Christiani Pitts Is Not Your Grandma’s Damsel in Distress in Broadway’s King Kong

first_imgAs a fan of the story, I think it’s very important that the audience falls in love with Kong, and that you fall in love with Kong. How are you developing chemistry with that big ape? You’re not going out on dinner dates! No, I wish! But it’s funny—the actor who is the voice of Kong, Curt James, lives in the same building as me. So, we’re actually bonding. But Kong is not an inanimate object—he’s a fully realized animal with an insane range of emotions. I’ll rehearse with the actor doing his voice in a rehearsal studio, and then move into the theater and, even though I’m staring at something that is 20 feet taller than me, I can still feel the same intimate bond we made in the rehearsal studio. And it’s kind of heartbreaking because he looks so real. He doesn’t seem like a puppet to me—he seems like another breathing figure on stage, who has a story to tell. It brings me to tears.I don’t think people realize how emotional the story is. It’s a heartbreaker. Yes, it’s past the adventure story. It’s a story of love between people that can’t have a conventional sense of friendship—and a love story without romanticism. It’s about respect for another individual, and what it means to form a relationship with someone who is completely different from you. When people come to see King Kong, they’re going to expect a big spectacle. And they’ll get that for sure, but they’re also going to get an intimate, heartbreaking story. I think it’s beautiful. Christiani Pitts (Photo by Caitlin McNaney) “It’s a classic American tale that has withstood so much time. And here we are in 2018, and it’s still going to affect people in a strong way.” You’re already over two months into rehearsals, and previews don’t start for a few more weeks. Why is this show such a beast to get up?It is unlike anything I’ve ever done. Half of our company had to rehearse in the theater since day one, while the other half of us were at New 42nd Street Studios learning a more intimate version of the show. Our main character can’t leave the theater, so we kind of have to cater to him and his needs, which are pretty strict!There are a lot of versions of this story. What was your very first exposure to Ann Darrow and her journey? The 2005 film directed by Peter Jackson, starring Naomi Watts. I was obsessed with the way she did Ann Darrow. [There was] something about her beauty, her strength, I loved it. Years later, when this audition came up, I just didn’t see myself in the part for many reasons. After doing some research, I watched the 1933 original with Fay Wray, who is stunning. It’s just so classic—a classic American tale that has withstood so much time. And here we are in 2018, and it’s still going to affect people in a strong way, but just with a different take.Have you seen the Jessica Lange version yet? No. It came out in ’76, right? I hear that one is extremely different from the book.It’s modern.Our version is based off the book by Merian C. Cooper, so I kind of wanted to stay in that world. After we open, I’m going to watch it! Christiani Pitts (Photo by Caitlin McNaney)  Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 3:10Loaded: 0%0:00Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently behind liveLIVERemaining Time -3:10 1xPlayback RateChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedEnglish Audio Tracken (Main), selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button. King Kong It’s exciting to see an actress of color play Ann. What do you think your casting adds to the show? It adds a layer of depth that I think people are going to be very surprised by. They cast me in a very color-conscious way. They weren’t trying to be blind to it—they were welcoming it and embracing it. What that means is, as a woman of color in the 1930s, my circumstances were vastly different. In order for [Ann] to make it to New York City to start her big new life as a black woman [at that time, she] had to go through a hell of lot to get there. And it changes the way the character develops throughout the show. She stands up in this world run by men, and is unapologetic about her race, her gender. She’s just strong. I’m just honored they aren’t asking me to hide things that make my Ann Darrow unique and strong, and I get to bring them in and run around with them with pride. Photos: Caitlin McNaney | Hair: Reece Brown-Willis | Makeup: Emily Wright | Styling: Carlton Jones“King Kong” begins previews on October 5 and opens on November 8 at the Broadway Theatre. Why didn’t you see yourself in the role of Ann Darrow? And what is clicking about the part now? I remember her being extremely vulnerable and extremely beautiful, both inside and out. She had such a strong soul in the way Naomi Watts played her. I just don’t often see people who look like me get a chance to be so beautifully vulnerable onscreen. Playing someone who is supposed to be a classic American beauty, and knowing that this can be the new standard is inspiring. Everyone who does the part, all of my understudies, are of different ethnic backgrounds. Ann is just a woman empowerment figure. It doesn’t matter what she looks like; she just has to have a soul who’s willing to stand up for what she believes in.I guess most people think of her as just a damsel in distress, but she actually has a lot going on. I always wondered—what is the damsel in distress thinking? I feel we only get to see the damsel in distress at the end of her journey. They’re in an unfortunate situation and a man comes along and saves them. But no one ever talks about how they got in that situation. I love that Jack Thorne has written a script that explores every bit of her life before. And, unlike other versions, she actually saves herself. She doesn’t wait for anyone to come rescue her. She rolls up her sleeves and figures out how to do it on her own. It’s pretty great. As a struggling actress, Ann Darrow would kill to star in a Broadway musical! Yes!You’re living her dreams. Yes, that’s true.You’ve had an amazing year or two, making your debut in the ensemble of A Bronx Tale and then taking over the female lead. And now Kong! How is all this hitting you? I’m great! I keep having to thank God because I sometimes get overwhelmed, so I kind of have to calm down and relax. It’s easy for me to dive into the idea of moving here from a farm like Ann and trying to make dreams come true. I’m a girl from Georgia who was raised in the church, having huge dreams of moving to this big city with all these lights. And I remember getting here and not booking anything and hustling and bustling and trying to make it work. I remember that call saying all my dreams are going to come true, and it just changed my life. It’s exciting to play a character who gets to experience that life change, but she kind of has to sacrifice her moral compass to do so. And we get to watch her decision making—is it worth it to become a big star, or is it more important to be a good person? That’s something we all have to figure out as we move through this business. There are some things that just aren’t worth sacrificing your soul for. I’m glad to report that Ann Darrow realizes she needs to still be a good person! [Laughs.]I don’t have any concept of what the stage production will look like, and how it will take audiences from Skull Island to the top of the Empire State Building. I don’t want to say much because you have to see it to believe it. But they are sparing no expense. They really want you to feel like you’re going on the journey with us. It’s the biggest thing I’ve ever been a part of. When I do scenes with Kong, and he’s literally standing over me, I’m like, “This is so much bigger than me.” Like physically so much better than me, and it’s so humbling and exciting.center_img Christiani Pitts (Photo by Caitlin McNaney) View Comments The role of Ann Darrow—the beauty who winds up in the fist of the beast in King Kong—has served actresses well. Fay Wray became a Hollywood icon for creating the part in the original 1933 classic, Jessica Lange made the leap from model to actress in the campy 1976 remake and Naomi Watts earned praise for the Oscar-winning 2005 redo, which added heft to the role with more backstory about the struggling actress heroine. Now the character is in the hands of a fiery Broadway newcomer, Christiani Pitts, who previously appeared in A Bronx Tale. With the assist of creative team members Olivier Award winning director/choreographer Drew McOnie, rising songwriter Eddie Perfect (also at work on this season’s Beetlejuice) and 2018 Tony-winning playwright Jack Thorne, Pitts is determined to make Ann Darrow the empowered heroine today’s audiences need when the mega-musical bows on Broadway next month. The fall theater scene is kicking into high gear with an exciting crop of plays, revivals and new musicals hitting the stage. The 2018 Fall Preview highlights the stars and shows of the new season. Related Shows Christiani Pitts (Photo by Caitlin McNaney) Show Closed This production ended its run on Aug. 18, 2019 Star Files Christiani Pittslast_img read more

