In Part 6 of a series of interviews with the cast of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at Kensington Arts Theatre, meet Nick Carter.
Joel: Please introduce yourself and tell our readers where they may have seen you in the past year on local stages?
Nick: I’m Nick Carter, and I’m playing the role of Leaf Coneybear in Spelling Bee. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre from Frostburg State University. Over the past year, I was in 42nd Street (Andy Lee), and Spamalot! (Ensemble) at Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre. Most recently I choreographed and played an ancestor in The Addams Family at KAT.
Why did you want to be part of Kensington Arts Theatre’s Spelling Bee?
Because Bobby asked me to choreograph… No, honestly I have loved Spelling Bee since I first heard the cast recording. Words have always fascinated me, and I’ve always been a decent speller, so I connect with the show on that level. Leaf has always been a dream role of mine, and when Bobby asked me to audition for Leaf, I jumped at the opportunity.
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?
I was a company manager for a production of Spelling Bee at Porthouse Theatre in Ohio a few years ago, and our production is completely different. We wanted to try to avoid mirroring the original production as much as possible.
What did you perform at your audition and where were you when you got the call that you had the role?
I was part of a late audition, so I actually sang Leaf’s solo, “I’m Not That Smart”. I also read Leaf’s first scene where he finds out he’s going to the county finals. I found out the same night that I got the part.
Who do you play in the show and how do you relate to your character?
Leaf Coneybear. He and I have a lot in common. We both constantly fascinated by learning new things, our brains never stop racing, and we both can make our own clothes. I’d be lying if I said we both weren’t easily distracted.
How did you prepare for your role, and what were the biggest challenges you faced and how did you resolve them?
I really tried to remember what I was like around 10 or so. Many of the things that I do through out the show are actually things I did myself as a kid. I remember climbing under the bleachers at my brother’s basketball game, and things like that. I definitely found the physicality to be a challenge; figuring out how to walk, sit or run, etc. like a kid.
What advice and suggestions did Bobby Libby and your Musical Director Sam Welch give you that helped you prepare for your role? Have you worked with Bobby and Sam before? And how would you describe their styles of directing and musical directing?
Bobby and I were in Addams Family together. Spelling Bee is the first time Sam and I are working together. From the beginning of this process Bobby recommended watching Master Chef Junior, and I have to say that I found it extremely useful. although it has nothing to do with spelling, it is a perfect example of how kids behave under competitive pressure. Sam and Bobby both challenged us to approach the text in a new way, and got us to really think about what we were saying. They both allowed a lot of creative freedom.
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?
That I’m not in, definitely “The I Love You Song”. Emma, Carl, and Teresa’s performances are stunning. Simply staged, beautifully lit. I just love it. That I am in, probably “Pandemonium”. Its high energy, fun to sing, and without giving away too much, involves some fun with audience members.
Which character in the show is most like you, and why?
Well, obviously Leaf, but I find that on some level, I’m a little bit of all of the characters. One of the great things about this show is that audiences can see themselves in these characters, and relate to them on a personal level. I know a lot people that remind me of characters in this show.
What do you admire most about your fellow castmates’ performances?
The commitment. The show is extremely demanding, and requires a lot of focus on some pretty extreme characters. It’s sometimes hard to commit to strong character choices around others, but this cast has made me feel so welcome and comfortable. I think everyone has created a very strong character. We’ve been around each other a lot, but we all get along really well, so it’s been easy to trust each other, explore new things, and grow as a cast.
Why should audience goers bring their families to see Spelling Bee?
It’s just a funny and fun show for pretty much everyone, but there is a little bit of ‘inappropriate’ subject matter (one song…), so I suggest that families with little ones, to look in to the show and decide for themselves if it is appropriate or not.
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.
Meet the Cast of ‘The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’ at Kensington Arts Theatre: Part 5: Carl Williams.