Bayla Whitten on ‘Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris’ by Joel Markowitz

In Part Three of interviews with the cast of MetroStage’s Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, Bayla Whitten talks about performing in MetroStage’s production.

Joel: Why did you want to be part of the MetroStage production of Jacques Brel..?

Bayla: Matthew Gardiner told me about this production. Anything that involves Matthew I know will be something worth working on.

When were you first introduced to the music of Jacques Brel?

I am embarrassed to say it, but I only heard a song by Brel for the first time at my callback. Now I’m a huge fan!

 What is so unique about his music and lyrics?

Brel said it perfectly himself, he wrote words to be sung, and I couldn’t agree more.

What did you learn about Jacques Brel that you didn’t know before appearing in this production?

Everything! I came into this like a blank canvas.

What was the best advice Director Serge Seiden gave you about performing your songs and what did he tell you was his ‘vision’ for this production?

I felt Serge gave me a new outlook on acting. He put the stress on verbs and really painting the story in every single sentence. I felt that his ‘vision’ was allowing each song to have its own journey.

Tell me about your solos in the show?

“I Loved” is one of my favorite songs in the show. I love the imagery that Brel has written for the song and the twist no one sees coming. I love surprising people!

If you could sing a solo that someone else sings in the show, what would it be and why would you like to sing it?

I would have loved the opportunity to do all the songs that my role typically sings in this show – especially “My Death.”

You had a busy year on the stage. What were your two favorite shows and roles?

I LOVED doing Two Gentlemen of Verona (A Rock Opera) at The Shakespeare Theatre. It was like a party every night! I also had a blast doing Saturday Night  at Signature Theatre, performing a comedic role like I have never done before!

What’s next for you on the stage after this production closes?

I have a few things up in the air at the moment, but for sure you can see me performing with the band Bittersweet around town!

The cast of MetroStage’s‘ Jacques Brel..’: Natascia Diaza, Sam Ludwig, Bobby Smith, and Bayla Whitten. Photo by Christopher Banks.

What do you want audiences to take with them when they leave MetroStage after seeing all of you perform Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris?

I think the words to our closing number are the most powerful. “If We Only Have Love” we can accomplish so many things in this world and make it a better place for those who come after us.

Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris plays through October 21, 2012 at MetroStage – 1201 North Royal Street, in Alexandria, VA. Purchase tickets by calling 1-800-494-8497, or order them online.

Read Julia L. Exline’s review of Jacques Brel on DCMTA.
Bayla Whitten’s website.

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Joel Markowitz
Joel Markowitz is the Publisher and Editor of DCMetroTheaterArts. He founded the site with his brother Bruce to help promote the vast riches of theatre and the arts in the DC Metro area that includes Maryland, Virginia, and DC theater and music venues, universities, schools, Children's theaters, professional, and community theatres. Joel is an advocate for promoting the 'stars of the future' in his popular 'Scene Stealers' articles. He wrote a column for 5 years called ‘Theatre Schmooze’ and recorded podcast interviews for DC Theatre Scene. His work can also be seen and read on BroadwayStars. Joel also wrote a monthly preview of what was about to open in DC area theatres for BroadwayWorld. He is an avid film and theater goer, and a suffering Buffalo Bills and Sabres fan. Joel was a regular guest on 'The Lunch and Judy Show' radio program starring Judy Stadt in NYC. Joel founded The Ushers Theatre Going Group in the DC area in 1990, which had a 25-year run when it took its final curtain call last year. Joel is a proud member of The American Critics Association.


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