In a series of interviews with the cast of The World Goes ‘Round at Creative Cauldron, meet Carolyn Burke.
Joel: Tell our readers where they may have seen you perform on our local stages in the past year.
Carolyn: Over the summer I was in A Family Reunion at Capital Fringe and Swing Time the Musical at the Burke Theater in the US Navy Memorial last spring. I just moved to the DC area about a year and a half ago from Connecticut.
Have you ever appeared in another production of The World Goes ‘Round?
I have not!
How would you describe a John Kander and Fred Ebb song?
They’re all so different from the fun, upbeat songs to the heart wrenching ballads. Their songs glamorize good and bad human experiences with sass and hope.
What did you learn about Kander and Ebb and their music that you didn’t know before you were cast in this production?
Aside from Chicago, Cabaret, and the song “New York, New York,” they have so many other wonderful songs that I had never heard. Their range is amazing from writing show-stopping numbers to simple ballads and how relatable the songs are to people of all ages.
You have two ‘big numbers’ in the show. Tell us about them and what the audience learns about your characters when you are singing them.
I sing “Colored Lights” and “Ring Them Bells.”
“Colored Lights” reveals a past that my character is trying to hold on to and “Ring them Bells” tells the story about a girl who travels the world to find love but the man she falls for turns out to be her neighbor! My character is on the hunt to find that one thing that will make her feel complete. She’s vulnerable, silly, and a tough cookie!
What song is your favorite in the show that you sing and why?
To my surprise (because it’s such a mouthful) I love singing “Ring them Bells.” It’s fun to play different characters within one song and it’s just plain silly and anything but subtle. But I also love singing “There Goes the Ballgame.” There’s nothing more satisfying than singing Andrews Sisters-type three -part harmony songs!
What song that someone else sings is your favorite and why?
This is a hard question! If I have to pick one, I would say “A Quiet Thing.” My heart just melts when I hear it and Carli sings it beautifully.
What was the best advice and suggestions that your director and music director gave you on performing your solos and songs?
In revue-type shows such as this one, taking the songs out of context can be tough. Matt and Steve gave us great guidance and freedom to find how to deliver this music. We’re celebrating Kander and Ebb instead of trying to put ourselves in the different musicals. The duo made our jobs easy by writing such brilliantly gorgeous songs.
What were some of the challenges and joys you had in rehearsals?
It took me some extra trial and error to figure out “Colored Lights.” I think I was trying to do more with it than I needed to until Matt guided me back to the bare-bones when I was getting too far in my head. Also, we had a short rehearsal period so learning all that music quickly was overwhelming at times but it’s a fantastic feeling when something has been difficult and then you overcome it whether it’s learning a song or a dance or anything. With this cast and creative team, I felt so comfortable to try things and appreciate the trust we all have for each other.
How does the performance space at Creative Cauldron contribute to the production?
It’s such a perfect venue for the many intimate moments in the show. The cozy space definitely makes it easier for the audience to participate in the experience.
What do you think Kander and Ebb’s legacy will be?
Their ability to write music that’s timeless is a gift. I love their ability to cheerfully mock different issues such as “The Money Song” and “The Grass is Always Greener.” To me so much of their music says, “Well this is tough but let’s embrace it and get through it, and never lose faith!”.
What do you want audiences to take with them after seeing The World Goes ‘Round?
I hope they let themselves be transported on this journey we created for them and feel whatever it is that the show makes them feel. The title song says it all – no matter what happens, the world still goes ‘round!
For those readers and theatregoers who have never heard of or visited Creative Cauldron tell then about it and what makes Creative Cauldron so special to you.
Not only is the space intimate but so is the community. I feel so connected and supported by everyone involved from our director to the box office and the board members. They believe whole heartedly in what they do and give back so much. I feel very fortunate to be a part of it and that they welcomed me and my crazy to their family!
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