Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Spotlight On...Chris Gleim
Hometown: Apple Valley, Minnesota
Education: Apple Valley High School, Douglas Anderson School of the Arts (Jacksonville, FL), Florida State University (Tallahasee, FL)
Select Credits: Radio City Christmas Spectacular (Radio City Music Hall); Jesus Christ Superstar (Peter, understudy for Ted Neeley as Jesus, National Tour); Titanic (Barrett, Courthouse Center for the Arts)
Why theater?: I ask myself that same question every time I'm standing outside in the freezing February cold for two hours in the audition line. (But seriously ...) I love theater because it's sneaky. Imagine me putting out a placard that read, "Racism and Prejudice and the People it Hurts: A Two Hour and Fifteen Minute Symposium By Chris Gleim" Who would go to that? But, you tell it all as a story with a cast, and music and dancing, you still have that same theme being presented to an audience, but as West Side Story. PLUS, you even give them a fifteen minute break in the middle to let them go to the bar, and they'll STILL come back to see how it ends. It's impossible to not feel something or connect to a piece of theatre. Even if it's bad, and you hate it, chances are you'll walk out with an idea of how you'd make it better. What I personally love about a career in theater is that you never stop learning. You learn about history, you learn about the best and worst of humanity. You learn all these weird and different skills. You learn how to convey all that you've learned to an audience and how to do it even better for the next time.
Tell us about Sasquatched! The Musical: It's a really fantastic show that tackles a great many themes, all the while being extremely entertaining, charming, and funny. I am going to steal what the writer/composer (and fellow Minnesotan!), Phil Darg wrote, "Arthur the Sasquatch, the central character of the show, is an intelligent, rational, and sensitive being who is offended by these media stereotypes. The point is: Why is it that society and the media need to portray a monster and induce fear in their audiences? What if Bigfoot did indeed exist, but was not at all like the gruesome monster hyped by the sensational media? The acceptance of the unknown "other" is a major theme of the show."
What is it like being a part of Sasquatched! The Musical?: It has been an absolute blast. We have a ridiculously strong and creative cast who have such a strong grasp on what the show is about and how it should be shared with the audience. Our director, Donald Brenner came in with a clear-cut and specific idea of how he wanted to present this show, resulting in one of the smoothest rehearsals processes I've ever experienced, and I believe as of now, we're up to Phil Darg's 19th revision of the show, so the script and music is solid.
What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I love it all. I love musicals, I love Shakespeare, farce, Theatre of Cruelty, Brecht; anything that successfully slaps me across the face with a cool point of view, concept, or rips my emotions out whether it be sadness or hilarity.
Any roles you’re dying to play?: From my five page list, I'll pick out a few (in no particular order): Burrs in LaChiusa's The Wild Party, Riff-Raff in The Rocky Horror Show, The American or Russian in Chess, Richard Hannay in The 39 Steps, Private Gar in Phildephia, Here I Come!, Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar.
What’s your favorite showtune?: There is a constant battle in my brain between "Marta" from The Kiss of the Spiderwoman, and "Finishing the Hat" from Sunday in the Park with George.
If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: I love the actors you can trust to throw back what you've thrown at them, either comedically or dramatically. I feel like Norbert Leo Butz, Michael Cerveris, and Carolee Carmello would be absolute blasts to work with. Oh, them and Grover from "Sesame Street" - to do a Near/Far sketch resulting in us fainting at the end is my absolute dream job.
Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: I'm kinda hoping "The Muppets Take Manhattan" ends up being my life story. Though, I am married to someone slightly more attractive than Miss Piggy.
What show have you recommended to your friends?: Pippin is what theatre is all about, ONCE moved and inspired me.
What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Any and all horror films; the exceptionally good and the exceptionally bad. I have dragged my wife to so many of them, there are so many things she can't un-see.
What’s up next?: Would love it if I could sneak one more project in before I do the Radio City Christmas Spectacular later this year.
For more on Chris, visit www.ChrisGleim.com, For more on Sasquateched! visit http://www.sasquatched.com/