Interview with Tuck Everlasting's Andrew Keenan-Bolger
Andrew Keenan-Bolger is a seasoned Broadway performer, who can currently be seen as Jesse Tuck in the Broadway premiere of Tuck Everlasting at the Broadhurst Theatre. His previous credits include the Disney musicals Beauty and the Beast, Mary Poppins and Newsies, as well as Seussical the Musical. Sadly, it was announced today that the musical adaptation of Tuck Everlasting will play its final performance on 29 May 2016.
Prior to this announcement, we caught up with Andrew to talk about the show's target audience and working with the force of nature that is director/choreographer Casey Nicholaw...
Thomas Hayden Millward: When I saw ‘Tuck Everlasting,’ I was dying to just burst into tears at one point. The dance sequence towards the end of the show is one of the most moving scenes I’ve seen in theatre for a long while.
Andrew Kennan-Bolger: Yes, it’s true. It’s sort of a throwback to the old, golden era musical. Having that dream ballet at the end, for whatever reason, really resonates with audiences. There should be an entire orchestration of just sniffles at the end because that is all you can hear up on stage, when we walk out at the end. It’s so beautiful.
THM: And what I like about ‘Tuck Everlasting’ is that, yes, it’s a family-friendly musical, but it raises interesting questions about life and mortality for the adults in the audience as well as the children. Would you agree?
AKB: I absolutely think it’s asking a lot of big, life-affirming questions. I read the book as a kid and I loved the adventurous quality of it and the magical realism. It wasn’t really until I was an adult and looked at it again that I felt I had a whole new appreciation for it. Having lived part of my life now, it resonated so much more with me as an adult than it did when I was a child. I think a lot of parents bring their kids thinking it’s going to be a certain thing and then sometimes end up taking away even more than their kids do, when they see it.
THM: So you end up with the children having to console the parents at the end of the show?
AKB: (Laughs) Totally! They’re handing them soggy Kleenex tissues, saying: “You’ve got to hold it together, Mom.”
THM: And then that toad hops onto stage and everyone is happy again. You can never have too much toad in a Broadway musical, as far as I’m concerned! Was this your first time working with Casey Nicholaw?
AKB: I actually worked with Casey Nicholaw when I was a kid. We did ‘Seussical the Musical’ together and he was dancing in the ensemble, so this has become a full-circle moment for us and now he has become the famous, Tony Award-winning Casey Nicholaw the Director and Choreographer and now I’m an adult. It’s been an amazing thing to get to do and to reconnect with him.
THM: Do you have any favourite memories from the rehearsal process with him?
AKB: He is the most emotional person out of everyone who I have probably ever met in my whole life. Regardless of the fact that he has seen the show for seven years at workshops and readings, he will still cry at certain places every single time and is a mess. He can’t even control it. He’ll be audibly weeping. As long as he was still doing that, we knew we were doing something right.