Meet Columbus’ own CATS!

November 18th, 2010 by CAPASMM

By Joe Cortez, Web & Social Media Coordinator

With the national tour of CATS coming to the Palace Theatre this weekend (November 19-21), it wouldn’t be right if we didn’t take the time to stop and talk to our two homegrown talents that are among the cast of the show. Chaz Wolcott (who plays Mr. Mistoffelees) and Nathan Morgan (who plays several of the CATS throughout the weekend) both call Columbus their original home. Since then, they have both toured the world on different shows. CATS will be the first time that both Chaz and Nathan have come home to play their native stage. We talked to them about coming back home on the national tour of CATS, what they’re looking forward to, and the best parts about life on the road.

Columbus' Chaz Wolcott and Nathan Morgan from the national touring production of CATS

Columbus' Chaz Wolcott and Nathan Morgan from the national touring production of CATS

Q: It must be great being able to return to your hometown on the tour of CATS. What emotions come out when you are playing in Columbus?

Chaz: I’m so excited to perform in Columbus for the first time in over 10 years! It’s so bittersweet to be performing in the very theatre that I went to as a child to see the magic of Broadway tours.

Nathan: I’m very proud of Columbus, so first, I’m happy to share it with my cast!  How does it feel to come here to perform?  Like riding a roller coaster!  I am feeling a range of emotions from excitement to fear.  I don’t want to let people down…especially not the hometown audience!  I’m also excited to show my high school friends and teachers who I have become, both as a person, and as a performer.  In short, I can’t wait…but I’m very nervous!

Q: What has been the best part of touring with CATS? Are there any highlights that come to mind?

Chaz:
One of the most inspirational things about this job is to see the children experience the magic that this show is capable of showing them. I love passing the “performing bug” on to the next generation!

Nathan:
Well, I love every place I’ve been, but I would be telling a half truth if I didn’t single out Central and South America!  Last year we got to perform for six weeks in Colombia, Venezuela, Costa Rica, and Panama!  I actually took a zip line tour of the rainforest canopy in Costa Rica!  I also was able to go snorkeling off of the Island of Tortuga!  It is amazing to get to see so much of the world (and get paid for it!)  I have two states left to see in the USA, and Hawaii is on the schedule for this year!  Now, if I could just find a tour going to Alaska…I think Columbus will also rank pretty high on the list of amazing visits!

Q: Now that you’re back in Columbus for the weekend, is there anything in particular you are looking forward to? Anywhere you plan on going between performances?

Chaz: I’m a huge Buckeye fan, so I can’t wait to be back around other Buckeyes! “Hang on Sloopy”!! And I must have a Terita’s Pizza!

Nathan:
I get to spend time with friends and family!  I don’t often get to visit, and I can’t wait to spend as much time with them as I can!  I was also looking forward to Spinnaker’s, but I hear that is now gone.  So sad!  I guess I’ll have to get a Donato’s Pizza instead!  I wonder if they still have that Mariachi beef?  Ok, my mouth is watering!

Q: Tell us about the production. What can we expect when you take the stage for CATS at the Palace Theatre?

Chaz: I think this show has something for everybody. I always say if you don’t like one part, wait five minutes and something very different will grace the stage! There’s such a variety of music styles & dance styles, and the show is extremely family friendly. It inspired me to become a performer and I hope our tour continues to do that for audiences!

Nathan:
Well, you can expect, certainly, an escape from reality for 2.5 hours! CATS is a great show for the whole family, and there’s something in it for everyone!  No matter who you are, or what you’ve been through in life, there is someone on that stage with whom you can relate!  I think that’s why this show has been so successful!  The more one sees it, the more they find themselves in the characters.  I’ll be playing Gus/Growltiger/Bustopher Jones for the Saturday matinee, and I personally plan on bringing three COMPLETELY different characters to life.  I hope the audience doesn’t even realize that just one person is performing the three roles!  Also, the entire cast is wonderful, and I am proud to share the stage with each of them!  Columbus is going to have a great time at CATS, and the cats are going to have a great time in Columbus!

