Last season, Village Theatre’s audiences learned that ‘there’s no communism like show communism’ when Iron Curtain took the Mainstage. This November, audiences in New York have a chance to see the hilarious commie-dy when it moves on to an off-Broadway production with Prospect Theater Company at the Baruch Performing Arts Center in New York City.
It’s always exciting when one of Village Theatre’s new musicals finds success, however in this case it is particularly wonderful. Bobbi Kotula, the individual Giving Manager in the theatre’s development department and local actress who originated the show-stopping role of Hildret Heinz in Iron Curtain, will be traveling to New York to reprise the character.
Bobbi’s experience with the role goes way back to Village Theatre’s production of Once Upon a Time in New Jersey in 2007 when she met author’s Susan DiLallo and Stephen Weiner. Though she was playing the role of a mother in …Jersey, DiLallo and Weiner saw something in Bobbi that convinced them she would be the ideal person to play a German dominatrix/ film director in another musical they were working on. Sure enough, when Iron Curtain came to Village Theatre’s Festival of New Musicals, Bobbi took the role of Hildret Heinz and never looked back.
Bobbi recalls singing Hildret’s solo musical number, “A Frau Divided,” for the first time at the reading. The director urged her to tell the story with her voice, thus no dancing was included, a choice that continued even in the Mainstage production. “I was never asked to do so much with my voice, but I knew I could handle it. The song makes note of different musical genres, so I tried to match my voice to the genres. I’d never experienced such a wave of applause after singing on stage as I did at that first reading, and then again when the show opened on the Mainstage. I was just in awe,” she remembers.
Having followed the development of Iron Curtain since it left Village Theatre, Bobbi was excited to learn that it would take the stage in New York. “Hildret Heinz is a once-in-a-lifetime part. I’ll play her as many times as I can,” Bobbi explained. She emailed the director about her interest in the part, and before long she was making arrangements to spend a few months in the city.
This will be the first time Bobbi will appear in New York, and she looks forward to facing some of the fears that come with performing there. “The New York theatre community has a reputation. I want to get over the fear that I am not good enough for New York audiences or critics, to prove to myself that I can do it. I’m going to enjoy the moment and find peace and joy in the experience,” she says.
As many Village Theatre patrons know, a new musical is constantly evolving. Since it appeared on the Mainstage, the script has changed a little. One of Hildret’s songs has been cut from the first act; however the character is more visually throughout the play. And of course, this production will feature a new production team, so costumes and sets will be a little different too. While Bobbi loved her experience with Iron Curtain at Village Theatre, she looks forward to seeing how the musical will continue to evolve.
Having been a part of Iron Curtain for the last five years as it developed from a reading all the way to a Mainstage production, and now beyond, Bobbi isn’t planning to forget about Village Theatre. “I’m excited to get there, invest myself in their process, and let people know there is great theatre outside of New York as well. We’re doing exciting things over here too,” she says of her plans.
As she prepares to join Iron Curtain on its journey, Bobbi encourages everyone to dream big. “I can’t believe this is actually happening. It’s such a blessing. It’s important to imagine your life and make space for these big things. Life is not a rehearsal.”
To learn more about Iron Curtain’s newest production, visit http://www.prospecttheater.org.