Tracy is playing Vivian Lund in The Art of Living. Here, we asked her a few questions about what makes musical theatre so special and what she’s looking forward to with the show.
Q: What was your first acting experience?
A: Technically, my first acting experience was in kindergarten. It was our graduation and Miss Matthews chose me to sing ‘The Gingerbread Boy’ for the play we were doing. I sang the song quite a bit because the Gingerbread man ran away from so many, SO MANY, which was great for I remember feeling special for being chosen to sing it! Fast forward to this century, I would say my first adult acting experience was when I was cast as Eve/Mama Noah in Chazy Music Theatre’s (CMT’s) production of Children of Eden. Again, the director took a chance on me since I was a newbie to CMT. I was nervous and super serious because I didn’t want to let anyone down. I heard tell there was a lot of fun and joking around going on all around me, but I was totally oblivious to it due to this being the biggest role I had ever had or thought of having.
Q: What’s your favorite show?
A: It’s really hard for me to choose a favorite show because each show had its unique experience that made it special. I have to say that Children of Eden was probably my favorite, not just because I had a lead role in it, but because the nature of the show created so much opportunity and spot-lighting for so many individuals. Throughout the whole show there were Storytellers who were a lead on their own! They were on stage for almost the whole time and they all added so much to the production. The show would have been nothing without them. I also have a soft spot for CMT’s production of The Drowsy Chaperone and Seussical the Musical. I enjoyed them both because they were so unique and different from anything the group had ever done. I could go on and describe each show I have been in and point out something great about each of them, but you asked for my favorite and I already gave you three. Haha.
Q: What do you enjoy about performing in a musical?
A: I enjoy musical theatre because it’s multi-dimensional. You tell the story with dialog and with song verses. It creates another level of understanding and can speak to a larger audience, in my opinion. When I was young, my mom called me the ‘Commercial Kid’ because I only paid attention when the commercials with their jingles came on. School House Rock was my life on Saturdays when it was cartoon day and I received extra credit on a high school history test, which asked to write the preamble to the Constitution. I am sure Mrs. Zurlo was wondering why I was dancing in my chair ever so slightly. I guess what I am saying is, we all learn and process information differently and I feel musical theatre can reach out to more people just through how it is structured.
Q: Why do you love community theater?
A: I think the most profound thing that community theatre does: it unites. It unites the individuals who participate in the production, be it the actors, the pit, the costumers, the lighting & sound people, etc., etc. There are so many layers that exist to make a musical show magical and all those who bring the show to life will forever have a bond that unites them to that moment when the show came to life. In addition, community theatre reaches out to the audience members, without whom the effort would be pointless. The electricity that exists when the audience watches the show for the first time and the players have someone to perform to is so special. Transporting people to another place is wonderful. Helping audience members forget their troubles and pain for two or three hours is a gift. A gift we share. I remember we were doing Seussical the Musical and at the very end, Jason Borrie, who played The Cat in the Hat, asks a rhetorical question, “And then guess what happened?” You could hear a pin drop, and from the audience you heard a little voice say, “What?” It was priceless and special and exactly why I love community theater.
Q: What’s your favorite part of the process?
A: Well, it is definitely NOT auditioning. Haha! I am horrible at it! Seriously, though, I have to say my favorite part of the process is seeing everyone develop and become their character over the course of rehearsals.
Q: What’s your favorite place inside a theater building?
A: Geez, I never thought about this. I enjoy all aspects of the process, so I guess it depends on what part I am playing. Am I watching the show? Am I an actor on stage? I guess my favorite place inside a theatre is wherever I am at the moment.
Q: Do you have any particular techniques you rely on for getting into character?
A: It takes time for me to process the parts I have been awarded. I haven’t had any formal training for acting or singing so I tend to watch those around me and learn. I will probably look to those with already established techniques to provide guidance. 😉
Q: Is there anything about playing Vivian that has you particularly excited?
A: My mom used to say I was a drama queen so I am hoping that I can delve down deep and find the inner dramatics that used to entertain my family when I was a kid. I think reacquainting myself with who I used to be is what is exciting about playing Vivian. She’s dramatic and a tad crazy. At various moments… many, many moments in my life, I have been either dramatic or crazy or both, mostly both. Just ask my family.
Tracy is so excited to be a part of this wonderful, original production and to work alongside such talented people and perform on the beautifully renovated Strand Theatre stage. She has been a member of Chazy Music Theatre (CMT) since 1996 with her first show being Fiddler on the Roof. Throughout the years, she has been very fortunate to play roles such as Eve/Mama Noah in Children of Eden, Martha (a Yorkshire girl) in Secret Garden, The Sour Kangaroo in Seussical the Musical, Aida in AIDA, and Trix the Aviatrix in The Drowsy Chaperone. In addition, she gave back to the organization by serving on the CMT Board of Directors for many years. In real life, Tracy works for the Clinton County Real Property Office as an Assessment Control Examiner, a position she’s had for seven years. She has also been a Tastefully Simple Consultant since 2014, and has been seen singing in a band here and there. Many thanks to all involved in making this production come to life. It is truly an honor to work with all of you. Wishing you all many blessings. Enjoy the show!