In Part 3 of a series of interviews with the cast of A Grand Night for Singing at Montgomery Playhouse, meet Lauren-Nicole Gabel.
Joel: Please introduce yourself and tell us where we may have seen your work on our local stages before? Who did you play?
Lauren-Nicole: I’m Lauren-Nicole Gabel, and I was last on stage playing Grace Farrell in Annie with the Potomac Theatre Company (which I just realized was almost 2 years ago!!!). Other favorite roles include Isabelle in Scrooge!! the Musical with Sandy Spring Theatre Group (which was a bucket list role for me) and Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz with Montgomery Playhouse.
Why did you want to be part of the cast of A Grand Night for Singing?
I absolutely love Rodgers and Hammerstein! One of my first theatre experiences was performing as part of a kids ensemble where we sang songs from different shows and many of them were Rodgers and Hammerstein productions. So I grew up with many of these songs and am so excited to get to sing so many of them on stage again.
What were the biggest challenges learning your songs?
Just the amount of music that we have in this show! In most shows, my character may a handful of songs to learn, but in this show, I sing in 20+ songs! And many of them have 5-part harmonies, which makes it even more challenging. It’s an exercise in memorization, for sure!
What do your songs (solos) mean to you?
I love that I get to sing so many different types of songs in this show, everything from “Stepsister’s Lament” (the ultimate character song) to “So Far” (a gorgeous ballad). The latter is probably my favorite song in the show. When R&H originally wrote the song, they were unable to fit it into a show, but realizing it was such a fantastic song they keep on trying. It was first put into Allegro, as a solo for a character that literally appears on stage, sings this song, and then is never seen again. Rodgers and Hammerstein later put the song into State Fair as well.
How would you describe a Rodgers and Hammerstein Song?
Well packaged, expressive and joyful. Rodgers and Hammerstein, building on the progress that was made before them, were the first to successfully integrate all aspects of a musical within their productions. The songs are well thought out but at the same time they avoid a lot of the heavy emotions that we see in modern musicals today.
What do these songs have to say to today’s audiences?
The songs have aged well, because the themes that they are built on have not changed. People still fall in love, long for others, and get disappointed when things don’t go there way. The arrangements are classic as well. And I’m sure everyone in the audience will recognize at least one song in the show….and probably a lot more than that…
What song that you are not singing is your favorite and why?
That’s a hard question….I would say “Maria” since, oddly enough, it is the ONLY song from The Sound of Music that is in the show. The men get to sing it and they do a fantastic job with it, so it’s all good ;).
This is an ensemble piece. What do you admire most about your fellow cast members? And what have you learned about being a member of an ensemble that you hadn’t experienced before?
I have been a part of an ensemble before, but never one that was this small and where everyone had their own vocal line in many. It’s been amazing to work with this incredibly talented cast, some of them I have worked with before and others I have always wanted to work with. For me, it’s been a challenge to focus on blending within the group, both vocally and in movement. It’s just not something that I normally have to think about….but at the same time I’ve learned so much from carefully paying attention to my cast-mates.
Why do you think Rodgers and Hammerstein’s music is till so popular and if you had to describe their legacy-what would it be?
I think Rodgers and Hammerstein’s music is still so popular because their productions are so timeless. And their achievements in integrating musical theatre is still a huge theme in modern musicals today. You can see their influence in every musical on Broadway today.
What are you doing next on the stage?
Hmmm…..that’s a good question! There’s a show my daughter wants to audition for, so my next role may be Stage Mom.
If you could have any role in a Rodgers and Hammerstein show, what would it be?
Do I have to pick just one?!? I would love to play Anna in The King and I…for both the role AND the wardrobe ;).
A Grand Night for Singing plays from February 12-27, 2016 at Montgomery Playhouse performing at The Arts Barn – 311 Kent Square Road, in Gaithersburg, MD. For tickets, call (301) 258-6394, or purchase them online.
Meet the Cast of The Montgomery Playhouse’s ‘A Grand Night for Singing’: Part 1: Brian Lyons-Burke.
Meet the Cast of The Montgomery Playhouse’s ‘A Grand Night for Singing’: Part 2: Jennifer Georgia.
Meet the Cast of The Montgomery Playhouse’s ‘A Grand Night for Singing’: Part 3: Lauren-Nicole Gabel.