Q&A WITH THE CAST OF TWN’S GREASE

Grease may be the word, but we were lucky enough to get more than a few words from the Theatre Workshop of Nantucket’s cast of Grease!

BROOKE SWEENEY

1. Tell us about your Nantucket connection… is this your first time on the island? How have you found your time here?

Interestingly, I grew up close by on the South Shore of Massachusetts in Marshfield, MA but never quite made it out to Nantucket (maybe once) until I found myself here for Footloose last summer. I grew up going to Martha’s Vineyard (gasp), but don’t worry, I think it’s safe to say I’ve become a convert. I had a feeling it would be incredible to be here for a summer, but it truly surpassed my expectations in so many ways – the beauty of the island, the people of TWN, the lobster rolls. Luckily, it worked out again this year and Justin was kind enough to let me come back to live the dream for yet another summer!

2. If you had to describe Grease in 3 words what would they be?

Energetic. Suave. Iconic.

3. What was the biggest challenge you faced in preparing for Grease? How has this production on Nantucket been different from other productions you have been a part of elsewhere?

I think the biggest challenge for me was uncovering my personal take on a character from such an iconic, well-known show. These characters have been around for years and I wanted to stay true to the Frenchy that we know and love, so I found myself hesitant to make choices that felt like distinctly me, and not, say, Didi Conn. But as the process went on, Justin really pushed us away from leaning on caricatures and gave this production an exciting depth that I felt I the freedom to put myself into the role and find a nice balance.

4. When and where did you get your start in theater?

My first role was a dancing rose in Beauty and the Beast in 6th grade – which was not a real role. I played soccer pretty competitively growing up, so theatre was somewhat of a favorite side hobby for quite some time. I didn’t really think I could pursue it as a career until my high school drama teacher suggested it. So with that encouragement I auditioned for schools/conservatories – which didn’t work out – so I ended up studying psychology and doing a lot of theatre extracurricularly or doing summer programs. And after graduation, I decided to take the plunge, audition, and move to New York. And now here I am!

JOSHUA POWELL

1. Tell us about your Nantucket connection… is this your first time on the island? How have you found your time here?

Nantucket is such a magical place and I was thrilled to be invited back to TWN for another season. During Mamma Mia in 2017 I was able to explore the island and now, being bACK, I am excited to revisit some of my favorite shops, restaurants, and beaches again. (Freedman’s, Prime, and Surfside)

2. What has it been like working with this specific cast? What is your favorite memory from rehearsals?

Justin Cerne has assembled a team of young people who give you hope that the future of theatre is in good hands. They are talented, inspiring, and a pleasure to work with. The laughter that everyone has shared, from rehearsals to today, will always be one of my favorite memories of working with this cast.

3. What’s your favorite role you’ve ever played?

One of the most fun and favorite roles I’ve had the opportunity to play would be The Ugly Duckling in Honk!, a musical by Anthony Drewe and George Stiles that shares a message of tolerance and acceptance through an adaptation of the beloved Hans Christian Anderson story The Ugly Duckling

4. Do you have any advice for actors who are starting out in the theater industry and want to improve their skills?

Be constant and consistent. Continually seek out ways to grow in all aspects of your life, to broaden your horizons, and critically think about the world around you by learning from every person, culture, and experience you encounter. Consistently show up and be ready to share what you have continually learned and, with honesty, present life’s truths in all that you do.

MELISSA BRAUSCH

1. Tell us about your Nantucket connection… is this your first time on the island? How have you found your time here?

This is my first time on Nantucket! Being from the West Coast, I have always been very impartial to the California beaches, but after coming here, I’ve got to say, my home state has some tough competition! I am thoroughly enjoying the lovely weather and relaxed vibe of this island. Everything is SO close and everyone is so un-rushed. It is such a nice change of pace.

2. They say that Grease is the word. What are some of your favorite “words” or lines from this production?

“Tell me about it, stud!”

3. What was the biggest challenge you faced in preparing for Grease? How has this production on Nantucket been different from other productions you have been a part of elsewhere?

This is my first time doing any kind of “Summer Stock,’ and my first theatre experience so far away from home. So, a huge challenge of mine has been homesickness and opening up to the new environment. I’ve been lucky enough that this cast is so friendly, funny and welcoming that I have had no trouble finding my place here and making it a home. This production differs from previous ones in a lot of ways, but mainly in the rehearsal process. Rehearsing in an off-site space, all day long, and without having any other job to occupy my time, has been a very different experience.

4. Do you have any advice for actors who are starting out in the theater industry and want to improve their skills?

It may sound cliche, and perhaps its advice you’ve gotten before, but I truly believe that you can accomplish whatever you set your mind to. So, if you commit to training, be it a college, a dance class, a vocal coach, and give it 110% effort, you will improve without a doubt. Also, you will be meeting and collaborating with new people at every step of the journey. This is a skill I am still working on myself, but never be afraid to be your authentic self and show the same love and acceptance you hope to receive from those around you. It really goes a long way!

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