Hannah: You play the character Harry who tries to get Flora to join the Communist party, but it doesn’t really work out. What do you think Harry could have done differently to keep Flora red?
Josh: I honestly don’t think Harry could of or should have done anything differently. That’s the meaning behind Harry and Flora’s relationship. They are both attracted to the passion the other has for their fellow man, but ultimately, their respective routes to make the world a better place got in each other’s way. That was going to happen no matter what Harry did.
H: Harry has a stutter. Did you have to try to learn a proper way to stutter or were the places to stutter in the script?
J: There are stutters in the script, some of which I followed, but mostly I just did my best to adopt a stutter myself. I also looked for ways to make the stutter speak to the audience about Harry’s current state. In more confident moments, the stutter doesn’t appear as much.
H: What was the audition and rehearsal process like for Flora?
J: The audition consisted of a song and a dance call, then a callback with sides from the script and a dance call for some (not me, which was probably best for all involved). We began rehearsing music once a week in March, then got into the swing of 4-5 rehearsals a week in April for about 3 hours each day.
H: What are your favorite and least favorite aspects/scenes of doing this musical?
J: I am a huge fan of Kander and Ebb, so I do love the music quite a lot. I like that even in softer, quieter, slower musical moments, there is still a great deal of energy to these songs. My least favorite aspect is that, in my opinion, the script could go through another round of cuts and still tell the same story. Certain scenes and songs, though not bad, are just unnecessary. This is a great story, and I think there might be a better way to tell it.
H: You and the cast have a great dynamic and chemistry. Is it rare that everyone gets along so well? What is it that you feel brings you all together?
J: There’s nothing like a cast full of people who work well together. And it certainly doesn’t happen all the time. In my experience, the shows that I say I had the best time doing rarely have anything to do with the onstage product, but with the chemistry I found with my fellow actors, both on and off stage. Chemistry is a weird thing; sometimes it’s there and sometimes it just isn’t, no matter how hard to you want to be. I’m honored to know the people involved with Flora, and it will be a shame when we have to go our separate ways.
H: What is your theater history in the DC area? What are some of your favorite moments/plays you have done?
J: I went to school at American University for musical theatre. I’ve been in DC about 6 years and have worked at about a dozen professional theatres and been involved in about 50 productions (counting college). 1st Stage has been particularly good to me; Flora is my fifth production with them. Favorite shows would include The Wild Party at AU, Don’t Dress for Dinner at 1st Stage, and understudying twice at Signature Theatre, going on for Sweeney Todd and watching George Hearn and Chita Rivera work in The Visit.
H: What projects do you have coming up?
J: I am directing and performing in The Every Fringe Show You Want to See in One Fringe Show Fringe Show at the Capital Fringe Festival this summer. (It’s a spoof of the Fringe. It’s quite raunchy. Don’t bring the kids.) I’m also assistant directing a production of Urinetown with the Theatre Lab. Also, keep an eye out for Confab, a 12-episode sitcom webseries I am in that will debut sometime this summer.
H: So why should people come and see the 1st Stage’s production of Flora the Red Menace?
J: Flora the Red Menace is a never-done musical, so if you are a fan of musical theatre, you must see it. For those who don’t fall into that category, it is a fantastic and unique story told by talented young actors who give their all every show.
Thanks again Josh and for everyone else remember this weekend is your last chance to see the show!