Catch-y cons

Q & A with senior Paul Phillips on acting as con-artist

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Senior Paul Philips acts as Mereb in the 2014 spring musical, “Aida.” In the show, Mereb is a good friend of the main character, Nubian princess Aida. Philips says that his role in the show increased his confidence and helped him decide to major in musical theater in college. Photo courtesy of McDaniel’s Photography

Tori Swart, Broadcast Editor-in-Chief

The winter musical, “Catch Me If You Can,” has two weeks left of preparation before it opens. Cast and crew members work in class and after school to prepare this new show, first run on Broadway in 2011.

   The story follows Frank Abagnale Jr., who ran away from home at age 19 to become a con artist. Through check fraud, he successfully stole millions of dollars while posing under the disguises of a pilot, a doctor, and parish practitioner.

The most interesting part of this musical is that it is based off of a true story. Adagnale went to see the debut himself.

For Aves Theatre, senior Paul Phillips will be acting as Abagnale Jr. He was asked about his experiences in the show and in his musical theater career as a whole.

Q: When did you first know you wanted to do theater?

A: I’ve known I wanted to perform musically since I was ten, but I didn’t know I would be any good at the acting side of theater until I performed in “Aida,” the 2014 spring musical. After that, I decided I wanted to be a musical theater major.

Q: What do you do in musical theater besides Aves Theater?

A: I’m performing in Legally Blond” at a community theater right now as the character Warner. I’m also doing voice lessons with Paul McCready and dance lessons- anything I can do to get the dream going.

Q: What has it been like working with Paul McCready?

A: He’s the only voice teacher I’ve ever taken lessons from. I’ve been with him for about a year. He’s really good about helping me figure out all the specifics of singing, but also in choosing songs to perform, how to audition, and generally keeping me in line. It has been great working with him so far.

Q: How is performing in “Catch Me” similar/different to your past performances?

A: This is a completely different experience for me. Not only is it my first time having the biggest role in a show, but the music is phenomenal, and the topic it discusses is really cool. Of all the shows I have done and will ever do, this is by far one of my favorite, and that definitely influences how I’ve been treating it.

Q: What have you done to prepare for being Frank Abagnale outside of class time and rehearsal?

A: By the beginning of the school year, I had listened to the soundtrack so much that I knew every song by heart. I’m also constantly working on memorizing my lines, be it in school, at rehearsal, at home, you name it.

Q: How have you gotten into Frank’s mindset? Do you relate on certain things?

A: Frank is a young guy who just wants to get away from all his problems and be completely free to do whatever he wants, which is a mindset I can definitely relate to. He also wants his life to be like a show, as I do. I think that’s a big part of why I was cast as Frank because, while I can surely sing the part, Frank and I are very similar people.

Q: At the end of the song “Goodbye,” there is a very difficult and high B flat that you have to sing. What has the process been like in learning to sing that note?

A: After a while of trying different ways of getting to the B flat, I finally found one that worked. It was really a hit-or-miss process. There’s a lot of factors that go into singing that note: air speed, pressure, air placement, all kinds of things. Eventually I found a combination that worked.

Q: Do you think your acting skills have grown and developed because of this part?

A: My goal, of course, is to grow with every part I play, but with Frank especially, I think I have definitely grown. A character like this is my strong suit, and playing to my strengths allows me to build up confidence and become even better in my strong suit. Not to mention that it reinforces my love for musical theater, because this show is the best.

Q: What is your dream in regard to theater?

A: I know I’m majoring in musical theater in college, and of course, the goal is always Broadway. Besides that, my goals are very open ended.

“Catch Me If You Can” will be performed Jan. 29-31 at 7:30 pm. Tickets are ten dollars.