Wednesday, October 10, 2012

TheatreScene Chat with Teddy and Alex: Teddy Brings It On Broadway!

This is the next in a series of brief interviews with two exciting new performers on the Broadway scene, Alex Wyse and Teddy Toye.  They first came to my attention when I saw them together in Lysistrata Jones.  When they last chatted, Alex was in the midst of the off-Broadway hit, Triassic Parq, and Teddy was coming off the National Tour of Bring It On.  Now, Alex is starting rehearsals for the off-Broadway production of Bare directed by Stafford Arima (Carrie), and Teddy is once again a swing with Bring It On, this time ON BROADWAY!

Alex told me he wanted to wait until he got a few rehearsals for Bare under his belt before answering my next 5 questions.  But Teddy was ready...and here we go!

5 Quick Questions for Teddy Toye

Question 1: When we last chatted, you had just finished a run as a swing for the tour of Bring It On.  NOW, you have rejoined the company for its Broadway engagement as a swing again.  "Swing" is one of those terms theatergoers either don't know at all or think they know but don't actually understand.  As an "official Broadway swing" what does that mean exactly?  And what does that mean for this specific job? 

Teddy Toye: Well, generally, a swing is a person who covers multiple tracks/roles in a show, whether it be a principal or an ensemble member. For this show, I have to cover 3 ensemble members and 3 Principals ( Twig/ Steven/ Cameron).

2 show days means #SIPs and Latte's
from Tim Hortons

Question 2. What special skills have you had to add to your "bag of tricks" for this job?  How does BRING IT ON fit you AND stretch you as a performer?

Teddy: I don't know how to tumble, but luckily they are awesome at Bring It On, and they didn't force me to learn that, so instead, I just dance.  But I did have to learn all the stunting, which is extremely hard. This show, I can say, has been the hardest show of my career so far and might end up being the hardest show, period. Andy's (Blankenbuehler) choreography is amazing, I love doing it and it fits my style, but it's definitely intricate at times and it never stops, then you have to throw the intense cheer stunts in, tossing a girl here and then going into "Andy choreography," then catching a girl, then back into choreography. Just a very intense show to do on your body and mind.  (Laughs) 

Another #SIP
(Dexter is to the left of Teddy - see below)

Question 3.  Everyone who follows you on Twitter knows that you've gotten to go on in the show.  How do you find out you are going on?  What was that first time like?  What track did you perform?  How did it go?

Teddy: (Laughs) Yes, I had to go on quite a few times. Almost every time, I get a text from my stage manager telling me, "You're on for this person tonight," a few hours before the show. The first time I went on was on a two show day and I wasn't really expecting to be on. I was eating lunch after the first show and I got a text saying "You're on for Dexter tonight!"  I kinda freaked out a bit, then calmed myself down. I had like 2 hours, so I just went over all my notes and reviewed the choreography. It ended up going really well. Everyone in that cast is very supportive and helpful on stage, so if I wasn't quite sure of something, someone would help me out, or whisper it to me on stage. It's definitely a rush the first time you're on for someone new!

Question 4.  What do you do to stay in shape and at the ready, since you may not go on for several days at a time? 

Teddy:  I go to the gym every day, normally before rehearsal -  I'm in rehearsal every day still learning different tracks since I cover 6, but at night when I'm not on, I watch the show from the balcony and try and catch things that I can't really see or visualize in rehearsal. 

Teddy at the Carols for a Cure
recording session with Bring It On

Question 5.  When I saw the show, I was (of course) thrilled by the amazing cheer stunts.  But I was also struck by the amazing and complicated choreography.  How is it to work with Tony-winning choreographer and director Andy Blankenbuehler?  It all looks so effortless and so specific to each dancer.  Is that the case, and how does it get adjusted, if at all, for the swings?

Teddy:  Andy's amazing! I've been wanting to work with him for years now. I used to audition for him for In The Heights all the time, he'd keep me around to the end, but I knew I wouldn't ever be cast in that show because I'm "too white" (laughs), so when this came around I couldn't wait. I also got to work alongside him doing pre-production for the Broadway run, so we were in a studio with a couple other dancers just coming up with new ideas and choreography, which was a very cool experience. And the choreography is very specific; they teach us all the moves and intentions of what Andy wants, and then, of course, we all add our own style to it.

And last, but not least... please provide a caption for this photo!

Teddy: There's only one Jew in this picture.  Can you guess who? (Laughs)

Look for a quick chat with Alex Wyse soon!

Before you go...
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