A Little Birdie Told Me - Petite Opera Speaks with Woodstock

As Woodstock, Caroline Zavislak Proves that Actions Speak Louder Than Words in Petite Opera's upcoming production


Yes, you could say that a little birdie told you, and if you're Snoopy, and your friend Woodstock is the little birdie, it's 100% true.  In Snoopy!!! The Musical, Woodstock takes on a whole new dimension, falls in love, and helps propel the story, and Snoopy, to the greatest he can be.  The challenge of Woodstock that is the character doesn't speak at all, so conveying the plot, emotions and emotional intensity all occurs through pantomime. Petite Opera reached Caroline Zavislak before the early bird, and learned her impressions on her character, Woodstock.

Caroline, what roles have you performed, which groups have you worked with around Chicago and beyond?
In opera and operetta, I have performed Papagena/Magic Flute (American Chamber Opera), Ensemble/ Amahl and the Night Visitors and Sound of Music in for (Chamber Opera Chicago), Satirino and Destino/Cavalli’s La Calisto and Suor Infermiera/Puccini’s Suor Angelica (Bay Area Summer Opera Theatre Institute), and Peep Bo/The Mikado (Chicago College of Performing Arts). My musical theatre credits include Liesl/The Sound of Music, Guenevere/Camelot, Hope Harcourt/Anything Goes, Belle/Beauty and the Beast, and Dorothy/The Wizard of Oz. In addition, I perform regularly with the Chicago Chorale and in 2012 had the privilege of performing with the North Shore Chamber Arts Ensemble. I'm a native of Georgia, and also performed a lot of soprano oratorio solos there with the Rockdale County Chamber Chorus (Metro-Atlanta area), including Mozart’s Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, and Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana.

Which role have you most enjoyed portraying, or are you most proud of and why?
As a young emerging artist, my pool of roles performed is still expanding! However, one of the roles I most enjoyed developing and performing was Satirino in La Calisto, a baroque opera by Francesco Cavalli. Satirino is one of the main sources of comic relief in the opera. The character is a satyr which is a Greek Mythological being that is half human half goat! There must be a pattern of being cast as some kind of animal, as I play a bird in our fun story of Snoopy!!! However, there is no denying that I have an enormous soft spot for Musical Theatre, and I have loved every single musical theatre role I’ve had the opportunity to perform.

What fascinates you about the WOODSTOCK character in Snoopy?
It has been such a delight developing the character of Woodstock, the other “animal” in the show. Exploring the physicality of the flitty, flighty, furiously clumsy little bird has been both challenging and a so much fun.

What is the most enlightening thing WOODSTOCK learns through the course of the show?
Since Woodstock is often times so very clumsy (although he does have his more graceful moments), I think one of the things he learns and is most excited about in the show is that he can in fact dance! He doesn’t really have two left bird feet after all, and he loves it! When Snoopy receives the letter declaring him “Head Beagle,” it is a huge boost of confidence. With Snoopy’s new found confidence, I think Woodstock also gains great boldness and spunk as they begin to dance together in The Big Bow-Wow.

How are those characteristics embodied in you as a performer?
I certainly relate to Woodstock in that I am always tripping over my own two feet, falling up the stairs, and breaking things.

What do you find most difficult about portraying WOODSTOCK?
Character-wise, the challenge has come in finding effective and believable ways to convey Woodstock’s emotions. Birds have feelings too! I love the dynamic of the relationship between Woodstock and Snoopy. It’s a best friend-like relationship with complete loyalty. Woodstock definitely thinks the world of Snoopy and would do anything in the world for him, which I love. Isn’t that how dogs typically feel about their human? And Snoopy, too, has his own loyal pet-like best friend--Woodstock.

Why do you think patrons should come see this show over any other options they have for Apr 25-May 4, 2014?
Snoopy!!! is an all-around fun, high energy show great for adults and kids alike. I think audience members will leave not only singing the catchy tunes, but also with a feeling of light-heartedness, nostalgia, and a burst of energy all in one! Snoopy!!! is a truly delightful show performed by cast with exquisite talent.

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Petite Opera performs SNOOPY!!! the musical April 25-27, May 2-4, 2014 at Mary Wilson House Beyer Auditorium, part of St. Mary's Episcopal Church campus, 306 S Prospect Ave at Crescent Ave (enter on Crescent Ave), Park Ridge, IL.  Call 847-553-4442 to reserve tickets, or purchase tickets online via credit card (convenience charges apply to credit card orders). 
Petite Opera is a professional 501c3 opera company



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