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Posts Tagged Christina Baldwin

Christina Baldwin: The Very Model

A leading face in Park Square’s Pirates of Penzance is actor, Christina Baldwin, who is portraying the famous “Major General”. Of course, in this particular production, everything about the “traditional” staging has been re-interpreted. Not only is Baldwin playing the Major General, but she is playing the real-life, Helen Lenoir, (who is playing the Major General).

The cast of The Pirates of Penzance take their bows. (Photo by Petronella J. Ytsma)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Expanding upon this, Baldwin states; “Doug’s [Scholz-Carlson] knowledge of Gilbert and Sullivan history and trivia is astounding! He has placed Gilbert, Sullivan and many other characters from their circle in our show. I had never heard of Helen Lenoir, and Doug’s idea to incorporate her into the Pirates story is well-placed. By all accounts, she really was a large cog in the machine that kept the G&S machine rolling. It makes sense that she gets to be the Major General!”

Photo by William Clark

Christina Baldwin grew up in Jordan, Minn. where she and her seven siblings were introduced to the arts at an early age. Her parents brought her along to see theater and live music whenever possible. She attended college at Lawrence University Conservatory of Music and after a brief stint in New York, returned to Minnesota to pursue a Masters of Music degree at the U of M. It was then that she began a nearly 10 year collaboration with Theatre de la Jeune Lune. Other credits around town include work with the Minnesota Opera, the Guthrie, History Theater, Nautilus Music-Theater, Minnesota Orchestra, the Schubert Club and the Ordway.

No stranger Park Square either, Baldwin was previously seen in Lisa Kron’s Well, as well as Ragtime, Calendar Girls and the co-production of Grey Gardens with the Ordway. She’s even well acquainted with Pirates of Penzance, having performed in the show at the Guthrie and Kansas City Repertory.

With her first turn as the Major General, what could her inspirations possibly be? “Honestly, my inspiration drifts somewhere between Mary Poppins and Karen from Will & Grace.”
Now that sounds like a major general we can all get behind! You can catch the multi-talented Baldwin at Park Square until March 25 on the proscenium stage at Park Square Theatre. More information and tickets can be had here.

Alice McGlave, the Bride-to-Be

Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance is a fast-paced, zany comedy with a love story at its core. Playing Mabel, the bride-to-be of Frederic, the pirate apprentice, is Alice McGlave. Here she is to tell us about her role and a bit about herself:

1. What do you like about playing Mabel?

I like Mabel’s optimism and vulnerability. She falls in love so quickly with Frederic and remains positive even when the odds are against them and it seems like they won’t make it as a couple.

2. What’s the hardest part about playing Mabel?

I think the hardest part about playing Mabel is her music. She has some demanding vocal lines. It is a challenge to sing through those vocal lines while in character. Throw some choreography on top of that, and it can get pretty tricky.

3. How has your training prepared you for this part?

Alice McGlave in rehearsal
(Photo by Connie Shaver)

The key to playing Mabel is to make sure I am warmed up. Warming up was a crucial part of my training. Every voice lesson begins with a warm up. I compare singing a role like Mabel to that of an athlete. Like athletes warm up before a game or race, singers have to properly warm up to prepare for a performance.

4. What was your aha moment in realizing that you wanted to be an actor?

It was in high school. I began to realize how much joy performing brought me. There is nothing like performing in front of a live audience. It’s exhilarating!

5. What’s your favorite song in this show and why?

I really enjoy When the Foeman Bares His Steel. In the song, I am trying to motivate the police to go and fight the pirates. It’s such a goofy song, and the police are so much fun to watch. There is a lot of physical comedy throughout.

6. What’s your favorite “piratey” thing?

I am a huge fan of the pirate hats. The more feathers the better!

 

L to R: Bradley Greenwald, Alice McGlave and Christina Baldwin
(Photo by Petronella J. Ytsma)

 

Tickets and information here

Max Wojtanowicz, Pirate Apprentice

In Park Square Theatre’s production of The Pirates of Penzance, Max Wojtanowicz plays the rather naïve but lovable pirate apprentice, Frederic. His character’s accidental path to piratehood is a hoot, and so is his path to finding true love. Here’s Max to tell us a bit about playing Frederic and also a few things about himself:

1. What’s your favorite thing about playing Frederic?

I love looking at the world through the eyes of a child, and Frederic has a childlike innocence about him. He’s been on a pirate ship his whole life, and adulthood, women, and dry land are entirely new to him! And even though he’s a little clumsy with his words and his feet (I empathize there!), he still wants so badly to do right. I’m also so glad to be working on this role with our director, Doug Scholz-Carlson, who knows the play and the character so well.

