It's not easy being green - An interview with the lead of High School Musical On Tour
|It's not easy being green - An interview with the lead of High School Musical On Tour|
|by Eric Andrews-Katz -
SGN Contributing Writer
"I'm kind of green in the business," Arielle Jacobs says over the phone line from her Brooklyn residence. "But I love working with this cast." Playing the lead role of Gabriella in Disney's High School Musical On Tour, Arielle has been with the show since its stage premier in January 2007. During the phone interview her excitement comes through, but so does charm and confidence.
Eric Andrews-Katz: High School Musical has been explosive, spinning off two film sequels. What do you credit for its success?
Arielle Jacobs: It has mostly to do with the story. The music helps tell it, but it's definitely the story. It's hard to be a young person in high school, trying to find out who you are and what you want to do without giving into peer pressure. The story says to find out what you passions are and pursue them.
Andrews-Katz: Then, of course, there's the love story. Does it compare with Grease?
Jacobs: In Grease, both main characters change for the other. In HSM, they don't. You should be who you are without having to shrink or change into somebody else.
Andrews-Katz: Very well said. What do you think the average age range is for the audience?
Jacobs: Generally, ages four to preteens. But we get families of all ages. They come in for their kids or they have season tickets. I hear from older audiences a lot about how much they enjoyed the show. I think it makes everyone feel like a kid again. It's part of the magic of live theater.
Andrews-Katz: Since you've created the stage role in 2007, how has Gabriella or Arielle grown?
Jacobs: This is my first big production, so it's more of a personal [than character] change. At first I was overdoing Gabriella and then I thought about my own experiences. I was the new girl in a new high school. I remember what that was like and used it to keep the simplicity and purity of the character.
Andrews-Katz: What differs on stage from the original HSM movie?
Jacobs: We've added a new character, Jack Scott, who acts like a narrator. He's a student and helps bring in the audience. We also have two new songs, "Counting on You" and "Cellular Fusion."
Andrews-Katz: What messages, if any, does the HSM series send to kids?
Jacobs: Each version of HSM sends a different message. In HSM 1, it's about being yourself, doing what you'd like to instead of giving in to peer pressure. HSM 2 is more about being loyal to your friends and the importance of friendships. Also the movie may introduce the story, but live theater adds a new experience, culture wise.
Andrews-Katz: Are there plans for a HSM 2 stage version?
Jacobs: It's premiering in November at Atlanta's Theater of the Stars. I'm continuing to play Gabriella and hope to work with as creative a team as this one.
Andrews-Katz: Since you're already continuing with Disney, where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Jacobs: I hope to continue with theater but would like to branch out into television and film. I really hope to be part of movie musicals. The Wizard of Oz is my favorite. I'd also like to expand with my hobbies, photography and writing children's stories.
Andrews-Katz: I know you're not supposed to ask a lady her age, but can I ask how old you are?
Jacobs: [coy chuckle]
Andrews-Katz: OK, let me rephrase. How old would you say is the average cast member?
Jacobs: [answering quick and playfully, almost sounding rehearsed] Early 20s. High School Musical On Tour plays at the Paramount Theatre, May 20-25. (Box Office: 206-467-5510.) Following the mega-successful movie, Disney has launched a youthful enterprise with two film sequels, a touring stage production and a touring production on ice & thus far.
|Cho had Paramount audience in stitches|
by E. Joyce Glasgow -
SGN A&E Writer
Margaret Cho - Beautiful
Margaret Cho has a natural gift for comedy. Her current "Beautiful" tour is her first standup tour in three years. Her truthful, straightforward comedy has won her an Intrepid Award from the National Organization for Women (NOW), the First Amendment Award from the ACLU of Southern California and an award from PFLAG for "making a significant difference in promoting equal rights for all, regardless of race, sexual orientation or gender identity," among many others.
One gets the impression that Cho has been funny and entertaining her whole life. She made her standup debut at age 16. Her comic timing and graphic humor has her audiences in stitches and keeps fans coming back for more. Her comedy is very universal; in her graphic treatment of human sexuality, Cho broaches subject matter that illuminates the human condition in its absurdity and vulnerability. She is unafraid to deal with the taboo or shocking. We all can relate and the material is extremely hilarious. Cho deals with it all in a matter-of-fact, sincere, down-to-earth way - Gays, Lesbians, heterosexuals, fag hags, politics, race, equal rights, gender identity, sexual practices, sexual body parts and physiology, emotional and physical desires and instincts, crazy interpersonal experiences, and her funny Korean mother. The audience at the Paramount on May 10 was practically falling out of their chairs with laughter. We all need some good laughs in this crazy world of ours and Cho delivered the goods completely.
Opening for Margaret Cho, comic Liam Sullivan surprised the audience, appearing as one of his many alter egos, Susan, the Lesbian folksinger/songwriter and performed a song, bringing a lot of laughter to the crowd. He then proceeded to show two very funny videos, in which he plays all the parts, including a greasy sex therapist, a grandma, and Kelly, a scatter-brained teenage girl with aspirations of being a singing sensation, a la Britney Spears. Sullivan was an excellent choice and a great compliment to Margaret Cho in opening the bill.
For more of the comics, be sure to visit www.margaretcho.com and www.liamshow.com. For more information on upcoming events at the Paramount Theater, visit: www.theparamount.com.