Saturday, July 4, 2015

Spotlight On...Andrew Bridges

Name: Andrew Bridges

Hometown: Exeter, NH

Education: BFA in Theatre from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts

Select Credits: High School Musical (Ogunquit Playhouse), The Full Monty (Seacoast Repertory Theatre),  "NYU Reality Show" (Beacon Theatre and Theatre at MSG). TV: "Public Morals" (TNT dir. Ed Burns)

Why theater?: I spent a lot of time thinking about this in school. I'm still not sure if I have an answer that's 100% clear, but I think it all comes down to being able to affect people. It's that catharsis an audience gets when they watch something. They can experience so much empathetically through the actors onstage, whether it's ridiculous and funny situations or very difficult emotions, it's our job as actors to put ourselves in those situations so an audience can experience them through us, and hopefully come out the other side somehow changed. That change we can give to people, that's what makes it worth it.

Who do you play in The Cobalteans?: I play Gabriel, the "bold leader" of the group of boys, who passed away a year before the play takes place.

Tell us about The Cobalteans: So it's been a year since Gabriel's death. His parents have sold the lake house and he and his 'brothers,' both blood brothers and chosen brothers, grew up spending their summers in. The four remaining boys from the group of friends meet at the lake house for one last night, to memorialize Gabe and say goodbye to the house. Tensions quickly rise as blame is placed for Gabriel's death. Through both humor and intense emotion, taking place in the past and present, the boys attempt to find some peace from the year of grief they've all been drowning in.

What is it like being a part of The Cobalteans?: This show is actually extremely close to me. I've been involved practically since day one, when Yianni came to me and said "I want to write a musical about a group of friends who loses one of their own, and I want to write a part for you in it." Flash forward six months and we were doing our one-night-only, self-directed workshop performance at Dixon Place, which both Yianni and I were in. Since that show the journey has been incredible. Ben has taken a more prominent role in writing the music (the three of us split the duties the first time), and the new songs he's churned out are outstanding. Yianni's lyrics are effortlessly heartbreaking. It's an actor's dream to work on material like this, and it's just an added bonus that it was written by two of my best friends.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: Honestly, I feel like The Cobalteans perfectly exemplifies the kind of theater I love. It's a show about five distinct people and the relationships between them. It's nothing fancy at all. All it does is show a slice of these guys lives, and how a major event affects them.  Raw human behavior and emotions.

Any roles you're dying to play?: Either Gabe or Henry in Next To Normal (which also started at NYMF). When I'm a little older I'd love to play the Man in Once.

What's your favorite showtune?: Anything from In The Heights. I was a big hip hop fan before that show came out. I went to see it in 2008 not knowing anything about it, and absolutely freaked out when they started rapping. Lin Manuel is a hero of mine.

If you could work with anyone you've yet to work with, who would it be?: Lin Manuel-Miranda (see previous answer). Tom Hanks. Bryan Cranston. Vince Gilligan. Christopher Nolan. This list could go on for days. I like to dream pretty big.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: I would like to live my entire life, then go back in time and watch Ian Mckellan play me aged exactly as he is right now. I think the title is yet to be determined.

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: I bet the original A Chorus Line was pretty magical.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: I told everybody to go see Once when it was playing. I saw it twice myself.

What's your biggest guilty pleasure?: Netflix. I can watch an entire TV series with the best of them. I'm currently working on season two of USA's "Graceland".

What's up next?: I'm actually mainly focused on breaking into the world of TV/film.  Nothing ground breaking planned at the moment. Perhaps a west-coast move. Hopefully more Cobalteans. We'll just have to wait and see!

For more on Andrew, visit http://www.bridgesandrew.com/ . For more on The Cobalteans, visit thecobalteans.com or nymf.org.

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