You know Dasher and Dancer, Donder and Blitzen… But do you know the most famous Reindeer of all? Well you can know! Austin Entertainment Weekly Editor Olin Meadows spent a few minutes with the cast of the fantastic “Rudolf The Musical.” Which is touring across the US this holiday season and making an early stop here in Austin at the Long Center Thanksgiving Weekend!
Mr. Meadows got to visit with Jeremiah Johnson, the actor who plays Yukon Cornelius & Boss Elf, and Kyle Montgomery, the actor who plays Hermey and of course we could’t leave out the STAR –Leo Thomasian the actor who plays Rudolf himself!
Being a part of this show must be so much fun? What are your favorite parts of being a part of Rudolph…The Musical?
Jeremiah: I remember watching the special with my family every year. Now it’s like I get to step in to the screen and bring it to life!
Kyle: It is a blast. This story, and the movie that the musical is based on, is such a classic and tradition in many families, including mine. I think one of my favorite parts of being a part of Rudolph is hearing the audience reaction. Hermey doesn’t appear on stage for the first 10 minutes, but I like to stand in the wings to listen to the audience’s responses. My favorite is when the curtain first raises and you hear this gasp of excitement and awe from the audience. That is the best feeling in the world!
Leo: Being a part of this show is absolutely so much fun! One of my favorite things about being a part of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical, is having the opportunity to work with such an incredibly talented and loving cast and crew. The amount of support that everyone provides is unreal and I believe that that’s what really allows this show to become as wonderful as it is.
What moment really makes you feel like Christmas has arrived?
Jeremiah: When I hear Nat King Cole singing “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire” for the first time.
Kyle: In the past couple of years, that moment is when I’m prepping for rehearsals for Rudolph, but I’m a big promoter of Christmas being celebrated all year around (I’m trying to get people on board for that), so I think that is the moment for me!
Leo: The moment in the show that really makes me feel like Christmas has finally arrived is when the reindeer first embark from the North Pole with Santa on his sleigh, and everyone on the ground is excitedly waving goodbye. After all, Christmas can’t officially start until Santa and his Reindeer finally take off!
What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Jeremiah: Getting to watch all of my favorite Christmas movies.
Kyle: I love Christmas movies! White Christmas is my favorite, and I watch it multiple times throughout the year. In our family, we would end almost every night in December by watching a Christmas movie, including Rudolph! That was a big family tradition for us, so it’s funny how it has come full circle!
Leo: This show. To me, Christmas is all about love and togetherness, and there’s no better way to get a sense of either of those things than by travelling with such a wonderful cast and crew.
What do you want audiences to leave thinking or feeling?
Jeremiah: I want them to feel like they did when they were kids, watching the TV Special for the first time.
Kyle: What’s great about this show is that there are multiple take-aways, and it’s different for everyone! I take away that dreams matter, and if you work hard, results happen! Others may take away a lesson about bullying, equal opportunity, or many others!
Leo: When audiences leave the show, I want them to feel that same sense of joy and wonder that I feel when I’m performing as Rudolph. I hope that after watching the show, the kids feel that overwhelming sense of excitement that we all used to get when all knew that some time very soon, we would have presents waiting for us under the Christmas Tree.
What would you say to adults who think this is a show just for kids or young families?
Jeremiah: You’re never too old to enjoy Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer!
Kyle: People say that Rudolph is a children’s show. It’s not at all! It’s a family show, and adults are going to have a great time! Most of us have seen the movie, and grew up with these characters. It’s a beloved classic and adults will fondly recall their past Christmas holidays by seeing the show!
Leo: For the adults who might be a bit skeptical of this show’s significance, I would say that there is a very important lesson to be found in it. I want the adults to grasp that sense of friendship and acceptance that this show teaches. To me, the Christmas Spirit is not only about being generous, but about putting aside our differences, looking out for one another, and putting others before yourself.
What is the number 1 thing you want for Christmas?
Jeremiah: More room on my Christmas list!
Kyle: I’m in a show that starts rehearsals a week after we close Rudolph, so I really want to have all of my lines memorized before then! That’s what I would like for Christmas! That, and maybe a new laptop!
Leo: I would love an Express gift card!
What advice would you give to young performers wanting to make a career in theatre?
Jeremiah: Have fun and don’t forget to play! No matter what part of theatre you’re interested in, there is always room for fun.
Kyle: Work hard, be nice to others, and don’t take yourself too seriously. Who knows, you might be wearing a neon yellow wig one day!
Leo: My advice to young performers would be to simply never give up. Never be afraid to put yourself out there and to push yourself beyond your comfort zone. Never lose sight of your goals and always be passionate. Don’t show up to auditions for a job, do it to share a part of yourself. And don’t be too hard on yourself. On your journey as a performer, you’ll probably encounter a fair share of disappointments, but if you keep your head up and continue to work hard, you’ll probably find more success than you may have even thought possible.