Jasper: Psycho Beach Party represents your debut as director locally, correct? What's your background?
Crystal Gleim: I have been involved with theater off and on since I was 8 years-old. I’ve acted, staged managed, lighting/sound, and directed. This will be the 12th play I have directed in my life. I am originally from Pennsylvania and got involved with the theater scene here in Columbia when working with Shamrock Shapeshifter Productions on the two runs of Plan 9 From Outer Space. I got involved with Stage 5 Theatre last year when I starred as Golde in Bark! The Musical. From there I assistant directed, staged managed and appeared in Macbeth as First Witch, First Murderer and English Doctor. I then went on to stage manage and play Judge Walker in ‘8’, played Rosencrantz in Hamlet 93, played my favorite role of the year, Marie Lombardi, in Lombardi, and I just finished playing LaVonda in Sordid Lives. I am currently the Assistant Artistic Director and Executive Stage Manager at Stage 5 Theater, and the Managing Producer of Sideshow Productions.
Jasper: You also perform with the Art Bar Players; how did that come about?
Gleim: I was introduced to the Art Bar Players through some friends and eventually became a regular audience member. It wasn’t until some close friends became players that I was invited to a rehearsal, and the gang has been stuck with me ever since. Improv comedy is something I highly enjoy doing. It’s free therapy for me.
Jasper: What are some challenges you have faced as director?
Gleim: Being a director is never an easy task; however I have to say that it’s been pretty easy going so far (says the lady going into tech week on Easter Sunday.) I couldn’t have asked for a better cast and crew. I specifically hand-picked people that I know I can work with and I knew would be able to help convey the material the way I see it. If I would have to pick a challenge to share, it would be probably handing over stage managing reins to someone else. It’s just in my nature to stage manage, However, I have brought on Trinessa Dubas as my stage manager, and she has been great. She has handled the ever-wanting –to-do-everything-herself me very well!
Jasper: Psycho Beach Party has a long history as a cult hit off-Broadway, and was previously done at Trustus some 24 years ago. While it could probably be marketed simply with the description "From the author who gave us Vampire Lesbians of Sodom..." nevertheless, how would you describe the show?
Gleim: It’s funny you ask that, because I have recently had to explain Psycho Beach Party to several people who have been interested in the work I have been doing. The most recent description I gave went a little something like this: “Psycho Beach Party is a quirky parody of the beach movies of the 1960s. The lead character is a young girl with multiple personality disorder and she doesn’t even know that she has it. Hilarity ensues has her personalities all come to life”.
Jasper: How did you arrive at producing this particular show?
Gleim: The idea to do Psycho Beach Party came about during a Facebook conversation between myself, Brock Henderson, and the late Michael Bailey in regards to shows we would like to produce. Brock suggested Psycho Beach Party, and it just took off from there. Eventually we needed someone to direct it, and Michael had been trying really hard to get me interested in directing something, anything. So, I stepped up and said I would like to direct the play. Having my comedy background, I thought it would be a fun play to tackle. This production has become a big deal for me. I sought out performers, crew, and musicians that I really thought would work well together.
Jasper: Tell us about your cast, and where we might have seen them previously.
Gleim: Rachel Lewis stars as Chicklet; some may recall her from Stage 5’s production of Macbeth as the Second Witch, and she has also worked at other theaters locally. William Boland is the Great Kanaka, and he has done theater at Workshop and USC as well as several productions at Stage 5 (including directing Hamlet.) Ember Love plays Marvel Ann, and is a local model and talent who was just in Sordid Lives. Catherine Christian (Mrs. Forrest) is a local actress who has worked with Stage 5 and Village Square. Marques Moore (Provoloney) has acted in Pride and Prejudice and Much Ado About Nothing with the South Carolina Shakespeare Company and Night of the Living Dead with High Voltage Theatre, and in Us Grown Men recently at Stage 5. Erin K. Crenshaw from Irmo High School plays Berdine. Rachel James Kosbar, who plays Bettina Barnes, is making her return to the stage after a several-year hiatus. Ellery Jordan Waggoner (Star Cat) is a Chapin High School actor, and Brock Henderson (YoYo) is a company member /actor of Stage 5.
Jasper: What can audiences look forward to?
Gleim: I asked my friends Thomas and Ross to create some beach-themed music for the play, and what came about was a great collaboration of three musicians who created original music specifically for this play. So, cast and audiences will be able to enjoy their very own beach band on stage. Audiences can expect a wonderfully talented cast, great music, and great laughs.