Saturday, October 1, 2011

Spotlight On...Andrew Redlawsk

Name: Andrew Redlawsk

Hometown: Iowa City, Iowa

Education: Loyola University Chicago, BA in Theatre

Select Credits: The Bowery Boys (Marriott Theatre); A Christmas Carol (Drury Lane Oakbrook); The Lieutenant of Inishmore (Northlight Theatre)

Why theater?: Because there really is nothing like putting on a show. The collaboration, the story telling. The fact that you get to go out there every night and have such an effect on people – even if that effect is only to have them forget about the stress of every day life, that's something. Well that, and also I have absolutely no other marketable skills.

Tell us about Greenwood: Greenwood is a great little show (or big show with a 22 person cast) about the excitement of having it all ahead of us, and then somehow along the way, letting our dreams and passions take a backseat for whatever reason. Life. We all know it. It gets in the way. But what if you were presented with a chance to relive those moments? That's what the show explores with the backdrop of a bunch of kids at a summer theatre camp, and then those same kids 25 years later. As someone who went to a theatre “camp” (Lynn Baber, the director of Cherubs, as it is affectionately called, will kill me for calling it that – it was a “program” or an “institute” - never a camp) I can honestly say that the bonds you make in five weeks last a lifetime. Everything is so immediate, so heightened, how could you not have an emotional connection with your fellow campers? Every success is their success, every breakdown is theirs – they become family. And then, just like that, they're gone. But I can tell you that if one of them called me tomorrow and really needed me, I'd be there for them, even if I haven't seen them in the 8 years since I went to camp myself. That's what this show's about. These adults who desperately need to reconnect to the excitement and passion they had when they were kids – because isn't that what it's all about? If you can't be doing something you love, what's the point?

What is it like to be a part of Greenwood?:
It's a blast. Working with the likes of Andrea McArdle (the original Annie), Cary Shields, Mary Mossberg – not to mention the “youth ensemble” as we're called – is just an amazing opportunity, and I'm so grateful to be able to share the stage with them. And it's just as good on the other side of the table, where director Paul Stancato has his work cut out for him trying to stage and choreograph this beast of a show! It's just nothing but fun every day – and I mean that.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as artists?: Theatre that really makes you step back and reexamine yourself, or your life, or the way you thought about something, is truly incredible, and I love getting to see shows that do that. On the other hand, I'm not a fan of pieces that are so avant garde that you have to strain yourself to even attempt to “get it”, and if you don't, you've wasted your time and money. I truly feel the best theatre is accessible theatre, because if nobody gets it – whether that “it” is what you intended or not – then the whole thing was just for yourself, and then what's the point of that? Oh, and I have a man-crush on Patrick Stewart.

Any roles you’re dying to play?: Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys. It'll happen some day if the show runs long enough – I just look 12 years old at the moment. Frankie Epps in Parade. Bat Boy.

What’s your favorite show tune?: Ugh. It changes constantly. And I'm not really sure I have a favorite. But the aforementioned Parade and Bat Boy are shows that top my list.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Anyone and everyone. I want to say Patrick Stewart, or someone else equally lofty – but if I had to share the stage with someone like that I'd be scared silly. Talk about pressure.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Probably Topher Grace, and it would be called “The Typical Life of A Kid Trying to Make it as an Actor in New York”. I mean, I'm an actor... and I wait tables. The creativity in that is mind-boggling.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Jerusalem with Mark Rylance. I know it's a little out of date, now that the show has shipped overseas to the West End, but what that man did on stage was nothing short of a master class. It was breathtaking.

What’s up next?: Next I start up my FIFTH (that blows my mind) season with Classical Kids Live!, which is a company that puts up shows in conjunction with symphony orchestras to bring the music of classic composers to kids around the world. First stop is Richmond, Virginia.

For more information on Andrew, please visit http://www.andrewredlawsk.com. For tickets for Greenwood, visit http://www.greenwoodthemusical.com/. And information on Classical Kids Live!, visit http://www.classicalkidslive.com/

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