As TaDa! Events prepares to bring one of the greatest and longest running rock musicals of all time to the St. John’s stage we sit down with Terri Andrews & Kelly-Anne Evans to talk all things We Will Rock You
TaDa! It’s Terri Andrews, hard at work on a Sunday afternoon. Dressed as a rock goddess in bohemian cool, Andrews plays it casual. There’s a shopping cart in the middle of a rehearsal room at the Arts & Culture Centre and bodies line the floor – scripts in hand – ready to giv ‘er.
But Andrews isn’t the ‘queen’ of this show, that honour goes to the actual queen herself (or Killer Queen to be exact) the beautiful and talented Kelly-Anne Evans. Andrews smiles before admitting; “It’s hard, so hard, to let your baby go.”
Taming the Beast
Andrews has been producing and directing several large scale shows for TaDa! Events for 15 years. From Rock of Ages, Evita, Chicago, Cabaret, Rocky Horror, Cats, Gypsy, Alice in Wonderland-An Aerial Fairytale, Disney’s Tale As Old As Time and White Christmas to the family friendly Blues Clues Live! She also produces and directs the popular Our Divas shows since the very first Our Divas Do Broadway show in 2004.
Is it hard letting go? At times yes, she admits, but it’s also freeing.
“I like working in a team environment and we work very close as a team in this show. It’s so big technically – the stage is going to go up, things are going out over the audience – so it needs a technical liaison or director. It’s a beast technically and I’m going to see that it’s tamed,” she laughs.
So, who’s directing? Why none other than the lovely Miss Evans. “I’m there at the rehearsals, I’m there if she steps into the role of Killer Queen to be eyes for her, but for the most part I’m looking at it saying, we can’t do that here because we have something dropping at this point.”
And Evans has “got this” Andrews says. “She’s an ambitious, driven woman and it’s something I respect. You get out what you put into it in this business and she’s made her own opportunities. She’s at a point in her career where I would comfortably hand over the reins to the biggest show we’ve ever done.”
Making a go of it in theatre can be a “hard slog” she admits. “People are in this because they love it. It has to be, because you put so much guts into a show like this.”
Gillian Davis, Brian Callahan and Peter Andrew MacDonald are some of the local talent who are ready to Rock You in this show.
Life Comes Full Circle
Speaking of rockin’, Evans is all energy. She knows the roll of the Killer Queen well having played it in Toronto in 2007.
“Funny how things come full circle. That was the biggest gig of my career at that point and getting that role was life changing for me and now getting to come back and be a part of a cast doing this in Newfoundland is so special,” says Evans.
It’s an amazing show, the music is exceptional, she continues before adding; ‘‘It’s a fun, rockin’ roller coaster ride.”
The outfits are fun too, she laughs. “Oh my lord! That’s the best part of every show and this time, it’s out there, it’s wacky.”
The day we chat is a big day for the those gathered. “We started the first week in January and it’s a 25 hour-a-week commitment on everyone’s part. We started out in our sweatpants learning the music and becoming the characters and it’s a big day today. We are running a whole chunk of the first act, scenes back to back for the first time.”
It’s fun, Evans says, taking the show through the baby steps.
“We go from sitting down reading from a binder to putting it on its feet to adding the staging to adding the costumes to going into tech. The journey of these shows for me is sometimes even more exciting that the final project.”
The excitement is evident. “I wake up and I pinch myself and go, I am just so lucky.”
Evans credits her versatility and skills – even her not so great ones – for her success in this arts business. “As an artist, the more skills you have, the more things you can do, the more employable you are. You can become stagnant. I always set a new task for myself, whether it’s learning to play bass really badly or one year I did a dance trapeze act in a show.”
Now, her latest skill is director. “I’ve never directed, in fact this is the first time in TaDa’s! history that Terri has handed over the reins to somebody else so this is a game changer for me because I now get to be the painter, which makes this really special.”
The main thing always remains focusing on having fun, she adds. Oh yes! “I’m having so much fun. It’s been incredibly challenging, but it’s great.”
The excitement grows and it’s time to get back to work. Evans has a message for anyone thinking about the seeing the show. Just do it!
“This is a technical monster and there’s going to be lots of surprises. Plus, Queen is one of the greatest bands of all time and Freddie Mercury is one of the greatest front people of all times. Plus, it’s neat how the movie (Bohemian Rhapsody) is up for so many awards now when we’re doing the show.”
It’s all business now as the team get back to work. Evans has one last message as she gets the ball rollin’. “The energy in this room rocks! Let’ do this!”
Show dates March 8-10 & 14-17, 2019 at 8:00 pm at the Arts & Culture Centre. For tickets visit artsandculturecentre.com