Palsuram nets helmet trick as Panthers crush Raiders

first_imgTimehri Panthers crushed Herstelling Raiders while Soesdyke Falcons and Swan FC needled Diamond United and Agricola respectively when the East Bank Demerara Zone in Frank Watson Memorial U15 Football League continued Sunday. At the Timehri ground, Panthers defeated Raiders 7-4. Ishmael Palsuram recorded a helmet-trick in the 14th, 21st, 38th and 33rdminute while Tywell Lovell, Prince Forde and Neron Brown scored in the first, 19th and 30th minute respectively.Raiders’ Sheron James netted a hat trick in the 10th, 44th and 48th minute while Solomon Austin scored in the 25th minute.Meanwhile, Soesdyke Falcons clawed past Diamond United 3-2. Tyrone Burnette, Malachi Leacock and Troy Gibson scored in the fourth, 36th and 57th minute respectively while Romeo Bradford scored in the 38th and 40th minute for Diamond United. Swan FC edged Agricola 1-0. Azeem Palacio found the back of the net in the 46th minute while Samatta Point/Kaneville and Mocha battled to a 2-2 draw. Tyrone Ricko and Matthew Austin scored in the 21st and 25th minute for Samatta Point, while Genesis Lewis and Andon Rickford netted for Mocha in the 17th and 27th minute respectively.Complete ResultsGame-1 Soesdyke-3 vs Diamond United-2Soesdyke ScorersTyrone Burnette-4th Malachi Leacock-36thTroy Gibson-57th Diamond Scorer Romeo Bradford-38th and 40th Game-2Swan FC-1 vs Agricola-0Azeem Palacio-46th  Game-3Mocha-2 vs Samatta Point/Kaneville-2Samatta Point Scorers Tyrone Ricko-21stMatthew Austin-25th Mocha Scorers Genesis Lewis-17thAndon Rickford-27th Game-4 Timehri-7 vs Herstelling-4Timehri ScorersIshmael Palsuram-14th, 21st, 38th and 33rd Tywell Lovell-1stNeron Brown-30thPrince Forde-19th Herstelling ScorersSheron James-10th, 44th and 48thSolomon Austin-25thlast_img read more

Matthew Perry reveals he’s been in the hospital for three months following surgery

first_imgABC/Randy Holmes(LOS ANGELES) — Matthew Perry revealed this weekend that he’s been in the hospital for the past three months recovering from gastrointestinal surgery. In his first tweet in six months, the former Friends actor wrote, “Three months in a hospital. Check.”A source tells People that Perry is “going home finally.”The news comes a month after his rep released a statement explaining Perry “underwent surgery in a Los Angeles hospital to repair a gastrointestinal perforation.”“He is grateful for the concern and asks for continued privacy as he [heals],” the statement read.A gastrointestinal perforation is when someone develops a hole in their stomach, large intestine, or small intestine. It can be caused by a number of diseases or an outside wound. Recovery usually takes a few months. Perry has been vocal about his health issues throughout his career, including his addiction to drugs and alcohol. “I couldn’t stop,” Perry said in an interview with People back in 2013. “Eventually things got so bad that I couldn’t hide it, and then everybody knew.”Perry added, “Getting sober is a really hard thing to do.”Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more