Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Stephan Roselin as Chuckles the Chippermonk!

Hope everyone who came to opening weekend enjoyed the show! A THOUSAND CLOWNS is running through August 26.  We cannot forget about our wonderful Stephan Roselin who plays "Chuckles the Chippermonk" aka Leo Herman on stage. Here is an inside look about Stephan and his hilarious role.

What are some of your favorite moments in theatre that made you who you are today?
Growing up, my parents felt it was important to bring the family to the theater, all 6 of us.  Being in New York City, I was fortunate to see a lot of great shows.  As a kid, I knew that I either wanted to be an actor or a cowboy (looking back, I’m not sure I made the right choice).

Stephan Roselin
I was in a production of BLOOD KNOT by Athol Fugard in grad school.  The play is about two brothers (one black / one white) in the midst of apartheid in South Africa.  It was an extremely powerful theatrical experience that made me “feel” how a society’s prejudices and racial injustice can poison even the most beautiful relationship.  I remember getting physically ill during the rehearsal process because of all of the disturbing fear, hatred and pain of the piece, and I felt like I came out a different person because of my experience. 

In 1996, I had the distinct pleasure of being in Martin Sherman’s play BENT.  Not only was it a great production, it was also the seed that planted the Bialystock & Bloom Theatre Company.   Who knew that the late-night show would pave the way for an eleven-year run that would change Milwaukee Theatre forever??!!   

During the B&B years, I did the title role of THE ELEPHANT MAN (John Merrick).  To have the opportunity to step inside Mr. Merrick’s shoes and see the world through his eyes (if only through make-believe) was such an extraordinary moment in my actor life that shall be with me for a very long time.  It is never right to judge another person by their appearance, for there is much more to a human being than meets the eye.  Mr. Merrick, as I came to found out through research and performance, was an unbelievable man – full of knowledge, spirituality, depth, knowledge, sexual drive, compassion, sincerity, artistic abilities, religious association, wit, and gentleness.   You never know what lies beneath the surface of another unless you are willing to peel the onion and disregard the prejudices and negative pre-conceived notions.  That play taught me about much humanity.

Tell us about your first reactions upon reading A THOUSAND CLOWNS? 
Fu-nny!  I was on an airplane from Milwaukee to New York City and read the play from take-off to landing and couldn’t stop laughing.  Never saw the movie, never saw the play … so I came at it with fresh eyes.  What also drew me to the script when I read it was how poignant the piece is.  This play absolutely stands the test of time.  I especially love all of the animal imagery and references interwoven throughout the play.

From left to right: Thomas Kindler, Stephan Roselin, Tom Klubertanz
Photo by Mark Frohna
What’s it like playing an instrument (ukulele) you’ve never played before in front of an audience?
Well … I was put in the “special” group (of one) and instead of playing a ukulele, I am playing a … (come see the show).  

From your perspective, how would you best describe your character?   
Leo Herman is the “hardest working person in show business”.  He is a man who is full of passion that tends to wear his heart on his sleeve.  Talented, great sense of humor, charming and very good looking.  He’s a guy you’d want to have lunch with at the 2nd Avenue Deli.  He’ll buy!! Leo is a generous man who takes care those who take care of him.  

If your character could spend a day in Milwaukee, where would they go and what would they do?
Leo Herman’s itinerary in Milwaukee:
7am: Arrive MKE Airport.  Check in at the Pfister Hotel.
8-9am: Breakfast at Benji’s for the Super Hopple Popple (no mushrooms) with Uncle Alvin and Aunt Nancy.
9-10am: Visit WTMJ-TV (local NBC affiliate) and cut promos for the show.  Take pictures with the winner of the “Why I wanna be like Chuckles” contest. 
10:30-11:30am:  Chuckles visits with kids at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.  Check presentation of $5,000 to the hospital.
12-1:30pm:  Lunch at Benji’s for the Reuben and Mish Mosh Soup with Herb Kohl.
2-3p: Visit Woodman’s Food Market for ‘Meet & Greet / Picture Taking’.  Cut commercial with Phil Woodman promoting the new Chuckle Chip’s BBQ Potato Chips.
3:30-4:30: Private Pilates Class with Master Pilates Instructor Carolyn Roselin.
5-7pm: Back to the Pfister Hotel for a Shower and Shave.
7:30 - ?:  Dinner and lots of wine at Sanford’s Restaurant with Carolyn Roselin followed by dancing … and a marriage proposal.

Thanks Stephan for your great insight as an actor and as Mr. Herman aka Chuckles.  See him and the rest of the cast during the run of A THOUSAND CLOWNS starting up again tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m.


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