Bayou City Theatrics recently mounted a dual-cast production of Les Misérables. One cast sang in the traditional Broadway musical style; the other cast sang in a pop/rock style. Woodlands native Erin Wasmund played Eponine in the traditional cast. Eponine, a street-wise teen, falls hopelessly in love with Marius, one of the story's young resistance leaders. After he rejects her for Cosette, Eponine goes on to save him in battle. It was a role the Florida State University graduate relished. Not only does Eponine have a dramatic death scene, she sings two of the show's most emotionally powerful songs ("On My Own" as she realizes Marius is in love with someone else and "A Little Fall of Rain" as she lays dying in Marius's arms having just saved his life).
"Eponine is me when I was 16," Wasmund tells us. "It was really interesting to me to revisit my 16-year-old self. I was so tomboyish, and so not feminine." And, of course, she suffered a real-life unrequited love. "She really reflected a lot of me."
What She Does: Wasmund has two objectives when she's on stage. One, to bring life to her character. And two, to ignore the audience.
"Really, I try not to think about you guys," she laughs. "In theater, you're given certain circumstances - where you are, what you are, what day is it, and the fact that an audience is always watching you. You can always feel the energy from the audience. When you're giving an honest performance and staying true and honest to the work, they're going to go with you, but that can't be my focus. With Eponine, the one thing that I wanted, was to be held by [Marius]. I get that only after I'm mortally wounded, but that's all I care about in that moment. You're all there watching but he's the one who can give me what I want."
Why She Likes It: "It's not about performing, it's something more than that. I'm attracted to the story's characters, to the life of the play. I get really obsessed with the research process and then the rehearsal process. I love research, rehearsal and creating relationships."
What Inspires Her: "I think this is what I was meant to do. It's great to bring life to those characters, to find some part of the character that's also me. I love watching other people create, that's inspiring to me."
If Not This, Then What: "If I couldn't have anything to do with musical theater, but I would still know what it is and still love it? I would die," she says without hesitation. "I would die.
"If I didn't love theater or didn't know what it is, there are a hundred things I would love to do. I would love to be a marine biologist, a paleontologist, an archeologist. I would love to do a dig in Africa. I would love to visit China. I would want be an English teacher; I'm a real grammar Nazi. I would want to be a mom. There are hundreds of things I would love to do and I get to do them as an actor."
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If Not Here, Then Where: "New York," she replies quickly. I wouldn't like the competition. I'm super competitive when it comes to games and that sort of thing, but I don't like competition when I walk into a room.The opportunity for an actor is there. The city is beautiful, it has such an energy and there's so much to do."
What's Next: Wasmund is performing in the Bayou City Theatrics Halloween production of The Rocky Horror Show, a special one-night-only presentation.
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