I’m asking veteran actors to name five dream roles and say why. The answers not only reveal aspirations, they may put an idea in the minds of artistic directors and producers – even choices that seem outside the box.
Actor-performer: Allison Spratt Pearce
“I’ve always been interested in the more complex roles of theater: roles that go on true journeys, arcs; they start a bit misunderstood, and find major life point discoveries. I’ve been lucky enough to play a few already — Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, Sally Bowles in Cabaret, Laurey in Oklahoma!, Viola in Twelfth Night. I love using the three disciplines of voice, music, and dance when I perform. Even in straight plays where movement, physicality, and making the text sing are involved. My bucket list choices are all strong, classic, versatile women. Through the ages their desire, problems, agendas, and conflicts are universal.”
1.) Dot, Sunday in the Park with George, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book, James Lapine. Dot is the subject/object of George’s obsessive paintings (he would rather paint her than date her, in fact). “She has this overwhelming insecurity of love and acceptance. In Act two she leaps into a different time and age. The metaphor of the painting, pointillism, and their relationship, with a score to live for, make this my number 1.”
2.) Miss Julie, Miss Julie, by August Strindberg. “I love the idea of shows in repertory, and would love to play Miss Julie and Dot in the same season. Like Dot, because of her insecurity, Julie will go to great measures to get what she wants – from the wrong man. She has such an arc with her objective, and is extremely manipulative, dangerous, innocent, cruel, and sensual, all at the same time. I love that about Julie!”
3.) Blanche, A Streetcar Named Desire, by Tennessee Williams. “A loose cannon, a fallen woman. Described as a social pariah. Someone who shows such determination with a frail and extremely insecure heart. A dream season would pair her off with my number 4.”
4.) The Witch, Into the Woods, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by James Lapine. “She’s extremely complex with the objectives hidden in the text perfectly. A hugely challenging role vocally but makes up for it in range. She’s possessive, sarcastic, vain, and charismatic, and her humor is spot on.”
5.) Kate, Taming of the Shrew, by William Shakespeare, and Kate in Kiss Me Kate, music and lyrics by Cole Porter. “Wouldn’t it be something to see both shows in repertory? The Kates are the same role, obviously, or at least Kiss Me Kate is based on Kate the Shrew. The fun with Kiss Me Kate is her being able to discover Lilli’s own life through Kate’s eyes. Kate in Shrew is the actor’s dream because LOVE wins over strength. I think as women we all relate to wanting to hold our own and stay true to what we ‘think’ is right. But this unexpected relationship with Petrucio forces her to reason with her fears. Love that!”