In Part 1 in a series of interviews with the cast of Carousel at Catholic University, meet Philip da Costa.
Joel: Introduce yourself to our readers and tell them what other shows you have appeared in and some of the roles you have played?
Philip: My name is Philip da Costa, I am a senior Musical Theatre Major at The Catholic University of America. In Carousel I will perform as Carnival Boy, a principal danseur. I have appeared at CUA as Joe E. Brown in Shakespeare in Hollywood, Mark Antony in Brutus, and a member of the ensemble for Bat Boy! The Musical and Finian’s Rainbow. Off campus I have performed as Chino in West Side Story at Riverside Dinner Theatre, the male swing for Shrek: The Musical at Toby’s Dinner Theatre, and Alan de Luca in A Chorus Line at Reagle Music Theatre of Greater Boston. Upcoming, I will also be performing in La Perdidaon November 20-23 at CUA.
Why did you want to be in Carousel at CUA? What did you sing and read at your audition?
I love auditioning for and being a part of campus productions- they are an excellent chance to practice a wide range and variety of musicals in a safe and educational environment. Carousel is an especially wonderful opportunity to practice classical repertoire which isn’t done all to often. For my audition I sang “The Man I Used to Be,” from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Pipe Dream and read a monologue from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Allegro.
Had you ever been in another production of the show, and if yes, who did you play, and how is this production different than the other one you were in?
I have not before been in a production of Carousel, but I have sung repertoire from the show before for my voice lessons so it’s very interesting to see it staged and realized.
What does Carousel have to say to your generation of theatergoers?
Carousel is a beautiful throw back to the musicals of the golden age of Broadway. For our generation the story is about self-empowerment, love and finding hopefulness even in the most trying time. It’s all about finding the silver lining in a bad situation.
Who do you play in Carousel and how do you relate to him?
I am playing the role of Carnival Boy. He is a traveling member of a carnival who has a brief love affair with Billy Bigelow’s daughter Louise. Their relationship is shown through the dream ballet in act two. We both have a love for adventure and thats what makes us similar. We want to experience life, see all the excitement, and travel the world.
What do you admire about your character and what do you not admire?
I admire the Carnival boy’s spirit, he’s free-wheeling and fun, which is absolutely fun to play. Unfortunately he’s a little insensitive and often is a heart breaker, which is not his best quality.
What have been the challenges you have encountered while preparing for your role and how have you overcome these challenges? How did your director help you?
This role required a lot of me physically. Beside the ballet, I’m also a member of the dance ensemble, and building the stamina for this level of dance was a challenge. However in conjunction with the choreographer and my professors here at school I’ve found myself in the best shape of my career. Also the element of story telling through dance is something my directors helped me improve on so that my dance is both beautiful and athletic.
What is your big solo or highlight in the show and what do we learn about your character when you sing perform it?
My big moment comes in the ballet during act 2. It’s a huge story telling ballet which lats for about 11 minutes. We meet my character when he comes in with the other carnival performers. And when Louise tries to run off with carnival, I’m the one who stops her and for a while we have an intimate relationship. But then the carnival calls and I have to move on.
What have you learned about yourself – the actor and dancer- during this whole process?
A lot of the process of Carousel has been about learning storytelling through dance. While it’s something we attempt to do all the time in dance- this show has been a true experience of learning what choreography can do to expand and continue the story telling process.
How do you describe the Rodgers and Hammerstein score and what is your favorite song that you are not performing and why?
This score is beautifully simple, the haunting melodies, the roaring drinking songs, the grand ballads- this music will be stuck in your head. My favorite song that I’m not performing is “Walk Alone,” its absolutely breath taking- both melody and lyric are powerful and moving.
What do you want audiences to take with them after watching you perform in Carousel?
I’d love audiences to see the amount of dedication in the show. From the chorus members to the leads- every one of us cares about this show. I hope it shows how much fun we are having through every number and I hope that fun is contagious.
Meet the Cast of ‘Carousel’ at Catholic University: Part 1: Meet Philip da Costa.
Meet the Cast of ‘Carousel’ at Catholic University: Part 2: Meet Luke Garrison.
Meet the Cast of ‘Carousel’ at Catholic University: Part 3: Meet Harrison Smith.
Meet the Cast of ‘Carousel’ at Catholic University: Part 4: Meet Catherine Purcell.
Meet the Cast of ‘Carousel’ at Catholic University: Part 5: Meet Hasani Allen.
Meet the Cast of ‘Carousel’ at Catholic University: Part 6: Meet Mary Efimetz.