It’d be a crying shame to miss Katrina Teitz’ Vancouver Fringe Festival debut in Cry-Baby: The Musical this September.
Teitz stars as Balitmore teenager Allison Vernon-Williams, who, with her finishing-school background, lives a sort of upper-class daydream. Of course, that’s only until her journey takes her to the other side of the tracks, where she meets and falls in love with Wade “Cry-Baby” Walker.
The musical is based off of John Waters’ cult classic Cry-Baby (1990), starring Johnny Depp and Amy Locane. Although the film never achieved critical success, it inspired a Broadway version that earned four Tony Award nominations.
This is Teitz’s first time at the Vancouver Fringe Festival, and it’s a far cry from her first musical experience in Shout!, which she participated in during her grade 8 year at Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary.
“It was a little bit of a train wreck,” Teitz said of that first musical, “but it made me stick in the theatre scene.”
After Shout!, she was in every school production at LTSS. Perhaps her most important role was when she played Olive Ostrovsky in the musical comedy Twenty Fifth Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, as Teitz said, “I think that was the moment I knew that theatre and music really made me feel at home.”
Three years later and Teitz has graduated from Capilano University with a diploma in musical theatre and is starring in her first Fringe-festival role.
She describes her character Allison as a “young ingenue: kind, accepting, daring and ready to fight for what she wants.”
“I’d like to think I’m strong and independent and a fighting gal like Allison,” said Teitz. “I’ve always been a fan of girls being comfortable doing whatever they like as opposed to what’s expected of them.”
Working with the cast members and the creative team for Cry-Baby has been “the perfect challenge,” said Teitz, adding that she hoped she could meet their expectations. The experience has been incredible so far for Teitz, who graduated from her musical theatre program only a few short months ago.
The process of working with director Barbara Tomasic, musical director Andy Toth and choreographer Erika Babins has been different than what Teitz is used to, but in the “best way possible.”
“They’re not afraid to tell you what’s on their mind which is good, because I’m learning so much about this city,” she said. “They treat me as equals, not [as] a puppet.”
Teitz said that the team believes that they cast every role on the basis that all of the actors had something unique to bring to the show that only they could offer, and that it shows. For instance, she said that working opposite Victor Hunter, who plays Cry-Baby, has given her a first-hand glance at the acting talent in Vancouver.
“The first time we ran music, I was like ‘He’s perfect for this part.’ Supportive and kind, like his character, it won’t be hard to act in love with Cry-Baby.”
Fringe festival-goers will have the opportunity to laugh, cry, and maybe even fall in love at Cry-Baby: The Musical from Sept. 7–17 at the Firehall Arts Centre, 280 East Cordova Street in Vancouver. Tickets are $14 and are available at tickets.vancouverfringe.com.