Interview: Workshopping Lady Monday: A Rock Opera, with Actress Lindsay Spangenthal
Lady Monday is a new rock opera currently in the workshops. I was fortunate enough to catch it's first "on it's feet" performance on May 5, 2017. Last Fall, Lady Monday had it's very first read through. After a few months spent on edits and some adjustments it was put on it's feet for an audience of just over 50 people on May 5. With music stands, and folding chairs the actors were able to tackle to opera gracefully, complete with blocking and light choreography. The lovely and talented actress, Lindsay Spangenthal participated in the latest staging. I was lucky enough to sit down with her to ask her some questions about herself and the process of staging the new rock opera.
Hey, Lindsay! Thanks for talking with Broadway Hit! Why don't you tell us a little about yourself first. How long have you been performing?
"My first performance was playing Annie in my Jewish Pre-Schools version of Annie at 4 years old. Red wig and all."
Where can we find you performing next?
"Next up, I’ll be doing a site specific production of Big River in Old Sturbridge Village, Massachusetts." (Click here for more information on this production.)
Can you talk me through the standard workshop process?
"This was my first workshop process as well! But with really only 4 and a half days of rehearsal, a big chunk of the time is spent learning the music. This particular production had challenging music, so we spent the time to make sure all the harmonies were locked in tight, the music lines were all correct, and dynamics. You can’t forget those dynamics! Once the music is comfortable, then the task of putting it up on its feet comes into play. On the first day of rehearsal we were already starting to stage the opening number, and most of us, myself included didn’t know a word by heart! A lot of this workshop was exploring and rethinking to create this fictionally specific town and life, while still holding the scripts in our hands."
In your own words, what is Lady Monday about?
"Lady Monday is about so many things. But, to me, the core of the story is about finding acceptance and love for who we are and about how the choices we make in our life affect not just us, but everyone around us."
How did you get involved in Lady Monday?
"I found the audition listing on Playbill while I was home having a little vacation. The choreographer's name was one I was familiar with, as we both grew up going to the same performing arts summer camp! I auditioned for it shortly after, had a callback, and got a phone call!"
Who do you play in Lady Monday, and what can you tell us about her?
I play Bea. She’s a pretty complex character neither of this world or any other. She is a big part of the story's early momentum and to me, she is like the Good Witch to Arthur [a lead character in Lady Monday], (one of the workers at Sunny’s Salon) [a primary setting for Lady Monday]. Except, somehow she fucks it all up and sets the plot rolling.
What has been the biggest challenge about workshopping Lady Monday?
"Honestly, I think the lack time was the biggest challenge! When you work on something, you really want the time to sink your teeth into it, and honor the work with your best work. So, only have such a small window of opportunity to bring something to life was the most difficult challenge."
What was the rehearsal process like?
"The rehearsal process was truly wonderfully collaborative, creative, and fun. There were no egos in the room which made it so everyones voice was important and worthwhile."
What do you think audiences will identify with in Lady Monday?
"I think that audiences will identify with a lot of Lady Monday. Each character is specific with their own struggles that I think would be impossible to not find even the smallest quality to identify with. Guilt, addiction, family issues, sexuality, etc it offers a wide variety."
What do you think the biggest takeaway of the piece is for audiences?
"I think the biggest takeaway to me, is that you’re not alone in any of your struggles and that everyone has their own struggle either publicly or privately and it’s not our place to judge, but to help."
What is the next step in the process?
"I think the next step for them is to put an actual production up on it’s feet without binders and see really how it works theatrically!"