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Interview with Kristin Stokes (Annabeth Chase in “The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical”)

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Demigods Unite! This week we have Kristin Stokes AKA Annabeth Chase from “The Lightning Thief Musical” on the show! She goes in depth and gives us a peek behind the scenes of the show and of the professional theater world.

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Gray Houser: Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of Magic Time by Monorail News. We are so excited this week to have Kristin Stokes on from The Lighting Thief musical. The Percy Jackson musical. It’s touring right now. Kristin, how are you?

Kristin Stokes: I’m so good, how are you?

Gray Houser: I’m great, thank you for asking. So, I saw the musical back in New Orleans a number of weeks ago, and thought it was absolutely phenomenal. You know, and people-

Kristin Stokes: Wow. Thank you so much

Gray Houser: When I came back from hearing it, people were like “Is that really any good?” And I’m like yes! I think everyone expected it to be like if you’ve ever seen the episode of The Simpsons where they go to the Planet of the Apes the musical, and it just seems to be-

Kristin Stokes: No, I haven’t seen that one.

Gray Houser: It’s just awful

Kristin Stokes: Oh My God

Gray Houser: That’s what everyone expects it to be because they go, how can a musical based on a kind of awful movie be any good. And your like, No! It’s so much better than the movie.

Kristin Stokes: It’s like that because we base it off of the books which are amazing.

Gray Houser: Yes, yes the books.

Kristin Stokes: And it’s hard to imagine, I know, we still get people on Twitter who are just hearing about it and they are like What, how can they. But you know its cause they’ve been burned by the movies, and we are like no, no, no. We are here, we are the redemption for the movies.

Gray Houser: Yes, so does the play itself have any association with the- did you have to acquire any sort of rights from Fox to do the play…or?

Kristin Stokes: No. No. So actually the reason-how we got to do this musical was because originally this was a one hour for free children show that a company called “Theater Works USA” they are based in New York City.

Gray Houser: No, I head about them.

Kristin Stokes: Yeah, they are amazing

Gray Houser: I went to see it with my cousin who does dance, and I was just like yeah Theater Works, you know the company who will pay you to drive around in your own car, and do a two person show. And I’m like wouldn’t it be hilarious if that’s what this was? All this driving around in their own cars with a piece of the set in the trunk.

Kristin Stokes: I know, but that’s how it started out! That’s exactly how it started out. It was 6 people out of the grand seven that we have now, and it was the one hour version. It was a unit set that could all be packed in one of those big moving vans-and I’m talking a van, not a truck. And the actors and the stage managers would drive around the country and they would perform it in theaters and cafeterias and that was the original purpose of this show.

Kristin Stokes: Like all of Theater Works USA, they just, they get really amazing books that are for young adults, and children, and they turn them into musicals, and they tour them around the country. They also have a free theater program here, in New York City, for the summer, and it allows thousands and thousands of kids and adults who have maybe never gone to see theater before to come experience live theater in some really important stories.

Kristin Stokes: So that’s kind of how we got the rights (Unintelligible) our way because you know it was a nonprofit theater company, but after we made the one hour version it was so popular, and Rick Riordan’s people loved the show, and we had such amazing writers on it that Theater Works started thinking a little bigger, and they were like you know what? Let’s turn this into a full blown 2 hours, real Broadway musical. We’ve had the support of Uncle Rick, as we like to say, we kind of went from there.

Gray Houser: So, okay I have to ask. Has Rick Riordan seen the show…or?

Kristin Stokes: Not that I know of unless he’s come in disguise. You know, we kind of joke that he’s Poseidon we’re like Dad. You know he’s like that God from afar

Gray Houser: Sure

Kristin Stokes: Whose like giving us good messages, and encouraging us. He’ll give us, you know- he’s a huge fan and will always support us, but he, as far as we know, has never come see the show because he is still writing the books

Gray Houser: Right

Kristin Stokes: He’s still in the world, and so we are very good friends with his publicist, she’s amazing, and she speaks for Rick. She’s like If he comes and sees your production, kind of like when you see us or if you saw the movies, then you try to go back and read the books, and you’re like oh shoot, now I can only hear Kristin’s voice every time I read Annabeth.

Gray Houser: Right

Kristin Stokes: Once you hear it, that’s it. So he doesn’t want to upset his version of these characters. Which is completely understandable.

Gray Houser: Right, no I totally get it. I mean, I remember when that film Ready Player One came out that’s what the author-I don’t want to go see it because I’m writing a sequel, and that will change how I view my characters in some way. So

Kristin Stokes: Yeah, absolutely.

