When not involved in Chamber Choir, conducting Sing! or gigging with the University Big Bands and vocal trio ‘The Canterberries,’ third-year Drama student and Music Scholar Steph Richardson is also working on this year’s production of ‘Rent’ with the Music Theatre Society. In a break from her hectic schedule, I caught up with Steph and asked her what it’s all about…
DH: What’s your involvement with the show this year ? And what does that mean ?
SR: I’m vocal director, which means I teach the music and harmonies to the cast and cover the musical side of the show until the band comes in a few weeks before the show goes on stage (at which point Jake, our musical director, comes into the mix).
DH: What are the challenges of working on this show ?
SR: As it’s sung-through, there is so much music to get into your head before blocking and staging can even happen. Although the score is brilliant, it is only brilliant because of Jonathan Larson’s ruthless changes of time signatures, rhythms and keys, which keep the cast on their toes. Saying that, a week before the tech run, these difficulties are being ironed out nicely and the cast are on top form!
DH: What have you most enjoyed working on ?
SR: Specifically, although Seasons of Love is the most well-known song, La Vie Boheme has been the most fun to work on. Everyone is so enthusiastic and they really bring the stage to life! I love working with the creative team too. Alick is a great director and works really well with the team. He knows exactly what he wants from the show, which is fantastic, and it looks like the cast, crew and band are going to do him justice.
DH: And you’re in the Gulbenkian Theatre this year, for the first time ?
SR: That’s right: and we’re very happy about it! It gives all Kent Uni students the chance to experience this lively musical as it’s right on their doorstep this year. The Whistable Playhouse is a great space, but it’s nice to bring it onto campus.
DH: Can you give us a hint as to what we’re in for on the night ?
SR: n the night, though you should be prepared for your heartstrings to be tugged a little, you’re alo in for an evening of rockin music, super acting, and a witty and very raunchy look at bohemian life in the 1990s.
The production runs next week, from Wednesday to Friday. at the Gulbenkian Theatre: details and tickets online here.