After the very successful and well-received “Theatre for Social Change” project, the Trinity theatre department is once again getting ready for another big hit. Starting last week, an “all-star cast” has begun rehearsals for the critically acclaimed musical “Into the Woods.” It is directed by Nathan Stith, assistant professor of human communication and theatre, who is fresh from his first year of teaching and brings with him a wealth of experience.
To get to know more about the musical and the process behind it, I interviewed one of its cast members and all-around great guy, Jackson Beach, a junior political science and theatre double major. Due to Beach’s very busy schedule, I could only interview him over email. Despite this, he had much to say about the upcoming production.
Austin Davidson: What made you want to do theatre?
Jackson Beach: I’ve been doing theater since high school, and I knew I wanted to continue pursuing that art in college. When I toured liberal arts colleges in Texas, Trinity had the best theater by far. When I did my first show with them in 2015, I was instantly welcomed into the community. It’s been a great environment to pursue my craft and I’ve made lots of friends while doing it.
AD: What made you want to do “Into the Woods”?
JB: The department announced we’d be doing “Into the Woods” late spring last year. I didn’t know much about it, but everyone went nuts. It’s one of the most notoriously challenging musicals out there, especially for a college campus. I watched the original Broadway cast recording and was blown away. It’s truly one of a kind and difficult to explain — you kind of just have to see it for yourself.
AD: Who is your character and what does he do?
JB: I play as the Wolf and Cinderella’s Prince. The role is traditionally cast in this way, which I think is a pretty cool commentary, especially considering what my characters do. As the Wolf, I’m conniving, smooth and deceptive. I come across Little Red Riding Hood in the woods, and, well you know how the old fairy tale goes. But, the scene is a lot more complex than that. There’s a sort of chemistry between the two characters that I think is really interesting. The best way to describe Cinderella’s Prince is through one of his lines in the show — “I was raised to be charming, not sincere.” He’s dashing, daring and not exactly the brightest. He’s truly the star of his own story.
AD: After your first rehearsal, how do you think the cast will work together?
JB: We really have an all-star cast this year. There was so much hidden vocal talent within the theatre department — especially from the first-year students. I’m really looking forward to working with all of them.
AD: What do you think of the director?
JB: Nathan Stith is the real deal. He’s been in the touring company of “Jesus Christ Superstar” and is bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience to this show. But even with his extensive experience in musicals, he’s making sure we all feel like we have creative freedom in developing our characters. He really wants it to be our show. I can’t wait to work more with him in the coming weeks.
AD: What’s your favorite musical?
JB: My favorite musical is probably “The Book of Mormon.”
AD: Did you get the part you wanted?
JB: For most musicals, I’m happy with whatever role I’m given. But for this show, I was exceptionally happy. These two characters are some of the most memorable in the whole show, and I’m so glad I get to portray them.
Through his answers, I can tell he is ecstatic for the play, happy with the people he is working with and excited for what is to come. You can catch him and a wonderful group of people putting on a spectacular musical, opening on Nov. 10.