• Penny & Pound Theatre

THE ENSEMBLE

Updated: Jun 25, 2018

Introducing the talented 'Ensemble' of THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME!


* Some answers have been edited for length or clarity.






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GROUP A: Madelena Byrnell, Jaida Smith, Kyrah Smith, Kathleen Stevens, Kaleigh Wiens.



(L-R) Kaleigh Wiens, Madelena Byrnell, Kathleen Stevens, Kyrah Smith, Jaida Smith

MADELENA BYRNELL: (Age: 16, Grade: 11)

Favourite Musical: West Side Story, Newsies or Les Miserables

Guilty Pleasure Musical: The Greatest Showman

Musical I Think Is Underrated: Bandstand

Favourite Song From a Musical: "America," West Side Story

Musical Dream Role: Glinda, Wicked or Katherine, Newsies

Favourite Musical Role I've Played: Annie, Annie


JAIDA SMITH: (Age: 13, Grade: 7)

Favourite Musical: Chicago

Musical That Makes Me Laugh: Hair

Musical That Makes Me Cry: Les Miserables

Favourite New Musical: The Greatest Showman

Favourite Old Musical: Singin' in the Rain

Musical Dream Role: Satine, Moulin Rouge or Miss. Adelaide, Guys and Dolls


KYRAH SMITH: (Age: 17, Grade: 11)

Favourite Musical: Moulin Rouge or Sweeney Todd

Guilty Pleasure Musical: The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Musical I Think Is Underrated: The Drowsy Chaperone

Favourite Song From a Musical: "Travel Song," Shrek the Musical

Musical Dream Role: Velma Kelly, Chicago or Mrs. Lovett, Sweeney Todd

Favourite Musical Role I've Played: Madame Thenardier, Les Miserables


KATHLEEN STEVENS: (Age: 16, Grade: 11)

Favourite Musical: The Count of Monte Cristo

Musical That Makes Me Laugh: Come From Away

Musical That Makes Me Cry: Hamilton

Favourite New Musical: Dear Evan Hansen

Favourite Old Musical: My Fair Lady

Musical Dream Role: Beverally Bass, Come From Away


KALEIGH WIENS: (Age: 18, Grade: 12)

Favourite Musical: Anastasia

Guilty Pleasure Musical: The Book of Mormon or Hamilton

Musical I Think Is Underrated: Finding Neverland

Favourite Song From a Musical: "One Day More," Les Miserables

Musical Dream Role: Ella, Cinderella

Favourite Musical Role I've Played: Factory Woman, Les Miserables


Q1: HOW MANY OTHER PRODUCTIONS HAVE YOU BEEN IN?


MADELENA: 13! 3 with Penny & Pound!


JAIDA: 11! 5 with Penny & Pound!


KYRAH: 13! 6 with Penny & Pound!


KATHLEEN: 7, but this is my first with Penny & Pound!


KALEIGH: Recently, I have been in 4 other productions. 2 with Penny & Pound!


Q2: WHAT'S YOUR TYPICAL WARM-UP ROUTINE FOR REHEARSALS/PERFORMANCES?


MADELENA: Every time before a performance, I have to have a moment to myself. I knock on the stage three times (a superstition of mine), and run lines!


JAIDA: If there's choreography I do a full body stretch, and if not, I belt a favorite song and then 'maturely' warm up my vocal cords.


KYRAH: I tend to do something stupid, as in sing my heart out to 'Bohemian Rhapsody' then 'mi-mah-moe.'


KATHLEEN: I do the 'Ma, Ma, Ma' thing from High School Musical and 'Broken Scales.'


KALEIGH: My typical routine consists of rushing to warm-up in the two minutes before I have to get my mic on, and just spending time with my friends and cast mates to get myself in the right head space to work so closely with them for the next few hours.


Q3: IN ONE WORD, DESCRIBE YOUR 'HUNCHBACK' EXPERIENCE THUS FAR.


MADELENA: Delightfully challenging.


JAIDA: Awesome.


KYRAH: Fun!


KATHLEEN: Fantastic! Everyone is so nice and talented!


KALEIGH: Surreal.


Q4: IF YOU COULD PLAY ANY CHARACTER IN 'HUNCHBACK' BESIDES YOUR OWN, WHO WOULD IT BE?


MADELENA: Esmeralda! I'm a free- spirit at heart, so I can relate to her a lot. I also love her passion.


JAIDA: Although it's a gender swap, I feel like Frollo is the biggest acting challenge to pull off! So, that's who I'd want to play!


KYRAH: Technically, Esmeralda is the only female role, but honestly I would probably choose Quasimodo. I would find him to be the most challenging role to play.


KATHLEEN: Esmeralda! I've always liked her brave and wild spirit.


KALEIGH: I would play Esmeralda, because her character is someone I’ve always admired and wanted to be like. She is such a strong woman and stands up for what she knows to be true, no matter what the consequences. In the musical, her character is incredible; her scenes and songs are absolutely beautiful!


