ANN HARADA: Honestly, I feel like that’s the tone of most musicals because it’s impossible not to be aware that you’re singing and that in itself is an artificial construct, but that you have to believe it so much, and you have to be so committed to it, and you’re incredibly sincere because as we all know, comedy doesn’t land if you don’t feel it and it’s not absolutely true to you. So, that to me, this is the tone of a musical.
I noticed that in a scene in the schoolhouse, there was a schedule for parent-teacher meetings, and all the names were of great Broadway songwriters like Alan Jay Lerner and Frank Loesser. Who was responsible for that?
CINCO PAUL: That was my list. Because once I saw there was a chalkboard, I thought, “Hmm, let’s put something on this chalkboard.” And so, it’s the composers for the musicals that we’re paying homage to and that we’re parodying in the show. So, all my favorites, Learner, Lowe, Loesser, Meredith Willson.
Ann, were you one of those theater kids in school who was in every musical?
AH: Yes, and I’m still a musical nerd. In high school I was Lucy in You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown. I was one of the nurses in South Pacific. And I was Dolly Levi in The Matchmaker, not in Hello Dolly. If I could live in a musical, it would be Avenue Q, because I did live in it!
Aaron, your character is clearly inspired by Billy Bigelow in Carousel, but were there other classic musical references you drew from in your performance?
AT: That was definitely the main one that I look to. It’s a role I’ve always wanted to play so I got to live my dream of it through this. Our wonderful music team referenced the song, “I’m a bad, bad man, from Annie Get Your Gun. And our wonderful choreographer, Chris Catelli added some Gene Kelly and Judy Garland Easter eggs with my duet with Cecily. So yeah, you get to watch these classics and greats and try to live up to what they’ve done before.