Hello, you secret theatre-loving hipsters. After a nice electronic tennis match concerning appropriate language with the producers of Broadway’s Spring Awakening tour, currently rockin’ it at our very own The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts ( I like saying The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts), I was able to e-sit down with two of the show’s leading actors, Christy Altomare and Blake Bashoff and e-get their e-thoughts on performing this amazing show in this (achem) amazing city.
BTW, all you TV nerds (who ISN’T a TV nerd), the lot of you may recognize Blake as Karl from Lost Seasons 2 through 800. Now get your sweet, sweet asses off of the couch and smack them right down into a John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts seat to experience of the few remaining performances of Spring Awakening!
WELCOME TO WASHINGTON, YINZ! What are your impressions of our wonderful little city so far?
Blake: I love it here! So much history, fantastic museums and art galleries, some really cool neighborhoods. And it’s a true honor to be performing at the Kennedy Center.
Christy: I LOVE Washington DC! There are so many fun things to do and see. So far I have visited the Capital and the White House. The Kennedy Center is beautiful and all the people I have encountered have been very friendly. I could definitely see myself living here someday!
I bet the genius at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts asked you to say that. Did they put you up at the Watergate? Cause I’m convinced that place is mad haunted.
Blake: Haha, no, we’re not staying at the Watergate. But I’ve walked through the complex several times to take pictures and such. No ghostly sightings yet!
Christy: Then I’m glad we are staying at the Carlyle Suites! I have been in many hotels since I have started the tour and so far I haven’t had a haunted room. I think the ghosts can tell that I wouldn’t be able to handle a haunting.
In a silly little (and by little I mean tiny) nutshell, tell us a bit about the characters you’re portraying.
Blake: Moritz is the heart and soul of the show. He’s a boy tormented by puberty, living in a sexually repressive society (1890’s Germany), under enormous pressure to succeed at school and at home.
Christy: I play a young, angsty, naïve, curious, wide-eyed girl who wants to know about how life works and will stop at nothing to satisfy her curiosity.
Do you feel that there are aspects, traits, quirks about these guys that you see
in yourself? Do you bring them out during your performance? Do you fight them?
Blake: I definitely can identify and relate to Moritz. And with any part you play, I think there has to be a certain amount of yourself in it. It’s what keeps a character honest and believable. I try not to fight myself or my instincts. If anything, I embrace them.
Christy: I think that I was very much like Wendla when I was a young girl. I used to talk about the latest cute boy in school and get excited to dress up for parties. In many ways I try to bring my 14 year old self to the character each night. As an actor I try to find the specific traits in myself that compliment the characters I play and bring them out in each part. Wendla has a childlike innocence about her. I try to channel that innocence each night.
Spring Awakening created a massive amount of hype on Broadway, of course, going on to win the Tony for Best Musical that year. Has that pressure, expectation, hype from fans and others coming to your show affected your performances?
Blake: I try not to let the hoopla and success of it all affect what I do on stage. My job is simply to tell the story, eight times a week, giving 100% each time.
There are a number of people expecting to perhaps hear what they hear on the awesome soundtrack. Other than a whole different set of badass actors, what may be different, if anything, about this particular production?
Blake: The music and story are essentially the same. There may be tweaks here and there, and castmates may come and go, but the intention is always to enhance the piece, and make/keep it as amazing as can be.
What is your favorite moment in the show, whether for your character or others?
Blake: You know, it’s ever changing, but I have to say “Bitch of Living” is a consistently thrilling number to rock out to. And I’ve always found the “Don’t Do Sadness/Blue Wind” sequence achingly beautiful to both watch and to perform.
Christy: I think every night I have another favorite moment in the show. That’s what’s so exciting about live theatre. No one show is ever exactly the same. This particular show is filled with many rich moments and fun musical numbers. It makes it hard to pick just one specific part of the show. I love it all.
So you guys are youngins’, like some serious bright young things. How long have you been doing this business we call show? Is Spring Awakening your first major show?
Blake: Well, I’m the oldest of the youngest, haha, a whopping 28. I’ve actually been in the biz for 18 years, but yeah, Spring Awakening is my first major musical theater experience.
Christy: I have been performing my whole life but this is my first big show. The last four years before I started rehearsals for this show were spent in college. I attended the College Conservatory of Music (CCM) for musical theatre. Performing in this show is like a dream come true and I feel so fortunate to get to be doing what I love today. I hope in the future I can continue to perform and create.
What is the Bitch of Living about anyways? I mean, what’s your bitch? My bitch is not having enough time (or money) to do everything I wanna do and still working my ass off. What’s your bitch.
Blake: Keeping my answer PG-rated, “Bitch of Living” is about teenage boys and their fantasies and frustrations. They are like simmering pots of water that can boil over at any second. My bitch? Hmm, maybe being too hard on myself. I should relax more.
Christy: I love this song. I don’t think I have much to bitch about lately. I feel pretty lucky about life right now. If I had to name one bitch I guess it would be distance. I love that I get to travel around the world but I wish I had more time to spend with the friends I have made along the way.
So what do the ‘rents think of this show?
Blake: My friends and family are huge fans of the show! They caught me in it on Broadway and on the road and they love it more and more each time.
Christy: My parents have loved ‘Spring Awakening’ ever since the first time they saw it at the Atlantic theatre off Broadway. They have always been very supportive of me and couldn’t be more thrilled that I am a part of this production. They have traveled to about 6 cities to see our tour and may even pop up in Washington DC. They tell me they could keep coming to see the show over and over and it would never get old for them. I feel the same way.
Finally, what’s next for you two lovelies? How many more cities are you going to rock before this tour closes?
Blake: Unfortunately, my time with the show is winding down. After DC we go to Chicago for two weeks where, over six hundred performances later, I’ll be hanging up my breeches for good. Crazy! As for what comes next, there are a couple of projects i n the works. I’ll probably go home to LA for a bit to do more film and TV stuff. But I’d also love to do more theater in NYC. Time will tell so be on the lookout! xxx
Christy: I am not sure what the future holds for me. I want to do it all. Eventually I want to tour with my music, write a musical, shoot movies, perform on Broadway, cure world hunger…..the list goes on. But I guess when you have so much ahead of you to look forward to anything seems possible. As of right now, I am going to stick with the show for a while. I am having so much fun and feel so honored to introduce this incredible piece of art to each city.
I know the Spring Awakening peeps wouldn’t let me ask you guys about what parts of the show make you horny, so let’s just close it here by saying thanks for chatting with us. In all honesty, this is an amazing show and we’re right darn hootin-tootin glad you’ve brought it to DC. Best of luck on the rest of America, you mad talented lovely young talented lovely peeps, you!