Month: February 2019

Meet the Cast 3: Kristin Bentley

Angels in America: Part One, Millennium Approaches opens March 8th at the Shea’s Smith Theatre. This complex and brilliant play features some of Buffalo’s finest actors. Take a moment to get to know them and what drew them to this show!

Actor: Kristin Bentley

Character: Harper Pitt, and SGT Executive Director

Kristin: As Executive Director I have been fortunate enough to be involved in every production in SGT’s history, but this is only my second time onstage as an actor. My first time onstage with SGT was in our first production of a play, SOME GIRL(s), directed by Steve Copps.

SGT: What is it about ANGELS that drew you to the project? 

Kristin:Angels in America is my favorite play. I was fortunate enough to see Tony Kushner speak when I was in high school, and at the time was completely unfamiliar with his work. From there I read and fell in love with Angels in America. In college, I studied scenes from Part One: Millennium Approaches in an acting class with Greg Natale. The chance to get to work on this incredible piece of art with a director like Greg, who truly understands truth in acting, and play such a complicated, sensitive and surprisingly strong woman as Harper was an opportunity I couldn’t let pass me by.

SGT: Tell us more about Harper.

Kristin: Harper is lonely and imaginative and funny and stronger than she realizes. She is trying hard to find where she fits and to find the strength to use her voice. Her marriage is falling apart and she is navigating that. There is so much for audiences to relate to in her, as with all of these complex characters.

SGT: Who is your favorite character in ANGELS?

Kristin: I love Prior. His humor, his heart, his unbreakable will. I also love Belize. His compassion, wit, and loyalty to his friends and passion of his convictions. I must have a thing for ex-drag queens.

SGT: You’re in a unique position here- you have gotten to watch the cast of every SGT show work together and perform and change- who stands out to you in this process?

Kristin: This entire cast is a DREAM, but I am most excited to finally work with Dudney! After 10 years of friendship this is the first time we are onstage together! 

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Meet the Cast- Ben Michael Moran

Actor: Ben Michael Moran Character: Prior Walter

I was in SGT’s debut production of INTO THE WOODS as well as ASSASSINS and CRIMES OF THE HEART. They’re all productions and experiences that mean a great deal to me. CRIMES was my introduction to the incredibly rewarding experience of being directed by Greg Natale.


SGT: What is it about ANGELS that drew you to the project?

Ben: ANGELS was the first purchase I made from The Drama Bookshop in NYC. It was a box set of both parts and all I knew was that it was rumored to be the newest modern American classic. At 17 I was too young and naive to understand all the nuance of Kushner’s writing and the complexity behind the socio-political context of the story, but I was fascinated by his ability to speak these character’s truths as effortlessly as water flows. As an adult I love and respect this script for its bravery, its timeless relevance and for bringing to light the human side of an epidemic that too many sought to keep forever in the shadows. I’ve always been a fan of pieces that make me laugh and cry, back and forth, draw me in to the heart of it and pull me out of it with a laugh and this play does that, especially with the right director. Prior is a dream role and when I heard Greg would be directing, I knew this was a project I wanted in on.

SGT: What is it about Prior that you love most?

Ben: What I love about Prior is his candid nature and quick wit. Right up through the last moment of the play, he speaks his truth and he can’t let a punchline go by unspoken, despite his own struggles. He has more courage than me, he’s much smarter and funnier than me. I adore all of those things about him. 

SGT: Who is your favorite character in the play that isn’t you ?

Ben: Hannah is my favorite character. Again, I find the courage to speak your convictions very admirable and to do it with humor makes it all the more enjoyable to be around. I especially love Hannah’s overall journey through Parts I & II. If I were a closeted Mormon, I would want Hannah as my mom. She is fierce, funny and she loves her son unconditionally, enough to up and move to the other side of the country to (in her opinion) rescue him. She’s a badass Mormon momma and I love her all the more for it because she takes her own emotional, intellectual and physical journey with a fearless attitude fueled by love. 

SGT: Anyone you particularly love to work with/watch in rehearsals/on stage?

Ben: SGT has this way of assembling teams that make you want to bring study materials to every rehearsal. I learn from everyone I work with and that’s especially so with this company. As far as who I love working opposite on stage, Kristin, Tony and Dudney approach every scene we have together with their whole hearts and a vulnerability that completely draws me in. I feel very fortunate to be able to spend the majority of the show getting lost in their eyes and the world we’ve created. And Kristen Tripp Kelley is one-of-a-kind. To work with her in any capacity is equally humbling and inspiring. This cast and crew remind me daily why I chose this profession.

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Meet the Cast of ANGELS

Angels in America: Part One, Millennium Approaches opens March 8th at the Shea’s Smith Theatre. This complex and brilliant play features some of Buffalo’s finest actors. Take a moment to get to know them and what drew them to this show!

Actor: Steve Copps

Character: Joe Pitt

Steve: I’ve had the good fortune of being involved with both productions in SGT’s inaugural season. I was Cinderella’s Prince/TheWolf in INTO THE WOODS and I directed SOME GIRL(S) which starred my ANGELS co-star Kristin Bentley. Since that first season, I have played Czolgosz in ASSASSINS and Black in THE WILD PARTY.

SGT: What is it about ANGELS that drew you to the project? 

Steve: I think it’s three-fold. For starters, ANGELS IN AMERICA as a whole is a modern classic authored masterfully by Tony Kushner. The script is so powerful and beautifully written that one could sell tickets to a read-through of this play and be successful. Secondly, I jumped at the chance to work with director Greg Natale (whom I haven’t worked with since 2010) because his approach to the work is so honest. He gets his actors to channel their own experiences so that they can be authentic and the audience can be truly affected. Finally, I will always work for Second Generation Theatre Company as they routinely produce creative and thought-provoking work. It’s always a rewarding and genuine experience. 

SGT: ANGELS is full of characters in the midst of personal struggle- what is it about Joe that the audience can relate to?

Steve: Joe is dealing with some really heavy, complex stuff. He has spent his whole life avoiding/fighting his true sexuality and that has affected his relationship with his wife, mother, and father (deceased.) He is uncomfortable with his station in life, and his appearance in the eyes of God. He says, “The failure to measure up hits people very hard.” I think that will speak to our audience. Personally, I can relate to Joe’s never-ending desire to be a good man, husband, and son. Whether or not he succeeds at these endeavors remains to be seen.

SGT: We’re incredibly proud of this entire cast, but is there anyone who stands out to you during this rehearsal process?

Steve: I’d have to say Jacob Albarella who plays Rabbi Chemelwitz, Henry, and Martin Heller. Jake always goes for it with his characters from the gate and it’s admirable. He is truly a chameleon when he’s onstage. Plus, we make each other laugh whenever possible often times unintentionally. Which is great

Editor’s Note: Jacob Albarella currently holds the record for most SGT shows performed in.

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