I’ve talked about wanting to have an “actor feature” section on my blog for a little while now & so here it is! The blog features will include personal interviews with actors I find inspiring onstage & off. In these interviews, you’ll read about their passions, interests, advice for aspiring actors, their personal experiences & many more. First up on the feature, Colby Dezelick & Molly Franco (▰∀◕)ﾉ
Around 2 years ago, I had the pleasure of getting to know 2 of the most down to earth people through Miss Saigon. Colby was Ensemble/Chris u/s in Saigon at the time, & Molly was his biggest supporter while being on the actor grind herself (she just finished her contract as Anne Frank – such an iconic role. Molly I’m so proud)! Over the years, I’ve gotten to know them & they never fail to make me laugh when we hang out. I immensely admire their work ethic, intellect & the unconditional love they have for each other.
So let’s get started –
Tell us about Molby, how did you meet?
C: Molly and I met at orientation for college at Rider University. We were in the pink group together. I still have the bracelet.
M: We were instant best friends and we started stating in December of that year.
Do you guys have any tips for couples going through long distance? What was your secret to making it work in the times where you guys had to long distance?
M: I think it’s different for everyone, but for us, we always maintained great communication. Not just in the sense of keeping up with each other daily, but with speaking our minds if we had worries or concerns. In the beginning of our relationship, that was harder, but now we have it mastered. I think the less you hold back from your partner, the less there is to worry about or “fight about” which easily happens when the distance gets to be too much.
C: FaceTime and texting is helpful. Also making sure you have your own social life can be helpful. And planning trips to see one another. The anticipation can make the time go quicker.
I completely understand the long distance thing. It’s super worth it in the end. Since day one, I’ve admired how you guys always make each other smile. What’s your favourite thing about each other?
C: My favorite thing about Molly is how much she cares. She cares about other people and causes so much. She’s always the first person to speak up for someone or defend a point of view. She’s pretty cool.
M: I don’t know HOW to pick one thing, but if I had to, it’s how much he makes me laugh. When we first met, we were paired in the same orientation group and I remember laughing so hard all day with him and being so attracted to that. I’m so lucky that hasn’t changed.
I also know you guys both don’t eat meat. Where are your favourite vegan spots to go to in the city for hangouts/dates?
M: Hehe thanks for noting that! My favorite restaurants in the city that are vegan/vegetarian friendly are Red Bamboo, Peacefood Cafe, Blossom, The Butcher’s Daughter, Urban Vegan Kitchen, and I am also very partial to Bareburger tbh. I also recommend Erin McKenna’s Bakery to any vegan sweet tooth like me. Sugar-free, dairy-free, kosher!
Colby, by the way – congrats on Anastasia! That’s so exciting. What was your audition process like?
C: Auditioning for Anastasia was interesting. It was for a replacement to be in the ensemble and cover Dmitry. Since the show was already up and running, the process was very specific because the team already knew exactly what the person they hired needed to be able to do. So it was different from a lot of auditions I’ve been on, but it seemed to go well.
Ooh, specific how so?
C: Rather than trying to find people that could fit into any of the tracks of the show, the creative team was looking for one specific track. When auditioning for Saigon, they were looking for people that could fit into the ensemble of the show. Nothing more specific than that because they would build the tracks around us. When going in for Anastasia, they were looking for someone who had a very specific skill set. There are a few counts of 8 of ballet in the show, the track sings baritone, and also covers Dmitry. With these fixed parameters the creative team was able to run a very specific audition.
Can you tell us about the time when you first went on for Chris in Miss Saigon & Dmitry in Anastasia?
C: Going in for Chris for the first time was crazy. (There is a vlog about it). I was already preparing to go on later that week but then got a call on a Wednesday morning that he would be out for the matinee. I freaked out. I was supposed to do my put in later in the week but duty called. In all honesty it was probably better that I was thrown on like that rather than letting the anticipation crush me but it was all a whirlwind. Going on for Dmitry was similar. I had two planned dates and there was no plan for a put in. The first night I went on Christy was out so I actually got to do it with Kathryn, the understudy I rehearsed with. That was one less thing to think about which was nice. But even still the whole train sequence was crazy because I had never been on it or done any of that blocking before. It was pretty cool and very fun though!
Those are such huge achievements Colby! I can’t wait to come see you! & Moll, you were just Anne Frank. Congratulations to you as well! How did you tackle such a beast of a role like Anne?
