Q: Thank you so much for meeting with me. How are you today?
A: I’m good! How are you doing?
Q: Good! I’m doing good. Are you ready for the South Florida climate?
A: Oh, I’m so excited. I can’t wait.
Q: I’ll get right into it. My name’s Christopher, and I’m one of the reviewers with South Florida Theater Magazine. This interview will let people around the area get to know you a bit before Beetlejuice comes down. If you could, give me a little about yourself and your background.
A: I’m from California. I grew up in San Jose, and theater’s always just kind of been my thing. I grew up doing a lot of community theater at my school. I had just recently graduated high school when I got this job, so yeah, that’s been kind of fun!
Q: What’s this experience been like so far working in Beetlejuice?
A: It’s been so fun! I’ve never been on tour before, so this has been a very big learning experience for me. You know, I’m going through so many states and cities that I’ve never been to before, which is super fun because I get to see so many different types of fans, people watching the show, and audiences. I get to see each of the special, local spots for each city, so that’s been exciting to me. I really love traveling.
Q: You said you just graduated high school. Is this your first big show?
A: Yeah, this is my first professional theater job.
Q: Wow! Congratulations. So, if you were to give any advice to anyone who’s looking to break out into the field, what would you say?
A: I feel like this kind of cliche, but keep going! Keep sending in those tapes. It is very hard, but eventually you’ll get the yes that you want. At least for me, be open-minded for change. This role was pretty unexpected for me. I was pretty set on college. In my head, I had a vision for myself, and then this opportunity appeared. I was so excited. It’s kind of crazy; everything went backwards for me. What I thought was going to happen, and my future, didn’t. Be open. Anything can change. Sometimes drastically. And usually it’s for the better. I’m so thankful that this has happened to me.
Q: That’s interesting. You decided to do this show instead of going to college right out of high school?
A: Yeah. College is always there. I can always come back to college in the future, but right now, it’s a little off to the side.
Q: How did you land this role, if you don’t mind sharing?
A: It was a pretty long process. It was like a year-long process. The beginning of my senior year, Beetlejuice was just starting; shows were just starting to reopen on Broadway because of the pandemic. Beetlejuice sent out this open call for auditions for the Broadway reopening. I saw it online, and thought, “Well, I’ll send one in.” So, I sent a self tape, I didn’t hear for a couple months, and then I ended up getting/doing a couple callbacks and self tapes for Broadway. Over time, it transferred to in-person callbacks for the tour, and that lasted until that summer. I ended up going to New York for a week to do callbacks, and then I got the call saying I got the tour!
Q: That’s awesome. How long have you been on tour?
A: We started in December , so about six months. We’ve been out for a little while, but it also feels like we just started. We’ve been to a lot of places! First was San Francisco. We went to Michigan, North and South Carolina, Utah. A lot of cold climates in the Winter time, and now that Summer’s coming up, we’re going to a lot of warmer places, which I’m excited for.
Q: How do you think this role will affect your future?
A: That’s a good question. I don’t know, but I do know this was a pretty big step for me. This has such a big following, like on social media, and I think it’s been pretty interesting having fans to reach out and be invested in us and the cast. That’s something I’ve never really experienced before. We’ll see what happens after this show. I’m not entirely sure what my future holds for me yet.
Q: Have you seen Beetlejuice? Either in preparation for the role or when you were younger?
A: Yeah! My family were pretty big fans of the movie, so I’ve seen it before, I loved it, and, you know, it’s such a classic. I’ve known about the musical before the pandemic happened, and I have always been a fan of it. So I’ve always loved this show. It was kind of weird, starting out as a fan and over time, becoming a part of that.
Q: How did your parents feel about you getting that role?
A: They’re so supportive. I’m so thankful for my parents. They’re so supportive of the arts, and they love it. They’re fans of the show, as well, so of course, they were super super excited when I got the part.
Q: Is there a specific moment in the show that you love?
A: At the beginning of Act 2, there’s so much chaos going on. It’s when Beetlejuice and Lydia are having fun in the house. Beetlejuice creates all these clones of him, so there’s a bunch of people dancing around doing flips while we’re all singing. It’s really crazy; there’s so much going on. But it’s so fun. That’s my favorite moment, because it’s such a fun way to start off an act. A lot of the cast are on stage. It’s nice to share that stage with all of my friends. I think a lot of people will love this show! If you’re a fan of the movie, you’ll love it. It’s really funny, so people will easily enjoy it.
Q: Perfect. Thank you so much. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
A: Come watch Beetlejuice! You’re going to love it.
ISABELLA ESLER (Lydia) is incredibly excited to be making her professional debut! She recently graduated high school in San Jose, California and grew up in the Bay Area. Many thanks to Telsey Office, the Beetlejuice team, family and friends. Extra love to mom and dad! IG: @Isabella.esler
Christopher McDaniel is a MFA candidate in Creative Writing, Nonfiction, at Florida Atlantic University. He also works as a grant writer for the Norton Museum of Art. When Chris is not writing, he's either reading, walking around a museum, or thinking about a new piece to write later. He's from Virginia.