New York City trip helps Lebanon theatre group

Angie Mayes • Updated Apr 12, 2017 at 11:00 AM

The lights on Broadway shone in the eyes of Audience of One director, Angie Dee and her son Alex Dee, after a trip to New York City left them with some inspiration for the home stage in Lebanon. 

Angie Dee and her son went to New York City for the sole purpose of seeing different musicals. Alex Dee wants to be an actor, and the trip was an opportunity for his mother to show Alex a variety of acting, singing, dancing styles. While there, they saw seven different musicals, including Dear Evan Hansen, Cats, Hello Dolly – with Bette Midler, The Lion KingandWicked.

“[Seeing Better Midler] was a huge surprise,” Angie Dee said. “I came to New York to see her. I had seen Carol Channing play the part of Dolly years ago. I love Bette. Who doesn’t love Bette? She’s amazing.  We were passing the theatre and saw a line. We said, ‘oh, we’d love to see Bette. She’s been sold out. Who can afford a $600 ticket? We stood in the cancellation line and we got in. It was outstanding.”

She said the five minutes before the raising of the curtain was an exciting part of the play. There is an air of anticipation in the theatre with both actors and audience members getting ready for the play. 

“It is a magical part,” she said. “But I feel that way about the whole process, seeing the show studying the script, seeing the blocking, seeing the lighting, the sets and costumes, watching the actors get it and make the character their own, every single step along the way. I do that when I’m director. I just get this visceral excitement. Right before the curtain goes up, we’re backstage and we’re praying and trying not to cry our make-up off, I just say, ‘guys, you’ve done the work, go play in your playground.”

Angie Dee said Dear Evan Hansen is a must-see and predicted that it was going to be the next Hamilton, which may currently be the most popular show on Broadway. Tickets can range in the thousands.

“Basically, Dear Evan Hansen is the reason I started Audience of One,” she noted. “The entire meaning of the show is about a guy who doesn’t fit into society. He’s kind of lost and doesn’t like himself. Through some really interesting circumstances, he comes out of that. This story is about hope and redemption. It’s everything an audience comes to see a show for.”

She said she saw Cats to teach her son about the body movement. She noted the actors show how you can use body movement to say something without a word. She noted the dancing and the ability to sing, makes it a great show.

She also enjoyed The Lion King because it’s a whole different show. The acting, which uses puppetry, is “amazing,” she said. 

She noted Wicked as one of the most important shows she saw because she and her son had the opportunity to meet some of the actors after the show. They, along with others, stood at the backstage door, waiting for the actors to come out. When they did, they spent time with the audience members, not just signing autographs and moving along the line.

“We got to see one of our favorite actresses, Kara Lindsay,” Angie said. “We also got to spend quite a bit of time with Chad Jennings, who played the doctor. They completely opened up a space and time to speak with Alex. They took and enormous amount of time to speak with Alex and confirm so many things. We know that was the Lord allowing us to speak to him.”

She said the experience would help her as a director of musicals, as well as the director of Audience of One.

“We will do three shows this year and four next years,” she said. “Everything I do is at a Broadway level. You go through the same process (the actors on Broadway) do. I continue to take master classes. I’m constantly learning. The best actors and director continue to learn.”

Angie Dee said Audience of One actors are expected to “work hard and when it comes to the show, they have this package (of the character of the musical) to present to the Lord and the audience. I expect a Broadway level show. They can do it. All we have to do is show up and put this thing God gave us and just work and then go above and beyond.”

Angie Dee said Audience of One would present four shows this year, including Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Peter Pan Junior and Annie this year. She noted that everyone should know about their company.

“I would say that this is Tennessee’s best kept secret. The actors work very hard and want the audience to enjoy [the show]. If you want to see a great show, disconnect from your phones and enjoy the magic of musical theatre.”

For more information, visit audienceofoneproductions.com for tickets, visit capitoltheatretn.com


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