In Part 5 of a series of interviews with the cast of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at Kensington Arts Theatre, meet Carl Williams.
Joel: Please introduce yourself and tell our readers where they may have seen you in the past year on local stages?
Carl: My name is Carl Williams and some of the past productions I’ve been involved in this past year were Pirates Of Penzance at Toby’s Dinner Theatre, The Wild Party at Laurel Mill Playhouse, and Big Nate The Musical at Adventure Theatre.
Why did you want to be part of Kensington Arts Theatre’s Spelling Bee?
Because I love this show. It’s so smart and well written. It’s also a blast seeing the audience volunteers interact with the actors on stage.!
Have you appeared in or seen other productions of Spelling Bee before and who did you play and how is this production different and unique?
Yes, I’ve been fortunate enough to do this show two other times. The first time was with Damascus Theatre Company and the second time was with the Little Theatre Of Alexandria and both were phenomenal productions and both of those times I played Mitch Mahoney. This production is different from the others because I feel like our director, from the beginning of the rehearsal process was so invested in making sure that each character’s individual quirky personality was really clear so that the audience might find bits of pieces of a certain character that they might remember from their own childhood and may find themselves empathizing and rooting for that particular character that they’ve connected with.
What did you perform at your audition and where were you when you got the call that you had the role?
At the audition I performed “Prayer Of The Comfort Counselor” and then they asked me to perform part of “The I Love You Song”. They cast me on the spot.
Who do you play in the show and how do you relate to your character?
In the show I play Mitch Mahoney, an ex-con out on parole, doing his community service at the Putnam Spelling Bee. He has an epiphany about halfway through the show that it’s his job to help these kids understand that not winning this bee doesn’t mean the end of the world and that a loss is more of a stepping stone to success than a setback. I can relate to that because those same ideologies were taught to me when I was younger so I’ve internalized them.
How did you prepare for your role, and what were the biggest challenges you faced and how did you resolve them?
I prepared for the role, believe it or not, by watching a lot of Master Chef Junior (at the suggestion of my director Bobby) so I could get a feel for how kids react when faced with different challenges and how authoritative figures interact with them in an encouraging way. My biggest challenge was not just “copy and pasting” my Mitch from the other productions which was hard at first however Bobby thankfully had a very clear view of what he did and did not want Mitch to be and through working with him we were able to find a different Mitch that better fit this particular production.
What is your favorite scene and song in the show that you are not in and do not sing and what is your favorite scene that you are in and favorite song that you do sing and why?
My favorite scene in the show that I’m not in has to be the beginning of the show where we’re first introduced to all the different kids and we see each of their little quirks and habits that make them who they are. It’s just so entertaining to watch. My favorite song in the show that I don’t sing is “My Unfortunate Erection”. It’s hysterical. My favorite scene that I am in is the scene where we first get introduced to Logainne’s fathers. It’s a really funny scene and we get a quick glimpse into their family dynamic. My favorite song that I sing in the show is hands down, “The I Love You Song.” The dark undertones of this seemingly sweet ballad are just perfect and honestly it’s just a very beautiful sounding song.
Which character in the show is most like you, and why?
Will Barfée. I was always that weird, socially awkward kid when I was younger.
What do you admire most about your fellow castmates’ performances?
They’re so unique. They did more than just listen to the cast recording and copy verbatim what they heard. They’ve each worked at trying to put a little bit of themselves in their characters and it’s great.
Why should audience goers bring their families to see Spelling Bee?
Because it’s a fun show with a really great message that resonates with people of all ages. The cast and crew have worked really hard to bring you this amazing production and we know you’re going to love it.
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee plays through March 1, 2015 at Kensington Arts Theatre performing at Kensington Town Center – 3710 Mitchell Street, in Kensington, MD. For tickets, purchase them online.
Jessica Vaughan’s review of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee on DCMetroTheaterArts.
Meet the Cast of ‘The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’ at Kensington Arts Theatre: Part 1: Dylan Echter.
Meet the Cast of ‘The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’ at Kensington Arts Theatre: Part 2: Matt Baughman.
Meet the Cast of ‘The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’ at Kensington Arts Theatre: Part 3: Emma Lord.
Meet the Cast of ‘The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’ at Kensington Arts Theatre: Part 4: Teresa Danskey.