Meet the cast – Rencontre avec les artistes – Songs for a new world

Songs for a New World (SFANW) opened on Oct 14th ! Get to know the cast with these quick interviews. Be sure to check back soon for more tidbits from our fantastic performers.  In line with AMT’s already classic tradition of “Franglais” (or Frenglish), Franck’s interview will be in French, and Miranda’s in English. Remember to get your tickets to Songs For a New World !

La première de Songs for a New World (SFANW) s’est tenue le 14 octobre à L’Auguste Théâtre. Retrouvez ici une interview de deux des quatre acteurs du spectacle. Dans la tradition déjà célèbre du “franglais” d’AMT live Paris, l’interview avec Franck sera en Français, et celle avec Miranda en Anglais. N’oubliez de réserver vos billets pour Songs For a New World !

CANDICE PARISE

How did you become involved with musical theater in general and this show in particular ?

I started singing when I was 8 years old but really started to work my vocal technique when I was 13. My parents’ separation affected me when I was young and I realised singing was a real therapy! Everytime I was singing I felt good! One day, my mom went to a wedding, spoke to the gospel singer who was singing during the ceremony and asked her if she gave singing lessons. Hopefully she did. A few weeks later I started lessons and gospel workshops until I and met my current singing teacher, Angie Cazaux-Berthias, with whom I have been working on vocal technique with for 13 years now!

Candice Parise - Songs for a new world


I liked singing gospel and all types of songs but my grandma used to bring me to see musicals in Paris (the first one I saw actually was Starmania), so I started to get really interested and listened to more and more shows.
For me, having been to American and International Schools in Paris for most of my scholarship, musical theater was anglo-saxon. After training in drama and singing in Paris, I did some searching to find a one-year program in musical theater in the UK and found the London School of Musical Theater. I auditionned, and got in for the year 2009/2010! It was absolutely amazing. A whole year learning about musical theater with masterclasses, shows (Les Mis, Merrily we roll along, Pirates of Penzance, City of Angels…..), singing, acting, dancing lessons… An incredible experience which led me to sign with my British agent at the end of the year, Hilary Gagan.

As soon as my training ended, I had the chance to get a part in HAIR in Paris. Other shows as Notre Dame de Paris, Romeo&Juliet and now Songs for a New World, followed, I couldn’t be more happy!

Did you know JRB’s work before ?

I had listened to The last 5 years, Parade and Songs for a new world. Actually, after I met Miranda and saw her singing at an AMT party, I told her she would be perfect for The last 5 years, and she answered « well, guess what, AMT is doing it this summer and I’ll be playing » Great!

Can you tell us more about your part and the songs you’ll sing in the show ? Do you have a favorite ?

I’m very happy to be playing Woman 1 in the show. Of course Woman 2 has great, powerful songs, but I feel much more close to my character than to Woman 2’s’. The solo songs I interpret in the show are I’m not afraid of anything and Christmas Lullaby. Frédérique Lelaure, our director, has done a wonderful work with me as an actress in rehearsals and has made me understand many things about myself and the character to be able to interpret them as simply and sincerely as possible.

In the beginning, to be very honest, I really didn’t like Christmas Lullaby. I think it’s because I had never been pregnant and had trouble linking it to anything. Now, it’s one of my favorites and trying to sing it sensibly every time is quite challengy! I’d give it all for you is the duet I sing with Man 2 (Franck Jeuffroy), I love it. Especially because I have the chance to sing it with someone who is very true and sensible emotionally speaking, which makes the acting even easier. I think my favorite song is the Opening though, it’s so powerful, and the harmonies are so beautiful… I could listen to it 10 times a day!!

What musical from the american/british repertoire would you like to see get a production in Paris ? any dream roles ?

Candice Parise - Songs for a new world

I know I won’t sound very original but I’d love to see Les Misérables come back in Paris… I’m in love with that show!!! I studied and played Fantine’s part in London with the resident director during a 3 week workshop when I was training, and played Eponine in Paris end of 2012, it’s so well composed and written, you never get bored with that show!

