In the Spotlife: Ethelyn Friend of '________________', An Opera

The Singing House. An Opera. Ethelyn Friend.

The Writer and Mrs. Harrigan in The Singing House Productions’ ‘________________’, An Opera, running through June 10.

  • Hometown: Pound Ridge, N.Y.
  • Home now: Lafayette, Colo.
  • Ethelyn Friend QuoteHigh school: Wykeham Rise School in Torrington, Conn., which burned to the ground in January
  • College: MFA in Acting from Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass.
  • What have you done for us lately? I played Calamity Jane in the musical Calamity! for Facing June Productions in Boulder.
  • Twitter-sized bio: I’m an actor who can’t stay up late, gets up at dawn and spies on herons; a singer still searching for her “style”; and a voice teacher who only wants people to love their voices. My 28-year-old daughter just texted three descriptive words about me: “nice pretty mommy.” Awww.
  • What’s your handle? @friendethelyn on Instagram
  • The role that changed your life: When Billie McBride cast me as Bananas in the Arvada Center’s production of The House of Blue Leaves in 2008. I felt so totally trusted (thanks, Billie!) and rediscovered the pure joy of performing.
  • Ideal scene partner: I want to be alongside Billie Whitelaw (another Billie!?) while she performs all of Samuel Beckett‘s roles, and just mirror her.
  • What is ______________, An Opera all about? It’s an experiment in both storytelling and musical performance staged in a Victorian house in old-town Lafayette. Through multiple musical styles, six characters unravel a secret hidden in the broken heart of a family. My favorite “pre-press” blurb (which I’m sure I don’t deserve) is this: “Ethelyn Friend will render an opera unlike any other, in the sweet spot between Gertrude Stein, Spike Jonze and Kendrick Lamar.” That was from playwright Erik Ehn of Brown University.
  • Tell us about the challenge of playing this role: I love playing a character who is a writer in the very midst of a creative process. But even though I am performing text I have written, I still have to treat it like a script I just have been given, and work through all my usual actor pitfalls like “playing the obstacle” (as my acting teachers would say), and not foreshadowing the coming tragedy and staying active and positive in the moment. (Hmm, I think that’s a “life lesson”).
  • More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

  • What do you hope audiences get out of seeing ______________, An Opera? We are including many aspects of improvisation in the hope that our audiences are able to feel the intensity and presence of live performance in a new way. We are working with a memorized libretto, but music that is improvised on the spot. I also hope they experience a gentle form of catharsis, which is one of the oldest purposes of theatre.
  • What’s one thing people might not know about you? I’m an introvert.
  • What do you want to get off your chest? I’m tired of perfectionism in all its forms. Let’s be human. And messy.

    Ethelyn Friend. HOUSE OF BLUE LEAVES. Arvada Center
    Ethelyn Friend, with Kevin Hart, in the Arvada Center’s ‘The House of Blue Leaves’ in 2008. Photo by P. Switzer.

    The Singing House’s ‘_______________’, An Opera : Ticket information

    • At a glance: One day, a writer recovers a memory of incest and tries to hide it inside an opera
    • Created by Ethelyn Friend and Gary Grundei
    • Directed by Erica Terpening-Romeo
    • Through June 10
    • 507 W. Baseline Road, Lafayette MAP IT
    • Tickets $20-$25
    • For tickets, click here

    Performance schedule:
    • 7 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays

    Cast list:

    • Allison Caw
    • Jessica Cerullo
    • Ethelyn Friend
    • Barrett Ogden
    • Erica Terpening-Romeo   

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    Meet Mark Collins of And Toto Too’s Lost Creatures
    Meet Carley Cornelius of Colorado Springs TheatreWorks’ Constellations
    Meet Emily Paton Davies of Miners Alley Playhouse’s God of Carnage
    Meet Kelsey Didion of Curious Theatre’s Constellations
    Meet Denise Freestone of OpenStage’s August: Osage County
    Meet Sam Gregory of the Arvada Center’s Tartuffe
    Meet Emily K. Harrison of She Rode Horses Like the Stock Exchange
    Meet John Hauser of Curious Theatre’s Hand to God
    Meet Haley Hunsaker of Funky Little Theatre Company’s Extremities
    Meet Jim Hunt of Buntport’s The Zeus Problem
    Meet Jeff Jesmer of Spotlight Theatre’s The Crucible
    Meet Wayne Kennedy of BDT Stage’s Mid-Life 2
    Meet Carla Kaiser Kotrc of Miners Alley Playhouse’s A Skull in Connemara
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