Pop-Culturalist Chats with Jennifer Blake
Jennifer Blake is a seasoned performer. Whether on stage or on film, she has a knack for comedy and singing. She’s received awards and nominations in Los Angeles, where she is based, and performed across the country. Jennifer is bringing her show, McCready, to Off-Broadway. Originally developed and performed in Los Angeles, McCready is about the life of country singer Mindy McCready. Pop-Culturalist was able to chat with Jennifer about the show.
PC: How long was the development process for McCready?
Jennifer: It was fast and furious. From conception in the fall of 2014 to opening night in May 2015.
PC: What part of the process is your favorite–developing the idea? Writing? Performing?
Jennifer: I really loved researching all the details of her life, and I would get excited when I found missing pieces of the puzzle, so to speak. Collaborating and geeking out on newly found information and then figuring out how to write it so that it’s a compelling story is exciting. And, of course, performing this role is a dream come true. I don’t think I can narrow it down to just one component.
PC: For people who are not familiar with who Mindy McCready was, how would you describe her to them?
Jennifer: Mindy was a beautiful, feisty, small town girl with a big voice and even bigger ambition. She skyrocketed to fame in the 90s country music world, but in spite of her talent, she destroyed almost every relationship- business or personal. Her compelling story is the stuff of music legend.
PC: What do you want audiences to take away from the show?
Jennifer: An experience, self-introspection, and a new found love for Mindy’s music.
PC: What has been the most surprising thing you’ve learned (about yourself or the process) by working on McCready?
Jennifer: I don’t know that it’s entirely surprising, but it’s incredibly validating to hear how moved people who may have never liked country music, or musicals are.
PC: What is your favorite part of the show?
Jennifer: It changes, but I love when Mindy meets Billy for the first time, and you get only a glimpse of what’s to become of their relationship. I also love singing with two of the cast members in a paired-down, introspective, country lullaby towards the end of the show.
PC: Is there any advice you wish you had gotten about what you need to know in order to work on your own projects?
Jennifer: Hmmm. That would probably be where the heck to find financial investors. Producing theatre is expensive no matter how paired down the production is.
PC: After McCready is done, what would you like to tackle next?
Jennifer: Taking McCready down South!!
Pop-Culturalist Speed Round
Girlfriend in a Coma (Douglas Coupland) is a favorite, along with Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity.
Favorite play or musical
So hard to choose just one: Hair remains in my top. Anytime I hear the music, I have to sing.
Guilty pleasure movie or tv show
Very very guilty: The Real Housewives of New York.
What would people be surprised to find in your music collection?
Cabbage Patch Kids the Musical on vinyl.
Make sure to check out McCready. It will be playing from September 8-17 at the Triad Theater.