2. This is a really rigorous production for cast members. What is the most difficult thing to do as Frederic and why?

Our production is really demanding, both physically and vocally, but the most difficult part by far is not breaking character by laughing at the comedic genius of Christina Baldwin and Bradley Greenwald. Sharing the stage with both of them, and the rest of this gorgeous cast: Can we talk about a dream come true?

Max being fitted with a mic for an interview
(Photo by Connie Shaver)

3. Frederic could have become a pilot but, due to unexpected circumstances, ended up a pirate. If Max had not gotten hooked on theatre at an early age, he may have become a (fill in the blank) instead.

I think I might have become a writer. I wrote a lot of stories as a kid, and I still do! Maybe I would have ended up in journalism? That might be the best case scenario. Realistically, I probably would have ended up a bit like Frederic: out to sea, singing high Bs, not much direction in life.

4. You have a number of upcoming gigs after The Pirates of Penzance. What are they?

Cab Cabaret at Troubadour on April 16; The Good Person of Szechwan with Ten Thousand Things from May 10 to June 3; Ball ArtSHARE at the Southern Theater from June 20 to 24; and I have an ongoing Musical Mondays at LUSH with The Catalysts.

5. You’ve been a Minnesota Fringe Festival favorite for the past years. Do you plan to put on a show to keep up the tradition this year?

Not this year! We had a good run for five years in a row; and I can’t wait to be back in the Fringe with a really good idea, but that idea hasn’t quite come to me yet. Plus I’m buying a house and getting married this summer, so it’ll be a wee bit busy already!

6. What is fulfilling for you about being in The Pirates of Penzance in 2018?

Gilbert and Sullivan were writing at a time when opera was very popular, and they were really smart guys, so smart that they knew exactly how to make fun of both opera and society. They were keen on world events and satire, and I think the temptation right now is to make sure all of our art reflects the world we live in, like they did. To be frank, that would make for some pretty glum stuff. We need hard-hitting, incisive and relevant stories onstage right now, but there is also room and use in the world for fluff, silliness and frivolity. Hopefully, our show has a little of all of that. Maybe a little more silliness than anything else.

7. Do you have a favorite “piratey” thing?

I like to involve my nephews in whatever play I’m doing. They’re five-year-old twins, and they have huge imaginations, so lately my favorite piratey thing to do is pretend to be pirates and draw costume sketches and making “arrrr” noises with them!

Tickets and information here!

 

 

Calendar Girls: Featuring Christina Baldwin

As part of our ongoing Meet the Cast of Calendar Girls Blog Series, let us introduce you to Christina Baldwin:

Baldwin-Christina

ROLE: Annie, 50s

AS DESCRIBED IN PLAYWRIGHT TIM FIRTH’S SCRIPT:

Annie will join in mischief but is at heart more conformist and less confrontational than [her best friend] Chris.  After Chris has put a waiter’s back up in the restaurant, Annie will go in and pour calm.  The mischievousness Chris elicits saves Annie from being a saint.  She has enough edge to be interesting, and enough salt not to be too sweet.  Ideal car—who cares, as long as it’s reliable.  Ideal holiday—walking in English countryside.

DIRECTOR MARY FINNERTY’S COMMENT:

Christina Baldwin, as Annie, is the emotional center of the play.  I love how authentic and vulnerable she is onstage, but she also has a deep strength.  She has a humor and twinkle about her that makes her not so much a victim, but someone you want to help.  She has a winning quality as an actor.

QUESTION FOR CHRISTINA:

Annie’s part requires a vast emotional range.  What was your favorite scene to tackle and why?

Any of the scenes with all of the “calendar girls” en masse.  It is a special treat to be with so many talented women on stage all together— a rare treat in the theater. The challenge is letting the story be told and allowing the main story of the strong friendships be the cushion upon which the text sits.  Those unsaid moments, looks, exchanges are the virtuosity of the piece.  The audience must believe this is a tight group of friends.

CAST BACKGROUND:

Park Square Ragtime, Grey Gardens, Well 
Representative Theatre  Nautilus Music-Theatre: The Fantasticks; Ten Thousand Things: Dear World; The Moving Company: Liberty Falls 54321; Jungle Theater: In the Next Room; Guthrie Theater: Roman Holiday; Theatre de la Jeune Lune: Carmen; American Repertory Theater: Don Juan Giovanni, Figaro; Berkeley Repertory Theatre: Figaro 
TV/Film 
I Am Not a Serial Killer; A Stray; Stay Then Go; MNOriginals (PBS); Great Performances HMS Pinafore (PBS); Jona/Tomberry; Beheaded; Flourtown 
Training M.M., Vocal Performance, University of Minnesota; B.M., Vocal Performance, Lawrence University
Awards City Pages Best Actress (2014), Ivey Award winner (2009), Star Tribune Artist of the Year Honorable Mention (2003)
Upcoming Projects Jungle Theater: The Oldest Boy; Guthrie Theater: REFUGIA (The Moving Company)

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