MEET THE CAST:
Lawrence – Michael Arias
Today, we shine the spotlight on Lawrence-Michael Arias, who plays the role of Mitch Mahoney, in our upcoming production of 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee!
Lawrence was last seen at Hillbarn as Sir Belvedere/Galahad’s mom in Spamalot. He played Mitch Mahoney for Pintello Comedy Theater’s production of Spelling Bee last year. His favorite roles include British Admiral/Merchant in PACIFIC OVERTURES, Roy/Mrs. Taylor in BATBOY, Sancho in MAN OF LAMANCHA, Czolgosz in ASSASINS, Merlyn in CAMELOT, Moonface in ANYTHING GOES!, Rooster in ANNIE, Judas in JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, and Pseudolus in A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM.
1. You play the role of the Mitch Mahoney, what if anything, do you have in common with your character?
We both have size 10 1/2 feet. Ok just kidding. Actually Mitch has size 11 feet. 🙂
2. What made you audition for 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee?
I love William Finn, and I’ve loved this show ever since it came out. I also have come to love the role of Mitch Mahoney (having played it recently at Pintello Comedy Theater in Gilroy last year). Here’s a guy who has such an emotionally fulfilling arc in the show: I go from this tough, seemingly-unsympathetic thug, to someone who, because of what he experiences, truly embraces his role within the spelling bee.
3. Have you worked with Hillbarn Theatre before? If so, what show(s)?
Yes! I had a blast working with everyone in SPAMALOT a couple years ago (as Galahad’s Mother/Sir Bedivere and was looking forward to repeating that experience. I actually was already cast in SWEET CHARITY here (as Daddy), but when I heard Hillbarn was also doing SPELLING BEE, I knew I had to audition for that here, as well.
4. What do you think the audience will be discussing on their way home after seeing 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee?
I think they would discuss the enormous heart the show has. Also, how funny our volunteers can be. And how well they spelled.
5. When did you discover your love for the theatre?
Not sure if this counts, but it was my first day of Kindergarten, and we were going around the room introducing ourselves. Being first day of school, everyone was being timid and shy so the teacher kept asking everyone to speak up. When it came to me, I stood up, and with as big a voice as I could, spoke my name. The teacher was so pleased she made everyone clap for me. I think I’ve been seeking the limelight ever since!
6. What is the most challenging role you have ever played?
Probably the first time I was asked to play a woman. That’s a lot of shaving and Nair!
7. Do you have any wacky rituals you do before curtain call?
I’m raised Catholic so I make the sign of the cross. Before every show.
8. What is your dream role?
I am very lucky, having played so many of my personal dream roles (Judas in JCSS, Merlyn in Camelot, Agwe in Once on this Island, Dr. Mendel in Falsettoland, Pseudolus in A Funny Thing…) but so many still remain, and every year so many roles get added to that list! Anything Sondheim!!!
9. What is one thing you are incredibly proud of?
When I was younger, I knew I wanted to start my own theater company. And I knew that the very first show I would do was William Finn’s Falsettoland. I was very proud to have been able to produce that Equity approved show as our inaugural piece for our company, StirFry Theatre, in 2010 and again in San Francisco in 2012. I am most proud of not only being able to produce it, but to be able to present it with an immensely talented Asian-American cast.
10. What is one fact or fun thing that we don’t know about you?
I lived in Nigeria for 15 months when I was 10. It was a magical experience.
Don’t miss your chance to see Lawrence – Michael Arias in 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee January 21 – Feb 7th, at the historic Hillbarn Theatre in Foster City. Tickets available at hillbarntheatre.org