KNOW THE SCORE: MUSIC IN MEMPHIS

Excerpts from Host Martha Ellen Maxwell's interview with Angela Ingersoll, discussing her time at Playhouse on the Square.

MEW: If you could, explain the difference between opera and musical theatre.

AI: I would say the heightened state is different. In a musical theatre play you’re going to base things in realism as much as you can while we’re speaking. Then, when something occurs to one of us that we need to explore more deeply, it’s time to turn to poetry. Therefore we’re in a heightened state as we’re exploring these more complex feelings when we sing. In an opera, everything is heightened that way. All the time. Every stake in the story, the way that we present every aspect of life, is heightened. Musical theatre takes the audience in and out move. The element of surprise in that is what I like, because we can be having a very realistic conversation, and suddenly one of us gets an idea that sends us into a rhapsody. All of the sudden you’re carried into all of these feelings and emotions coming from musical exploration. I really enjoy that about musical theatre. And then you come back, to the simplicity of going on with regular life. But all these things are inside of you!

MEW: You have been an outstanding performer for Playhouse on the Square. You’ve just finished Beauty and the Beast, which was wonderful. Isn’t this the first time it’s been shown in a regional theatre?

AI: Oh, yes. That’s absolutley one of the perks of working at Playhouse on the Square. It’s often a test market theatre for first run musicals when they’ve just come off Broadway or their National Tours. Playhouse is one of those theatres that gets the rights first to morph shows out of a multi-million dollar space and into a functional space that can speak to many communities across America.

MEW: Well, it was an amazing producion. I saw it in New York, and I was really impressed that you could do what you did on that stage. I am sure it was a challenge.

AI: Scott Ferguson, our director, had to be really creative!

MEW: You’ve starred in many musicals while you’ve been here. What were some of your favorites?

AI: Man of La Mancha was right before Beauty and the Beast, and it was pretty much night and day to go from the Spanish Inquistion prison to the Disney glamour.

MEW: You were Aldonza, and then to go to the sweet, innocent Beauty…

AI: Yes, and as Paul Seiz our Music Director says, they’re both tough girls. You know, Belle’s strong willed; has a strong sense of self. It’s funny how many similarities I found beween the characters, honeslty, getting to do them back to back. Jekyll and Hyde was also one of my favorites. Not a show that I liked before I was able to be a part of it. I was pretty prejudiced against it, honeslty. It was so poppy and popular, and I was a musical theatre snob about it. I think what I didn’t want to embrace was how melodramatic the story is. Once I embraced the melodrama, I found out how much audiences LOVE IT. And they love the high notes, and love the “spooky guy around the corner” sense of the whole thing. It was really one of the most rewarding shows I’ve done, personally, because I learned so much from the audience. I loved it.

Cover Photo: Angela Ingersoll