Despite facing five performances of the grueling “West Side Story” at the Fox Theatre between now and Sunday, Pebblebook High graduate Cary Tedder was up early Friday morning to discuss his role in the national touring company. The actor, singer and dancer plays Jet member Snowboy and understudies the lead role of Tony in the production currently playing through Sunday in Midtown.
Tedder can confirm that bringing Jerome Robbins‘ iconic legendary balletic choreography alive each night on stage remains an arduous task for the cast.
“‘West Side Story’ is rather notorious for destroying dancers,” he tells us. “More than a few dancers consider Jerome Robbins a sadist. In addition to the performances, we do 10 to 12 hours of rehearsals a week. Inevitably, whenever you do a show for any length of time, the steps begin to look a little sloppy and we have to go in and get everything crisp and clean again. But the effort obviously pays off.”
This month, Tedder returns to the production after being side-lined for months after a cyst ruptured behind his left knee during rehearsals in New York, requiring rehab, physical therapy and a lot of recuperation.
“It’s a fairly common injury for dancers and runners or anyone who engages in constant repetitions of compounded exercises,” he explains. “I’m not quite 100 percent yet but I’m getting there.”
For Tedder, the joy of doing numbers like “Gee, Officer Krupke” and “Cool” helps the recovery process: “I used to really fear ‘Cool.’ It’s like an old master. For those four and a half minutes, you can always push yourself harder to make it better all while displaying an array of constant, conflicting emotion. Now, I really look forward to it.”
Tedder says the training he received during his four years at Pebblebrook High School gave him a solid foundation for a career in musical theater. “I entered Pebblebrook not knowing that I could even sing,” he reflects. “Four years later, I had done extensive voice training and knew how to read music. In between, there were six days of ballet class a week. For me, Pebblebrook is the premier training high school in the country for American musical theater.”
For tickets, go to the official Fox Theatre website.