Gray Houser: You’ve been with the show since the beginning?

Kristin Stokes: Correct. Correct.

Gray Houser: So you are one of those people who drove around in your car.

Kristin Stokes: Well not really. I was involved in the very first workshop. It was just two weeks, and it was when we were trying to figure out-it’s kind of like I was part of the tech company-

Gray Houser: Sure.

Kristin Stokes: -Where they bring in professionals, and they are like okay. How do we create a Minotaur with a shoestring budget? How do we get a set into a van and build it? But as far of the actual touring of the set, and all that, I didn’t do that part.

Kristin Stokes: I kind of have a class of work that is you put it into rehearsals, and then you kind of do a month long preview classes where you are in rehearsals with the set. You learn how to take it apart, you put it in the van, you drive to Queens-which is not that far away. You set it up in the morning, you do the show for some kids, you break it down, you bring it back to rehearsal hall, so you can tweak the script, and change the songs. It’s a work in progress, and you do that all month. You are going in and out of the studio with this set. So I did lug the set around-

Gray Houser: And you’d take it to the same group of kids, every time, they hate the show now, they’ve seen it like 500 times. It’s just-

Kristin Stokes: No, no, no, no. We go to different areas, like we went to Jersey or Connecticut or whatever. We always go to different kids, and then in the summer it’s a free off-Broadway show, which is what I did, and then that was the end for me, as far as I knew. Then all of this happened.

Gray Houser: Yeah so how did you get into musical theater? I read somewhere that your mother started a youth theater group, when you were a kid

Kristin Stokes: Yeah, absolutely, and she still runs it today, it’s called Starstruck Theater they’re based in Fremont, California, and they’re amazing. They are in rehearsals right now for their summer show which is gonna be Newsies- Go check it out if you are in California.

Gray Houser: I’m Not.

Kristin Stokes: I know you’re not, but maybe someone else is.

Gray Houser: Exactly.

Kristin Stokes: Yeah, so I started off-she was into theater when she was in high school and college, and then kind of put it to the side when she had her family. When I was around 9 or 10 she got the bug again, and she went to audition for a musical-an adult professional production.

Kristin Stokes: It was her first time back, she was a little nervous so she was like oh Kristin why don’t you come with me. It’s not like this was brand new we listened to musicals when I was growing up, I was in dance class, I insisted on being in the talent show when I was in Kindergarten even though they didn’t allow Kindergartners to do it. I was very forward.

Gray Houser: Sure.

Kristin Stokes: So I went and auditioned with her cause there was a kid part in it, and I got it, and so that was my very first show with her. So on one hand I continue to do professional theater hand growing up, and on the other hand she started this youth theater company. Which at first, we would just do revues- little musical revues of songs, and go around to elderly senior citizen homes or we’ll go sing at the mall, really low key.

Kristin Stokes: Then it turns into full on productions in a theater, and then the theater got bigger, and then the productions got bigger until it is what it is tody. So I was at the beginning of all that. Which is pretty cool to see where it is now.

Gray Houser: Right, absolutely. That sounds lovely. So, you’ve done other work, outside of this musical, obviously, can you talk about that a little?

Kristin Stokes: Yeah, sure. Well my passion is new musical theater. So the shows that I have done most are brand new productions, and so I’ve done a ton of workshops. A new musical, it takes years and years for it to sometimes see a production or for other people to know about it. So it’s basically like “oh I know that show”, and it’s like you don’t know that’s been in progress for 10 years or something.

Gray Houser: Right.

Kristin Stokes: So I’ve been a part of numerous shows. One of my favorites was a show called Fly by Night. I worked on that for probably 4-5 years, and that was a really special show. I did it at a few theater companies. One, also called Theater Works, but it’s in Palo Alto, California.

Kristin Stokes: Then I did it at Dallas Theater Center, and then they brought that-they brought the show to Playwrights Horizon’s in New York, but something-it wasn’t completely out of the ordinary, but it was- they decided to take the show, but not the director or any of the cast of this show. So that was kind of a weird thing.

Kristin Stokes: That happens in theater, usually they replace the star with people who are famous, this was a weird thing. They were like thank you for contributing to this show, now we will take it, and put everything we want in it so-

Gray Houser: That’s kind of mean.

Kristin Stokes: It was a little rude, it was slightly rude. So there is a cast album, but it’s a different show.

