Zorba! Star Adam Chanler-Berat Takes on Urinetown in the Bbox Dreamcast Challenge
April 27th, 2015
by Josh Ferri
Adam Chanler-Berat knows how to pick a project audiences will love. Just look at his resume: Next to Normal, Peter and the Starcatcher, Rent, Fly By Night, The Fortress of Solitude and It Could Be Worse.
And for his next show, Adam stars as Mimiko in Walter Bobbie’s star-studded Encores! revival of Kander & Ebb’s musical Zorba! at New York City Center (May 6-10). It’s really going to be something, and to give you a taste of the show, here’s the OBC performance of “Life Is” at the 1969 Tony Awards.
And lucky for us, ACB took a break from Zorba! rehearsals for the BroadwayBox’s dreamcast challenge. The premise is simple: you get two theatre fans together for more than 15 minutes and someone is going to start dreamcasting some revival; but you know what? Actual theatre stars are just as nerdy and do the same things. In this new feature, we ask Broadway stars to play producer and dreamcast their favorite musical.
What musical are we reimagining today, Adam?
I picked Urinetown It’s not an old classic but I fell so in love with that show when I saw it.
What was your first introduction to Urinetown?
It was something that my parents dragged me to and I fell in love with. (I know cool parents; they are politically geared and it was up their alley.) I still remember walking into the lobby [of the Henry Miller] and it was in total disrepair. Then the album was something I loved in high school. “Run, Freedom, Run!”— I couldn't really hit the notes but you just let Hunter take over when it gets really high.
If someone out there doesn’t know this show, what’s the one number they should look up to get a sense of it?
I guess the super famous one is “Run, Freedom, Run!”
Okay, let’s do this. Who’s your dream cast?
I guess I’m Bobby Strong. That would be great. I would really love that actually.
Annaleigh Ashford is Hope Cladwell, which I thought would be really good. She would kill that. She is such a comedic genius and she does the comic ingénue really well. And I would love to do something with her again.
Photo by Bruce Glikas
I would love to play Little Sally, but if they are going to go a more traditional casting sense, I feel like Sarah Stiles would knock that out of the park.
Rick Holmes for Officer Lockstock.
Then Jacob Ming-Trent for Barrel. We did Animal Crackers together up at Williamstown a couple of summers ago, and I just saw him in Father Comes Home From the Wars and thought he was so inspired in that part. And in terms of physical differentiation between Lockstock and Barrell that would be fun.
And because they are both so busy, I feel like Audra McDonald and Alice Ripley will share the part of Penelope Pennywise.
Damn, that would be a hot ticket. Ok, so what’s the Tony Awards number?
Nothing can be the “Run, Freedom, Run!” Tony performance. If we got Audra and Ripley, we should do a two-woman “Privilege to Pee.” That’s what I want to see.
What theatre is the Urinetown playing?
Long live Les Miz but what if we take over the Imperial and just use the Les Miz set? Like they don’t even load out.
And finally, describe the poster:
The poster would be super risqué—so many things are going through my mind right now. I feel like it would just be some whiz going into a bucket. That’s the G-rated version.
Catch Adam Chanler-Berat in Encores! presentation of Zorba!, at New York City Center, May 6-10.