Editor’s note: The following is an interview with Timber Lake Playhouse (TLP) resident performer Erica Stephan. In her first season at TLP, Stephan has taken on the roles of Ariel in Footloose; multiple characters in Working; and Ferguson/Dancer in Guys and Dolls. The Glen Ellyn, Ill., native attended Webster University in St. Louis, and her last role on the college stage was Young Wife in Hello Again.
Q: Why did you choose to come to TLP?
A: When I was thinking of working in the summer, the location was important. I like being “in the woods” here. It’s like camping. I love being able to do theater in this environment — it is the ideal theater experience. Also, the roles I was offered were exciting and challenging.
Q: How did you get started in theater?
A: I was in ballet from ages 4 to 18. I was in my first musical, Annie, in the eighth grade and played Grace. I was in musicals in high school. When I was Amneris in Aida, that is when I knew I wanted to do theater for the rest of my life.
Q: You were just in Guys and Dolls. What did you enjoy about being in that production?
A: I loved being able to see how quickly a professional show comes together. I realized it in the first musical rehearsal. I saw how talented everyone is and what a strong ensemble we have. It was very exciting.
Q: What is your favorite thing about being in the current show, Working?
A: I love being able to observe the guest artists: John Chase, Judy Knudtson and Sharriese Hamilton. They have a different level of excitement and intensity that is interesting to watch. Acting beside them is a blessing.
Q: Why should people see Working?
A: Any person in the audience can relate to the characters. Not only is it entertaining, but when you are able to personally connect to the characters on stage, it makes the experience more enriching.
Q: How do you like working with guest director, Chuck Smith?
A: He gives you a note in rehearsal, you make the slightest change, and it brings a whole new life to a character. He makes it a really comfortable atmosphere to work in.
Q: You are currently rehearsing the next show, Footloose. What are you looking forward to, being involved in that production?
A: I am looking forward to dancing. Artistic Director James Beaudry is directing and choreographing the production. The company is so strong and comfortable with each other. It is like having a fun dance party when we are in rehearsals! I am also excited to work with TLP alum Karl Hamilton. He is known for his ATT flash mob commercial. I have seen him on television, and it will be exciting to work with him.
Q: Tell us a fun fact about yourself.
A: I am a huge Harry Potter nerd. I love the books and movies so much that I wish I was a wizard.
Footloose runs July 5-15. Performances are at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday through Saturdays, and there are 2 p.m. matinees on Sundays and Wednesdays. New this season, there is also a Saturday matinee performance on opening weekends at 2 p.m. Tickets are available through the box office during regular business hours, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., daily, at www.timberlakeplayhouse.org or (815) 244-2035. TLP is at 8215 Black Oak Road, Mount Carroll, Ill.
From the July 4-10, 2012, issue