My favorite show is West Side Story, I know it was produced at the Châtelet but I wasn’t in France at that time so I still haven’t seen it on stage unfortunately! Dream roles…? Hard to say… Les Mis again, Fantine or Eponine, but for a long period of time to really get « into » the part. I’d also love to play Kim in Miss Saigon. I wish Chicago would  get another production in Paris too one day… If it does, I’d love to audition for Roxie! The Wizard of Oz would also be a great production for France… I also love Sweet Charity, Bells are ringing, Once… So many good shows and so many good roles… How can we only choose just a few?

FRANCK JEUFFROY

Comment êtes vous arrivé à la Comédie Musicale en général, et à ce spectacle en particulier ? Connaissiez-vous l’oeuvre de Jason Robert Brown ?

Je dois bien avouer que je suis arrivé un peu par hasard dans la comédie musicale…Tout est une histoire de rencontres et d’opportunités que j’ai saisies au fur et à mesure de ma vie. Ayant fait beaucoup de piano enfant, j’ai dû arrêter en classes prépa car il n’y avait pas de piano à disposition. En école d’ingénieurs, j’ai voulu reprendre la musique et je me suis dit : “Tiens, pourquoi pas essayer le chant?”. Ca a été une vraie découverte pour moi, une première révélation. Le chant, en utilisant votre corps comme propre instrument, vous fait toucher du doigt toute la Magie de la Vie, de la connexion entre le physique, l’émotionnel, la pensée, l’inconscient…Puis tout en me formant au lyrique, j’ai voulu

franck-jeuffroy-songs-for-a-new-world-1

explorer d’autres styles. Et c’est là que j’ai été orienté plus ou moins par hasard vers un professeur de comédie musicale, à une époque où ma culture en comédie musicale n’était pas loin de se limiter à Starmania ! Mais j’ai été attiré par cet art complet, mêlant le chant, la danse (j’ai toujours adoré danser, sans pour autant avoir pris de cours) et le théâtre (un vieux rêve d’enfant également). J’ai commencé à découvrir des oeuvres toutes plus incroyables les unes que les autres, et j’ai été voir mes premières comédies musicales à Londres. Ça a été une

deuxième révélation. J’en suis ressorti bouleversé, enthousiasmé, émerveillé. J’ai alors décidé de quitter mon travail de l’époque que j’aimais pourtant beaucoup (je gérais des projets d’urgences internationales pour une ONG), pour me former à la comédie musicale et me consacrer à la scène. C’est par une annonce d’audition que j’ai entendu parlé pour la première fois d’AMT Live, ainsi que de Jason Robert Brown!

Pouvez-vous nous en dire plus sur votre rôle  et les chansons que vous chantez dans le spectacle ? Quelles-sont vos préférées ?

Dans le show, je joue les parties de “Man 2”. L’appellation peut paraître un peu impersonnelle, mais Songs for a New World est plus un cycle de chansons qu’une comédie musicale à proprement parler. J’interprète donc divers rôles pendant le spectacle. Cependant, à travers ces divers rôles, le comédien effectue un parcours de vie. Je me retrouve dans la peau de personnages qui sont incapables de prendre leur vie en main, ils se laissent submerger par leur entourage, n’ont pas le courage de prendre la décision qui les mènerait vers une vie meilleure ou qui permettrait à leurs rêves de devenir réalité. Ils sont enfermés dans les désirs de l’Autre, dans les attentes de la société, n’arrivent pas à se faire confiance ni à faire confiance à l’autre. Jusqu’au dernier personnage, qui après une rupture, après avoir reconstruit et “réussi” sa vie, après s’être persuadé qu’il était mieux tout seul, se rend compte qu’il n’y a qu’une chose qui le rend vraiment heureux, être auprès de celle qu’il aime, même si la relation n’est pas facile tous les jours. Et il fait le “grand saut”, vient la retrouver et lui avoue ton son amour pour elle. Je ne pense pas que j’ai une chanson favorite en particulier. Chaque chanson vient nous parler intimement, nous met face à nos contradictions, à nos doutes, à nos peurs, à nos espoirs. Et c’est cette lutte de chaque personnage avec lui-même qui est passionnante à observer et à jouer !

