Laugh It Up
The Producers has a storied legacy: What started off as a 1968 Mel Brooks film then inspired the 2001 musical, which in turn inspired a movie adaptation in 2005. When it opened on Broadway, the musical won 12 Tony Awards, one for every category for which it was nominated. Luckily for San Antonians, The Producers will take the Tobin Center stage Wednesday, January 13.
The Producers follows the story of a show, Springtime for Hitler, which is written to be offensive to all races, ethnicities, religions, and sexual persuasions so it would flop at the box office, making money under the table for the producers. Instead, the show is a hit and everything goes wrong.
Jessica Ernest, a Southern Maine native, flaunts it in the lead role as Ulla every night along with a talented cast and crew. Ernest has acted in The Drowsy Chaperone, Musical Theatre West's premiere of Big Fish, Alpine Theatre's production of Chicago, and Young Frankenstein at Donn Arden's Jubilee in Las Vegas.
CultureMap recently caught up with Ernest for an interview in Florida to chat about her first lead role in The Producers.
CultureMap: How did you know you wanted to be an actress?
Jessica Ernest: My first musical was in first grade and I loved it. There was make-believe and costumes. And then there was the applause.
CM: What did you do to prepare for this role?
JE: I started with ballet lessons from age 5 until ... well, I'm still taking ballet lessons. I took classes in tap dancing and voice lessons at Point Park University in Pennsylvania. That's where I really learned how to be an actor.
CM: Have you worked with any of the cast before?
JE: I went to college with three other cast members. We started rehearsals in September and we work together and tour together all the time. So it's like family.
CM: In The Producers you play Ulla, the main character. Is she a modern woman or is she a 1960s stereotype?
JE: She's a little of both. I'm 26 and I lose myself in her. She's very strong and she gets what she wants.
CM:What have you learned from The Producers?
JE: I've had a lot of personal growth in my career. This is my first lead role so I have to work hard with the co-stars. My singing role helps carry the show.
CM: Have you ever been to San Antonio before?
JE: No, this is my first visit, but I've performed in Dallas and I have family in Houston. I hope everyone in San Antonio will come see the show. And be ready to laugh. The Producers is a really funny show.
See The Producers Wednesday, January 13 at 7:30 pm at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts. There are a limited amount of tickets still available.
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