Gray Houser: Sure

Kristin Stokes: There’s also copyright, there are things that you make or the director has made that are a part of the show now, which is why I love doing new musicals. You are so intricate to the story now. There are things you are going to put in as an actor that is gonna get written in. So that was an unfortunate instance, but I still love the show. It’s amazing, and there’s plenty of other shows that I’ve also done. Like in this one, in Lighting Thief, I get a lyric that says ‘Feeling Stoked’ a la, a tribute to my last name. THat’s pretty cool, I’ll get to be in the show forever.

Gray Houser: I just want to let you know that I am going to kill myself because I forgot to do it, and I thought it was so great. On your intro I should have said we’re stoked to have Kristin Stokes with us this week, but-

Kristin Stokes: It’s not too late, you’re doing it now.

Gray Houser: Right, I guess I can re-dub over, but then this bit of the conversation won’t make sense.

Kristin Stokes: Right.

Gray Houser: So you did that, and then you moved onto this. What’s it like doing a musical that’s not an active production. I assume you get paid a salary still- and how does that affect your, I guess, your popularity. There are some people who bounce from a show that’s on Broadway or off-Broadway to show, to show, to show, and they’re always performing in public right?

Kristin Stokes: Right. Yes.

Gray Houser: The thing that your doing isn’t necessarily like that

Kristin Stokes: Yeah. It’s interesting on one hand it’s very artistically fulfilling because I love the creative process which is why I do new musicals. I love figuring out the story. It’s always like a puzzle, you have the writers and the directors, and they have this amazing idea, and as an actor in a new musical or a new play you are just as much of a voice and a person trying to solve this riddle as they are.

Kristin Stokes: Theater is very, all about the community. It’s a group activity for sure. It’s super fulfilling when I get to be at the start of something, and continue on. And on the turn of that, when a production does come to life you get to look at my resume, and then people are always like “Oh you’re an actor, what shows have you been in?”

Kristin Stokes: That’s a difficult question because I want to be like oh I was in this show, and this show, and this Broadway show, and stuff that people have heard of, but people haven’t heard of all these shows that I’m doing or even if they have a production like the Ballad of Little Jo. People are like Oh, cool. You know?

Gray Houser: Right.

Kristin Stokes: It’s not as impressive, so you have to- you know my ego is use to it, and I don’t take offense when people are like I literally don’t know what you’re talking about.

Gray Houser: Well, no. I was going to the show like everyone one of these people should be on Broadway and not be doing a touring musical.

Kristin Stokes: Yeah, Yeah.

Gray Houser: And you’re all insanely talented, and I guess it’s just a passion for being part of the creative process. Creating something that keeps you doing that vs. going and doing something that you are totally qualified to do, but you would just be filling someone else’s shoes.

Kristin Stokes: Exactly. Exactly.

Gray Houser: So, you’ve had to travel for this tour all across North America. You’ve gone to Canada, and you’ve gone from coast to coast here in the US with stops in between. How does that affect your life in New York? Because I assume you have friends and relationships there-

Kristin Stokes: Yeah, I have a bit of a life. In fact, this is my first tour, so it’s really exciting. I’m lucky, it’s not like I’m a big tour person, it’s not like I’m like this is my 5th tour and I’m over it. So for me it’s a really awesome-it’s a paid vacation, but it’s work. So I’m doing what I love, so it’s pretty awesome.

Kristin Stokes: It’s not- a lot of people they’re out on tour for a year, sometimes more. So in the grand scheme of things it’s like yeah I can take 6,7,8 months away from New York, and do something that I love. And the hope with this show is-we had a short Off-Broadway run, and now were out on the road. It’s a new interesting way to get a show back to New York for a longer run.

Kristin Stokes: For me I just keep saying yes to the opportunities, and who knows what’s gonna happen next for this show.

Gray Houser: SO it totally could go, and go back to New York, and would you continue doing it? Or would you want to

Kristin Stokes: Yeah, totally. I think it would depend. I love this show so much, and if it succeeds, like if it got a Broadway run or even a limited Broadway run I would absolutely do it. Maybe even if it got a home doing an unlimited Off-Broadway run, then I may start it and open it up, but I think I’d like to see how far it can go. Then there is always the moment when your like time for me to let this go-

Gray Houser: Move on

Kristin Stokes: -and you know start up with another character and another process.

Gray Houser: So, you do this musical almost every night, and you’re traveling around the country. I saw that y’all were riding on a tour bus, and a bird flew straight into your window, are y’all in therapy now?

