Adam Barry, playing Man 1, in the new production of Becoming Britney, had some time in between his busy work and rehearsal schedule to answer a few questions for us about his upcoming role in the West Coast premiere of Becoming Britney. It opens this Saturday at Center Rep in Walnut Creek.
Make sure you get your tickets soon; I hear it’s selling really well!
1. How did you get involved in this project?
During the run of RENT at City Lights, I was approached by our lovely choreographer Amanda Folena, who had already been cast in Becoming Britney. They were looking for another male actor to round out the six-person cast, so she put me in contact with the director. As it turns out, the co-writer/director Daya Curley and I had worked on a project several years earlier; I set up an audition with her and co-writer Molly Bell, who also plays Britney, and was brought on-board.
2. Who are you playing in Becoming Britney?
I play the part of Man 1. The show takes place in a rehab facility shortly after Britney’s head-shaving debacle, and through a series of “flashbacks,” we tell the story of her rise and fall. In rehab, Man 1 is like Britney’s right-hand gay, but he also assumes a variety of different roles throughout Britney’s flashbacks, ranging from pageant coordinator or interventionist. Getting to rapidly switch between personas makes the part really fun to play.
3. You mentioned that this role has been recently developed in a more significant way compared to the production at the New York Fringe Festival. What’s the biggest difference?
Well, all of the characters have been fleshed out a little bit more in this production. It debuted at [New York] Fringe Festival in 2008 and hasn’t been performed since, so there’s been time for the material to simmer. The characters in rehab with Britney have begun to represent facets of her own personality, and Man 1 represents her fabulous, playful and slightly sane side, and really has her best interest at heart.
4. Your last role, Angel in City Light’s production of RENT, is quite different from this project. What’s it like to go from an emotional Rock Opera to a parody of the pop star, Britney Spears?
Well, being in RENT and playing Angel was an absolute dream come true. Waiting ten years to play a part and finally getting the chance to was an amazing experience. RENT has been in my bones for so long that the luxurious six-week rehearsal period made the intense material easier to tackle. Although the story and music in Becoming Britney is much more light-hearted and tongue-in-cheek, the two-week rehearsal period itself is pretty intense.
5. What has the rehearsal process been like? Has there been a lot of revisions since starting the rehearsal process?
Rehearsals for this show move FAST. There’s a lot of material to learn, and not a lot of time to learn it in. Because the show is still relatively new, the rehearsal process has really felt like we are re-developing the show – in fact, we just added a brand new dance segment two days ago. There have been restaged scenes and we’ve reworked lines to smooth out the show. I can’t remember exactly, but when they did it at Fringe, they put the show up in something like two or three days, so having two weeks is a lot more generous!
6. What’s your favorite part to perform? What’s the biggest challenge?
I love the hip-hop numbers. It feels like I’m fulfilling my destiny as a Britney Spears backup dancer – the choreography is awesome. I feel like I’m in high school again, dancing in my bedroom…only an adult. Also, we recently added a dream ballet to the show, which, personally, I think is brilliant. The biggest challenge is absorbing all of the material – I had never heard any of the songs before rehearsals began, and the vocals can get pretty tricky. But the process has been wonderful and the cast is so talented, I can’t say I’ve been all too worried or stressed about it. I think it’s going to be a really fun, memorable experience for theater-goers.
7. What’s your favorite Britney Spears’ song? album? video? dance move? outfit?
That would require some serious dissection. I will say, however, that her 2007 album Blackout, recorded during her stint as a crazy-woman, is BRILLIANT.
Book, Music & Lyrics by: Molly Bell & Daya Curley
Directed by: Daya Curley
Choreography by: Mandy Bell, Lisa Navarro & Molly Bell
How does a Pop sensation wind up bald and trapped in her own musical? Becoming Britney is a caustic (but loving) PG-13 fable that chronicles the rise…the dip…and the salvation of a foolhardy celebrity phenom.
The hit of the New York Fringe Festival – “It’s a production that oozes sass!” – raved NYTheatre.com – the Bay Area’s own sensation, Molly Bell, brings Britney home for it’s West Coast premiere. It’s a new Musical, y’all!
October 28 – November 14, 2010
Get tickets here