Our regional premiere production of DOGFIGHT opens on Thursday, August 3rd! This new musical by Oscar and Tony Award winners Pasek & Paul (La La Land, Dear Evan Hansen) is studded with impressive songs, an unexpected love affair and a genuine and charming soul, Dogfight has been praised by countless critics and nominated for numerous awards, winning the Lucille Lortel Award for Best Musical. Here’s what it’s about:
It’s November 21, 1963. On the eve of their deployment to a small but growing conflict in Southeast Asia, three young Marines set out for one final boys’ night of debauchery, partying and maybe a little trouble. But, when Corporal Eddie Birdlace meets Rose, an awkward and idealistic waitress whom he enlists to win a cruel bet with his fellow recruits, she rewrites the rules of the game and teaches him the power of love and compassion.
This musical has us wondering a few things, and we thought we’d pose our questions to the cast and crew to get their response. Next up, another talented actror making hir Renegade debut, Sam Hildestad!
Tell us the story of your worst date!
I remember in 8th grade, I had been dating (let’s be real, can you even call it dating in 8th grade?) this girl and we went to the midnight premiere of The Hunger Games. The theater was packed, filled with screaming teenagers, and we ended up stealing someone else’s seats so we could sit together. Anyway, midnight was way past my curfew and I told my dad that the movie was going to be over at midnight, so he came to pick me up, unaware the movie had just started. I ended up getting called by my dad from the parking lot many times and left the theatre to answer his call. When I came back, my seat had been taken and this girl was just sitting alone and I had already missed the when the games officially began. Anyways, I ended up sitting on the floor next to this girl in the aisle, and a movie theater attendant asked me show proof of my ticket, which I couldn’t find at the moment. I then was kicked out of the movie, so I walked out to my dad, got scolded in the parking lot, and left my date behind. Recollecting this makes me realize why middle schoolers shouldn’t date or be out past midnight.
What book, movie, band, play, etc. do you love that nobody else seems to know exists?
My grandmother and I used to watch Bedknobs and Broomsticks when I was younger, an early seventies Disney movie musical starring Angela Lansbury as an apprentice witch who uses magic to fight off Nazis during WWII. Honestly, to this day I still consider this one of cinema’s greatest achievements. I also saw Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark when it was on Broadway, which many people regard as a shit show, but it was incredibly entertaining.
Why are you excited to work on this show?
Dogfight is a show that means a lot to me. This is the best score in a musical I have ever been honored to get to perform, the lyrics and orchestrations are unbelievable! Additionally, I think the central themes and historical contexts are what make this show as captivating as it is. The Marines in this show are entitled, rude, and awful to the women that they bring to the dogfight. Throughout the course of the show, you see these “young boys” get more wrapped up in the ideas of what they think being a US Marine and having power allows them to do and how they live their lives idolizing their father’s legacies and the concept of glory. The message this show sends comes full-fledged through the character of Rose about how beauty and self-worth all come internally and not through the opinions of others. I hope audiences are entertained, but also appalled by some of the actions of these men, and come out with new found realizations about how society’s perceptions of beauty and glory can really be ugly and destructive.
Finally, and most importantly: What do you love about you?
I love my quirks and my sense of humor. A lot of the times, I’m not afraid to just say whatever crazy shit comes to mind, and many times it’s ridiculously hilarious.