With UnCovered: Sting & The Police behind us (and a huge success at that!) we turn our attention to the rapidly approaching Once On This Island. A love story for all ages, this Ahrens and Flaherty musical tells the story of Ti Moune, a dark skinned peasant woman who must navigate the forces of love and death when she falls in love with the lighter skinned, upper-class man Daniel. Sabryn Rock, rising star of the Toronto theatre scene plays Andrea, Daniel’s fiancee. You may remember Sabryn from her riveting turn as Emmie in Caroline, or Change and today we have the great fortune to sit down with her and chat musical theatre!
What musical’s score and book will you always remember?
I have always loved the book and score of Into the Woods. It’s my favourite. The story and the music played a huge role in my transition into adulthood. I got to play the Witch in high school and it was one of the most eyeopening and challenging acting experiences I’ve ever had. There is so much depth in the music and lyrics that accompanies the characters’ individual journeys, the transformation they undergo and what the audience takes from witnessing and hearing it in a breaktaking manner. The score is the perfect balance of comedy, tragedy and a beautiful darkness and therefore makes it a killer acting and singing challenge to capture the layered effect I believe James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim were aiming for.
What musical’s choreography will you always remember?
Jerome Robins’ choreography in West Side Story blew my mind as a kid. I remember watching the movie and attempting to perform it several times in my bedroom. There was something so powerful about the fine line he crossed between brawling and dance. I still always do the steps whenever I hear the Dance at the Gym when Tony and Maria first meet; the understated simplicity of that choreo was always stunningly beautiful to me.
You’re on a desert island and can only bring one cast recording. Which one do you choose?
Okay, don’t laugh- but probably Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. I’ve always wanted to play the Narrator as I get endless amounts of joy singing along and telling the story. But also it would probably take me a lifetime on an island to memorize all those damn colours; not to mention what they actually look like. “It was red and yellow and green and brown and scarlet and black and ochre-” seriously…ochre?
What is your guiltiest pleasure musical?
There’s no such thing as a guilty pleasure musical. It’s just pleasure as far as I’m concerned. So my ultimate pleasure musical is Little Shop of Horrors. The 1986 Frank Oz movie changed the way I saw myself. Once I witnessed the fierce attitude and command that Ronette, Crystal and Chiffon entered with in the opening title song, I knew that’s what I wanted to be when I grew up: a sassy black woman. I dream of doing the entire thing as a one woman musical one day which could get messy with all the puppeteering, and three part Doo-Wop girl harmonies…but I’m up for the challenge.
What movie or book would you love to see musicalized?
What is your dream role that you’ll never get to play?
The dream role I’ll never get to play…that’s a tough one. Who says what I can and can’t play? I mean, I could play anything I wanted to if I do it myself in my own production in my bedroom. There are tons of great male characters in musicals that might be trickier for me to pull off. I always loved Stine in City of Angels and Riff in West Side Story. Maria is my absolute favourite song and I’ve always wanted to play Tony just so I could give that tune a whirl.