Posted by Maria Buchanan on March 7, 2023
We’ve got a fantastically talented cast of six lined up, and we sat down with three of them to learn a little more about them, their history in theatre, and what makes them the best dressing roommate.
Without further ado, Meet (half) the Cast of VSMS!
We’re speaking here with Jenna Gilmer (playing Nina), Laurie Carter Rose (Masha), and Callan White (Sonia).
NCSC: Well let’s get started with the most important, divisive, burning question: Coffee or Tea?
JG: At this point, my body consists of 99.9% coffee. I take mine with a splash of vanilla cream
LCR: For sure, COFFEE! I am, admittedly, a hard-core java junkie. And my answer to this
question, of course, is not simple. I have gone through every iteration of caffeine
consumption combinations over the decades, but at the moment, I drink my coffee black
in the first half of the day, and after lunch allow myself the treat of adding sugary
flavored creamers or half and half. Don’t ask me to explain!
CW: Dark roast. Strong! With half and half.
NCSC: Sounds like you all are probably keeping the coffeepot going during rehearsal! I’m glad we put those NC Stage mugs in your welcome bags! 🙂
NCSC: Moving right along, has theatre always been a part of your life? What was your first onstage experience?
CW: in1st Grade I was bumped up from Lil BoPeep to the main character “Trouble” in the school play.
NCSC: You’ve had “main character energy” from the start! Hope there’s a video recording of that one somewhere!
LCR: In fifth grade, an insightful teacher allowed us to design our own book projects and my approach was to be a talk-show host and interview all the characters in the book. I cast the “show” with my
classmates, wrote the script and was, by all accounts, exceedingly bossy. I got to
present my “talk-show” on stage to the whole school and it was completely intoxicating.
I was a goner from there!
NCSC: Maybe you’ll get to play a talk show host onstage one day and come full circle!
JG: My first experience on stage was in the 6th grade when I finally built up the nerve to audition for the school play. I had always been a huge movie buff and I wanted to do what the people on screen did: ACT! After finding the courage, I was cast as ‘Bulka’ the toy dog in “The Velveteen Rabbit.” On opening night, I stepped out on that stage and my life was changed forever.
NCSC: Are you still a movie buff even though you’re a “theatre person” now?
JG: Oh yeah! I have a vast knowledge of horror movies, I adore them!
NCSC: What about being onstage now? Do any of you have pre-show rituals or superstitions?
JG: After my typical run-of-the-mill vocal exercises, I belt my heart out to 80s rock songs in my car before the show. It really gives me the energy I need to power through each and every night.
CW: It changes with every show…But I always go over my lines out loud every day, and I say a prayer on stage when I first come in.
LCR: On each performance day, I like to speed-through my lines while doing some mundane
chore around the house, just for the physical exercise of putting the words in my mouth.
I also eat half of an almond butter and jelly sandwich at around the hour mark before
curtain—even if I’m not hungry! It feels like my security blanket to ward off brain fog. I’d
probably be fine without it, but I don’t want to find out if I’m wrong!
NCSC: What a delicious superstition! I’m starting to feel hungry…
NCSC: Okay, now let’s get down to the nitty gritty– sharing a dressing room can be hard work. What makes YOU the best dressing roommate?
CW: Who says I am?! Hahaha Well, I like to think that I care about the other person/ people in the room.
LCR: I like to keep things upbeat and not bring the tensions of the day into the dressing room.
I mean, when you think about the myriad of steps that got each of us to that moment in
front of the mirror preparing for the performance, it seems like something to celebrate!
Something that should be infused with joy!
NCSC: All that seems like great advice for anyone who has to work with anyone anywhere! What about you, Jenna?
JG: I usually bring snacks to share.
NCSC: And we have a winner, folks. 😉
Sounds like you all are going to have a blast together on this show. It’s making me wish I was part of the cast! Making a note to check with Charlie to see if we can write another character in….
Continue your reading with Meet the Cast Part 2 and chat with NC Stage newcomer Brad Mills (playing Spike) and NC Stage old-timers Jane Bushway (Cassandra) and Scott Treadway (Vanya). See you then!
Maria Buchanan is the Audience Relations Manager at NC Stage and needs a yummy snack after this interview.