Austin Christensen is a junior here at Marist. He is a Communications major with concentrations in Radio/TV/Film and Journalism and a Theatre minor. Austin will be playing the male lead and title character, Clyde Barrow in Marist’s upcoming production of Bonnie & Clyde: The Musical. No stranger to the theatre, Austin is thrilled to be able to tell this legendary tale on the place he feels most at home-the stage.
HC: So Bonnie & Clyde opens soon, and you’re in the leading role!
AC: Yes! Bonnie & Clyde is going to be running from November 6th to 9th. There are night performances on the 6th, 7th, and 8th at 8:00 pm and matinee performances on the 8th and 9th at 2 pm. Everyone should come see it! It’s going to be a great show and has a really talented cast.
HC:vCan you tell me a little bit about what the rehearsal process for Bonnie & Clyde has been like?
AC: The process for Bonnie & Clyde has been really busy. We rehearse almost everyday of the week for 4 to 6 hours depending on the day. There are specific days that are devoted to music and others that we use to focus on blocking the show. Throughout the process, blocking especially, the director has frequently asked us to have motivation behind everything our characters do, which can get really tricky if you haven’t spent the proper amount of time thinking about it. However, I’ve been having a lot of fun with it too! Playing Clyde has been sort of a dream of mine ever since I became familiar with the show so it’s been fun getting to bring the character to life. It’s also been great getting to bond with the entire cast throughout the process. You can’t put on a show without the cast becoming pretty close.
HC: What are you involved in on campus?
AC: I’m involved with several clubs on campus such as Campus Ministry, The Circle, and Marist Singers, but the club that I dedicate the most time to is the Marist College Club of Theatre Arts (MCCTA). I’m currently the Secretary for their Executive Board.
HC: How long have you been doing theatre? Why did you start?
AC: I’ve been doing theatre since I was in the 3rd grade. Ever since I was young, people always seemed to be pretty amused by my antics. While I’d really like to assume this is because I was a hilarious kid, there was still no doubt that, whatever my talents may be, they would translate well onto the stage! I like to think that they did at least. I’ve continued to do it because acting and just being involved in theatre in general provides a certain rush that I have yet to find anywhere else.
HC: Did you ever consider pursuing theatre academically in a conservatory style setting?
AC: There was a big time in my life where I seriously considered pursuing acting in a conservatory setting. However, my parents were big supporters of having a Plan B and I knew that if I went to a conservatory, theatre would pretty much be my one and only option and it’s not always the most reliable industry to go into. In the end, I wanted somewhere that I could pursue a different degree while still keeping theatre as a huge part of my life.
HC: Who do you admire in the industry? Why?
AC: Aaron Tveit! He had a really successful career on Broadway and then made a really awesome, seamless transition into television and film. And Jonathan Groff for that matter too! I like when theatre people show that they can perform well in other venues. I would also say Laura Osnes because she’s amazing. We don’t have much in common since she’s a female performer, so I guess you could just call her my celebrity crush.
HC: What is your favorite role/show you’ve ever done?
AC: I would have to say my favorite role that I’ve played is Phillip Lombard in And Then There Were None, which was actually just done at Marist last fall. Aside from getting to work with Jim Steinmeyer (who I think is amazing), it was a part that I had never really gotten to play before. He was very comical and that’s not generally the type of character I get to play (which is crazy because I think I’m hilarious). On top of that, he had a surprisingly deep backstory to him, which is always interesting to look into as an actor.
HC: Do you have any dream roles?
AC: My current dream role is Mark in Rent. Rent is one of those musical soundtracks that I used to listen to a lot when I was younger. In fact, I still find myself listening to it pretty frequently. I love the show and the character is awesome. Again, he is a pretty witty guy with an unexpected amount of emotional depth. I’ve seen quite a few performances of Rent and would really love the opportunity to put my own spin on that part.
HC: Favorite cast memory?
AC:Favorite cast memory… Well, I’ll go with one from Bonnie & Clyde since that’s one that I can remember the best. We had a very long Saturday rehearsal the other week and, after what seemed like forever, we were given a lunch break. A good majority of the cast ended up going into the dining hall and bonding about everything from schoolwork and classes to how exhausted we all were. It was a pretty simple thing when you think about it, but I loved getting to just spend some down time with everyone and I think it’s times like those that help a cast to grow closer.
Photo Credit 1: Austin Christensen
Photo Credit 2: Nicole Musto