Meet Emily Rohm, one of the stars of a wild ride of a musical: Ride the Cyclone. At 8:17 PM, the Saint Cassian High School Chamber Choir will board the Cyclone roller coaster. At 8:19, the front axle will break, sending them to their tragic demise. Trapped in fantastical carnival-like purgatory, the recently deceased teens discover a mechanical fortune teller, who invites them to tell their stories of life interrupted, with the promise of a prize like no other.
This show has been through a few years of continued development, starting in Canada with Atomic Vaudeville before debuting in the US in Chicago and playing Off Broadway. Now the show continues to develop in Seattle. When/where did you join this show’s journey? What has your experience been like so far?
Emily Rohm: I heard about the Canadian production and learned that there was a headless character who sings opera. Having an opera background and a dark sense of humor, I knew that role HAD to be mine when it came to the US. I have been with the show since it came to the States, including two Chicago workshops, the Chicago production, and the off-Broadway production.
Can you tell us a little bit about your character?
ER: Answering this question is a bit of a challenge. This is going to sound super dark. I play Jane Doe, the one unidentified body of the Cyclone accident. She was found without a head, no one came to claim her, and no one seems to remember her. Even she herself doesn’t remember anything. She wears the head of a doll, and is a bit…socially awkward.
In what ways do you identify with your character?
ER: How do I identify with a headless/soul-less teen? Hmm, did I mention she is socially awkward? Honestly, I connect to Jane a lot. She is just looking for her place in life. She wants to make friends, but always says something weird. She has an inner sadness and an outer creepiness. She is playful but has a dark side. Jane is a character that I identify with on many levels. Just maybe not the headless part.
What’s the biggest challenge about taking on this role?
ER: This role is a huge physical challenge. I’ve worked to find Jane’s special walk and quirks, and maintaining those physical qualities throughout the show takes a toll. I have some doll-like mannerisms, and I get to do a really cool physical feat in my song, which involves singing very high while upside-down. I’ll just say that much.
What are you enjoying most about being in Ride the Cyclone?
ER: I love the camaraderie of the cast. It is such a true ensemble piece. There is no star of the show, and it’s so funny and beautiful and meaningful, it’s hard not to form a strong bond while working on it.
This musical is brand new to Seattle so most people probably know very little about it. What’s one thing you think audiences should know before the house lights go down?
ER: Have a tissue handy.
Without giving anything away, can you share your favorite line of dialogue?
ER: “My turn!”
You can see Emily and the rest of the incredible cast of Ride The Cyclone at the ACT Theatre now through May 20th. Get your tickets here.