Q5: HOW DOES THE STORY OF 'THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME' SPEAK TO YOU?


MADELENA: I admire the message of looking beyond appearances.


KATHLEEN: When I was a kid, I was always a little weird. I didn't talk much, I tended to just sit in the corner, reading my books. The other children were pretty mean about it. So I always liked the idea of being a gypsy and dancing through the streets, going wherever I wanted. 


KALEIGH: This story speaks to me because it is such a classic story set to beautiful music. The plot tells a story for the ages; one of love, friendship and tragedy, with so many insights into life that are still so very relevant today.

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GROUP B: Heather Firlotte, Morgan Isherwood, Cameron Martin, Michael Pinho,

Jaimie- Lynn Rocha, Zachary Thorne



(L-R) Heather Firlotte, Cameron Martin, Jaimie-Lynn Rocha, Michael Pinho, Zachary Thorne

HEATHER FIRLOTTE: (Age: 20, College)

Favourite Musical: I don't have one! (That's like choosing a favourite child!)

Musical That Makes Me Laugh: The Drowsy Chaperone

Musical That Makes Me Cry: Les Miserables

Favourite New Musical: Come From Away

Favourite Old Musical: The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Musical Dream Role: Christine Daae, The Phantom of the Opera


MORGAN ISHERWOOD: (Age: 14, Grade: 9)

Favourite Musical: Les Miserables

Guilty Pleasure Musical: Hairspray

Musical I Think Is Underrated: Sunday in the Park With George

Favourite Song From a Musical: "Mama, I'm a Big Girl Now," Hairspray

Musical Dream Role: Sophie Sheridan, Mamma Mia

Favourite Musical Role I've Played: July, Annie


CAMERON MARTIN: (Age: 16, Grade: 11)

Favourite Musical: I don't have one!!

Musical That Makes Me Laugh: Rock of Ages

Musical That Makes Me Cry: Les Miserables

Favourite New Musical: Be More Chill

Favourite Old Musical: Sweeney Todd

Musical Dream Role: Patrick Bateman, American Psycho


MICHAEL PINHO: (Age: 17, Grade: 12)

Favourite Musical: Heathers the Musical

Guilty Pleasure Musical: High School Musical 2

Musical I Think Is Underrated: High School Musical 2

Favourite Song From a Musical: "Freeze Your Brain," Heathers the Musical

Musical Dream Role: Dead Body #5, any musical...

Favourite Musical Role I've Played: Combeferre, Les Miserables


JAIMIE- LYNN ROCHA: (Age: 18, Grade: 12)

Favourite Musical: Hamilton

Musical That Makes Me Laugh: Shrek the Musical

Musical That Makes Me Cry: Les Miserables

Favourite New Musical: Heathers the Musical

Favourite Old Musical: Annie

Musical Dream Role: Shrek, Shrek the Musical


ZACHARY THORNE: (Age: 19, College)

Favourite Musical: Shrek the Musical

Musical That Makes Me Laugh: Shrek the Musical

Musical That Makes Me Cry: Shrek the Musical

Favourite New Musical: Shrek the Musical

Favourite Old Musical: Ye Olde Shrek the Musicale

Musical Dream Role: The Entire Cast, Shrek the Musical


Q1: ARE YOU/DID YOU TAKE DRAMA CLASSES IN SCHOOL, ETC.? IF SO, HOW HAS THAT INFLUENCED YOUR PERFORMANCE ON THE REAL STAGE?


HEATHER: I took drama classes from Grade 9 to Grade 12 at Preston High School. Additionally, I was previously involved in a theatre youth group for 2 years at Galt Little Theatre (now know as Cambridge Community Players) that taught performance skills. I definitely find that drama education/training in the dramatic arts has influenced my performance on the stage. Firstly, I find that my drama classes and training in drama has given me the technical tools to develop (and enhance) my skill set to help me excel as an artist. Additionally, it has helped me to develop an understanding and appreciation of different acting strategies/techniques, which has helped me to deliver the best possible performances.


CAMERON: I have been taking drama classes since Grade 9. They have taught me a lot of the essential elements and 'rules' that on stage Dramatic Arts have, so when I started doing shows I kinda knew what to expect despite my initial nervousness. So, I'd say they influenced me in the same way art classes influence artists or music classes influences musicians. It teaches you the structure and elements that you need to make your emotion or passion something realized.


MORGAN: I was a part of my school's play, and will be taking drama classes next year. By doing this, I have gained skills that I hope to bring to this show.


MICHAEL: I have taken drama class during all four years of high school, which has definitely given me a lot of confidence on stage and skills I use for every performance I'm in.


JAIMIE: I am not/have not ever taken a drama class. It makes me a little nervous coming into this without any experience to back myself up with but it also pushes me to work harder and try my best.


