Curtain Calls: Candide

McCaela Donovan

Role: Paquette

Hometown: Bethlehem, New York

What is your favorite philosophy imparted in Candide?
I'm drawn to Candide's interminable belief that all human begins are innately good. I love that.

What is your favorite Leonard Bernstein music?
I love Bernstein's score for the ballet Fancy Free (which later became On the Town), but the Candide overture is one of the best pieces of music ever written for the theatre.

What has been your favorite Boston role to play thus far?
I've been so fortunate to have worked with wonderful directors and companies since moving to Boston, it's hard to narrow it to one. Any of the Sondheim roles I've done here have been a gift (Dot in Sunday, Squeaky Fromme in Assassins, Cinderella in Into the Woods) but I would say the most challenging has been the Duchess of Hapsburg from David R. Gammon's production of Funnyhouse of a Negro. The play itself is more of a fractured poem and the character basically had to be created from broken, non-sensical dialogue, which scared the heck out of me. That's what made it fun and why I loved it.

 

Lauren Molina

Role: Cunegonde

Hometown: Detroit, Michigan

What has been your favorite moment while performing in Candide?
Mary Zimmerman's blocking of "Glitter and be Gay" involves me singing one of the hardest arias in musical theatre while going from naked in a bathrub to tightened in a corset to fully dressed in a gown. It's an acrobatic tightrope walk that is both thrilling and terrifying.

How are you like or not like your character?
She's spunky and knows what she wants, which is very much like me. She wants happiness and love. However, I'm not a gold digger, nor a spoiler brat.

What is your favorite philosophy imparted in Candide?

    "We're neither pure, nor wise, nor good
    We'll do the best we know.
    We'll build our house and chop our wood
    And make our garden grow..."

Things may not always be for the best, but we will be happy to be alive and have each other.

How did your family's performance background/Boston connections influence you as an actress?
My father is a bassist and my mother a dancer, even though I grew up in Detroit, my family is from New York and we came to Tanglewood to see the Boston Pops in the summers. I think because of my background in classical music, it's enriched my depth as a singer and musician.

 

Geoff Packard

Role: Candide

Hometown: Concord, Massachusetts

What is your favorite Leonard Bernstein music?
I love West Side Story, as well as his Mass. I think my favorite song other than the ones in Candide is "Simple Song."

How are you like or not like your character?
I look just like him (kidding). I like to think I see the world as genuinely positive. Sometimes that has served me wrong, mostly it has served me right, but at the end of the day I am responsible for my own happiness and love (as Candide also understands).

What has been your favorite moment while performing in Candide thus far?
The creation. The rehearsal process was the most energizing and challenging experience I have had making a show. There was no script day one of rehearsals. Mary began writing around the work we were doing in the rehearsal room, the result being a thrilling, scary, honest, and deeply collaborative process.

What is your favorite philosophy imparted in Candide?
What I love about this story is that Candide chooses love, chooses hope, and works at creating his happiness. He finds, as we all do, that no matter what the world brings us, WE are responsible for ourselves, our love, and our happiness.

 

Jesse Perez

Role: Cacambo

Hometown: Washington Heights, NY

What has been your favorite moment while performing in Candide?
My favorite moment in Candide is the final song when we end the show together. We have the opportunity to look at everybody in the cast and in the orchestra and realize we have just accomplished something special.

What is your favorite Leonard Bernstein music?
I love West Side Story. I rarely do musicals, and you would not believe how many non-musical actors use the songs from West Side Story to warm up before a show.

What is your favorite philosophy imparted in Candide?
I really enjoy Candide's optimistic view on life and how he holds strong to it. The word optimism is fascinating to me because it will represent something different for everybody, it brings up a lot of emotions.

How are you like or not like your character?
I feel a lot like Cacambo in how he goes through life. i mean, I am my own master, but the way he just rolls with the punches and looks forward to what's next, is a very good philosophy to own as an actor.

What is your favorite memory during the course of your collaboration with Mary Zimmerman?
I loved the moment when I realized Mary Zimmerman had complete and utter trust in me as an actor. I feel at home in her rehearsal room, and she just opens the door and allows you to play in her playground. There's a lot of fun to be had.


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