Sunday, March 8, 2015

FRIGID New York Interview: Molly Craven of "Whiskey Pants: The Mayor of Williamsburg"

By Byrne Harrison

Show: Whiskey Pants: The Mayor of Williamsburg
Photo credit: Ze’ Castle Photography

Originally from Austin, TX, Mollie Craven just graduated from Oklahoma City University with a Bachelor's of Fine Arts in Acting. Some of her favorite regional credits include Fiona in Shrek, Harper in Angels in America, Gloria in Damn Yankees, Brenda in Hairspray, and Queen Isobel in Richard II

Tell me a little about your show.

Where to begin?! Here’s what I tell people who don’t know anything about theatre: “Whiskey Pants is set in a post-apocalyptic Williamsburg where everyone drinks all the time. Then this new guy comes in and says ‘Hey! You should stop drinking and live your dreams!’ And we say ‘No! Bye!’” …... Very eloquent, you’re welcome. But seriously, underneath the surface of this show about a town of alcoholics, this show hits a lot of relevant issues, especially in the young artist community. The people of this community all had big dreams – to be an actor or a doctor, to have a family, to be SOMETHING important. Somewhere along the way, their lives became “a dream deferred,” and now they have all settled into this perpetual hangover to avoid the pain of their unachieved dreams. It provides a very powerful, honest commentary on this society crippled by fear and regret, and gives them the chance to become something. But will they?? 

How did you become involved with it?

I saw the audition posting on Backstage and applied on a whim for the 17-20 year old Mayor’s daughter role (because even at 5’9”, I’m still trying to work my baby cheeks as long as I can). They emailed me back and told me to “prepare a ballad and a comedic song. One as if you are drunk and one as if you are sober.” At my audition, I stumbled my way (literally, into the wall) through my drunk song, somehow got a callback, stumbled some more, and then got the part! I guess those COUNTLESS crazy nights (three) in college paid off.

Who else is helping you bring the show to FRIGID?

Our fearless team at Mind the Art Productions is taking this show to the top! Our amazing (and sleepless) producers/writers/creative team Christian De Gre, Patrick Alberty, Serrana Gay, Mariel Lowe, Aaron Butler, Joe Reese, Kate Marley, Ashley Soliman, and the rest of the cast and orchestra (and the other people that I’ve surely forgotten, I’M SORRY!) are all essential in bringing this show to FRIGID. They’re all pretty incredible artists. I’m a lucky girl to get to work with them.

Who would be your dream audience for this show?

You! BUY TICKETS!! Anyone who wants to laugh, hear really electrifying music, and maybe also shed one single, majestic tear like in the movies should be an audience member for this show. Young artists should DEFINITELY come to this show. It’s for and about us.

As a theatre artist, who are your biggest influences?

I grew up with the classics – “Oklahoma,” “Sound of Music,” “Singin’ In The Rain.” All those timeless movie/musical actors like Shirley Jones, Julie Andrews, Debbie Reynolds, and more in those timeless shows are truly the pinnacles of performing and inspiration for me. 

What shows are you planning to see at FRIGID?

As many as my eyes can handle! I know I’m going to see “Whiskey Pants” five times.

What is next for you in 2015?

Hopefully booking a summer stock job and creating some comedy work to become a YouTube sensation, or if not, draining my bank account to feed my Seamless and Breaking Bad obsession and dying where I lived – on the couch we found on the street.

Lightning round

Favorite theatre professional? I’m a Kelli O’Haraholic. She also went to OCU, she’s breathtakingly beautiful and elegant as a person and a performer, and her voice is okay too.

Current show you would love to be involved with? I know the Off-Broadway “Into the Woods” is an intentionally condensed cast, but maybe they have room for one more Sondheim geek?

Your dream show to be involved with? A show were I get to play Bernadette Peter’s granddaughter, who is also best friends with Emma Stone, and Jeremy Jordan’s love interest. Someone should write that show.

Who would you most like to have a chance to work with? My favorite girls Julie Andrews and Carol Burnett. Now would be great, or if I could turn back time, we coulda been a comedy trio!

Your best theatre experience? This summer, I got to do a regional theater production of “Shrek” where I played Fiona opposite my boyfriend as Shrek. I know, we’re gross, but it was the most fun I’ve EVER had on stage.

Your worst theatre experience? My 8th grade production of “Copacabana.” Yes, it’s a musical. Yes, it’s your worst nightmare.

Person you’d most like to thank for getting you where you are today? The Big Man upstairs. No, not my Russian landlord Ernst.

For more information about Whiskey Pants: The Mayor of Williamsburg, visit the FRIGID New York website.

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