Robi Hager is currently playing Frankie Epps in PARADE at The Arden Theatre Company in Philadelphia. He took some time to do an email interview with me about how he got his start in theater, his role in this show and what’s to come. Take a look!
The Playbill Collector (TPC): What got you started in theater?
Robi Hager (RH): I have to say my brother got both my sister and I into theater at a very young age. I remember when he was auditioning for colleges and hearing him practice all those beautiful musical theater melodies. I immediately fell in love with the arts, specially musical theater.
TPC: Did you study musical theater in college?
RH: No, after High School I was blessed to be cast in the Tony Award winning show SPRING AWAKENING. Soon after that I decided to study Theater at SUNY Purchase for one year. After completing that year, I moved back to NYC and continued working.
TPC: I read that you did “Next to Normal” at Arden Theatre as well. What brought you to this particular theatre?
RH: Honestly, I felt so passionate about doing a gig in Philadelphia, it was also my first time performing outside of the NY area. My agent submitted me for the audition and I booked it. I am so happy I got to work at the Arden. Working at the Arden has been the most gratifying experience in my career. I love Philly!
TPC: When and for what show did you receive your Equity card?
RH: I got my Equity Card with Spring Awakening. That was in 2006.
TPC: Do you prefer playing the bubbly, fun side of Frankie or the deeper, more intense side?
RH: I’m not sure there’s a bubbly side to Frankie, haha. I am surprised a lot of times with the way Frankie was written in the play. I always find new things to attach myself to. Not only is he a wonderful, charming young man, but also he is manipulated by culture and religion, to the point where his beliefs make him want to kill any one who jeopardizes them. That’s the tricky balance not only with Frankie but also with people around the world who never question their reality. How far will people go in order to protect their belief system?
TPC: Do you have a favorite song in the show?
RH: My favorite song is “Old Red Hills Of Home” sung by the incredibly talented, Mike O’Brien!
TPC: If you had to pick one to three cast members to have lunch with every day for the rest of the run, who would they be?
RH: Too hard! I pick everyone! This cast is too special to only pick three.
TPC: How was performing the new musical you wrote, “Captive Eyes” in New York City?
RH: It was a dream come true, as corny as that sounds. Now that rehearsals ended for PARADE, my focus goes back to working on it. I am so blessed to have had so many friends and my family come support my work. Here’s to a great future for CAPTIVE EYES!
TPC: What is your dream role?
RH: My dream role has always been Pippin, which I played two separate times in High School. However, I have been listening to the beautiful and brilliant score of FLOYD COLLINS. I guess I have to be a bit older for that one, but that’s my new dream role!
For more information on PARADE, take a look at the Arden Theatre Co. website: http://www.ardentheatre.org/2014/parade.html