Andrew C. Call

In honor of the opening weekend of SCT’s new production of Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show. I decided this month’s Five Questions with… column would spotlight my friend Andrew Call. Andrew appeared in the 2001 production of Rocky Horror at the Vandivort playing the title role of Rocky, Dr. Frank’s creation. He then went on later that season to play Valentin in our production of Kiss of the Spider Woman. Also, while Andrew was in Springfield as a student he was seen in MSU’s productions of A New Brain, Ti Jean and Oklahoma.

I recently caught up with Andrew around his busy schedule in the Broadway production of Green Day’s American Idiot. Here’s my Five Questions with Andrew C. Call:

RPD: Andrew, my ‘Five Questions’ column was created in order that we can let our patrons here at Springfield Contemporary Theatre know a bit about where some of our past actors, directors and other regulars have gone since their last work at the theatre. So my first question is basically that…theatrically what all have you been up to since leaving Springfield?

ACC: I left Springfield in the spring of 2003 for the National Tour of Saturday Night Fever. I toured all over the country for a year and then went to Las Vegas and sat down with that production at the Sahara Hotel and Casino. In the fall of 2004, Saturday Night Fever closed and I went back to NYC. Two weeks later, I got called to play Riff in a production of West Side Story in San Francisco. I left for the west coast and three months later found myself back in Arkansas (where I grew up).

After a couple of months fishing with my dad and helping out my folks I got a call to fly out and audition for a new show called Altar Boyz. They flew me to NYC on a Friday; I saw the show on Sunday; I auditioned on Monday and got a call 30 minutes later (on my way to the airport) with a job offer. Two days later I found myself in Detroit in a rehearsal space. When the production closed in Detroit we moved it to Des Moines. However, I was only there a few weeks when I got the call to come into the off-Broadway company of Altar Boyz.

I only stayed in the NY Altar Boyz company for three months and booked my first Broadway show, High Fidelity. We went out of town with the show. Then came back and closed two weeks after opening on Broadway. That was my first of four flops on Broadway (followed by Cry-Baby, Glory Days and the revival of Brigadoon that never opened).

Andrew on Broadway in Green Day's 'American Idiot'

I went to London after all of this and worked on the English National Opera’s production of Candide. Upon my return from London I was cast in the workshop of The Untitled Punk Project that was to go on to become American Idiot. I was part of a one-week workshop. Then left before the big presentation as I was asked to play Marius in the Signature Theatre’s production of Les Miserables. Though I was asked to rejoin the production of American Idiot that opened at Berkeley Repertory Theatre and then transferred to Broadway. I am currently still performing with the show. A little long winded…but a lot has happened!

RPD: You’ve been with Green Day’s American Idiot for a while now. What has it been like working on a show through different stages of development on its way to Broadway? How much has the show changed along the way?

ACC: The show has changed a ton since we first started working. We did a few workshops where we fleshed out what the show was. It was really hard because we have very little book. Being that the show is mostly sung-through. We started by just playing around with a few things and then kept on playing and cutting and piecing things together that worked. Then we got a rough draft. So, basically, we had a script (the album) and we have to piece together this idea into the structure of this show. A lot of trial and error later, we found a cohesive story told through song and a few letters that makes this piece flow from song to song.

RPD: In several of the Broadway shows you have done, you’ve been in the ensemble and understudied other roles in the production. How much do you get to rehearse for the roles you are understudying? How often do you get to go on?

ACC: My first understudy experience was in High Fidelity. I had never rehearsed. We hadn’t been open long enough for that to even happen. One night the first weekend after opening the lead (Will Chase) was out sick. Will’s understudy, who happened to be one of the other on stage leads went on. As the chain goes, a swing would go on for him and that’s that. By the end of the first act it is apparent that the swing wasn’t prepared. At intermission the Production Stage Manager comes to me and asks if I know the role. I reply that “I can do better than what’s happening up there now.” So I went on in the leading role for the second act. No rehearsal. Five minutes of warning. And I killed it for two full songs and five scenes. Killed it. Needless to say, I was on for the next two performances. Then we closed. Thankfully, I was trained well at MSU and my experiencez in Springfield theatre helped me to be prepared for anything.

MSU Alumni Dale Hensley presenting Andrew with the traditional Gypsy Robe on opening night of 'American Idiot'

RPD: On opening night of American Idiot you received the special honor of wearing the Gypsy Robe. Can you explain to my readers this Broadway tradition? And tell us whom the special Springfield-tied person was who presented with you this honor?

ACC: On opening night of American Idiot on Broadway I was given the Gypsy Robe. It’s tradition that dates back into the 20’s. It is given to the ensemble member who has the most Broadway chorus contracts to date. I was excited to receive such an honor. I was presented this robe by (S)MSU alumni Dale Hensley who had recently received it for La Cage aux Folles. It was a great night.

RPD: Was there anything about your Springfield theatre experience that prepared you for the life in the professional theatre that you have achieved thus far?

ACC: My experience with Springfield theatre taught me to always be prepared. Also to understand the normal things we take for granted. Be on time. Be prepared and have a good attitude. This was my whole experience in Springfield theatre. It was a very professional and had great production value.

Andrew C. Call as Rocky in SCT's 2001 production of Richard O'Brien's 'The Rocky Horror Show'

RPD: Thanks Andrew!