Tri-State Theater

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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Interviews with Actors from "Will Rogers Follies"

We've heard from the director and the title character, so now here are some comments from some of the actors who are appearing in the Will Rogers Follies this weekend and next at the old Huntington High School.

Here we have my pals Jane Modlin, who plays Betty Blake (that's her in the photo), and Jim Lamp, who plays Clem Rogers.

Here's what they had to say:

Q: For those who aren't familiar with the show, tell us about Will Rogers Follies.

Jim: The show tells the story of Will Rogers, America’s funny man in the '20s who never met a man he didn’t like.

Q: Tell us about your character in the show.

Jane: I play Betty Blake, Will's wife. She's an amazing woman - she was really his rock and kept him going. She was practically a single mom, since he was gone most of the time, and you have to admire her for that. He always knew she would be there for him when he came home. When the depression hits, she's the one who helps him find his inner strength. This isn't your typical 'boy meets girl' musical, with the predictable happy ending. These were real people who had a romance that lasted their lifetimes. They truly loved each other. Hopefully, Stephen Vance (who plays Will Rogers) and I bring that out.

Jim: I play Clem Rogers, Will’s father, a grouchy but lovable old coot who doesn’t understand Will’s wanderings from the family ranch in Oklahoma but ultimately sees Will for the special, unforgettable person he is. I liked this part because Clem has all the funny lines and grouchy but lovable is a good bit to play.

Q: Why did you want to be part of this show?

Jane: I didn't know the show until (director) Bil Neal called me! I wasn't sure I had enough hours in my day to fit in another production, but after reading the script, I couldn't resist it. Betty's songs are the best in the show. Plus, she's a great character. I really like *her*, not just who she is in the show.

Q: What's the most challenging thing about the show for you?

Jane: Other than the steps... the most challenging part has been finding time to learn everything (which is a cop-out, since Stephen has MUCH more to remember than I do). Honestly, the most challenging part is doing justice to Betty and Will and their romance.

Q: Why would you urge our readers to attend?

Jim: People should see this show because it is a throwback to the days of Vaudeville with great costumes, beautiful dancers and a truly endearing and important message – we are all in this together because we are all family.

Jane: Will Rogers Follies is a wonderful family show; for people who like musical theatre, it's an entertaining spectacle and a fun evening. For folks who aren't as big a fan of musicals, it's got gorgeous showgirls, adorable children, the incredibly talented Jim Lamp, and a folksy hero with whom they can identify. It really has something for everyone.

1 comment:

Bil Neal said...

Chuck~I don't think that either of these two wonderful performers got to brag on themselves enough in this interview. The amount of work and love they've built into their characters is so evident in their performances. I only hope that more people make the time to see these two (and the others) in action.