Kristin Stokes: Okay let me break it down for you because, okay, so I’m in the front of the bus because I get motion sickness, and there was this-sometimes there is this little microphone in the front of the bus, and I’m always secretly trying to see if it works. It never does, this is the first time the microphone was turned on, and the bus driver was like yeah, go ahead. So I was joking around that I was the tour bus guide for this 11 hour, 9 hour, bus ride we were about to take from Eugene to Reno, and everyone was joking because I’m vegan that it’s the vegan express, and playing along with it.

Kristin Stokes: This is literally 10 minutes into the Vegan Express, okay, so I’m lik [Unintelligible] on the mic. I put it down, luckily, literally thank god. I’m looking at my phone, at something, and I hear this pop, and it sounds like if you had a carbonated beverage in a suitcase, and it just exploded. I looked up, I’m in the front like the window is in front of me, I’m looking off to the left at the bus driver, and I’m like gasp what was that.

Kristin Stokes: She was like oh my god I saw that happen, and I was like oh no, was it like a soda, and she was like no it was a bird, and I turned, and two feet in front me is the outline, of the bird-spread eagle.

Gray Houser: Like a cartoon, when like somebody-

Kristin Stokes: Literally like a cartoon it’s hilarious the silhouette. You can see the outline of the exact bird body, there were some green grudge stuff, that sorry censored, were probably some of his brains. I was like oh my god, thank you that I was looking at my phone instead of watching the bird try to dive out of the bus, and hit-I would be in therapy. I would have cried, I would have been hysterical.

Kristin Stokes: Luckily I missed it, and the outline was just there. We put a piece of paper-Chris put RIP Pidgeotto, which I guess Pidgeotto is a Pokemon character. He put RIP Pidgeotto and put it over the brain section in the front of the bus so we wouldn’t have to look at it. Everyone was dying- I got on the microphone, and was like okay, this is no longer the Vegan Express. We have killed an innocent being, and it’s hilarious. It’s on my Instagram recap stories.

Gray Houser: That’s what my person who I went to the show with, she was like you might want to ask them about this. I was like I absolutely will. I have another question about something I was personally there for.

Kristin Stokes: What.

Gray Houser: In New Orleans, but before that. I’m from Mississippi, we don’t get a lot of vegetarians, vegans, gluten-free, special diets. That’s an odd thing down here. Could you explain that to me? What exactly Veganism is, and how it affects what you eat.

Kristin Stokes: Yeah, absolutely. So, Veganism is slightly different from Vegetarians. Vegetarians will just not eat meat, but they continue to eat dairy, cheese, some vegetarians also eat eggs, they just don’t eat meat. Vegans don’t eat anything or use any products that have come from an animal. That’s in the belief that our system is cruel to animals, and it’s a way for vegans to not be a part of that system of cruelty and violence.

Kristin Stokes: So it kind of depends on the person, but I can speak to me personally that it just echos my beliefs in all people and beings are free and equal. If I contribute to the eating of meat or wearing leather or different organizations like that, I’m causing harm to animals- which directly mirrors in how we treat human beings a lot of the time. That’s kind of the short answer.

Kristin Stokes: Also, the meat and dairy industry they are the number two contributor to global warming. Now I think a lot of people are starting to recognize veganism as oh it’s not just all these picky, hippie eaters it’s actually a way to take a stand for our environment, and to help our ecosystem. There’s a lot of reasons to be vegan, and that people are vegan. That’s just a little bit of mine. Basically I don’t eat eggs, butter, dairy, meat. Yeah anything like that.

Gray Houser: So can we take a quick commercial break, and we’ll be right back

Kristin Stokes: Perfect

Gray Houser: If that’s good with you.

Kristin Stokes: Yeah.

Segment 2

Gray Houser: We are back with Kristin Stokes again. We were just talking off the air about veganism. It was a really great conversation. But let’s talk more about the musical that you’re in.

Kristin Stokes: Yeah.

Gray Houser: So there are a lot of different versions of your signature, your solo song, My Grand Plan.

Kristin Stokes: Oh, yeah.

Gray Houser: I have a little sample here.

Kristin Stokes: Yes.

Gray Houser: But how did you guys go from … Yeah, they’re filming different versions of it on like YouTube.

Kristin Stokes: Yeah.

Gray Houser: Just the sample. [inaudible 00:00:54]

Gray Houser: So I really enjoyed it. To me, it was, I think, my favorite song in the musical.

