Thursday, September 29, 2011

Spotlight On...Gregory Maheu

Name: Gregory Maheu
Hometown: Mount Vernon, VA
Education: BFA Music Theatre, Elon University

Select Credits: Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, a Musical (Mr. Wickham, NYMF); Hair (Claude, Hangar Theatre); Sweeney Todd (Anthony, Signature Theatre); Ragtime (Ensemble, Younger Brother Cover, Kennedy Center)

Why Theatre?: The answer in regards to myself is purely selfish.  I'm addicted to the feeling of power that goes along with guiding an emotional journey for an audience, and the feeling of complete connection that a good performance gives you to with a group of other humans.  I also love exploring facets of myself through the mask of a character.  Theatre is an art that forces you to examine yourself and others and to grow and learn constantly.  You fail if you don't.

Tell me about Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice: The musical is a fresh take on an old story.  It's actually more about Jane Austen's experience revisiting the first draft of the novel, titled (at the time) First Impressions.  Since writing the first draft, she has had a number of dramatically life and perspective altering experiences, including a tryst that nearly led to an elopement and subsequent disinheritance. The show begins with her musing over her writings, from which the characters begin to come alive for her.  She is soon swept into the drama herself, and quickly loses control over the situation.  Through various re-writes to the draft, she finally comes to the version of P&P that we are all familiar with today, and has several cathartic discoveries about her own life on the way.

What is it like to be a part of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice?: Working on new works is always a joy, and this is no exception.  I think we have been given particularly singular gifts in both the program (New York Musical Theatre Festival), and our director (Igor Goldin).  Walking into rehearsals, feeling such a positive energy and being allowed the creative license to try, to fail, and to explore all the way up until opening and beyond is not always something one gets to experience in an industry that unfortunately lives and dies by the box office.  I think the whole cast is grateful for it, and none of us are taking for granted the wonderful and rare opportunity we have been given.

What kind of theatre speaks to you?  What or who inspires you as artists?: Theatre that explores the eternal conflict between personal need, desire and societal expectation is incredibly interesting to me.  The struggle is so universal.  Everyone has felt disconnected, everyone wants to be included, or to be loved, and yet so many of us as individuals have an impossible time finding one's own path or place.  Shows like Sunday in the Park..., Next to Normal, and Eugene Ionesco's Rhinoceros are shows I find both fascinating and inspirational.

Any roles that you are dying to play?: Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your perspective), most of the roles I am dying to play I am still too young for.  Floyd Collins in Floyd Collins, Billy Bigelow in Carousel, and Jerry Lukowski in The Full Monty are all on my list. You could also throw either Prince (as long as I get to play the Wolf as well) in Into the Woods and Burrs in Lippa's The Wild Party on there as well.

What's your favorite show tune?: Hmm.  What a question.  Truthfully, I don't like to listen to songs from musicals independently.  I love to follow the whole arc of the show from beginning to end.  But if I had to pick, I might choose 'The Streets of Dublin' from A Man of No Importance.  I love the melody, I love the powerful yet sensitively nostalgic lyric, and I love singing it every opportunity I have.

If you could work with anyone you've yet to work with, who would it be?: There are a number of composers I would love to work with-- Chris Miller of Burnt Part Boys fame, Adam Guettel, and Adam Gwon, who wrote The Boy Detective Fails and Ordinary Days. I also desperately would like to be in a show directed by Joe Calarco.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: That's an easy one.  My celebrity doppelganger, Jude Law.  Titles I am terrible with.  Everything I have thought of sounds trite and wrong, so I just won't give you one.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Honestly, the things I am most excited about are out of town in Washington D.C. right now.  I am telling everyone I see to go see Parade at Ford's Theatre, and The Boy Detective Fails at the Signature Theatre.  Go see them both.  Seriously.

What's up next?: After Pride and Prejudice I head back down to D.C. for the holiday season to be a part of the incredibly beautiful A Christmas Carol at Ford's Theatre.  After that is yet to be discovered.

For more information on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, visit http://www.nymf.org/janeaustensprideandprejudice

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