In Part 4 of a series of interviews with the cast of McLean Community Players’ 1776, meet Scott Gustaveson.
Please introduce yourself and tell our readers where they may have seen you perform on local stages and what roles you have played.
My name is Scott Gustaveson and this production of 1776 is my stage debut. I direct a local youth theater group that has performed a wide range of shows from Fiddler on the Roof to Beauty and the Beast. However, my role has always been as the director.
Why did you want to be part of McLean Community Players’ 1776?
It started as an idea to experience the audition process again. Every year my students have to audition for my productions and the process is always nerve-wracking for them. I hadn’t auditioned for anything since college and I wanted to remember the emotions and challenges of auditioning. When I was offered the part, of course, I couldn’t refuse.
Who do you play in the show, who was your character, and how do you relate to your character? Does this character have any of your personality or character traits?
I play Thomas Jefferson. The common narrative of Jefferson has him playing a major role in the Second Continental Congress and, as the primary author of the Declaration of Independence, he most certainly did. Nevertheless 1776 goes beyond that simple narrative and does an excellent job of portraying Jefferson’s social awkwardness and aloof personality. The show also effectively shows Jefferson’s progression from junior delegate to influential American statesman. As a relative newcomer to acting, I was able relate to the social discomfort and awkwardness that Jefferson undoubtedly felt.
What is your favorite song in the show that you sing and that someone else sings and why?
I love “Is Anybody There?” The song is such a great climax to the show where Adams is free to bare his soul and his vision for the future. Brent performs it so well; it’s just a compelling setup for the final scene.
What have been some of the challenges you have had during rehearsals, and how did Director Annie Galvin help you with these challenges?
I have an extremely busy schedule and Annie was always so understanding and accommodating with my absences and supportive throughout the past several months.
What has impressed you most about your fellow cast members?
I’ve been extremely impressed by the dedication of the cast. They really have a passion for theater and a willingness to sacrifice other pursuits in order to bring together a beautiful production.
Why do you think 1776 is still so popular after so many decades and what does it have to say to today’s theatergoers?
1776 is one of the first major musical productions to break down the demagoguery of the founding fathers. When studying American history, there is such a tendency to set men like Franklin, Jefferson, and Adams up on a pedestal. Without degrading their contributions, 1776 lovingly pokes fun at our traditional assumptions of who these men really were.
What do you want audiences to take with them after seeing you perform in 1776?
As a history teacher, I hope they leave with a renewed desire to understand who the founding fathers were and what their place in history really should be.
1776 plays through February 21, 2016 at McLean Community Players performing at The Alden Theatre – 1234 Ingleside Avenue, in McLean, VA. For tickets, purchase them at the box office, call (866) 811-4111, or purchase them online.
Review of 1776 on DCMetroTheaterArts by Paul Bessel and Barbara Braswell.
Meet the Cast of McLean Community Players’ ‘1776’: Part 1: Brent Stone.
Meet the Cast of McLean Community Players’ ‘1776’: Part 2: James Myers.
Meet the Cast of McLean Community Players’ ‘1776’: Part 3: Leslie Lewis.
Meet the Cast of McLean Community Players’ ‘1776’: Part 4: Scott Gustaveson.