Joel: Introduce yourself and tell our readers where they might have seen you on the stage before.
Farrell: Hello! I perform in other capacities, but production-wise I was most recently in The Full Monty at The Keegan Theatre. Others: Suite Surrender (also at 1st Stage), Superhero Celebrity Rehab (Fringe 2012), and Dot in Sunday in the Park with George (Kensington Arts Theatre).
Why did you want to be part of this production of Bat Boy? Had you seen it or heard about it before?
I love Steven Royal. I actually didn’t know the show at all before auditioning. I feel like that rarely happens for me in the musical theatre world so I was excited! One of the best things about working at 1st Stage is that you actually get to rehearse in the performance space the entire time. It’s a luxury.
What did you sing at your audition?
“No One But You” as featured in the Queen musical We Will Rock You.
Who do you play in the show and how do you relate to your characters? What do you admire about them?
I play 3 different characters and I love them all. Ruthie, for her adventurous spirit; Roy, for his complete lack of adventurous spirit; and the Reverend because, well, I get to sing a gospel number in a fabulous purple suit.
Have you appeared in any other productions of Bat Boy?
I have no prior experience with this show.
Have you worked with any of your castmates before?
Yes! Russel Silber played our Franz in Sunday in the Park with George. Katie Nigsch-Fairfax and I played opposite each other in Suite Surrender, also at 1st Stage. She’s one of the best people on the planet and someone I have a lot of admiration for.
Which character in the show is most like you and the least like you and why?
I am most like Ruthie Taylor. I’ve been known to try and approach wild animals. In college, I had a bat problem in one of my dorm rooms (they would fly down from the nearby belfry in the humid Boston summer). There was a bat in my sink at one point. I tried to feed it jam. It did not end very well for that particular bat, unfortunately.
Tell me about the solos/duets you sing and what we learn about your characters when you sing the song (s).
Reverend Hightower leads the townspeople in gospel revival number, “Joyful Noise.” We get to learn what a showman she is!
What do you admire most about your castmates performances?
I think this show is an energetic challenge, with deceptively difficult music. And everyone rocks it!
What amazes you about the show’s design and how does it help tell the story?
The design is absolutely integral to this production. I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s pretty spectacular.
What is the best advice Director Steven Royal has given you in preparing for your performance?
Oh, tons. But my favorite is always “Work the audience.”
What have you learned about yourself-the actor and singer-while going through this Bat Boy experience?
I’ve learned that I can pull off denim overalls, a death scene, and a gospel number all in one show.
What do you want audiences to take with them after seeing Bat Boy?
Personally, I think everyone should google ‘bats’ and why it is important that we protect them. Many species are endangered and they are a creature integral to biodiversity and ecological health.
Farrell is a DC-based performer and bartender. She is a north Jersey native, an alumnus of Boston University’s School of Hospitality, and a current graduate student in Digital Media Studies at American University. DC stage credits include: Suite Surrender (1st Stage); The Full Monty (Keegan Theatre, Helen Hayes Nomination – Best Ensemble); Superhero Celebrity Rehab (Capital Fringe Festival, Audience Choice Award – Best Musical); and Dot/Marie in Sunday in the Park with George (Kensington Arts Theatre, WATCH Award Nomination – Best Actress in a Musical). Farrell is also a founding comedienne of WAIFs (Women Aren’t Intelligent or Funny) and a staff member at No Rules Theatre Company. She is an advocate of good food and good theatre as avenues towards positive change. Current obsessions include: juicing, homemade ricotta, rosé wine, her pet betta fish (Sel), landay poems, Muddy Waters, and re-reading Love in the Time of Cholera.
Farrell Parker’s website.