Quelle pièce du répertoire de théâtre musical Anglo-saxon souhaiteriez-vous voir sur scène à Paris ? Quels rôles vous feraient rêver ?

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J’aimerais voir sur Paris davantage de théâtre musical anglosaxon qui ne soit ni des family shows ni des juke box tuners...Le Châtelet propose ce genre de répertoire mais nous n’avons encore que l’embarras du choix sur ce qu’il reste à monter à Paris ! Mon rêve secret? Que les programmateurs de l’Opéra Garnier prenne le risque un jour de monter le Fantôme de l’Opéra ! Ce serait grandiose et tellement magique. Et sinon du Kander et Ebb (j’étais sur un projet du Baiser de la Femme Araignée, j’espère qu’il finira par se monter ! ), du Sondheim, des oeuvres aussi variées que Scarlet Pimpernel, Rent, Jekyll and Hyde, Top Hat, Kiss me Kate, Miss Saïgon…Et davantage de découvertes off-Broadway que l’on connaît moins et qui cachent parfois de véritables petits bijoux !

MIRANDA CRISPIN

How did you become involved with musical theater in general and this show in particular ? did you know JRB’s work before ? 

miranda-crispin-songs-for-a-new-world-2

I’ve been doing musical theatre since I was a child. I grew up singing in choir and playing the saxophone, and when I was eleven years old, I got cast in a production of “Oliver.” That was it – I’ve been doing musicals ever since.

The first time I remember hearing JRB’s work was when I had come to study in Paris in 1999 (yes, on a discman). That spring, I went visit my college roommate who was doing an opera in Rome and she played for me Audra McDonald’s first solo album (1998 Way Back to Paradise). I remember playing the song “Stars and the Moon” three times in a row while she sat there beaming at me. I got my hands on the cast recording and score when I got back to the states that fall and have been following JRB’s work ever since. It’s such a thrill to be back here in Paris and to get share this song and this whole show with the local theatre crowd.

Can you tell us more about your part and the songs you’ll sing in the show ? Do you have a favorite ?

Like the other actors in the cast, I play several characters throughout the course of the show. The thing that ties these pieces, and my characters together, is the “one moment” theme. Each song and character is faced with a decision to make. “Stars and the Moon” has long been a favorite and I’ve performed “Flagmaker” before in a cabaret, which I’m also very fond of, but through the rehearsal process, I’ve been falling in love with my other two solos (“Just One Step” and “Surabaya Santa“). These two characters have seemed a bit over the top for me from a distance, and working with Frédérique in the context of this show, I’ve been having a lot of fun diving into these songs as well. It’s also a real treat to sing the ensemble numbers with this talented group of performers. The harmonies are much more complex than in garden variety musical theatre, so it’s great fun to dive into these pieces with Candice, Franck, and Tolgay.

What musical from the american/british repertoire would you like to see get a production in Paris ? Any dream roles ?

miranda-crispin-songs-for-a-new-world-1Wow – the list is pretty long. I’m thrilled any time the Parisian public gets to enjoy this genre that I love so much, and I’m most interested in the more integrated pieces that further plot and character development within the song. This is something we have to offer in anglo musical theatre that is quite captivating. A few shows I would love to see in Paris : Little Shop of Horrors, Urinetown, The Secret Garden, Aida, Once On This Island, and Floyd Collins. Other shows I’d love to do are Next To Normal, Light in the Piazza, tick, Tick…BOOM!, and See What I Wanna See. 

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