Tuesday, March 7, 2017
Spotlight On...Ethan Crystal
Hometown: Wilsonville, OR
Education: Carnegie Mellon (Vocal Performance), BFA
Select Credits: The Sing-Off, Season 3; Heathers: The Musical (first NW production, Staged! / Triangle Productions, Portland OR); The Last 5 Years (Oregon Contemporary Theatre, Eugene OR); VOICE OVER: Elsinore by Golden Glitch Studios (Indie Game coming out 2017); Rock-a-Bye (Original play, self directed/acted/written/produced), finalist in Manhattan Rep’s 10 Minute Play Festival
Why theater?: Because “theatre” is in reference to the art itself, and I’m trying to describe a particular venue
Who do you play in Some Night?: Den, lead singer/keys/lyricist of “The Cankerblossoms”
Tell us about Some Night: Some Night is a sequel to Midsummer Night’s Dream. It’s a mix of over-the-top situational comedy and brooding fairy-world romance. The stage has a working bar, and the band (all cast members) plays throughout the show. It’s a funny little romp that Shakespeare nerds will especially appreciate.
What is it like being a part of Some Night?: Ophelia is a very cool and nerdy-in-a-good-way group. They started doing theatre in their backyard in California in 2003, and from there grew into a working company in Astoria, producing their own works (the playwright, Sarah Victoria Bennett, is a founding member). Most of the actors in the cast are newcomers, so it’s been very fun for all of us to find this show’s voice with the company. Also, I’ve never been in a band before, so that really kicks ass.
What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: Anything with good writing/pacing. I’m not big on things that are ALL about star power, or how great the singing or dancing is. Writing is the driving force behind all meaningful theater, film, tv, music, everything. Tina Fey, Kendrick Lamar, Rachel Bloom, Donald Glover, the Always Sunny crew, those are people I think of as geniuses and/or role models.
Any roles you’re dying to play?: I want to be the dopey white dude in a Dave Chappelle sketch. Might’ve missed that one.
What’s your favorite showtune?: I get really obsessed with one or two songs at a time, like I play them on repeat for a week and then quit cold turkey. The last showtune in that lineup I think was “Nothing” (A Chorus Line). A few weeks ago, the 9 year old girl my GF babysits sang it in a recital, and I spend the rest of the day thinking “oh yeah, I love that song.”
If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Like, idk, everyone? it’s not like I’m some big shot guy haha I’ve got a friend named Luke McGinnis who’s going to be famous. He’s a music guy who does orchestral arrangements and then does sessions in his tiny apartment off the G train. I guess I want to work with more people doing similar stuff (cool and new stuff I mean).
Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: There IS actually a TV show in production about me. It’s set in Baltimore (where I lived for 30 years) and it’s a gritty, realistic look at crime in the city and the webs weaved between government and police and the underground mob, and how they snake into the lives of ordinary people just trying to get by. My character is played by Idris Elba, I’m a street-smart, business minded drug “executive” on the West side I’m being told that what I’m describing is the mid-2000’s hit HBO series “The Wire”
If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: There are so many amazing, important musicals that have been canonized for so long that it’s impossible to imagine them as “fresh”. Imagine seeing West Side Story in 1961 when NO ONE had seen it before, or knew all the songs that are now overdone, or any of it. I would kill to see that. With that mindset, something like Guys and Dolls or Man of La Mancha would be incredible. Or Rent.
What show have you recommended to your friends?: I saw a life-changing production of Peter & The Starcatcher at Portland Playhouse in OR, but that was like 6 months ago. As far as TV, I already mentioned Rachel Bloom but "Crazy Ex Girlfriend" is very funny and clever. My favorite show is Always Sunny, but I don’t need to recommend that to anyone. "SpongeBob" is very important to me as well.
What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Saying things in casual conversation that just aren’t correct. Not in the Trump way, but like in a “wait what?” way. Like the other day a coworker at my temp job was talking about her kid, and everyone was asking stuff like “how old is she?” etc, and I asked “are you the mom or the dad?” I think I read too much clickhole. Or watch too many Norm MacDonald clips on youtube. I’m not sure. Also obsessed with mid 90s Weezer right now
What’s up next?: I’ve got a sketch channel starting up called Herkimer Street Variety Show, I’m doing the NYU Grad Musical Theatre Writing readings in April, and then I’m gonna be in Broadway Goes Acappella 2 at 54 Below this summer. I also make custom audition sides, and a few of my acappella arrangements will be at an ICCA semifinal near you (if you’re in the Northwest, which you’re probably not).
For more on Some Night, visit opheliatheatre.com. For more on Ethan, visit ethancrystal.com