Paris Bradstreet has carved out a successful career as a theatrical performer. From New York City to California, she has played many of the most prestigious regional theaters in America. I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Bradstreet while she was on the national tour of the smash Broadway musical: Spring Awakening. Spring Awakening is the Tony Award winning musical that is based on the classic play of the same title. The show is provocative as it explores the lives of young men and women coming of age in a rigid and repressed turn of last century. This production runs through May 2011. For more information please checkwww.springawakening.com.
JJ: What is it like to be on tour with Spring Awakening?
PB: It’s awesome and exhausting!
JJ: You understudy the adult women roles in the show. How did you land the job?
PB: Last summer they posted on Playbill that they were looking for somebody to play 30-50 and I’ve been doing that since 18 (she laughingly recounts) so I submitted a video and they hired me to be the understudy.
JJ: Is being an understudy extra stressful since you’ll never know when you will have to go on?
PB: Yes & No. I’ve been an understudy before in equity houses and have gone on lots of times. I do take it very seriously because you never do know when you’ll have to go on. And because we are a touring company if someone has a family emergency and needs to leave you have to be prepared.
JJ: Tell us a little about the characters you play in the show.
PB: The fun thing about this show is there are only two adult characters and they play all of the adults in the show. And you don’t change costumes or anything, you are in the same costume, and your playing four or five authority characters. As an actor it’s a challenge because you have to make very clear, specific choices to delineate them from one another. It’s a thrilling opportunity.
JJ: What is it like to be on tour? It sounds like it’s a grueling schedule!
PB: We travel by bus a lot which can be exhausting.
JJ: What is a typical day like?
PB: We usually are only in each town for one or two nights at a time. Usually we board the bus between 6 a.m. and 9a.m. We ride for between four and eight hours on the bus.. We usually have about an hour and a half when we get to our housing to unpack and get ready for the evening performances. the next day we start all over again!
JJ: Wow that must require a lot of stamina! Can you tell us a little about what Spring Awakening is about?
PB: It’s about kids dealing with sexuality.Dealing with abuse. Dealing with puberty. Dealing with the pressures of school. It is a timely message with what is going on in the world today. For example all of the teen suicides that happened- this show is another reminder that it gets better. There is always somebody to reach out to. The important thing about the show is that parents and teens should come together to see the show . This is a great way to get them talking to one another about the issues that this show raises. In Spring Awakening the tragedy stems from the fact that there is no communication and that nobody is speaking the truth. It is over 100 years later since the original play was written and yet the issues raised are still topical. We have teens come up to us after the show and say “my friend killed themselves and this show helped me through it.” There are so many real stories we are getting from our audience members . Its amazing to have that kind of real impact.
Go to PLUS Model Magazine to read more about Paris.