“When we arrived for the first day of rehearsal, the immensity of the task of learning this show became evident. We realized that before we could get into the dramatic stuff, we had to sit down and learn how to play the show. So, we sort of spent a week just studying the piano parts, memorizing and getting facile with the piano work. And then we could start digging into the character work and the storytelling. Of course, it is a monumental task for me because I play 13 characters. When I first looked at the audition materials, I really didn’t get what it was going to look like. So I brought in my best idea of what these characters might look like. Amazingly, a lot of those ideas have stuck. When you are playing multiple characters who often have conversations with each other, the most important thing to do is to distinguish them as completely as possible. There are no costume changes and very little in the way of props. The audience really needs a lot of clues, since the characters all look like me. I made decisions up front as to where each character lived in my vocal register, accents and specific physical mannerisms. For instance, I sing a duet called, ‘It Was Her,’ sung by this feisty older couple, Murray and Barb. Murray is the hand and Barb is the finger. Murray faces stage right and Barb faces stage left. It works.”
Julio Martinez-hosted Arts in Review—celebrating the best in theater and cabaret in the Greater Los Angeles area—airs Fridays (2-2:30pm) on KPFK (90.7FM). On June 26, Arts in Review hosts Susan Tierney, Erin Carere and Jessie Proksa, solo performers from Hollywood Fringe Fest 2015.