This is the 2nd part of a series of interviews with the cast of Olney Theatre Center’s Avenue Q. In Part 2: Meet Stephen Gregory Smith.
Where have local theatregoers seen you perform this year?
I was last onstage at in Violet in Ford’s Theatre.
Have you performed with puppets this year or before being cast in Avenue Q at Olney, and if so –where?
Yes, I have! I do puppet work with Creative Cauldron’s Passport to the World Series. My puppet mentor is Margie Jervis, Creative Cauldron’s visual arts designer extraordinaire. She taught me everything I know!
Is there a puppetry expert and consultant working with you and what has been the most helpful advice he/she has given you?
We have been working with Jen Barnhart through Skype. She was in the original cast. She has been a great help! The most helpful advice she has given me is to look down with your puppet before you walk. It gives the illusion that the puppet is looking where to walk and looks very life like.
Who do you play in Avenue Q and how do you relate to your characters. Do you share any character traits and flaws?
I play Nicky and Trekkie Monster. Nicky is such a sweet guy. Trekkie is so much fun. While I probably have more in common with Trekkie than Nicky, I don’t feel at liberties to discuss the particulars. (And NO, it isn’t internet porn addiction.)
What have been the biggest challenges you have faced learning your role, score, and puppetry?
Doing everything with another human being attached to your body.
What are your solos in the show?
I am singing my favorite songs in the show: “The Internet is for Porn”, “If You Were Gay” and “School for Monsters.”
What do you admire about your castmates performances and what has surprised you during rehearsals?
I admire the comedy skills of this perfect cast. I admire the actual people in this cast. Some of my favorite people, all of whom are hysterical.
Why do you think Avenue Q is so popular and why there are so many productions in regional and community theatres in our area?
The show won a Tony for a reason! It is brilliantly crafted.
Have you seen any other productions in our area the past year that have impressed you?
I have only ever seen the show in Las Vegas with the original Broadway cast. It was amazing!
What song that you don’t sing is your favorite, and why?
I love “Loud as the Hell You Want”. So much fun, and Kellee sings the hell out of it!
What have Bobby Smith, Chris Youstra, and Jason Loewith brought to this production that make Olney’s Avenue Q so special?
Three different and hysterical comic visions.
What has been the most fun so far working on this show, and what have you learned about yourself as an actor while working on Avenue Q?
I love everyone in the cast but truly, these are some of the funniest people that I know on or off stage. So exploring the boundaries and craft of comedy with all of these masters of it has been so much fun.
Have you found your ‘purpose’? And if so-what is it?
My purpose is to make you forget about your troubles and laugh. At us and with us.
What do you want audiences to take with them after seeing you perform in Avenue Q?
I hope they laugh so hard that they fight their bladder.
Avenue Q plays through July 13, 2014 at Olney Theatre Center-2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road, in Olney, MD. For tickets, call the box office at (301) 924-3400, or purchase them online.
Finding Their Purpose: Meet the Cast of Olney Theatre Center’s ‘Avenue Q’: Part 1: Rachel Zampelli.
Finding Their Purpose: Meet the Cast of Olney Theatre Center’s ‘Avenue Q’: Part 2: Stephen Gregory Smith.
Finding Their Purpose: Meet the Cast of Olney Theatre Center’s ‘Avenue Q’: Part 3: Evan Casey.