Joel Markowitz met with actors Sherri L. Edelen and Matthew Scott just before the Sunday, November 22nd matinee of The Light in the Piazza at Philadelphia Theatre Company. Here, they talk about the new chamber production of the Tony winning musical, and its director, the multiple Helen Hayes Award winner Joe Calarco.
Sherri L. Edelen is well-known to DC audiences, and has won two Helen Hayes Awards for her outstanding work in Side Show and Les Misérables at Signature Theatre. Sherri is also becoming a staple in the Philadelphia theatre community, garnering Barrymore Award nominations for her performances in Caroline, or Change (Rose), and Elegies: A Song Cycle, Sherri was a member of the Barrymore Award winning Best Ensemble of a Musical for Elegies: A Song Cycle, which was directed by Joe Calarco at PTC in 2005.
Her role as Margaret Johnson is vocally demanding, and Sherri was even more nervous that Sunday because Piazza‘s composer/lyricist Adam Guettel was in the audience.
Fresh from his performances at Signature Theatre in Ace and Find Your Dream: The Music of Kander and Ebb, where his rendition of “I Miss The Music” (from Curtains) was the highlight of the show for Joel and many local critics, Matthew Scott is now playing the love-smitten Fabrizio.
Sherri describe Joe Calarco’s approach: “Joe wanted to pull all the reality from the story, which is difficult, and hard, and messy, and real life”. Matt chimes in that “He (Joe) truly fulfills my dream of working with a really great director”.
How is Sherri playing Margaret differently than Victoria Clark, who won the Tony playing Margaret in NYC? “I’m a little feistier. Before Joe left, he told us, “You can never get comfortable in this show. You always have to stay on the edge.”
Sherri and Matt talk about the luminous Whitney Bashor who plays Clara. From Matt: “Her voice is flawless. I think she is rawer with her performance as Clara than the NYC actresses her played her. She’s very easy to be on stage with. Sherri and Whitney together are devastating”.
From Sherri: “Whitney has an effortless singing voice. She wants to discover new things each night. She’s a beautiful human being, and brings her soul onto the stage”.
Why should theatergoers from DC come to Philadelphia to come see the show? Matt: This is blow-the roof-off theatre. I think Sherri’s performance is not to be missed!”
Joel interviewed Light in the Piazza director Joe Calarco. Read it here.