Fynsworth Alley: 10 Questions with Barrett Foa

Originally published on Fynsworth Alley. 

10 Questions with Barrett FoaHow did you get your start in the business? What brought you to New York?

I was born and raised in New York. I went to the University of Michigan musical theatre program. When I graduated, along with everyone else I came here to make it big.

What did you think of Godspell before you were cast in the show? How did this production change your idea of the show?

Actually, I’ve never seen it. I owned the recording and knew some of the songs, but I definitely had pictures of flower children and face painting, hippy-dippy stuff. It was refreshing to revisit it and make it our version of hippy-dippy.

Godspell is the kind of show where the cast really shapes a lot of the action. What was the rehearsal process like for you?

We stripped the script of all of the old jokes. We had our first read-through, and I’ll never forget it, because it was the most boring thing ever. It was Jesus talking for ten pages, with someone saying a line here or there or telling a small parable. We were all falling asleep, it was just atrocious. Then we broke the script down into the separate parables, we sat in a circle and said, “Okay, this parable about the Pharisee and the Tax-Gatherer, what could this be?” We thought, “This could be an infomercial, this could be a football game.” “Football game! All right, someone go out into the hall and make this a football game.” So Chad Kimball jumps up and says, “Hello everybody, and welcome to Synagogue Stadium…” And then Tim would jump up and it would just go on from there. It took about three days just to do the first one, but then we found a rhythm and it just clicked.   Continue reading

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Fynsworth Alley: Donna McKechnie

Originally published on Fynsworth Alley.

donna mckechnieDonna McKechnie is best known for her Tony Award winning performance as Cassie in A Chorus Line, but her career has spanned four decades, from her start in the chorus of How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying all the way through the upcoming Broadway revival of Mack and Mabel. She made her first big splash as a featured dancer on the television show Hullabaloo, where she met Michael Bennett, with whom she would create memorable dances in Promises, Promises, Company, A Chorus Line and more. In recent years, Donna has starred in State Fair on Broadway, Follies at the Papermill Playhouse, and Mack and Mabel as part of the Reprise concert series in Los Angeles. She is currently performing in her one-woman show, and she appears on the forthcoming Fynsworth Alley CD, You Never Know.

DL:When you were a little girl, what made you want to be a dancer?

DM: It was never a question for me. I guess I’m lucky that I didn’t need to grow up and go to college to wrestle with what I wanted to do with my life. Maggie’s story in A Chorus Line, in the song “At The Ballet” is my story. I used to dance around the living room with my imaginary Indian Chief. And it was never separated from the music; the music and the movement were both equally important to me. So my mother took me to ballet classes, and I eventually worked my way up from the little local classes to more serious classes. By the time I was in junior high, I was giving lessons to little girls in my basement. Sheila’s story in A Chorus Line is mine, too, watching The Red Shoes and being inspired by the girl with the red hair. From the time I saw that movie, I wanted to dance ballet.   Continue reading