In Part 1 of a series of interviews with the cast of Once on This Island, meet Malcolm Lee.
Please introduce yourself and tell our readers where they may have seen you perform before on our local stages. Where did you get your training?
Malcolm: Hello, I’m Malcolm Lee. You probably have seen me at The Little Theater of Alexandria in three of their productions (“Horse” in The Full Monty – WATCH Nominee, “Coalhouse Walker, Jr” in Ragtime, and “Eddie/Dr. Scott” in The Rocky Horror Picture Show). I’ve also been in Dominion Stage’s Dreamgirls playing “Jimmy” – WATCH Nominee, and Port City Playhouse’s Blues For An Alabama Sky as Guy Jacobs. I’ve done acting in high school and college. Never really had professional training.
Why did you want to be part of this production?
This is the second production I’m doing with Creative Cauldron. I was in their production of Thunder Knocking on the Door as the twin Dupree brothers. I had a blast, and I heard they were doing this beautiful musical. I couldn’t pass up auditioning.
Have you ever appeared in a production of Once on This Island before and who did you play? What makes this production so special?
This is my first production of Once On This Island. I enjoy the freedom the actors have in this production, as well as the immense talent that is on the stage! I feel forever humbled working with these wonderful actors.
How would you describe the score that Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens have written?
I’ll describe it in three words: complex, magical, and uplifting.
Have you appeared in any other musical written by Stephen and Lynn? If yes, which musical and who did you play?
Yes I did. Ragtime as Coalhouse Walker, Jr.
Who do you play in Once on This Island and how do you relate to your character? Do you share any similar traits? Which character is so much like you and why and how?
I play Agwe; God of Water, as well as Armand: Daniel’s Father. The cast are all storytellers as well, so I’m a storyteller from time to time. My characters are very loud, in your face type of characters that makes you want to listen. I see myself as that type of person occasionally. Very comical at times as well.
Tell me about your big solo, and what do we learn about your character as you sing it?
Agwe is the god that starts Ti-Moune’s journey through love and death. He sets the stage by performing “Rain.” He creates the storm that have the two worlds meet on the island: the peasants and the grand hommes. As I said before, a big character that just “commands” the stage, and I’m excited to portray that feeling on stage.
What are some of the themes of the show that today’s audiences can relate to?
I think that people can definitely relate to the power of choice, and what circumstances come with the choices you make. People will watch this and relate with love, loss, and sacrifice, as well as rejuvenation. To find that special someone involves finding yourself first, and the independence and bravery that Ti-Moune demonstrates in the play can seem anecdotal to some.
Why should families bring their kids and grand kids to see Once on This Island?
This show is a lot of fun, full of imagery, colors, and tons of energy. The music is very entertaining, and the effects will definitely have kids and grand kids interested in the show.
What do you want audiences to take with them after seeing Once on This Island at Creative Cauldron?
I want the audience to have fun! I want them to laugh, cry, dance and have a huge smile on their face at the end of the show. It’s a one act 90-minute show that will keep them interested and entertained. I want them to want to come see the show repeatedly to bring joy to their lives.
Once on This Island plays from May 8-31, 2015 at Creative Cauldron – 410 South Maple Ave, Falls Church, VA in the Pearson Building Square Building at the intersection of Maple Avenue and Lee Highway (Washington Boulevard). Performances are Friday & Saturday at 8 PM and Sunday at 2 PM & 7 PM. For tickets, purchase them online.