Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Spotlight On...Andrew Orsie

Name: Andrew Orsie

Hometown: Summit Point, WV

Education: BA in Theatre from Juniata College

Select Credits: The Imbible: Rum Drinks… and Pirates! (Tenor), The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Chip Tolentino), Angels in America (Louis), Diamond Dogs (Sonata), Unturning (Damon Wildeve), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Music Director)

Why theater?: What a large and good-looking question. Theatre wasn’t actually the original plan. When I was applying to colleges, I was planning on majoring in vocal music. But I had started doing theatre in my senior year and I had an interest in it, so when the school I ended up choosing to attend didn’t have a music major, theatre became my fallback option. I changed majors about thirty times in college. But somehow I kept coming back to theatre. Even when I switched to a totally different major, I would find ways to sneak into the theatre classes and get cast in the shows. So eventually I gave in; I said to myself that there had to be some reason that I was so drawn to it. I then did a summer acting apprenticeship at the Berkshire Theatre Festival to see if this was actually a career path I could see myself on. And I came away from that summer with a ton of experience and a newfound conviction that theatre was what I wanted to do, for better or worse. It explores humanity, and the many layers of people, and the multitude of ways in which people can connect with each other. Art in general tends to do that, but I find that for me, theatre does it in a specifically profound way that is utterly fascinating. And once I had a taste of an art form that can help me delve into both myself and humanity in a larger sense in such a deep way, I simply got hooked. And so here I am, almost five years out of college, still going as strong as one can in this big old city.

Who do you play in The Imbible: Christmas Carol Cocktails?: Ebenezer Scrooge

Tell us about The Imbible: Christmas Carol Cocktails: Christmas Carol Cocktails is a sequel to A Christmas Carol in which Scrooge returns home after his visit with the spirits with a newfound respect for Christmas. He realizes he needs to organize a Christmas party before it’s too late, but having been such a…well, a Scrooge, for so many years, he has no idea how to throw a party properly. So he calls upon the spirits one more time before the night’s end to teach him about holiday-themed cocktails he can serve at his party. They step up to the plate and take both Scrooge and the audience through a second journey, slightly boozier than the first, to learn about the ways in which he can share holiday cheer in liquid form. Will his party be a success? You’ll have to come see the show, try the drinks, and judge for yourself. With three drinks included in the price of your ticket, this is one Christmas gathering you won’t want to miss.

What is it like being a part of The Imbible: Christmas Carol Cocktails?: This will be the fourth show run I’ve performed in with Broadway Theatre Studio (counting last year when I first performed this Christmas show), and I’ve really been so honored to be able to work with such an amazing group of people. If there’s one great thing I can say about Anthony and Nicole and this company (and trust me, there’s far more than one great thing I can say, but that would take PAGES to get through), it’s that they have a phenomenal instinct with casting and adding people to the company. Every single person who I’ve worked with in any of the various Imbibles has been amazingly talented and has helped me grow as a person through what they are able to give as an artist. This year and a half with the company has been a wonderful whirlwind of magnificent people and artists, and I’m truly humbled and honored that they continue to ask me back and allow me to work with them. This is a hilarious, amazing, talented cast and the fact that I will get to share a stage with them for the rest of this year is so exciting to me!

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I don’t think there’s one particular type that speaks to me more than another. I’m simply drawn to pieces that don’t try to be what they aren’t. If they’re a poignant drama, I generally prefer the ones that don’t try to play that aspect up. I want the language and the writing to speak for themselves, without a need for spectacle or extra heightening. It’s hard to describe exactly what I’m drawn to, it’s sort of an intangible vulnerability to a dramatic piece, a fragility that acknowledges that maybe no one piece can answer every question about humanity because the species is ever-changing, and that’s simply the nature of things. And if it’s a comedy, it can’t take itself too seriously. You’re a comedy, be fun, be funny, and recognize that when it comes down to it, we’re a bunch of professionals who are (hopefully) getting paid to literally play pretend on a stage in front of people every day. And we’re all really good at it.

Any roles you’re dying to play?: I’ve wanted to play Jamie in The Last Five Years ever since I first heard the soundtrack, but I’ll never be Jewish-looking enough.

What’s your favorite showtune?: I generally can’t stand showtunes, but I’ve always been really partial to “The Bells of Notre Dame” from The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Does that count?

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: I don’t often debate who I’d love to work with, because the honor of working with the greats is hardly something I expect to be bestowed upon me. But if there’s one person I would love to have had the opportunity to work with, it’s actually Marcel Marceau. I’ve been trained in corporeal mime work for quite a number of years by a phenomenal mentor and friend who was one of his students, Rick Wamer, and to study under the master of the art would have been absolutely thrilling and humbling.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: I’m pretty sure my life’s never been interesting enough to get made into a movie, but if it ever did, I would hope and expect that it would be called "Utter Confusion" and it would feature Neil Patrick Harris as me, except he’s drunk every day of filming. And it’s a rom com where the plot twist is that there’s actually never a real romance. Just a sequence of steadily more disappointing date scenes culminating in a magical almost-kiss scene that’s cut short by a very angry sparrow with a vendetta against blond hair attacking my head. Classic.

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: Sweeney Todd. Original Broadway production, just for Angela Lansbury.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. For me, at least half (if not more) of the strength in the writing of a piece lies in the piece’s ability to fully immerse the audience in the story through perspective, and yet proper use of perspective is such a nuanced challenge. Curious Incident achieved this in a way very few pieces I’ve seen have ever been able to do.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: I would never feel guilty about my pleasures. But I am a massive video game nerd.

What’s up next?: I don’t actually know. If you do, please fill me in! But really, gosh, this show will take me through the end of the year. I’ve made some pretty big strides in my life this year and ideally, whatever my next project may be, theatre or otherwise, I’d hope it continues that forward momentum for me.

For more on The Imbible: Christmas Carol Cocktails, visit