Published May 18, 2019 | By Adrienne Proctor
Downtown Guthrie this June is looking to be quite troubling. The Pollard Theatre’s upcoming production of Disaster!, written by Seth Rudetsky and Jack Plotnick, pays tribute to the great music and stylized catastrophe movies of the 1970s. It includes a large cast full of comedic greats in the local theatre scene, and features some of the best music money can buy. Two of the production’s stars, Emily Pace and Matthew Alvin Brown, sat down with me to chat about the upcoming musical and their roles.
Pace, who plays Marianne, says “Disaster! is such a fun musical. It’s truly one of those shows that takes you out of the world. It just makes you smile. It’s the definition of campy, with so many 1970s references. And it’s still really funny, even if you don’t get all the references. You’ll still enjoy yourself. And the tunes!! It’s paying homage to those 70s singers like Diana Ross. It’s all about good music and good times. It’s the perfect show for right now.”
Brown agrees, saying “Disaster! is so campy and fun. It’s lampooning those 70s movies like Towering Inferno, The Poseidon Adventure, and Jaws. But it’s still funny on its own. It’s silly, with lots of sight gags and low brow comedy. It’s like something your stepdad would watch.” About his character Tony, Brown says “Tony is the stereotypical sleaze-ball. He’s smarmy, sexist. He’s the classic casino owning Lothario.” Pace’s character Marianne is a journalist. Seeking a way out of the social columns and into the world of more serious reporting, Marianne sets her sights on ousting the slimy Tony. When their paths cross, well, Disaster! ensues.
Speaking about the large cast, Pace says “This is an exciting cast. It’s such a collaboration. It’s a huge ensemble piece, which I love.” The cast is directed by Matthew Sipress-Banks, who’s returning to direct at The Pollard after 2017’s hysterical ensemble production of The Producers, which also starred Pace.
Disaster! also stars Seth Paden as Chad, Jared Blount as Scott, and Charlie Monnot as Ted. Odra Chapman is Sister Mary, James A. Hughes is Maury, Brenda Williams is Shirley, and De’Vin Lewis is Levora. Kara Chapman is Jackie, and Erin Heatly is Lisa/Ben. Nicole Phillips, Sierra Sikes, Clayton J. Blair and Dakota Muckelrath make up the ensemble. Sipress-Banks serves as production director, while Todd Malicoate is Musical Director. The Pollard’s Artistic Director W. Jerome Stevenson serves as Assistant Musical Director and in Scenic and Lighting Design. Sound design is by Jared Blount.
Blair, Blount and Monnot were seen in 2017 alongside Pace in The Producers. Paden, Monnot, and Lewis were also seen alongside Pace in last fall’s production of Ghost: The Musical. Lewis was also most recently on The Pollard stage in Beehive: The 60s Musical. Kara Chapman is familiar to Pollard audiences for her iconic portrayal of Patsy Cline in Always… Patsy Cline, as well as her role as Mary Hatch in It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play. Williams, Muckelrath and Hughes were recently in An Act of God. Brown is known to Pollard patrons for his roles in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, American Idiot and Passing Strange. Heatly was recently featured in Ruthless and 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche at The Boom in OKC. This show is chock-full of Pollard favorites, and you’re sure to find a few more.
With classic tunes like “Hot Stuff”, “Knock on Wood,” “I Will Survive,” and “I Am Woman”, as well as every imaginable catastrophic phenomenon of earth, air, fire and water, Disaster! is jukebox musical fun at its craziest. It’s sure to be a wildly disastrous good time!