Justin Bott says medium-sized musicals are on the rise.
ORDINARY DAYS music and lyrics by Adam Gwon, directed by Kayla Gordon, with Justin Bott, Jay Davis, Connie Manfredi and Clara Scott. Presented by Angelwalk Theatre and Winnipeg Studio Theatre at the Toronto Centre for the Arts Studio Theatre (5040 Yonge). Opens tonight (Thursday, November 29) and runs to December 9, Tuesday-Saturday 8 pm, matinee Sunday 2 pm. $35-$45. 1-855-985-2787, angelwalk.ca. See listing.
You never know what your YouTube surfing will bring about. For actor and singer Justin Bott, it led to his latest role.
One day Bott was indulging his obsession with actor Kate Wetherhead, the co-creator of the web series Submissions Only, and found a video of the CD release party for the off-Broadway show Ordinary Days, in which she stars. Impressed, he bought the entire album on iTunes and mentioned the show to Angelwalk Theatre's Brian Goldenberg, who'd already heard about it.
Now he's got a role in the new co-pro between Angelwalk and Winnipeg Studio Theatre. He plays Warren, one of four disparate New Yorkers whose lives intersect.
"Warren's an aspiring artist who works for a more established artist," says Bott from the Winnipeg leg of the tour. "I like to think of him as the heart of the piece."
The show is about seizing the day and living in the moment, something Bott can relate to as a theatre actor.
"I think you can get caught up in thinking about where things are going," he says. "Sometimes you feel like you don't have a lot of control and can forget to enjoy what you're doing. There's an old saying that if you want to hear an actor complain you should give him a job."
Ordinary Days marks his third full show with Angelwalk, after the theatrical song cycle Songs For A New World and his Dora Award-nominated turn in [title of show]. Last month he also co-starred in a cabaret-style revue for the company's showcase series.
He sees Angelwalk reflecting the popularity of medium-sized musicals.
"The mega-musical just isn't doing its thing any more. The big shows aren't running for years and years, at least in Toronto," he says. "I think companies are adapting.
"And shows like Ordinary Days can affect people as much as, if not more than, the big musicals. There's an intimacy to them. They're conversational, almost like they're being done in someone's living room. They feel more like plays."
Not that Bott makes a big distinction between plays and musicals.
"I think when musicals are done well, it's natural for people to start singing."