Tri-State Theater

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Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Interview with John Campbell from "A Catered Affair"

   We're just two days away from the premiere of the musical A Catered Affair, being presented by ARTS in Huntington. 

   Here’s another interviews with members of the show’s cast. Stepping up to our invisible microphone is the talented (and very busy) John Campbell, who just finished directing a Gilbert & Sullivan musical for ARTS, and then jumped into this show!

   Here’s John:

Q. Tell us about the musical A Catered Affair.

John: Girl and boy decide to get married. They want a quiet civil ceremony, but then the parents get involved with their own ideas of what the wedding should be like. Family dynamics, expectations of others, hopes and dreams, keeping up appearances, and - finally - love, all play a role in a funny, perplexing, sometimes stormy, often poignant story. 

Q. What roles do you play?

John: I play two roles: Sam, who shares ownership in a cab with the bride's father; and Mr. Halloran, father of the groom.

Q. What's your favorite song in the show?

John: It's hard to choose. The songs that I get to sing - “Partners" (a double-duet by the two cab drivers and the bride/groom) and "Your Children's Happiness" (with Mrs. Halloran) - keep playing in my head, and I am enjoying them. But there are several other catchy, solid tunes in this show too. 

Robert Hutchens as uncle Winston is fabulous, and his rendition of "Immediate Family" will be a show-stopper. 

The warmth but also pathos as the bride (refreshingly played by Abby Manis) and mother (by a terrific Rachel Sanford) choose a wedding dress, is a delight to watch in rehearsal each night, including their buoyant duet "Bridal Shop." 

Too many songs / scenes? It's just that good of a show.

Q. What's been the most challenging aspect about the show?

John: It has been challenging, but fun, to get inside the heads of 1950s characters, without iPhones, air conditioning, microwaves; before the turmoil of the '60s, Nixon and the distrust of government in the ‘70s... you get the idea.

Q. What makes this show fun for you?

John: First, doing it with these people. New friends, old friends, getting to act again under Bil Neal's direction, with T.K. Lombardo at the keyboard. These folks (actors, production crew, all) are good at what they do, and a pleasure to work with.

   Second, despite the family arguments and genuine anger that are portrayed, there is an underlying heart to this show that makes each rehearsal an optimistic event. 

   Third, I really do enjoy the tunes and word play of the songs and script.

Q. Why would you recommend this show to our readers?

John: You will experience deep emotion, and have a good time while doing it. You'll laugh. You just may cry, too. You might even feel the urge to call that daughter or son or dad or mom after you recognize something of your own relationships on the stage.

Q: Thanks, John!

A Catered Affair - ARTS presents the musical on Aug. 11, 12, 17, 18 and 19 at the Renaissance Theatre Ballroom at 900 8th Street in Huntington. General Admission is $15 show only and $30 for dinner and show. You must reserve reservations for dinner by calling 304-733-2787. The dinner menu for this show is: fresh kale lemon salad, baked steak with mushroom gravy, rice pilaf, apricot glazed carrots, and three tier wedding cake for dessert.

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