Actor/singer/composer, Laurelia Derocher, is the artistic director for Broadway at the Blue, a brilliant Broadway theater musical experience currently at Gloria Rossi-Menedes’ lively restaurant, BLUE – Greek on Granite. Laurelia and I recently chatted over coffee at the Boulevard Café in Ashland.
EH: Why are your performances of those Broadway songs so unique?
LD: The songs are lyrically and melodically rich. They’re well written. They say something meaningful. And we are able to convey the message of the songs by being willing to go to emotional places as actors. That is something that distinguishes musical theater performers from just really good singers.
Broadway at the Blue is a wonderful outlet for an actor, because you get to play all sorts of characters in one night, even characters that you’re not really appropriate for. At the last show, I sang a song from Little Shop of Horrors. Audrey (who is in her twenties) sings this young, innocent, dreamy song. I would never be cast as Audrey today.
We also do sing-a-longs with the audience. Singing together brings people together.
In 1922, Grant Shepard was “bitten by the theater bug” at the age of six. He went on to earn a Bachelors Degree in Theatre Arts and a Masters Degree in Cinematography from the University of California Los Angeles. He taught at the University of Miami and California State University at Los Angeles. Shepard has acted and directed theater in the Rogue Valley for over twenty years.
EH: Why are some people so passionate about theater?
GS: The theater-going public (which prefers live theater to cinema) is apparently hungry for the immediacy of the relationship with the persons and things that happen on-stage as opposed to shadows on the screen.
EH: What makes a great play?
GS: It depends on the viewpoint. From the audience’s standpoint, a great play is one that pulls people in over a long period of time. From the performers’ standpoint, a great play is one that has parts that are challenging and fun to do. From the critical standpoint, it would be a play that is attention absorbing, gives entertainment, and looked back-on as having been worthwhile. It either has some kind of a message, thought provoking situation, or character development.