Movin' Out's Holly Cruikshank

L.A. Splash Magazine got a chance to talk with Holly Cruikshank who is playing the lead role of Brenda in the upcoming national tour of "Movin Out".

"Movin Out" is a new Broadway Musical based on the songs and music of Billy Joel and was conceived and choreographed by Twyla Tharp. It will be playing in Los Angeles, September 14-October 17, 2004 at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. Click here to read my review of opening night.

 

Holly Cruikshank

What is it like working with Twyla Tharp?
Amazing she's such a legend. She's the most creative and out there person, in a good way, that I've ever worked with. Very demanding. She's in her early sixties. She has more energy than anyone that I've ever seen. She works out everyday, she never stops. I think if you work hard she'll respect you. As long as you work as hard as she does, she completely respects you as an artist

What is it like dancing Twyla's choreography?
Again that's another highlight! It's the most fulfilling thing. It's a dancer dream show. First it's so physically challenging. And you go on an acting journey with it emotionally. So it's a perfect combination of the two things together and its so challenging that you never have a perfect show. Or you never say everything went so perfect in the show. Because it's technically so hard.

How long have you been in this show and how long touring with it? 
I've been involved for about two years. And on tour 7 months.

How involved has Billy Joel been with the show? 
He still comes out on the road here and there and watches the show. He'll sometimes sing a couple songs at the end of the show, which is very exciting. He basically gave Twyla all his music and said I trust whatever you want to do with any of my music. He came in and helped with some of the arrangements. But basically he was just there in New York through the rehearsal process and came in to check up mostly with the Band but he would give some acting notes as well.

How did you get involved in "Movin Out"? 
I was doing a show called "Contact" on the road and I heard about the audition. And my dance partner from "Contact", David Gomez and I went into the audition together and ended up being asked to do it. We were doing the Brenda and Tony matinee leads in New York from the beginning. I just went to the audition on the whim.

Do you consider yourself more as an actress or a dancer?
Well up until three years ago mostly just a dancer but I think through contact and this show it has helped me realize that acting is just as important as the dancing it has helped me grow as an actress I've always been intimidated by that word because I've danced my whole life. But in the last few years, I'm more comfortable with that word; saying I'm an actress.

The role you play of Brenda is considered to be very demanding and technically difficult, what do you do to prepare for it?
I think it helps that I started dancing when I was three, coming from a dance background. I don't think there is any other way; it's such a high dance role. Besides physically taking Ballet and Yoga everyday, Twyla had us all do a lot of research on characters in the 60 through the 70's through the Vietnam War. A lot of reading and watching films like "Born on the Fourth of July" and "Deer Hunter". There's no dialogue in the show but we all are telling a story through dance. So while we were preparing, Twyla already had it choreographed. But then we also sat down and wrote a dialogue to it, which we would have in our head. We'd have a back-story in our head as we are dancing, so you are not just doing steps your actually telling a story

Billy Joel and Twyla Tharp

You stepped into a role, which had already been created how much freedom did you have to make it your own?
I was there from the beginning. We opened in Chicago on a pre-Broadway tryout so I was there learning it along with Elizabeth Parkinson, who was the main Brenda. Liz helped originate it in a workshop before that, which I wasn't involved with. So most of the choreography was already done before I came in. But Twyla gives so much room for letting you do what fits best on your body. She lets your personality come through and you do what you would do with it There is a lot of improvisation. I don't know if I necessarily do anything different than Liz does but we have our own take on it. And Twyla gives us so much room for that. She doesn't make everyone carbon copies of the other person, which is the best

Are you having fun with this role?
I am, yah, it's a most challenging role. Physically it's so hard and emotionally it's so hard. And there's room to improve some of the stuff. So it never gets boring.

How is the tour going?
Its going good! We've been in great cities so far. It's a younger group than the New York cast, so they're real excited to be doing it.  Everyone hangs out all the time, its like a family. It's going really good. The only thing that's hard, so so hard, is that there are a lot of injuries all the time. So, there are a lot of new people coming in all the time. A lot of coming and going of cast members, it's like a sports team, a lot of turnover.

How have audiences been receiving this production?
Really good we were nervous, because its such a dance show. And most of the people who love Billy Joel don't necessarily love to watch dance and vice versa. But we've gotten a great response. Its been pretty much sold out everywhere we go. The music is so amazing and the band is on stage with us, it's like a rock concert. So we get that kind of feed back from the audience, which is fun, it helps motivate you for the show.

You've been touring all over the country are there differences between cities, regions, altitudes etc.?
We played Denver for two weeks. It was so hard; they had oxygen tanks on the side of the stage, waiting for us, just in case. Some of the cast had to use them. It was hard and after that we went to Seattle and it was so easy, we had so much energy after that

            

You go through a very athletic workout every performance what do you do to keep yourself in shape for your performances?
I do Yoga I'm really addicted to Yoga. I've found that the best way to balance. Because you are doing the same show every night, using the same muscles. So it helps. We also do ballet classes three times a week as a full company.

Do you have a favorite moment in the show?
It changes so often, my favorite number in the show is Shameless. Its when my character and Tony, (David Gomez), we reconnect after years. It's the most beautiful song and the choreography is so amazing. That one I love doing. There are so many moments that every night is fun. Theres a lot of partnering, so you're reacting with different people every night; 'cause the cast changes every night.


"Movin Out" will be playing in Los Angeles, September 14-October 17, 2004 at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood.

Tickets, which range in price from $55.50 - $80.50, are available for purchase online at www.BroadwayLA.org, by phone at 213-365-3500 or 714-740-7878, or in person at the Pantages Theatre Box Office.  Located at 6233 Hollywood Blvd, ½ block east of Vine Street, the box office is open daily 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM, or until 30 minutes after curtain goes up on the day of a performance. 

No tickets will be available for purchase at Ticketmaster outlets for this special engagement.  VISA will be the only credit card accepted for purchase of single tickets to this engagement.

Performances of "Movin Out" are Tuesdays - Fridays at 8:00 PM, Saturdays at 2:00 PM & 8:00 PM and Sundays at 1:00 PM & 6:30 PM.  There will be one special weekday matinee performance on Thursday, October 28 at 2:00 PM, and there will be no evening performance on Sunday, October 31.

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