Six years ago I was a senior at Andover High School and also an active member in my theatre department. Six years ago I also met Reese Britts, a freshman interested in joining the theatre department and who was ready to audition for the fall play, A Midsummer Nights Dream. Reese did amazing in his audition and was cast in the leading role of Oberon and I as Nick Bottom. I was able to share the stage already with who later I'd find out to be an incredible storyteller. As I graduated and left to go off to college, I always tried my best to come back and see my friends in various shows whether it was at local theaters or the high school productions. As I got to know him more, Reese continued to excel in roles whether he was dancing, singing or acting.
As he continued to learn I saw him grow more and more earning awards including the Hennepin Theatre Trust Spotlight Triple Threat award, multiple KCACTF Iren Ryan awards and in roles at various theatres including Lyric Arts, Chaska Valley Family Theater, and even being cast in South Pacific at the infamous Guthrie Theater last summer. Fast forward to this past spring when I was scrolling through Instagram and saw the Ordway had posted a promotional photo with the ensemble of their upcoming production Mamma Mia! There he was! I was beyond excited for him and thrilled to see him flourishing more. So I wanted to ask him a few questions on his experiences and recent adventures.
Reese is currently Father Alexandrios/Ensemble in the Ordway's production of Mamma Mia!
experiences on acting
BB: When did you start acting?
RB: I started acting when I was 7 years old in the plays that my church did. I remember being so nervous of screwing up that I didn't talk to anyone beforehand, I just kept repeating my lines over and over again haha.
BB: Now you're still a student and yet you've performed on the Guthrie stage and now Ordway. How does that feel to you?
RB: It's definitely a dream come true. I've seen a lot of shows on these stages and I can't believe that I am now performing on them. Not to mention I have seen all of these people that I am working with right now onstage growing up and I am still so starstruck working with them everyday. I am very lucky.
BB: What's your favorite role you've ever played and why?
RB: I think that my favorite role I've ever played would have to be The Wolf and Cinderella's Prince in Into the Woods. I was able to be a character with the wolf while also going on the opposite side and being the suave Prince. The roles were both challenging to not just play the stereotype of these characters but to give them depth and a humanity to them. Also, with these roles and the show being so popular, it was a challenge to make them my own and not copy what I have seen in the movie or other productions!
BB: What is your philosophy behind acting and performing? What is it that pulls you in?
RB: Oh good question. I love acting because I get to dive deep into the psyche of a new character and discover why they do what they do. Y'know? Like find the inner objectives. On the other hand, I love performing because I looveee how it makes people feel. I really enjoy looking out into the audience and seeing the audience smiling, laughing, crying, clapping- just seeing them fully engaged in what my cast and I are doing. It makes them feel and I love entertaining them.
BB: What kind of roles do you like?
RB: I like roles that are unlike the "norm." That are different. It is always so much more interesting to me when a character has a little quirk to them- it makes them more human to me
BB: What is the hardest thing about performing?
RB: The hardest thing about performing is not being self-conscience when you are on stage. Sometimes the audience isn't going to laugh at a certain joke that has gotten a laugh before- it doesn't mean that you aren't doing a good job. Keep doing what you rehearsed. Stay in the scene.
Mamma Mia Related
BB: This is a pretty fantastic experience for you still being a student and performing in this. What was it like when you got the call that you'd been cast?
RB: I was completely floored! My cast mate Lauren Hugh and I found out at the same time in the hallway up at UMD. We were completely shocked and ecstatic! I did not think that I was going to get to be a part of this show and I'm so thankful for it!
BB: Is there something new you learned during this experience and working with this particular group of artists?
RB: I learned that the Twin Cities theatre community is so close and is absolutely so amazing. They are all so supportive of one another and they are super fun to work with!
BB: What will you take away from this production after the final curtain?
RB: I will take away a strong appreciation for ABBA music and also the friendships that I have made in this cast
BB: What is your favorite song and dance to do and why?
RB: Definitely "Lay All Your Love." I mean, c'mon? Dancing in FLIPPERS? Genius. And the audience loves it!
BB: Tell me a funny backstage story.
RB: Haha so many shenanigans happen backstage! My favorite one was during our one of our first tech days on the set. We were just about to start Money, Money and I was waiting in the wings, holding a fake wheel of cheese, with my cast mates Lauren and Jorge and I dropped the cheese and it almost rolled onstage. Now it's a joke that we have that one day I will roll it onstage and chase after it.
bonus: Rapid Fire Questions
BB: Dream role?
RB: Jimmy in Thoroughly Modern Millie
BB: Favorite show you've been in?
RB: Either Into the Woods or Rhinoceros
BB: Favorite show in general?
BB: If you could share the stage with anyone, who would it be?
RB: Sutton Foster.. She is my idol
Mamma Mia runs at the Ordway Center for Performing Arts through August 5! Click the button below for tickets and the other for my review on this production.