WaistWatchers The Musical! is now playing at the Regent Theatre in Arlington. The show will be running for 10 weeks at this historic theatre. WaistWatchers The Musical! is a lighthearted look at four women who are dealing with assorted body issues, including dieting and exercise.
I had the opportunity to interview the show’s director: Matt Silva, and actresses: Krissy Johnson, Stephanie Genovese, Kiley McDonald, Cambridge resident: Lili Klein, and Arlington resident: Meagan Michelson, to learn more about the show. This interview was filled with lots of laughs and jokes - which is the way all interviews should be.
Take a look at my interview below:
Bri | What made you interested in becoming a director?
Matt | I was going to undergraduate school for acting at the time, and I was taking a directing class. It was something I really enjoyed and felt more comfortable doing. The director told me I needed to stop acting and focus on directing. With acting, I was always second guessing myself and wondering if what I was doing was right. As a director, I found I could go with my impulses. If they weren’t right I knew how to fix them.
Who influences / inspires you the most?
Matt | Harold Clurman is my biggest directing inspiration. I get most of my inspiration for each project from the people that I’m working with. I can give them the map, but once they get the map, they need to get there - I can’t get them there. I also find whatever music I’m listening to, I can relate it to whatever project I’m working on and that is what moves me and my choices.
What has been your key to success?
Matt | The key to my success is never taking myself or anything I’m doing too seriously and having fun. If I’m going to claim I’m successful, then what makes me most successful is the spirit of fun, levity and inclusion.
What do you do when you’re not directing?
Matt | I play basketball, go to the gym, play with my puppy Luna, run a company and travel.
What advice would you give to an aspiring director?
Matt | If you win an argument with an actor, you lose.
Why did you want to be involved in WaistWatchers?
Matt | I saw a production of it in Phoenix and I thought it was not being done justice the way that it could be done. The audience was still having a ton of fun. I was excited to take ownership of it.
What’s challenging about bringing this script to life?
Matt | One of the challenges is I’m a male. The play is also written by a male and it assumes to know a lot about women. The challenges of the script are honoring what’s on the page, while at the same time, making the people that have to say the words feel good about it and when they can’t feel good about it, they know we’re acknowledging why we’re saying what we’re saying. It’s a story, and it should make women feel emboldened and feel great about themselves, their lives and their bodies.
Who will love this show?
Steph / Kiley / Krissy / Lili / Meagan|Everyone!
Matt | Anybody that comes to see the show loves it. It’s a date night show, it’s a blast.. it’s just goofy. Although, the material is not for everyone, as there is some that is a little risqué. For women, it’s a great girls night out. They have some wine before hand, have some wine at the play and have a good time. It’s just a good night out.
How is this character like you? Different?
Steph / Cindy | In my experience, I have known to be an emotional eater. I’ve been through some really tough times and unfortunately, food has been my comfort. That is my personal, and my characters, struggle. (Everyone chimed in and collectively agreed that we think this is every woman’s struggle on some level and we all have a personal struggle with our bodies)
Kiley / Carla | Carla and I both have a lot of energy - we’re always on the go, and we’re always striving to do our best. Carla and I have felt the pitfalls of constantly going and not giving yourself a break and not being kind to yourself. Carla sees a support and life through the other women that makes her realize she can relax, take a break and not be so "gungho" about obsessively working out and eating healthy. It’s okay to be kind and find humor.
Lili / Connie | Connie is a big goofball. I find a similar sense of humor to her in many ways. I’m a new mom and since then, I had a different relationship with my body since giving birth. I’ve had less confidence in the way that I look. I’m not used to that, but Connie is used to that. It’s been interesting to approach that in a new way that I really identify with more-so than I ever have before. That’s been really cool.
Krissy / Cheryl | With my character, she’s very much me. There’s this dichotomy that she’s very proper and intelligent, but she’s super silly, odd and quirky. I like her a lot.
Meagan / Understudy for everyone | I like food and I’m odd.
Matt | Meagan also dresses up and plays a Viagra pill, a whole quart of chunky monkey ice cream, and a lunch lady.
Meagan | With a prosthetic butt.
What’s the biggest challenge about taking on this role?
Kiley | This is the most exhausting show - both physically and vocally, so we have to take care of ourselves to perform this show seven times a week. It’s very demanding of our bodies, our vocal chords - there are 24 songs packed into an hour and a half. It’s going to be a challenge.. but one we’re welcoming with open arms.
Besides yourself, what celebrity would you like to see tackle your character?
Lili | We already cast who we thought would be best in our roles: Melissa McCarthy as Connie, Valerie Bertinelli as Cindy, Christy Baranski as Cheryl, Jane Krakowski as Carla.
When you have a five-minute break during rehearsal, what do you spend that time doing?
Collective | Eating. Taking a moment to breathe. Organize childcare. Check Facebook. Let my husband know I’m still alive. Sitting and relaxing. Regroup. Text my girlfriend pictures of myself as a Viagra pill.
Why should someone watch WaistWatchers?
Kiley | We make light of topics that can be very heavy and upsetting to women. These are things that weigh them down and can control their life. We do a great job of showing that everyone goes through most of the same problems, and they’re not actually problems. You can laugh, have a good time, continue on with life and enjoy your friends. I think that’s really inspiring and as much fun as we’re having, that’s the ultimate message we’re sending.
What’s the last thing you do before you step out on stage / the curtain goes up?
Collective | Stretch and take a sip of water or beverage of your choice.
Besides WaistWatchers, what’s your favorite stage show?
Matt | The Love of the Nightingale
Kiley | Cabaret
Lili | A Thousand Clowns
Krissy | Ragtime
Meagan | Gypsy
Is there anything else you would like to mention?
Collective | Come! Enjoy! Give it a chance!
Make sure to see WaistWatchers The Musical! for yourself! Get your tickets here.