We really love hearing Holly's stories of Weston Friendly and we can't wait to share them with you! Keep reading for more on our wonderful Music Director.
You have a long history with WFS, what are some of your favorite memories from working on and being involved in WFS shows?
I really love the "family" aspect that Friendly has developed. I started doing shows at Friendly with my parents and sisters, and now I do shows there with my children! Friendly has always been and still is a great way to mix the generations, all ages can work together towards a common goal and develop from strangers to friends over the course of the rehearsal period. This special multi-generational atmosphere makes Weston Friendly unique and welcoming.
My first Weston Friendly production was Ben Franklin in Paris, I was in high school and both my parents were also in the show. It was such fun doing a show with my parents. It was a period piece and I helped with make-up and hair. I remember having to go into the old police shooting gallery in the basement of the town hall as that was where we kept the wigs for the men. To this day, I still have a pink accordion that one of the cast members gave to me during that show. One of the men in the cast played the accordion, he would often bring it to rehearsal and play it during down time. He noticed my interest and surprised me by giving me a pink one he had but didn't use any more. I admit I never became good at playing the accordion but, thanks to this gentleman, I've had a lot of fun over the years trying to get better.
What are some of your favorite shows that you have worked on and why?
I had an absolute ball in the ensemble for Hello, Dolly! It was a great cast and we had such fun!
There was a great moment in the show Kismet when I had to hold the “Rahadlakum,” we used dry ice in an urn-like receptacle. The idea was to have the "smoke" from the dry ice billow about at the top of the urn to create this mystical moment. My job was to hie the fact that I was causing the movement of the smoke. I had to exhale in a clandestine way over the urn so the smoke would keep moving...ah, the magic of the theatre.
What do you love about theater?
I love the way live theatre can transport an audience to a different setting and time period and tell a story in a totally engrossing and entertaining way. Beyond that, I have two different, equally strong answers for this question.
First, as a life-long participant, I love the spirit of teamwork that is required to make the magic. Theatre is one activity where everyone can "play a part" in terms of finding a way to be part of the whole. For some, it is being on stage as a lead or a member of the ensemble. For others, it is painting the scenery or selling tickets or moving the sets or sewing the costumes... There is a way for each person who wants to be involved to become part of the team. When you work on a show, you immediately become part of a group.
Second, as an educator I love the way being involved in theatre can help build self-confidence in students who can be withdrawn and shy. As a teacher of the arts, I most enjoy the moment when an actor appears on stage and blows the audience away with an ability no one knew they had. Watching their sense of pride blossom due to a job well-done is so exciting!
If you could work on any show what would it be, how would you be involved, and why?
I've been very fortunate over the years to have been in and/or worked on many wonderful shows with various theatre groups. However, there are two shows I'd love to direct some time. One is the musical 1776. My parents loved this show and I grew up listening to it on cassette and singing all the lyrics with my sisters on rides to the Cape. To direct and bring it to life would be a blast! It is such a stirring way of telling about one of the most amazing moments in the history of our country with such memorable characters and events! Another show I would love to direct is Kismet. I've been in the ensemble of this show twice and loved it both times. It is a singer's show, with melodies based on the music form Prince Igor, an opera by Aleksandr Borodin. It's different, it's magical and the music is gorgeous! Of course, if you give me ten minutes, I can come up with another ten shows I'd love to work on in one way or another...That's another great thing about theatre, there always seems to be another show coming along.
Rehearsals for Miracle on 34th Street are in full swing and it is shaping up to be a great show! We took a few minutes out of Warren's busy schedule to do a little Q&A with our director.
You are new to the Boston Area, what made you move up here from NYC?
I’ve been working up in the New England area on and off for 20 years. I have theater connections and clients up here. The opportunity arose to make the move and I decided that it was now or never! The nice thing was that I already had private acting clients up here so now I get to work with them more in person.
What have been your favorite projects to work on and why?
White Christmas, I love the movie and was excited to see the story on stage. Also, the music is fantastic! I was the director and choreographer and got to teach a crash course in tap for the show.
Little Women, it is a classic story and one that I just love. You need the right female to play Jo March, she has to be a triple threat.
Spitfire Grille- A great little show that came to NYC just before 9/11; and is really just a wonderful little story.
What do you love most about theater?
I love the magic that we, as artists, bring to the stage. By opening night, I feel like a proud parent. I expect a lot from my actors, but I want them to have their own say on the stage and their own process. I love the team effort. Each show is a collaborative effort between the actors and the entire creative team. I spent many years as an equity stage manager and it really helped me understand what will work on the stage. I also know that the only drama I want to see is the drama that I put on the stage. Creating stuff has kept me going over the years and I can honestly say that I love what I do!