M: Thank you! Well, this was my third time playing the role. So, naturally, I had a pretty good handle on how I wanted to portray her. I’m Jewish (not religiously anymore, but I was born into a Jewish family). My grandmother is a survivor of the Holocaust. I’ve known this story and had Anne’s diary since I was young. The first time I played the role (in 2009), I discovered a lot. I learned a lot. And I grew as an actress tremendously. I was her age as well so that was an incredibly unique experience. The next time, I was turning 18, so I was able to bring a lot more maturity and skill to the performance. This time around, as a 24 year old, I was much more moved by her story than ever before. I think now that I’ve experienced much more life, my perspective has changed greatly and I really connected to her in a way I hadn’t in the previous versions. Being so much older than she is, it was pretty spectacular to get to tap into that unabashed intrigue and lust for life she had. Though she was so young, she had a fire in her that is more relatable to me now than it was almost ten years ago. I also feel very strongly about the story of the Franks and the Van Pels being told because I sadly find it relevant even now. They were prosecuted and torn from the lives they knew simply because of who they are. People are still being punished for their race, their gender, their sexual orientation, their religion, etc. I hope we never forget and I hope we can do better. We have to.
Thank you for that Moll. I completely agree. I didn’t know you played her 3 times! I love getting to revisit a character because we can always find something new to bring to the table. So to be able to finally be in NYC living the dream, auditioning, working etc. requires a great deal of training to prepare for this lifestyle. I will always be an advocate of taking classes, whether it means you’re part of a BFA program, or taking classes on the side. I know you both went to Rider. A lot of prospective students are starting to audition for schools. What’s your biggest advice for those who are auditioning for BFA programs next year?
C: Best college advice is to visit the school. You can get a good feel for what day to day life is like when you’re actually there. Most programs are going to basically teach the same thing; it’s about finding a space that best fits with who you are as a person.
M: I’d say as nerve-wracking as it is, try to relax because it really will work out for you. The right program will find you. So just trust in your talent and most importantly, show your personality. And not in a showy way, but in an authentic way. Be yourself. Allow conversation and be open! These people are going to spend the next 4 years with you, so often times more than your talent, they want to see you! As far as audition material goes, pick what you do best. Type is important, but college is where you’ll discover it, so allow yourself to sing what you love to sing and dress how you want to dress now. Again, just be the most you you can.
What is your most memorable date night & can you describe each other in 3 words?
C: For our 4 year anniversary we went to The View restaurant (the one that revolves). We had just moved to the city and it was a pretty elegant (and expensive) evening for us. & Cute. Feisty. Stylish.
M: Our first date will always be so special, but actually the last date we went on was my favorite yet. It was for our 6 year anniversary and we just had the best time. It was honestly the perfect night. & Driven. Hilarious. Enigmatic.
Colby, I know being an understudy is not an easy task. Do you have any tips & tricks to make the process easier?
C: Being an understudy is not an easy task. The best advice is to just stay calm and take everything one moment at a time. If you try to remember the whole show all at once you will explode. Just trust that you have done the work and then let the play carry you along.
I definitely agree! I found it way more useful to follow one person during rehearsals than focus on the bigger picture. I’ve been fun-employed for a while now in the theatre world. On some days I feel productive, & on other days I feel terrible about the rejection. Moll, I know that you’ve been feeling slightly burned out from audition season this past year, how do you cope with feeling burned out? Do you mind sharing some ways to stay grounded for those who are also going through the same thing I’m going through?
M: Being frank, I got really close to some huge opportunities last year. I was in final call backs for tours, Broadway shows, and films that I was honestly DREAMING to be a part of. Instead of celebrating that I got so close, I started to feel down and hone in on the rejection. Since then, though, I’ve changed my perspective and I’m thriving. I’m still getting call backs and not booking yet, but I’m excited instead of discouraged. I know eventually one of those call backs will turn into a yes, so I have to be patient and feel grateful that I am even getting these opportunities at all. Perspective is everything. Some people don’t even have the chance to move here and try, and here I am, not only trying, but getting somewhere. When I remember that, I am much happier. Something Colby has taught me over the years is to journal and to meditate and that has been a huge help to me as well. Writing down my inner dialogue and/or being alone with my thoughts has helped me stay grounded tremendously.
Thank you so much to both of you for taking the time for this interview! You guys are awesome & I can’t wait to see more of you soon.
For those who are interested in keeping up with Molby, you can find their instagrams below. & don’t forget to catch Colby in Anastasia on Broadway!
Until next time!5 I Love This! ♡