Kristin Stokes: Aw, thank you.

Gray Houser: And on YouTube, right, there are versions where the lyrics were slightly different, there was like an extended speaking bit in front of it. How did there come to be so many different versions? Which one is your favorite?

Kristin Stokes: Oh, golly. Well, every time we do the show, or every workshop … You know, it’s been from that very first two week workshop, in that one hour version, there wasn’t this song. And so when we finally got the approval to do this two hour version we did a lot of workshops and we wanted to get it right, and it takes a lot of trying out different things. And Rob Rokicki is so smart and fast, he’s the music and lyric writer, and so he would just come out with a new version or a new intro and we’d be like, “Is this right? No. We love this version, but it doesn’t quite fit with the scene,” or we would change where the song is in the show. And at one point, the song wasn’t sitting at all and they were going to cut it. So Rob wrote a completely different song called Take the Weight, which we’ve now made a recording of, and that lasted literally like 24 hours. He literally played it for me once, and then he was like, “No, no, no, no. It’s too much of a ballad.” And that was it. That was the only thing I’ve heard of Take the Weight. And so he kept pushing for My Grand Plan, and it’s because of him and his flexibility in writing and Joe Tracz wanting it to be in the scenes that the song is even in the show.

Kristin Stokes: But I think besides the version that I do now, I really love the version that we did at Green Room 42, which was like our album release concert two years ago, and that’s with the introduction of her listing all the male Greek heroes and her wanting her name to be in with all these men,.it’s all these men and she’s like, “Where’s the female heroine?” And I love that one.

Gray Houser: And, “That can be me.” Right? “It’s not just any female hero, It’s me.” Right?

Kristin Stokes: Exactly.

Gray Houser: There was an SNL skit when Secretary Clinton was running, it was Kate McKinnon, and she’s like, “I’m going to stop you here. I don’t care. I want to be president. Is it just so happens that I’m a woman.”

Kristin Stokes: Exactly. Yes!

Gray Houser: [crosstalk 00:03:37] And I’m like, “That’s hilarious.”

Kristin Stokes: That’s it. It’s that same sentiment. She’s like, “It doesn’t matter that you see me as a girl.” She’s like, “I don’t see myself as a girl. I see myself as the person that’s right for the job, [crosstalk 00:03:55] to be the hero, to get this quest done, and I should be in there.”

Gray Houser: We could go with like a rapid fire sort of deal. There are two “I Want” songs in the musical. There’s My Grand Plan and then there’s Percy’s.

Kristin Stokes: Yeah.

Gray Houser: And I think that’s really, really great, because typically … This is obviously more of a Disney focused podcast and we talk a lot about Disney animation, and they always harp that the “I Want” song has got to be like the third song in the movie, or the second song in the, and it’s got to come early.

Kristin Stokes: Yeah.

Gray Houser: You know, you have Part of Your World, When Will My Life Begin from Tangled, [crosstalk 00:04:44] from Frozen, and I think it’s just really cool that you get two, right?

Kristin Stokes: Yeah.

Gray Houser: You have two equally strong characters. You both have different things they want out of the cross country adventure they’re going on, and they both kind of get … right, you root for them to get it whole night.

Kristin Stokes: Yeah.

Gray Houser: Or for the whole matinee if you’re going in the afternoon.

Kristin Stokes: Right.

Gray Houser: In doing this and doing this tour, I’m sure you’ve played in a lot of very cool theaters. Do you have a favorite?

Kristin Stokes: Oh, my gosh. So many beautiful theaters. Actually, the theater in Detroit was gorgeous. I’m a huge mid century modern type of person, and so just on like a decorative standpoint, I was just loving all the gold and the woodwork in the theater in Detroit. Seattle, Fifth Avenue Theater, was absolutely breathtaking. It was so gorgeous. The ceiling is, if you haven’t seen it, look it up. It’s like all this like eastern … It just looks like an eastern palace in there. It’s so beautiful. But every theater has been so cool in like designs and fascinating … I think, where were we, in Toronto, the lights were all blue going up the aisle. And so we were like, “Oh, it looks like a little river going up the aisle from the stage, or whatever.” So it’s … And then, of course, we got to perform in The Beacon, which is in New York City, and that was just legendary. There’s been stars like David Bowie, Elton John, just tons of different musicians that we all love, Adele, have all performed on that stage. It was legendary to kind of be up there and just feel the history and the musical legends kind of helping us along.

