This week seemed like a good time to catch up with Sarah Youngblood, MCT Past President, since she is currently performing in MCT’s Private Lives. Like many of us, Sarah loves the musicals and especially one involving a River City bookkeeper and her flimflam man.
Q: What does the return to live theater mean to you?
There is nothing quite like the back and forth between performer and audience; so, I’m ecstatic that MCT can be a part of bringing that magical experience back to our area. I think a live performance is a unique way to experience the world. You get to interact with characters and situations that you otherwise might not be able to. The lessons we learn from live theater are one-of-a-kind.
Q: How did you survive the pandemic while staying vested in the theater?
MCT stayed really active during the pandemic with all sorts of virtual performances. It was great to be able to sit at home and take in these amazing performances. I was so proud of our community for working so hard to keep the arts alive and thriving during such a difficult year.
Q: What is your favorite show/composer/writer?
I LOVE Noel Coward! So I’m especially excited that this season’s opening show is Private Lives! I was in Coward’s Blithe Spirit several years ago and really enjoyed the experience – who wouldn’t love being a vengeful ghost?! Coward also wrote Present Laughter, which is an amazingly funny situational comedy about an actor. His plays are so witty and have really fast-paced dialogue. They’re a joy to watch and to be in.
Q: What is your dream role or production?
The Music Man by Meredith Willson is my favorite musical of all time. I’ve loved it since I was a kid. So I’ve always wanted to be Marian the Librarian. Alas, I am not a soprano, so that part probably isn’t in my destiny – but I have gotten to direct the show twice!
Q: What is your best live theater experience?
It’s so hard to choose just one! When I was a student at the University of Pittsburgh, we had the opportunity to see a lot of amazing productions. I’m a big admirer of Pittsburgh’s Quantum Theatre. They mount shows in different found spaces, and the spaces they choose are often a commentary on the content of the show. I saw their amazing production of Breakfast with Mugabe by Fraser Grace in an abandoned Kaufmann’s Department Store and another of theirs – a production of Therese Raquin by Emile Zola that was staged in the bottom of an empty swimming pool. Both have stuck with me for years and years afterward.
Q: Do you have a pre-show ritual, and what is it?
I’ve had a lot of different ones over the years, but most recently it’s probably just pacing nervously backstage before curtain!
Q: If you could have dinner with one theater person, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Gwen Verdon! She was such an amazing talent and collaborator. I think Bob Fosse (amazing talent that he was, obviously) gets the credit, and she is relegated to being just his muse, when really a lot of the shows they created were an act of love built together.