In our production of Parade, high school Junior Flynn Marcus plays Frankie Epps — the charming and devoted friend to Mary Phagan. Read on to find out more about Flynn, some of his earliest theatre memories, and how he taps into a character so different from himself.
Have you done a show with Middleton Players before?
Parade will be my second show with Middleton Players Theater after being in the ensemble of All Shook Up earlier this summer.
How do you prepare for auditions? What did you sing to audition for MPT?
I always research the shows I'm auditioning for and think about the character I'd like to play. I listen to the cast recordings, read about the context of the show, and its historical time period. Then I select audition songs that are similar. Sometimes I look for songs by the same composers or of a similar genre. I choose songs in which I can portray a character that is similar to the role I'm auditioning for. For Parade, I wanted to try out for the role of Frankie Epps so I chose an emotional song sung by a teenage character: "For Forever" from Dear Evan Hansen.
What was your first stage show and who did you play?
My first real stage show was in Aladdin with CTM when I was 10 years old. I played Prince Dahdu Rahn Rahn and I was dressed as Elvis in harem pants. My big moment was to impress the princess with some hip swivels. I got a lot of laughs and after that I was hooked!
What is your favorite theatre memory?
When I played the role of Snail in A Year WIth Frog & Toad, a teacher who attended a student matinee shared a story with me. She was with a young student who struggles in school and said, "I like Snail. He works slow, like me!" The experience inspired him to want to try acting. It made me feel great to inspire a little boy.
What is your favorite part of the rehearsal process?
I love getting to know new people. The magic of rehearsals is that in the beginning the cast and crew are strangers, but by the end we are family.
What is your favorite theatrical work?
Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812
What do you enjoy about your character? In what ways are you similar or dissimilar?
Frankie Epps starts out cheerful and fun-loving, but is profoundly affected by the violent death of Mary. His actions in Act 2 are motivated by his hate, rage, and his desire for revenge. He is blinded by his emotions and is unable to see the truth. Frankie is a deeply flawed character, and of course I cannot identify with his hate and antisemitism. But all human beings experience grief and anger, so that is what I tap into to portray this character.
What would you like audiences to know about this show?
I'd like people to understand the show's historical significance and how this event led to the formation of the Anti-Defamation League. When we understand history we can avoid repeating it. Having Jewish heritage, it's important to me to tell these stories.
Come see Flynn on stage in Parade next weekend only! Tickets are on sale now at www.middletonplayers.com/tickets.