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Actor Spotlight: Richie Barrella

Meet Richie Barrella! He is joining us for The Hunchback of Notre Dame June 30, 2022 - July 10, 2022!


What is your favorite song in this show and why?


I love the song Top of the World. It's a beautiful interaction between Quasimodo and Esmeralda where he is being treated kindly by someone for the first time in his life. By the end of the song, the two have formed a special connection of mutual respect and caring. This is an important moment for Quasimodo since he's never received this kind of affection from anyone, especially not from Frollo. Once he knows what true joy feels like, he simply can't live without that feeling.


What have you loved so far about working with SART?


It truly feels like the staff and members of the company are dedicated to creating not just a safe space to work, but also a supportive and inclusive space. I've worked at so many theatres that subscribe so heavily to "the way things have always been done" and honestly none of that applies to SART. The leadership team dedicates themselves to making sure everyone is comfortable and heard so that they can sharply contrast the toxic rhetoric and practices the theatre industry can sometimes reproduce.


Tell us about your character. What’s your favorite thing about them? What do you love about getting to portray them?


I am playing the Voice of Quasimodo. For this production, we have split the role of Quasimodo into two entities: one being the physical embodiment, played by our astounding wonderful Deaf actor, Rey Castillo, and myself who vocalizes the lines and lyrics while Rey signs. As an actor, you never stop learning and this role is no exception. This role comes with a two-fold challenge: the technical aspect of working with Rey to make sure that his signing and physicality and my vocalizations match up and the artistic aspect of making sure our intentions and emotional life match up. There are moments where I get to play more as his subconscious or interact with other actors on stage which adds another layer to who this voice is. Quasimodo is a strong, powerful character and I think it truly does take two actors to do this role the justice it deserves.


How did you get into theatre?


Growing up, I didn't have a specific niche that I fit into in terms of after school activities. When I was 8, my parents signed me up for an after school theatre program that met once a week and it was the first time I felt welcomed by a community of other kids. My first role was Tigger in Winnie the Pooh and I haven't looked back since.


What’s your favorite thing to do in the area?


Coming from a major city or crowded suburban areas for most of my life, I honestly just love nighttime when the sun starts to set over the mountains and the stars come out. So. Many. Stars.


What about this production are you the most excited about?


I am really excited to sing this score as I think it's one of Menken and Schwartz's most beautiful and haunting scores. The music is powerful and bombastic which fits the story perfectly.


What’s your favorite part about performing?


Being able to tell people's stories. Whether they are tragic, comedic, or somewhere in between, for a brief time we get to portray these different characters and stories and help audience and ourselves learn something in the process.


Do you have any upcoming projects we should check out?


Next up, I will be directing SART's upcoming production of The Wedding Singer! I've been in this production multiple times and I am incredibly excited to look at it from the other side of the table for the first time!


Biography


Richie Barrella is very happy to be back in the App-a-LATCH-uhn (this Northerner learned how to say it!) mountains! He was seen last year on the SART stage as Jamie in The Last Five Years. Favorite credits include Robbie Hart (The Wedding Singer), Hawker (The Who's Tommy), Hanschen (Spring Awakening), Matt (bare - a pop opera), Abraham (Altar Boyz), and Joey (Saturday Night Fever). Currently, he is attending Rollins College in Winter Park, FL to obtain his Masters in Theatre Education. Thank you to my family and friends for your unwavering support. BFA: NYU Tisch, MFA: Actors Studio Drama School, Pace University.


The Hunchback of Notre Dame is showing at Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre in Mars Hill, NC June 30, 2022 - July 10, 2022! Grab your tickets here: https://www.sartplays.com/hunchback

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