FIRST FRIDAY FEATURE – Q&A with Erin Cohenour!

As we approach opening night, join us every Thursday for our special TRIBE MEMBER THURSDAY feature! Each week, obviously on Thursday, you can join us for a little Q&A with some of the cast!

…except it’s happening on Friday this week!

Thursday was HUGE, we had the final dress rehearsal for HAIR and got too busy to post! However, in today’s TRIBE MEMBER THURSDAY FIRST FRIDAY FEATURE, we talk to the famous Erin Cohenour!

Erin Cohenour

Erin Cohenour

Q: Tell me about your character Jeanie! 

I’m still figuring Jeanie out, because she’s much deeper than I thought. She’s free-spirited, spacey, and hedonistic, but she’s also insightful, spiritual, and feels things really deeply. I think she’s an interesting counterpoint to the sex positive message of the show- it’s a wonderful thing to be in touch with your sexuality and to experience it freely, but there are consequences. The women’s studies nerd in me has to point out that reproductive rights didn’t really catch up to the sexual revolution until about 5 years after the show debuted.

Q: Who do you think should come out to see HAIR?

Anyone who was around when the original came out, and anyone who is interested in history. HAIR is one of those rare shows that transcended the medium of musical theatre to become a real cultural touchstone. It’s iconic. If you were around in 1968, you heard those songs, whether it was a cover on the radio or from the soundtrack record, and seeing the show will bring back all of the memories of that unique moment in time. And if you’re interested in modern political and social history, the show talks about just about every major issue of the 1960s.

Q: You’ve done a lot of theatre all over town – Phoenix, TOTS, Footlite, Beef & Boards, burlesque, etc. – how is this show different from shows/roles you’ve worked on in the past?

This show has been a great change of pace for me. I’ve gotten really used to working at a really quick pace at Beef & Boards or creating my own material for burlesque- and being an unabashed control freak, I love those things. But I’m really trying to take the show’s message of “freedom” to heart, and this more collaborative process has been helping me to do that- Bob and Kenny want us to really take our time, discover new things within the material, and “just jam.” It’s really helped me to relax a bit.

Q: When did you first start performing?

I was performing my “death scene” and singing in gibberish for all of my parents’ friends by the time I was 3 or 4, and as a pre-teen I did some shows for Young Actors (a great organization that we share space with at the Athenaeum.) I didn’t start performing in community theatre until I was a senior in high school, and started to pursue it professionally about 5 years ago.

Q: What’s challenging about performing HAIR for an audience in 2014?

I think the most challenging thing about performing HAIR in 2014 is that so many people think that the issues we discuss in the show aren’t a problem anymore- that it’s purely historical. So many people in our country are still held back by racism, sexism, and inequality, and I think one of the biggest mistakes we make is to assume we live in a “free and equal” society. We’ve certainly come a long way since 1968, but I hope people are able to see the parallels to our modern struggles instead of just seeing the show as a period piece.

Q: What’s on your calendar after HAIR?

Next up for me is a bikini competition in the fall. Hopefully after being topless onstage, being judged in my bikini will be a breeze.

HAIR opens Saturday, July 5th! Tickets available online and by phone at 317-280-0825!

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