ZACHARY: In high school, I took drama class every year, and in university I have continued in theatre by being involved in actual productions. Having taken drama in high school, I feel that I have gained a greater understanding of the art form, and it has inspired me to take more risks and try new things when it comes to auditioning for other productions.


Q2: THIS SHOW FEATURES A VERY UNIQUE TYPE OF VOCALS. TELL US ABOUT IT.


HEATHER: I love that this show features unique types of vocals and think that it’s amazing! (But it’s a little bit more challenging to learn the songs/harmonies to the songs, though!) Vocally, there is so many great numbers in the show each with their own unique sounds. The show features a lot of "rich choral singing", and powerful numbers such as "The Bells of Notre Dame", fun/whimsical numbers such as "Topsy Turvy”, and "The Tavern Song" (Thai Mol Piyas), gothic numbers such as "Made of Stone", chilling numbers such as "Hellfire", and there’s even music in the show sung in Latin!


MORGAN: It is challenging but so cool to be learning all of the different songs and hearing them be put together!


MICHAEL: It's definitely a difficult show to sing because of the vocals, but the challenge makes it more fun and satisfying when it's all put together!


JAIMIE: I love hearing everyone's beautiful voices and feeling like I contribute to the whole sound. I feel relieved that everyone has a place (even if I sing with the men) and happy to see how such different sounds can mesh and make something so beautiful.


ZACHARY: In all honesty, it's a very difficult range of vocals. But, thanks to the talented directors and cast, I am able to get help when needed. Nothing is more rewarding then when you finally hit your notes and one of these amazing songs comes together. Even though it is difficult, the end result is always worth it.

Q3: WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE SONG IN 'HUNCHBACK?'


HEATHER: It’s a three-way tie between “Entr’acte”, “The Bells of Notre Dame”, and the “Finale Ultimo”. These songs are powerful, are the most impressive vocally, have gorgeous harmonies, and really encapsulate the 'je ne sais quoi' of the show. These songs give me goosebumps each and every time I hear them, and in my personal opinion, are the best numbers in the musical.


MORGAN: My favourite song in 'Hunchback' is 'The Bells of Notre Dame,' since it has so many different aspects to it.


MICHAEL: 'The Bells of Notre Dame.' It's too epic not to love.


JAIMIE: My favourite Hunchback songs (I can’t even pick one!) are the 'Tavern Song (Thai Mol Piyas)' and 'The Bells of Notre Dame.' I get so excited thinking about practicing them. 


ZACHARY: 'The Finale Ultimo' is my favourite, by far. It is one of the most intense yet saddest songs in the show, and no matter how much I listen to it, each time I am still blown away.


Q4: DESCRIBE 'THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME' IN ONE WORD.


HEATHER: Unforgettable.


MORGAN: Incredible.


MICHAEL: Tragic.


JAIMIE: Dank. (Teenager for 'high quality.')


ZACHARY: Boolin. (Teenager for 'chill.')


Q5: IN THE ENSEMBLE, YOU PLAY MULTIPLE CHARACTERS THROUGHOUT THE SHOW. HOW DO YOU DO IT?


HEATHER:

Here’s how I play multiple characters:

  1. I stay organized/prepared. I write down notes (applicable to each one of my characters) during rehearsals. For example, I make music notes, I create blocking sheets, and acting notes for each one of my characters.

  2. “Practice makes perfect” So, I practice, practice, practice, in order to perfect my characters and my individual parts in the show. In particular, I pay special attention to rehearsing the harmonies as this show is very technically challenging for ensemble members.

  3. I make each character I play as multidimensional as possible. This means that I give each one of my characters that I play names, personality traits, objectives, etc. to make them as “real” as possible. I sometimes create or fill out a character sheet to achieve this!

  4. I listen to and sing my songs as often as possible. I listen to them wherever or whenever possible (e.g. while I am getting ready for the day, at the bus stop, etc.).


MORGAN: Playing different characters can be difficult at times, but it is also very interesting. It's all cool to see how each character fits into the story.


MICHAEL: Playing multiple characters is great, as it lets you experience different things within the same show. It comes down to knowing all your characters and being able to switch between their personalities.


JAIMIE: Being pretty new to this, I'm not quite sure yet. I find that really feeling the mood of the song/scene helps me understand my place, and once I feel the emotions I can imagine what the characters are feeling. It’s easy for me to work from there. 


ZACHARY: To play all of these characters you need to make sure you understand each character. Yes, you may just be standing in the back, but you need to appear to be alive and act like your character, because a good ensemble brings the play to life. So, throughout rehearsals, I try to understand each character in the ensemble I play and try to think of how they would react in each situation that occurs in the play, and experiment with how they act.




#pennyandpound #pptheatreHUNCHBACK #ensemble #musicaltheatre #meetthecast #youththeatre


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