We’re grateful that Chaz and Nathan both took the time to talk to us about their experience with CATS, and we’ll look forward to seeing them on stage! Great tickets are still available for this weekend’s performances of CATS – to buy tickets, call 614-469-0939, visit the CAPA Ticket Office at the Ohio Theatre, or click here to order from Ticketmaster!

A Moment with Pilobolus

May 5th, 2010 by CAPASMM

by Joe Cortez, Web & Social Media Coordinator

When you see Pilobolus on our website, you may immediately think that it is nothing more than modern dance. What you probably don’t know about them, however, is that Pilobolus is more than dance. For instance, did you know that Pilobolus has produced short films for the past two seasons of NFL broadcasts? Or that they have performed in more than 64 countries around the world, including a performance for the Queen of England? And in addition, Pilobolus has made numerous television appearances, including CBS’ 60 Minutes, The Late Show with Conan O’Brien, Oprah, and have won an Emmy for their work in television? Sure, modern dance may be one aspect of Pilobolus’ work – but they span so much more than just what you’ll see at the Palace Theatre on Thursday night.

This week, I had the opportunity to catch up with some of the dancers of Pilobolus, and ask them about their motivations. Read from them how they got started, and their favorite performance pieces that you will see here in Columbus!

Q: When and why did you begin dancing?

Nile Russel, dancer: I began dancing when I was about 5 yrs old.  My mom put me into tap lessons after school with Ms. Jackie Flynn.  I went every day after school. I loved being able to move, feel rhythms, and bounce my body against the music, but it sucked being the only guy in class.  It wasn’t until high school and, more so, in college that dance became my passion, however, I think tap and Ms. Flynn have influenced my  approach to dance.

Erika Jimbo, dancer: I began dancing with my sister when I was about 5 years old.  My mother enrolled us both in a ballet program because she always wanted to learn when she was younger, but was never given the chance.  She thought it would be fun for us.

Chris Whitney, dancer: I started my formal dance training the summer following my senior year of high school.  Since the age of 11 I had been involved in theatre productions, musicals, Shakespeare, et cetera.  It was during a high school production in Cleveland that I met Bill Wade, then Director/Founder of the Y.A.R.D. (Youth At Risk Dancing) at Cleveland School for the Arts.  I spent the first six weeks of my summer taking classes at a summer intensive run by Mr. Wade and from then on was hooked.

Matt Del Rosario, dancer: It all started when I was attending the University of Hawaii.  I began as an inspired education major, but before long I started skipping class to surf.  My “Oh, I’ll go tomorrow” attitude led to me failing multiple classes.  So, I decided to take a dance class to boost my GPA.  I signed up for beginning ballet with Paul Maley, who happened to be an alumnus of North Carolina School of the Arts.  It was the hardest thing in the world, but I really enjoyed it and didn’t give up.  Paul got me in contact with NCSA and that year the dean of NCSA’s dance department flew to Hawaii to audition me at home.  After the audition she invited me to come to the school, and that’s how I got started.

Q: What’s your favorite piece to perform?

Annika Sheaff, dancer: “Rushes”, from 2007, is a piece that I was lucky enough to help create.  We collaborated on it with the Israeli choreographers Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollack, who I think are genius artists.  I was able to help create a world, and a  character within that world, that over the past three years I have become attached to.  I learn more and more about the character each time I perform the dance.  It is amazing to feel that even though I have performed Rushes hundreds of times, every performance is still new for me, and I can always dig deeper into it.

Matt Del Rosario: My favorite piece to perform would have to be “Gnomen.”  There is a sense of brotherhood and compassion that I really respect about this piece.

Our thanks goes to the dancers of Pilobolus for taking the time to talk to me about their experiences!

Its not too late to get tickets to see Pilobolus in concert! Use the password “DANCER” and you can get 50% off tickets! To order tickets, call 614-469-0939, visit the CAPA Ticket Office at the Ohio Theatre or the Palace Theatre Ticket Office 2 hours before the show begins, or click here to order from Ticketmaster!

And for all of our Facebook fans: we’ve got a special photo gallery up on Facebook right now! Click here to check it out!