?

Arlington Heights, IL

Q: How did you hear about The Music Theatre Company? What inspired you to audition for the Young Artists’ Program?

I have seen several of TMTC’s professional productions, and I discovered this program through the website and decided to audition for last year’s Young Artists’ Program production of Zanna, Don’t! I enjoyed the experience so much that I was thrilled to participate in the program again this year.

Q: Have you had any previous experience with Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream?

I have never worked on a production of a Shakespeare play before.

Q: What are some changes you see from the original source text to Met by Moonlight? What makes Met by Moonlight unique?

This adaptation has a very different tone than the original text, yet it still retains the essential elements that made the original story so powerful. There are definitely modern influences in this show, but at its heart, it is still very faithful to the centuries-old text.

Q: What is your process of developing a character? How do you begin?

I always begin with the text, looking at my character’s actions and language for clues that indicate who he is and why he is on stage at that point. I then use that as a starting point to develop a back story for my character that includes his relationships with the other characters in the show. During the rehearsal process, I get to see how my choices influence the scene, and then I refine and make more discoveries. It’s a process that can never really end, so even when the show opens, I will keep learning more about my character.

Q: What do you hope to gain from YAP? What experiences are you most looking forward to?

It’s very exciting to be working on a world-premiere musical, especially with such a talented group of individuals. My time in YAP last year was not only an invaluable learning experience but also really fun. I have no doubt that this year will be no different. I can’t wait to see how the show will end up!

Q: What do you want audiences to take away from the production?

I hope that audiences, especially young people, are able to see themselves in these characters. I also hope they have an enjoyable, entertaining summer evening seeing an exciting new work!

Q: What song is currently your summer anthem?

I’ve been listening to the new PIPPIN cast album constantly, so I’ll have to go with “Simple Joys” on that recording, sung by Patina Miller.

Q: What is your favorite food on a hot summer day?

Summer or winter–it doesn’t make a difference. My favorite food on any given day will always be deep dish pizza from Lou Malnati’s.

An Interview with Hayley Himmelman, playing Flute in Met by Moonlight

Hayley Himmelman Hayley Himmelman

Q: Where are you from?

Glencoe, IL.

Q: How did you hear about The Music Theatre Company? What made you audition for the Young Artists’ Program?

One of TMTC’s patrons told me about the Young Artists’ Program. I decided to audition because I heard really great things about the program and the excellent work that YAP has done in the past.

Q: What is your process of developing a character? How do you begin?

When I develop a character, I have a habit of bringing in my own characteristics and personality. I find what I can relate to within each character and then work to bring out those aspects in a real way.

Q: What do you hope to gain from YAP? What experiences are you most looking forward to?

I hope to gain a new group of friends within the ever-expanding theatre world. With every new connection I make, I feel as though I want to be involved in theatre even more. The cast of Met by Moonlight has truly been wonderful so far. I can’t wait for them to be my new theatre family as we share this brand new experience.

I’m also excited to have the opportunity to challenge myself theatrically by performing an adapted work of Shakespeare for the first time and challenging myself musically with the complex harmonies of the new score! 

Q: What do you want audiences to take away from the production?

What I hope audiences to take away from this production is that young artists are capable of so much. The writers have taken the world-renowned work of Shakespeare and adapted it beautifully, and we as a cast are creating new characters based on the well-known ones from the source text. It’s exciting!

I also hope the audience takes away the main idea of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and our new work – the immense, life-changing powers of love.

Q: What song is currently your summer anthem?

My summer anthem is “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke. I love dancing to it in the car! 

Q: What is your favorite food on a hot summer day?

An Iced Caramel Macchiato from Starbucks!

An Interview with Jennifer Coren, playing Helena in Met by Moonlight

Jennifer Coren Jennifer Coren

Q: Where are you from?

I live in Riverwoods, IL. 

Q: How did you hear about The Music Theatre Company? What made you audition for the Young Artists’ Program?

I heard about the Music Theatre Company when I went to see Merrily We Roll Along. I then auditioned for the Young Artists’ Program when Hannah Dawe, my choreographer for The Drowsy Chaperone at Deerfield High School, encouraged a few of us to come check out the show she would be directing over the summer. I am so happy I did because this is my first time being in a production of a new work, as well as performing at TMTC. I am ecstatic to be a part of such a talented group.

Q: What is your process of developing a character? How do you begin?

I love to build my characters from the ground up. I start with basic questions, “what do I want?” objectives, tactics, etc. I want to make Helena in our piece real and relatable. I am exploring different ways of portraying her to give her that depth. 

Q: What do you hope to gain from YAP? What experiences are you most looking forward to?

I hope to gain an amazing family (which we have already started) but also a new and challenging experience. I love that this production is directed and written by people who have just graduated from college. They have so many creative ideas and my mind is just blown by how incredibly talented they are. Between Hannah and Patrick [Sulken, composer and lyricist of Met by Moonlight], they are really taking everything to an elevated level. The music is beautiful, and I feel really challenged with all of the harmonies, which excites me. The language and vocabulary in the script are written in a poetic manner, which I have never had the pleasure of memorizing before. I have never done a Shakespearean or Shakespeare-inspired show, and I feel I am being challenged with the text and I love that. 

Q: What do you want audiences to take away from the production?

When audiences leave our production, I want them to feel like they have just connected with each one of us on a deeper level. I want them to feel that their story was just told on stage, or there was a story that they could somehow relate to, portraying their love for someone. That is what life is all about: love. When they walk away I want them to feel like we understand that everyone goes through the same pains, wants, heartbreaks, and butterflies just as they do. I also want them to be able to laugh at themselves, because sometimes we do not realize how ridiculous we are when we take life too seriously.

Q: What song is currently your summer anthem?

My summer anthem….hmm…that is a hard one. I am a big country girl so in the summer I love listening to The Dixie Chicks! I also love the song “American Girl” by Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers. That is such a summer song! 

Q: What is your favorite food on a hot summer day?

On a hot summer day, I love drinking ice-cold lemonade with lots of lemons! 🙂

Interview with cast member Matt Gold, playing Demetrius in Met by Moonlight

Matt Gold Matt Gold

Q: Where are you from?

I’m from Deerfield, IL – right down the street from The Music Theatre Company!

Q: How did you hear about The Music Theatre Company? What made you audition for the Young Artists’ Program?

Our awesome director, Hannah Dawe, choreographed the musical this last year at Deerfield High School. She was telling the cast what she was doing over the summer, and it sounded like a wonderful experience.

Q: What is your process of developing a character? How do you begin?

All of our characters do have a basic platform from Midsummer. During table work, all of the actors looked for the superobjective and how the character changes throughout the show.

Q: What do you hope to gain from YAP? What experiences are you most looking forward to?

This is definitely a learning process. I am looking forward to learning the language of Shakespeareand how a new work turns out!

Q: What do you want audiences to take away from the production?

The different forms of love and where they as audience members fit into them.

Q: What song is currently your summer anthem?

“Get Lucky by Daft Punk

Q: What is your favorite food on a hot summer day?

Italian Ice