We are just 6 days (SIX!) away from opening night of the Minnesota premiere of ALL NEW PEOPLE! And, as you prepare to get your TICKETS or SEASON PASSES, we wanted to take a little blog time to introduce you to our incredible, hysterical cast.
That’s them. (from r to l) Josh Stenvick, Cory Anderson, Nikki Tatge, Zach Stofer, Tonya Porter and Katy Helbacka. They look happy, don’t they? Well, except for Josh, who is in character. Or didn’t realize I was taking the picture. One of the two. Also, please note the Cheetos in the back right corner. Those didn’t make it to the end of rehearsal. If you look closely, you may see some Cheetos dust in Zach’s beard. Ahh, the sacrifices we make for that cruel mistress, the theater.
We asked the show’s director, Andy Bennett, to tell you a little bit about each member of the cast, the role they’re playing, and what it’s been like to work with them. Here’s what he had to say:
Josh Stenvick: He’s the center of the show. The guy around which the story revolves. And he’s also got one of the toughest jobs in the show; Making a depressed, suicidal man empathetic, entertaining and funny. A job he’s mastered. Other jobs he’s mastered in this play? Smoking, drinking and moving from quiet depression to hysterical, over-blown outbursts. Jobs he has yet to master? Not laughing on stage. But I can’t blame him, considering his costars. And we’ve still got six days. If it comes down to it, I’ll just stick him with a cattle prod.
Cory Anderson: Cory plays two roles in our show, in short scenes that were originally going to be filmed and projected. But his scenes are just too fast and funny to not be shown live each night. So that means he absolutely crushes on stage for about 15 minutes and then spends the rest of his time reading or watching Dr. Who on his GIANT laptop. I think he’s never been happier. Also, something you may not know about Cory: He has a beautiful singing voice. Come see the show for proof.
Zach Stofer: Zach’s character, Myron, could just be a snarky, cocksure joke machine created by Zach Braff to pepper in punchlines and keep the show zippy. But that’s not the way Zach performs the role. You know there’s more to Myron. So, while he’s making you laugh your ass off, you’re trying to figure him out. But Zach doesn’t let you figure Myron out easily. It’s part of what I love about working with Mr. Stofer. He’s always looking for a new take, a new emotion, a new shade to his performance. He’s always in the moment. He’s a hell of an actor. He’s so talented he’s even gotten over his distaste for Cheetos. I mean, REALLY gotten over it.
Nikki Tatge: Nikki has a talent some of you may not know. And it makes a beautiful, stunning appearance late in the play. I’m really excited to watch the audience as that moment happens. Quite frankly, the work she did on that final moment cements the ending of our play. Makes it so much better. And for that I’m incredibly grateful. I mean, I’ll take the credit, but the moment is hers. And, that moment comes at the end of her performance, after she’s already turned Kim into the funniest, dumbest and sweetest prostitute you could ever imagine.
Tonya Porter: Stage Managers don’t come much better than Tonya. You know how most stage managers have to juggle a bunch of tasks? Tasks like calling sound and light cues, making sure props are pre-set, working with front of house to get the show started on time, etc? Well, Tonya sees your typical stage management duties and adds crazy talented actress to the list. She makes an appearance in the last half of the show in a ridiculous and hysterical scene with Zach, and then hops off stage and makes it back to the booth in time to call her next cue. Game, set, match: Porter.
Katy Helbacka: If you’ve ever seen Improv, you know Katy’s funny. But did you also know that she can do an English accent? Cause she can now. She couldn’t BEFORE, but the thing with Katy is, if you tease her enough about anything – she’ll nail it just to throw it back in your face. For instance, look no further than the end of the play. When I first cast Katy, I teased her about how the end was a nearly impossible task for an actress. So she nailed it and threw it back in my face. Hard. And she doesn’t know her strength. (I’ve received several complaints of violence from the men in the cast).