Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Spotlight On...Bethany McCall

Name: Bethany Elise McCall

Hometown: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Beth from Bethlehem...I know, I know ;)

Education: I went to Northampton High School in Pennsylvania (our mascot was a concrete cinder block...) then I went on to college at University of the Arts in Philly where I got my BFA in musical theatre

Favorite Credits: Wendy Jo in Footlose at the Eagle Theatre, Mary Jane Wilkes in Big River which I got to do with Forrest McClendon (Tony Nominee- Scottsboro Boys) at UArts, Leilani in Legally Blonde at The Ritz and my favorite show to date was a production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory I did when I was 10 or 11 (Jessie's Age), I played Violet Beauregard!

Why theater?: I was actually planning to go to school for genetics up until my junior year of High School when I realized that I don't think anyone would be able to handle me tap dancing under my desk and singing in a lab all day! Theater's been in my life for as long as I can remember. I was bit by the bug when I was teeny tiny. When I was 2 I begged my mom to put me in dance classes and once I was 3 and got my chance to dance on stage for the first time it's been hard to drag me away. I love telling stories. Being a performer gives me the chance to bring different people's lives and adventures to life and share stories with audiences, which is pretty magical.

Who do you play in The Love Note?: I'm playing Jessie! She's the new girl in town who's feeling out of place and a little unwelcome in school after moving from a farm in Vermont. She's a sweet girl with a lot of heart and imagination trying to navigate the very relatable challenges of fitting in and being herself in a new and unfamiliar place. She brings her imaginary best friend, Airy, along with her to this new town and finds solace and companionship in him while she works on finding a place in her new school.

Tell us about The Love Note: It's a great musical about Jessie, the new girl in town, trying to find her place in a new school that's full of different cliques and kooky kids. At first you see what's on the outside of these groups; the mean popular girls, the tough nasty bullies, the nerdy and weird bookworms, but by the end of the show you see that everyone is really the same deep down. All of the kids, not just Jessie, are struggling with something inside and really just want people to take a chance and talk to them and get to know them. We all want to be liked and The Love Note is a story about not having to change who you are or what you believe in to fit in or be accepted. Jessie uses Airy, her imaginary friend, and the notes her mom packs in her lunch to gain the confidence and courage she needs to stand up to Brittany, the mean girl, and prove to everyone that everybody wants the same thing at the end of the day; a little bit of love and acceptance.

What is it like being a part of The Love Note?: It's been a blast so far to be a part of The Love Note! We have such an incredibly hard working and talented cast that's in the smart and dedicated hands of a really passionate team. Russell, our director, has really worked on bringing out the truth and heart of the show that Gail has written with such spunk and fun. I love coming into rehearsal and hanging out with everybody. It's such a joy to share the stage with people who love what they do and are really focused on making this show the best it can be! It's also a lot of fun to be able to give 6th grade a try all over again. I wasn't new like Jessie at school, but I definitely found myself struggling often to figure out where I 'fit in' or who I was going to be. Now I get a chance to let kids, and myself, know that it's a-okay to not know exactly who you are or which group you fit into because ultimately all that matters is you follow your heart and stay true to yourself. I'm not going to lie, I go home with these insanely catchy songs in my head every day too. The Love Note is everywhere!

What kind of theatre speaks to you? What inspires you as an artist?: That's a tough question! My answer changes so frequently and with every piece of theatre I see or am a part of I find new things that speak to me and new inspirations to perform and create. I guess overall I'm still really figuring out what makes me tick as an artist. I'm at a really exciting point in my career right now. I graduated from school a little over a year ago and this is my first NYC production. I'm getting the chance to audition for any and every kind of show there is and I love that. I'm young and new to the NY scene so I'm really putting myself out there for anything and everything. I love the classic sort of campy musical theatre because it speaks to the little girl in me who loved big shiny tap numbers and upbeat silly songs. I love shakespeare because it challenges me and really celebrates the poetry of language and what we can express simply with words. I love cabaret style performing because it asks you to put yourself on a stage and sing about your experiences while not hiding behind a character. Ultimately I just love telling stories and I'm getting a chance to explore all the different ways you can do that in the theatre. I love it and I couldn't ask for a better time or place to be doing it!

Any roles you're dying to play?: They're two very different roles but at this point in my life I HAVE to play Penny in Hairspray and Natalie in Next to Normal before I start to not look like a teenager anymore. Both roles are funny, though in extremely opposite ways, and have a lot of heart deep down; my favorite sort of roles!

What's your favorite showtune?: Oh boy, this changes by the week, day, hour, minute most of the time. I'd say my longest standing favorites would be the song with all the colors from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (the first musical I ever saw) but currently I can't stop listening to "Calm" from Ordinary Days...it describes my life and the way I feel at the moment!

If you could work with anyone you've yet to work with who would it be?: Hmm. I guess it depends on the reason. I'll start with Neil Patrick Harris because I just recently saw him in Hedwig and it just reinforced my opinion of how insanely talented he is. I also have a feeling he'd be hilarious to work with in a rehearsal/performance setting. He's great at what he does. For silly boy-crazy girl reasons I'd have to say Aaron Tveit because...i mean...duh!

Who would play you in a movie about your life and what would it be called?: Am I allowed to play myself in a movie about my life...I want to do movies! haha ;) but actually I think I would want Kristen Wiig to play me...older me anyway haha she's absolutely hilarious and such a smart performer. I would die to see her act out some of the more embarrassing and awkward moments of my life. Also I think the movie would be called "Did That Actually Just Happen?" because I constantly find myself asking that question.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: The Love Note, obviously! ;) Also I just saw Bootycandy at Playwrights Horizon which was amazing and saw Sam and Katie in Bayside which was too hilarious not to mention.

What's your most played song on iTunes?: "Holding Out for a Hero" or "Somebody's Eyes" from Footloose. I spent a ton of time listening to the songs over and over again so I could practice my harmonies when I was in the show this past winter.

What's your biggest guilty pleasure?: FOOD. junk food. all food. I'm constantly eating. James Michael, who's playing Airy, is constantly amazed with the ridiculous amounts of food I walk into rehearsal with everyday. No shame, I love to eat.

What's up next?: I'm looking for an apartment in New York now to move into once my sublet is up in October so I'll officially be a New York gal after living in Philly for 5 years which is a big exciting change! Once I get settled and the show opens it'll be back to the grind of auditions, auditions, auditions which will hopefully lead to more exciting opportunities like this one. The future is one big question mark and I'm really excited about it!