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Artist Interview: Angela Lakin

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Name: Angela Lakin
Current show: Gorey Stories
Role: Music Director/pianist
Age: 28
Day job: marketing manager
Birthplace: Redbank, NJ
Current residence: St. Petersburg, FL
Top 3 TV shows: The Office, What Not to Wear, Big Bang Theory (it’s my newest fav)
Top 3 films: Office Space, Garden State, Little Miss Sunshine
Top 3 bands: The Killers, Nickel Creek, John Mayer
Top 3 foodstuffs: tea, raspberries and Moe’s nachos
What you’re reading: “Love Walked In” and “Punk Marketing”
Favorites for fun: sing, play piano, hanging out with my husband and our dog Cooper, shopping
Favorite places to visit: New England, PA, NYC, San Francisco

You sing and play piano. Tell us how you got into music, and what lead to the theatrical connection as opposed to playing orchestrally or just singing chorally.

My mom says I sang before I could talk so I guess I was destined to do something musical. I’ve studied voice, piano and flute (that’s also the order of my proficiency). I’m definitely a vocalist who likes to play piano too. Performing in an orchestra wasn’t really something I ever considered. I grew up singing in choirs, but the problem with choir is that you don’t have the freedom to make a song your own. That led to my love of musical theater (I’ll give you my soap box speech on musical theater another time). I also really enjoy performing jazz, torch songs and contemporary music.

What was the last thing you worked on as a singer/musician?

I took a break from performing for about four years when I went to grad school. Before that I sang as a member of the Opera Tampa chorus and a couple solos in weddings.

What’s been your experience so far for the first time out as a music director?

It’s been a blast! As with any new challenge, there are definitely those moments of doubt and worry, but everything has really come together the way I envisioned.

Any challenges greater than expected? Any obstacles more easily overcome than you initially thought?

I think the biggest challenge, and opportunity, throughout the entire project has been the lack of recordings. There isn’t a “cast album” or other easily accessed recording. There are just a couple videos on YouTube. The challenge is that there isn’t a point of reference. But on the flip side there isn’t a preconception of how a song should sound. It really gives us a freedom to interpret the music and make adjustments as needed.

Anything you’d like to say specifically about being not only the music director in context of the actors singing, but leading a group of musicians on stage?

In addition to an amazing cast, I’m lucky to be working with an incredibly talented cellist and flutist. They both have excellent musicianship and solid technique which is essential when working on a project like this.

There are about 90 music cues throughout the 2 hour show which range from a simple incidental music to entire company songs. As with any music-infused show, the trick is getting, and keeping, the cast and musician together. There’s definitely a lot of listening, watching and working together to pull it off.

What do you think will be the biggest appeal of this show to the general public?

I think it’s an excellent balance of creepy, demented, bizarre and funny. The show definitely has a distinct style. I liken it to a cross between Dr. Seuss, a silent film and a Tim Burton movie.

Were you ever/are you big on the whole Halloween thing?

I think every kid loves Halloween, but I stopped doing the trick-or-treat thing around 6th grade. I liked to stay home and hand out candy. And why wouldn’t I? It was warm (remember, I grew up in the Northeast) and I could eat candy without going door to door asking for it. I say, “work smarter not harder!” I’m more into fall as a season instead of just Halloween but I love watching “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown.”

Do you think this experience has satisfied a craving for a while, or gotten you more back into the mindset of wanting to perform?

Absolutely. I love the process and seeing it all come together. I will admit I’m running on caffeine at this point, but it’s all worth it. I’d do it again in a heart beat.

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