WEEK NINE: JEREMY VANDENHELM
P&P favourite, Jeremy Vandenhelm returns to the stage as the evil Dom Claude Frollo!
* Some answers may have been edited for length or clarity.
JEREMY VANDENHELM: (AGE: 21.)
Favourite Musical: Beauty and the Beast
Guilty Pleasure Musical: The Sound of Music
Musical I Think Is Underrated: Rigoletto
Favourite Song From a Musical: "Evermore," Beauty and the Beast
Musical Dream Role: PT Barnum, The Greatest Showman
Favourite Musical Role I've Played: Beast, Beauty and the Beast
Q1: HOW MANY PRODUCTIONS HAVE YOU BEEN IN?
JEREMY: 7! (excluding elementary school/church shows.) This will be my 4th production with Penny & Pound!
Q2: HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN SINGING?
JEREMY: For as long as I can remember!
Q3: WHAT'S THE BEST PART OF PLAYING DOM CLAUDE FROLLO?
JEREMY: Exploring the extremes in his character. His seemingly just reasoning and righteous attributes end up playing an integral role in orchestrating his ironic downfall.
Q4: HAVE YOU EVER PLAYED A CHARACTER LIKE FROLLO BEFORE?
JEREMY: I've borrowed elements from Jean Valjean (Les Miserables), Prince Charming and even The Wolf (Into the Woods) to play Frollo. For example, once Valjean becomes mayor, he inherits a gentlemanly manner in while he conducts his upright posture and demeanor. I bring a very similar posture to Frollo.
Q5: WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE SONG IN 'THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME?'
JEREMY: I'm SUPER biased with this one, but 'Hellfire' would have to be my favourite. Going off my answer for question 3, this song perfectly dives into Frollo's character which is so much fun for me! It really solidifies and grounds Frollo as a real person with real struggles, while also intensifying his self-righteous pieties in a super cathartic, epic piece of music. It's brilliant!
Q6: BESIDES YOUR OWN, WHO'S YOUR FAVOURITE CHARACTER IN 'THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME?'
JEREMY: Quasimodo. This is his show, and rightfully so! He's the hero of the story with a heart of gold, and a childlike innocence which is incredibly endearing.
Q7: DO YOU HAVE ANY PRE-SHOW RITUALS?
JEREMY: Time alone, vocal warm-ups (tongue twisters, lip trills, etc.) and a whole lotta prayer.
Q8: WHAT IS YOUR PRE-SHOW PLAYLIST LIKE?
JEREMY: Depends on the character. My pre-show playlist for Frollo is probably going to be a lot of angry, dark, melodramatic orchestral and metal music.
Q9: IN YOUR OPINION, WHAT IS THE HIGHLIGHT OF THIS PRODUCTION?
JEREMY: It's been the moments during rehearsal when we as the performers really nail our scenes and songs together. I can't wait to hit the stage and see what we're all capable of!
Q10: WHY SHOULD AUDIENCES COME TO SEE THIS PRODUCTION?
JEREMY: 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame' is a beautifully epic and tragic story. It has super fantastic characters with super infectious and memorable tunes. It's also being put on by Penny & Pound Theatre Productions. Youth theatre, you say? Hey, these 'kids' are pretty darn good!
Q11: WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER ACTORS WHO ARE PLAYING VILLAINS?
JEREMY: Villains are often more complex/layered than heroes. Have fun with it! Don't be afraid to explore those dark nooks and crannies of your character. Convince yourself that what your character does and believes in is the right thing when it comes time to play him/her.
Q12: WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO ASPIRING ACTORS?
JEREMY: Grow some thick skin to take some criticism. Don't be late, be respectful and learn your lines!! Don't be discouraged when a potential opportunity passes you by. Often times, what goes by you just wasn't for you. Most importantly, chase your dreams! Make them come true and don't waste time in working towards making that happen!