"Call Me Adam" chats with Em Grosland about starring in The Anthem, directed, choreographed, and designed by Rachel Klein. The Anthem is a new rollicking sci-fi musical about a revolt of the young against an evil state. Lovingly inspired by Ayn Rand's classic novella "Anthem," the show features expansive aerial movement and a circus environment.
The Anthem plays at the Culture Project's Lynn Redgrave Theater in NYC (45 Bleecker) through July 6. Click here for tickets and follow the show at http://www.theanthemmusical.com and on Facebook and Twitter!
2. In the show, you have a lot of physical movement/acting. What do you like about this kind of performance? I don’t have to go to the gym!
3. Your role has you interacting with the audience the most out of everyone in the cast. What do you enjoy about this interaction and what are some challenges? I know it sounds silly, but by the end of the show there are always a handful of audience members with whom I feel I have really connected. From "Hermes’s" point of view, they are his new friends.
4. The show is directed by Rachel Klein, who typically combines dance, circus movements, musical theatre, and other performance art together. What have you learned from working with her? As I said above, Rachel Klein has a very unique creative voice. Her work is immediately recognizable. As an artist, latching onto a specific point of view is scary because you are letting go of all the other possibilities. You are putting yourself in the vulnerable place where people can love your work or hate it. She seemingly does this without fear. I believe that is because every choice she makes comes from a genuine and honest expression of herself. Rachel is a genius and I can’t wait to watch her cover Broadway with black leather and pink glitter!
5. What is the best part about performing with this cast which include Randy Jones from The Village People, Jenna Leigh Green from Broadway's Wicked, and Jason Gotay from Broadway's Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark, Ashley Kate Adams from Broadway's La Cage Aux Folles, and Remy Zaken from Broadway's Spring Awakening? They are all truly wonderful people and extremely professional artists. Randy is one of the sweetest people I know. Knowing what he and the rest of the Village people did for the visibility and acceptance of gay people in this industry is awe inspiring. Plus during sound check one day, we all sang YMCA with him…it was awesome. When Jenna first sang her big 11 o’clock number in rehearsals, the whole room was in awed silence…audiences do the same every night. Jason is incredibly friendly with everyone…and damn can that boy sing! Ashley has become our event planner of the group. She is extremely generous and even offered up her home for our Tony’s viewing party. And Remy is one of the hardest working people I’ve met. She is always willing to go that extra mile to make each moment happen. And her adlibs are perfection.
But for as awesome as they are, the ensemble members of this show are my heroes. Their physical strength will blow you away. And their "Yes, and…" attitude has been so inspiring for me.
6. What is your favorite part of the show? I have SO many favorite parts of the show! But today I will pick Remy’s new "Hamlet" adlib that she does with the "Executioner’s" severed head. You will have to come see the show to know what the heck I’m talking about.
7. Did you prepare differently for this show than you have for previous shows? I play two very distinct characters in this one. So one of my main challenges was figuring out how to separate them physically, vocally, and emotionally.
8. The show has a futuristic theme to it, what do you think about when you think about the future? What do you imagine life or theatre will be like? I think we are on our way to a world where our differences are our strengths. This business is starting to reflect the true diversity of our world. We have a ways to go, but Broadway is becoming more open-minded about casting. Things that exist without question in our world (multiracial families, transpeople, powerful dynamic women, etc.) are beginning to weave themselves into the theatrical canon.
9. What do you identify most with about this show? What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing the show? Honestly, I hope the audience feels like they were just part of a big crazy party. We are all having so much fun onstage, and that seems to be infectious for our audiences. I hope that everyone’s sides hurt from laughing so much. I know mine do.
10. Since this show is titled The Anthem, what is your personal anthem? Hmm? Lately I’ve been singing Mika’s Grace Kelly a lot in the shower. Does that count?
Off-Broadway: Eve Ensler’s Emotional Creature. National Tour: Danny Who/The Grinch...Regional: Prince/The Little Prince (CFRT), Linus/YAGMCB (California Theatre Center), Tom Thumb/Barnum (Totempole Playhouse), Ring Cycle (LA Opera), Gypsy and Big (Stages St. Louis), Mo/Cowgirls (Florida Studio Theatre), and Peter/Peter Pan (Candlelight Pavilion). TV: L&O SVU; "Comic Perversion."