Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Meet "Cocky": Kristopher McDowell

The Roar of the Greasepaint focuses on the exploits of a dynamic duo, "Sir" (representing the upper classes) and "Cocky", representing the not-so-upper classes. I got a chance to ask Kristopher McDowell, our "Cocky" some questions about how he came to 42nd St. Moon, and how the show is going:

Kristopher has never worked with the Moon before, but he had been told about Moon's strong reputation for quality programming from reputable friends and colleagues in San Francisco and New York City. He also liked that they were an Equity affiliated theatre group. Kristopher wasn't familiar with the show, and it sounds like he had no idea what he was getting himself into!

"When Greg MacKellen approached me with the offer to do this role, I truly had no idea about the enormous undertaking in store for me, what with over about a dozen feature songs, dancing plus loads of dialogue performed with a cockney accent. This show is amazing and a treat to be a part of. I consider this job a true gift, but certainly challenging on many levels."

With so much to do in the show, it's not surprising Kristopher couldn't name just one favorite moment in the show. He has two (so far):

"I have two favorite moments, while it is very hard to say all the songs aren't a pleasure. My favorite part of act one, is when "Sir" (Craig Jessup) allows my character "Cocky" to be King temporarily as part of a grand joke. In this scene I get to share a lovely love song with the beautiful and talented "The Girl" (Brandy Collazo) before being kicked-off my ladder again.
The second act includes yet another well written song that finally inspires my character to make a change. The song is called "Feelin' Good" and is performed by the fabulous Brain Yates Sharber.

My Significant Other always teases me that I know every Broadway performer, and their entire resume, by heart. So I was quite intrigued when Kristopher shared how he was familiar with Anthony Newley before doing this show:

"I am somewhat friendly with Alison Frasier who is a veteram Broadway actress and friend of the late, great Anthony Newley. I have heard many stories about him and am intrigued by his his stage career and marriage to Joan Collins. Unfortunately, I never saw him perform live."

OK, I love Alison Fraser. I have seen her on Broadway three times. She went into The Mystery of Edwin Drood as a replacement. I believe I saw her play Helena. But more notably I saw her in Romance, Romance (opposite Barry williams aka Greg Brady, if you can believe it) and in The Secret Garden. But even earlier I think I saw her in a really fun Off-Broadway show, Beehive.

Anyway back to Kristopher. I had one final question for him:

Question: You've done cabaret, fully-staged theatre and now this concert version. Do you see these as different disciplines, or all really cut from the same cloth? Do you approach each kind of performing any differently?

Here's Kristopher's very thorough answer:

"My Bachelor of Arts degree is focused in performance. This would include disciplines for cabaret, Albee, Mamet, Shakespeare, classical opera, British operetta, American musical theatre, theatre of the absurd, circus, mime and most styles of dance. While each of them have thie own set of rules and techniques I have to say they are cut from a similar but not the exact same cloth.

Staged concert style work is fairly new to me, but I enjoy the respect it pays to the work being presented. This is I why I understand and appreciate what 42nd Street Moon is doing for many outstanding lost musicals. I certainly think each experience makes you a better performer. Much like a cloth, each artistic discipline has it's own texture, pattern and style while it may all somehow be considered art.

Nicely done!

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