The beloved 2003 holiday film “Love Actually” celebrates its 20th anniversary this year with its stage adaptation that features an all-star cast.
“Live Actually Live,” a multimedia concert celebration produced by For The Record and The Wallis, will perform at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on Nov. 22 through Dec. 30. The production has received raving reviews during its previous runs starting in 2018, with its exceptional staging and state-of-the-art video design.
The star-studded lineup includes Grace Kinstler (American Idol season 19 finalist), Chris Mann (The Voice season 2 finalist); Emmy Award nominee for Disney’s High School Musical Drew Seeley; RIAA Gold® recording artist Rex Smith; two-time Emmy Award winner & four-time Grammy-nominated artist B. Slade; and Madison Taylor Baez (America’s Got Talent Season 17 Golden Buzzer winner; Showtime’s Let The Right One In).
Also starring is recent star of Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies, Cheyenne Isabel Wells, as Juliet/Mia. Wells shares the magic of “Love Actually Live” in a recent Backstage SoCal interview.
How did you prepare for your role in “Love Actually”?
I honestly just watched the movie a couple of times and made sure to focus on the characters I was playing. It’s a fun movie so not a hard watch!
What aspects of the character did you find most challenging or intriguing?
The most challenging part about playing these roles is having to match physically what the characters are doing on the screen, let’s say above me or next to me. I can’t see them while I am reenacting, so, memorizing motions and timing of movements I think is the most challenging part.
How did you establish chemistry with your fellow cast members, especially in moments with complex emotions?
Chemistry came pretty quickly with this cast! Everyone is so nice and helpful through everything; we definitely have a blast on and off stage.
Were there any specific inspirations or influences that shaped your portrayal of the character?
Honestly, not really. The characters I play are pretty straightforward. We have Juliet, the cute, fun bride and friend, and Mia, the sexy, sensual mistress. Definitely two different characters but fun to portray.
In what ways did you contribute to the development of your character?
I feel like I bring a little bit of Cheyenne out here and there. I am also in a lot of ensemble numbers as random people, so that’s when I get to bring myself out a bit. It’s the best time.
In what ways is the stage play different from the film?
The stage show brings the amazing album from the film to the stage, but also features some new songs and arrangements from Jesse Vargas and Annmarie Milazzo. So, while watching the movie, we’ll take a little break and enjoy an amazing concert! Super fun! Familiar songs are always enjoyable.
How do you personally connect with the themes or messages conveyed in “Love Actually”?
I love… love. It’s an amazing feeling, isn’t it? So the message of the show is quite fitting.
What do you hope your audience will take from the live theatrical production of the beloved holiday film?
I hope people have the best time, especially if they love the film. You’re going to have so much fun watching our show. The cast is phenomenal; every single person will not disappoint. I think and hope people will leave loving the movie even more than they did before.
‘Love Actually Live’
Where: The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 9390 N Santa Monica Blvd, Beverly Hills
When: Nov. 22-Dec. 30
More info: https://thewallis.org/