Gray Houser: Absolutely. So you’ve gone to a lot of places. What’s your favorite city? You can’t say New York, because you live there.

Kristin Stokes: I know I live there. I mean, [inaudible 00:07:03] we had so much in [Nola 00:00:07:07]. We seriously did.

Gray Houser: [crosstalk 00:07:10] is the fun city.

Kristin Stokes: We seriously did. [crosstalk 00:07:11] I mean, granted, it was the French Quarter Festival, so that was helpful.

Gray Houser: Y’all went to Bourbon street after the show, I saw?

Kristin Stokes: Oh, yeah, we lived on Bourbon Street. It was so close. We were just living our best lives. It was so much fun. We just loved the energy and the food and the people and the music, and it was just so much fun. And then I think we also really love … I mean, we just did the northwest, Portland, Seattle, even Eugene, Oregon. Eugene was like … We were just there for like a day, but I wish we were there for a week. It was so cute there. It was so freaking cute. And then also, honestly, I know you said one, but like I’m going to list all of them. We did previews and we [inaudible 00:08:00] the show in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Gray Houser: Oh, wow. Okay.

Kristin Stokes: Yeah, and we were there for two weeks, including New Year’s, and we had the best time. We had the best time. And the joke was like, “Who knew that Fayetteville, Arkansas was going to be one of our favorite places on tour?” But it really was. We had the best time there. I mean, and we still have some like really amazing cities to go, so …

Gray Houser: Right. Now, this is the perfect time, I think, to launch into my other personal question. Not my personal question, but question that I had, personally.

Kristin Stokes: Yeah.

Gray Houser: The show ended in New Orleans that night and I shook your hand afterwards, said, “Nice to meet you.” And then we were standing outside and then I turned to leave and it there was a torrential downpour.

Kristin Stokes: Oh, yeah, that was not good.

Gray Houser: I’m in the car with my theater buddy, and we’re sitting there and she goes, “Oh, my gosh, look at that. They’re stuck in the rain. Should we offer them a ride?” And we’re like, “That’d be kind of creepy, wouldn’t it?” And we just kind of drove off. So did you ever get in the van?

Kristin Stokes: Well, I was staying with my castmate Sarah Beth and James Hayden Rodriguez. We had Airbnb’d a house because the rest of the company was at a hotel 25 minutes away, and we were like, “We’re in New Orleans. We are staying close to theater. We want to stay close.”

Gray Houser: Right.

Kristin Stokes: So everyone else got to hop in a van and we had to fend for ourselves, so we did eventually get a ride. We had a hero come along. He drove in the rain to come pick us up from Lyft, and we hopped in and didn’t have to wait too long, but it was absolutely nutty. We were like, “Okay.” And I think that was like one of our last nights there, maybe?

Gray Houser: Yeah, I think it was. Yeah, it was Saturday.

Kristin Stokes: And we were like, “Oh, okay. That’s right. This is also New Orleans.” It was pretty crazy.

Gray Houser: Right. You know. So it was funny because I went back and I told my roommate, I’m like, “Oh, my gosh, you wouldn’t believe what happened! After the show there was a torrential downpour and some of the cast got left.” And he goes, “So like Anna Beth didn’t get the bus.” I’m like, “Yes! That’s exactly what happened.”

Kristin Stokes: Exactly. We didn’t want to make it explode!

Gray Houser: That’s a reference that you won’t get if you haven’t seen the show.

Kristin Stokes: Yeah. Sorry.

Gray Houser: Have you had any tour mishaps? Like plane gets delayed, you lose your connection?

Kristin Stokes: Well, like literally our first flight out, I don’t know what happened, Chris and I, we were in the airport in Queens and we were like going through security together, and we turned the wrong way. We went into like the completely wrong terminal, and we were like, “Wow, we are literally five minutes into tour and we’ve already lost the entire group! Where did everyone go?” We were like in a completely different part of the airport, so that was pretty funny. We’ve had to … We performed in Findlay, Ohio for one night, and this was during the polar vortex of this last winter.

Gray Houser: Oh!

Kristin Stokes: That was absolutely insane. It was literally negative 25 degrees. I’m like, “That is not a temperature. That is negative numbers, which means it doesn’t exist. What is this? We’ve lost count. We’re in the negative. I don’t understand.” But to get there, we had a fly to Detroit and then get on a bus and drive in the snow storm for [crosstalk 00:11:44] an hour and a half. Huh?

Gray Houser: Was the bus cold?

