By Molly Tracy
When doing interviews, some of the people I love to interview the most are those who can do it all: run multiple tracks, be ready to go in a moment’s notice, and always be at the beck and call of the show. In short, I love interviewing swings. They’re my favorite people to talk to learn about a show from different perspectives, since they go on as so many characters. As a bonus, I’ve never met one that I didn’t end up loving more than I did before the interview.
Now, this is where you expect a question-answer format of the interview I conducted with the lovely Rachel Rincione, who is a swing in the 2014 Broadway Revival cast of Les Miserables. However there were so many topics and laughs, I’m going to give you the highlights of what has to be one of my favorite interview thus far in my writing career.
First, it would be best to introduce you to Rachel Rincione. This fun-loving, amazing, Harry Potter fanatic has been with Les Miserables for four years. Rachel first went to school and got her BFA in Musical Theatre at Chapman University, and then went to the University of Denver for her Masters Degree in Opera. During this time, as part of her Masters degree, she also taught as well as directed shows, including The Last Five Years, and Pippin. She says that doing so gave her a new look and appreciation for what goes on behind the scenes, and what it takes to put on a show that some actors may not be aware of.
She’s also probably one of the best people to speak to about Les Miserables. She was a swing was on the 25th anniversary tour, moved with the show to its pre-Broadway run in Canada, and then joined the show on Broadway. So who better to give us the information on things that go on backstage, and some of the history of the changes in production of the iconic show.
Getting on the subject of Les Miserables, the first thing we talked about was life backstage of the hit show. It had been said that there were going to be changes to certain parts of the show from the original, and no one would know better than a lovely lady who has been their for four years. She mentioned a few changes that got cut, including changing the placement of “I Dreamed a Dream” to after Fantine sleeps with the sailor, like the movie. There many were smaller changes influenced by the success of the motion picture, and the cast they had on hand.
The one that got me laughing the most? Talking about how it was partly because of Ramin Karimloo’s “aesthetically pleasing” body that he rips his shirt off as well as his yellow parole ticket.
Aesthetically pleasing. Thank you for thinking of your audience, producers.
Next, we talked about the backstage atmosphere. We got to see short condensed versions during Ramin Karimloo’s vlogger24601 series. I wanted to know if the atmosphere was always like hysterical like the vlogs portrayed, or if it was amped up for the vlog. Rachel was pretty confident in saying that the cast was always like that, and it helped to have a fun atmosphere to combat the emotional toil of the show.
Finally, I asked her about her contribution to the Les Miserables social media, mainly running the Instagram with Andrew Kober. She said that she started to think that people would benefit from seeing the world from the eyes of one of the cast, especially recording their Saturday Night Dance Parties and other backstage antics. When she brought it up to the producers, they loved the idea, and thus, it was born.
Normally, when talking to an actor, it’s easiest to focus on what the actor does on stage. With Rachel, it was easy to jump from subject to subject and idea to idea because she has so many talents beyond the stage that she attributes to her theatre life. From directing and learning the back end of theater, to operatic and musical theater training, to being aware of what the fans want, there’s nothing this woman can’t do.
My last question to her was a no brainer – “What would you say to any aspiring actors?” Her answer was an incredible response – persevere. Continue to try. Continue to do what you like no matter what people say.
“If I can do it, anyone can do it.”