Kristin Stokes: No, no, no. It wasn’t too bad, but it was scary. It was like, “Oh, my God, it is a blizzard outside and we are riding in a bus on a freeway. Why is this happening?” It took an hour and a half to get there, and then we were like in the hotel, and then the next day like you couldn’t go outside without … Like there was a frostbite advisory. It was absolutely insane. We were only like two blocks from the theater, so we had to walk, but even still we were like, “Why are we walking? This is crazy.” But it ended up being like one of the best audiences we’ve ever had. They got every joke. It made it so worth it. They were such an amazing group of people, and we even had fans waiting outside at the stage door. And I was like, “Oh, my God, please don’t get frostbite on account of like waiting for a signature. Y’all need to go home. Thank you for waiting, and please be safe.” So that was pretty crazy.

Gray Houser: That absolutely sounds crazy. So you had a polar vortex experience, you got to come to New Orleans.

Kristin Stokes: Yeah.

Gray Houser: You’ve done so many cool places and performed everywhere. So I just have a couple more questions for you.

Kristin Stokes: Yeah.

Gray Houser: What is your biggest fear?

Kristin Stokes: Oh, my gosh. In the show or in life?

Gray Houser: In general. It can be the show, sure.

Kristin Stokes: Oh, my gosh. I don’t know. What would be my biggest fear in the show? I mean, I think the biggest fear is like the unexpected, like an injury. I actually … And so it’s like I don’t have that fear until it’s happened, and then it’s like too late to be fearful of it.

Gray Houser: Right.

Kristin Stokes: Because the show is just so active, you just have to be fearless going in. You’re like, “Something can happen and it doesn’t matter.” But, actually, the very first preview that we did of this show, this is in Fayetteville, Arkansas, I severed my rib.

Gray Houser: What?

Kristin Stokes: That’s not the correct medical term, but this was during like literally the first scene of the show. This is during the opening number. I’m a part of a puppet that is Mrs. Dodds, and I’m a wing. And it was her first preview, we’re running across the stage, there’s strobe lights, there’s smoke, the rock music is play, and I have this wing, I’m flying in over my head. Both my arms are up, and we’re crossing from stage right to stage left and there’s this little like fire pit barrel that we use in like the next scene. And it was just out a little bit from where I thought it would be. I thought it’d be tucked away a little bit more on stage right, off the side of the stage, because all the props in the set, everything you can kind of see and grab from onstage, so it was just a little bit more in the wing than I had expected it to be. I wasn’t looking down, I was looking up across the stage, and I ran full force into this like barrel that’s about shin or knee height, and I crashed into it. My arms are up, so my knee and my ribs broke my fall over this metal barrel. [crosstalk 00:15:10] And I continue doing the show.

Gray Houser: Really?

Kristin Stokes: I thought I had just … Oh, yeah. I thought I had just hurt my leg, but throughout the course of the show, I think, you know, adrenaline’s going, throughout the course of the show I was like, “Oh, no, my rib is immense pain.” And I have a extremely high pain tolerance.

Gray Houser: Sure.

Kristin Stokes: Everyone kind of jokes at the show that like at the end of the world there will be cockroaches, Cher, and Kristen singing My Grand Plan because nothing will stop me from doing the show, including me [crosstalk 00:15:41] breaking my ribs. So I went to the hospital and got x-rays, and they’re like, “Well, it’s not broken, but what happened was your rib turns into cartilage up when you get closer to your sternum,” if we can get medical for a second, and basically the cartilage is what kind of broke. And so it doesn’t count as a bone breakage, because cartilage can mend itself and come back, but, you know, it was extremely painful. You know, your ribs hold your lungs, so anytime I breathed, I talked, I sang, I moved, I sneezed … Oh, my God, sneezing was the worst.

Gray Houser: I can imagine.

Kristin Stokes: I was just in excruciating pain for probably a month. I had to tape my ribs, but I did every show. I did opening night.

Gray Houser: Geez.

Kristin Stokes: And, you know …

Gray Houser: You’re a trooper.

Kristin Stokes: You just go through. Annabeth Chase would have nothing left.

Gray Houser: Right. So if you could pick any character in a book, movie, or TV show who is most similar to you, who do you pick? Why?

Kristin Stokes: Oh, my gosh.

Gray Houser: This should be the easy question. The answers should be Annabeth Chase. No, actually, that’d be cheating. Give me someone-

Kristin Stokes: Oh, oh, to me, not to Annabeth Chase?

Gray Houser: Yes. Who’s the most similar to you?

Kristin Stokes: To me, Kristin Stokes. Oh, gosh. I mean, Annabeth is like … I don’t know if that’s a cheating answer, but I do love Annabeth. She is really close, but let’s see, in a movie … Oh, my God. What is a movie I’ve seen lately? Oh, my gosh. I take so long to answer these questions.

Gray Houser: That’s fine.

Kristin Stokes: I don’t know if it’s a quick, rapid fire answer.

Gray Houser: No, no, don’t-

Kristin Stokes: My first thought was like Wonder Woman, but that’s because I was comparing her to like Annabeth Chase, and that she’s just like, “We’ve got to get this done, and it’s time to do it.” I’m sure there’s like a better, kookier person and character-

Gray Houser: No, I mean, that’s totally-

Kristin Stokes: … that I’m more like.

Gray Houser: That’s totally fine. So when you were growing up, did you always want to be in the performing arts?

Kristin Stokes: Oh, yeah, absolutely. It was kind of like … I think people have the stories where they’re like, “And this was the moment when I was in college that I realized I must be a performer,” or blah, blah, blah. And I think it was just like, “Yeah, duh.” Like, I don’t know, there was never a moment when I was like, “This is what I want to do with my life.” I think it was just like I was doing it at such a young age and it was just such a part of my growing up that I was like, “Yeah, if you can do this for a career, why wouldn’t you? I have so much fun. I get to live so many lives. I get to understand people in such an inside out way.” It’s just like such a wonderful, exciting, beautiful thing to be an actor and to be able to sing and dance at the same time. I was like, “If I can do this, I’m going to do this.” And so I just think that was … I was like, “Let’s just make this life choice simple and say yes.”

Gray Houser: Right.

Kristin Stokes: Now, the rest of it, getting it done, that’s not so simple.

Gray Houser: We really think you’re phenomenal. Everybody who’s a part of the podcast and a part of the website, I think really enjoys the album and enjoys the show if they’ve had the opportunity to see it. And if you, the listener, want to see the show, which you absolutely should, it’ll be in Dallas, Texas next week?

Kristin Stokes: Yep, that’s it! Starting on Tuesday.

Gray Houser: Cheyenne, Wyoming, the week after, and Tulsa, Oklahoma, Wilmington, North Carolina, Atlanta, Georgia, Maryville, Tennessee, Rochester, New York, Saint Paul, Minnesota, Fort Lauderdale, San Antonio,, and, lastly, Tampa.

Kristin Stokes: That’s it.

Gray Houser: Do you guys have any plans to extend the tour past the 14th of July?

Kristin Stokes: You know, all I can say is I’m not allowed to say yet. Possibly? There might be something in the works, but it depends on everyone’s availability as of right now, so nothing, but keep an eye … The best thing to do is to, of course, if you’re on social media, follow LT Musical on Twitter and Instagram. Also our Twitter is just freaking hilarious.

Gray Houser: It really is. Who runs the Twitter?

Kristin Stokes: It’s its own character. It’s its own beast of fandom. It’s so funny, but like also go to the website, we’ll always have the latest information and all that kind of stuff.

Gray Houser: You know, that was a very good dodge of my question. Who runs the Twitter? It’s like a big secret, so I was hoping you would just kind of spill it and …

Kristin Stokes: Yeah, right. Yeah, right!

Gray Houser: So if the listener, if they want to follow Kristin, they can do that. Where can they do that, Kristen?

Kristin Stokes: They can do that on … So I have two different names. If you want to follow me on Instagram and see some tour shenanigans and all the Insta stories, I’m at Chitty_Balone. That’s how you pronounce it. And that’s C-H-I-T-T-Y_B-A-L-O-N-E. That’s my Instagram, Chitty_Balone, or on Twitter you can follow me at K_Stoked, that’s K_S-T-O-K-E-D.

Gray Houser: And for the listeners, we do, of course, have our question of the week. If you could replace any Disney parks attraction, what would it be, and what do you want in it’s place? You can send that via a voicemail message to (407) 494-4729. Once again, that’s (407) 494-4729. We hope to hear from you, and we’ll talk all about the replies we get in next week’s show.

Gray Houser: Thank you so much for listening and supporting us. If you want to help the show grow, the best thing you can do is leave a five star review in iTunes and share the show with a friend. We greatly appreciate it. I’ve been Gray Houser from Monorail News with Kristin Stokes. Thanks for listening.

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