Teddy Trice just seemed to catch fire about 18 months ago and leaped from bit parts to major roles with KCAT, The Unicorn, and The Black Rep. His success scored him an audition for “The Book of Mormon.” Locally an ad for Security Bank began airing just a few weeks ago. For his family, friends, and fans, here is the latest on Teddy.
Are you from Kansas City? Where did you go to grade, middle and high school? Where did you attend college? What was your major?
Yes, I was born and raised in KC. I moved to Johnson County in grade school where I went to Shawnee Elementary, then, Trailridge Middle, then onto Shawnee Mission Northwest High School. I attended JCCC for a few years where I got my Associates in Liberal Arts, then finished my Bachelors in Theatre at Drury University, in Springfield, Missouri.
How and when did the acting bug bite you? Who helped you most in developing your acting skills?
The bug… well the first production I ever did was “Into the Woods” my 7th grade year. I didn’t really know what theatre was prior to that, but I knew as a 12 year old, this is what I wanted to continue doing. I’ve had the privilege of having great acting mentors. My high school drama instructor was Kelly Rogers. In my college days, Tim Noble, Beate Pettigrew, Scott Stackhouse, Cinnamon Schultz (to mention a few) taught me. My main acting instructor, was Robert Westenberg at Drury. He was the original prince in “Jnto the Woods” and several other Sondheim musicals, gave me some of the best instruction I could have asked for.
Where did you start your stage career in the KC Metro area?
I started my KC career at The Coterie in 2011 with “The Wiz.”
In what venues have you performed? What were the shows?
I’ve done 4 shows in total at The Coterie, last one being “Where the Wild Things Are.” I worked at Heart of America Shakespeare Festival (“King Lear”), The Unicorn (“The Brothers Size,” “Heathers”), KC Actors Theatre (“The Island”), KC Black Rep (“African Company Presents Richard III”). Also been involved in work-shopping New Works at the KC Rep.
I remember seeing you in walk on parts at The Coterie. Then, I saw you in a supporting part at The Unicorn. And, then Kansas City Actors Theatre. It seemed like when your fuse was lit, you soared to some of the best companies in town. How did that happen?
Well I’ve always been told that good work, brings more work. I’ve always wanted to use every opportunity I had to show what I’m capable of. Not matter how small the part may be. I think that dedication paid off, so people have trusted me to take on more responsibility.
In your young career, of what are you most proud?
I think I’m most proud of getting my degree. I’m the first in my immediate family to get my college degree, and lucky to be working in the field I studied.
At the opening night of KC Rep’s “A Christmas Carol” you told me you had just signed for the Australian National Tour of “The Book of Mormon.” How did you secure that tour? Can you tell us what you did to get that part?
Yeah, well I was in “The Island” at the time and I saw a notice on Facebook that “Book of Mormon” was auditioning in KC. Not putting too much pressure on myself, I went, had a pretty good initial audition, and a representative asked me to come back the next day so they could put it on film. After that, three weeks went by and I got an email asking if I could come out to New York to audition. I had never been to New York before, but my first trip was for a Broadday audition. After it’s done, I thought nothing of it until a couple months later I got the call that I booked it.
How did it feel when you learned you had booked the tour?
It didn’t feel real at first. I was stunned into silence for awhile, then just filled with joy. First person i told was my mom.
When did rehearsals begin? When does the tour begin? What cities will you visit?
So, rehearsal began Dec 1. We officially open Feb 4. It’s a sit down show in Melbourne, so I’m contracted for a full year. Other cities are in talks, but can’t say for sure how that will work.
Do you have an understudy? Do you understudy other parts as well? If so, which ones?
Yes, there are swings for the show who would cover my track if I get sick, injured, etc. In addition to my role, I also cover Mafala.
Tell us about your character.
What do I say about Mutumbo… well, he’s the outsider of the village and no one is sure why he’s always around. Let me just say he has an unorthodox way of handling problems and is extremely stubborn about it. He has quite the arch when he starts to learn the teachings of Cunningham and soon finds true acceptance of his circumstances and fellow villagers.
What is a typical day in your life now? How will it change once the tour opens?
Right now, I pretty much live at the theatre. We’re in previews, so we clean things up during the day, then do the show at night. When we open it’ll be a regular 8 show week schedule, Monday off, but I’ll also have cover calls a couple days out of the week.
For those who have not seen “Book of Mormon” can you give a synopsis without giving away the entire story?
Well, essentially it’s about Elder Price, who is the quintessential Mormon. Everyone looks up to him and he’s on a mission to save the world through the teachings of the church. He gets paired with an eccentric mission companion, and their first assignment is Uganda. Everything completely gets turned on it’s head from there. Same people who wrote South Park created this musical and it’s what you’d expect from their kind of humor. The show is brilliantly crafted, great music, and truly genuine and heartfelt.
What do you miss from Kansas City?
Australia and New Zealand eat a lot of lamb. Have you tried any new foods since your arrival? If so, what are they?
Can’t think of any new foods… great burgers, and Asian food here. They serve chips (fries) with everything. So good, yet so dangerous.
Have you seen a Kuala? Have you held one? Have you seen a kangaroo?
No, but going to the zoo soon!
What was the first thing that made you realize that you were not in Kansas anymore?
When I saw palm trees.
When I visited Sydney and Melbourne, I was amazed and the friendliness of the locals. They loved Americans and wanted to talk to me and my group. Have you had some good experiences with the people? Can you tell about one?
Yeah, my dialect tends to start conversation pretty quickly. At the same time they’re used to Americans in media and film. But many are surprised that I came all this way to do a show.
What’s your favorite experience so far?
Well I love finding all the hidden restaurants and bars. Melbourne proper is very touristy, so it’s nice to scope out where the locals go.
You are away from friends and family. What do you do in your off time?
In my off time i try to take advantage of local things to do. I’ve been to a cricket match, the Australian Open, live concerts
Have you picked an Aussie accent?
Not a full on accent yet, but definitely certain sayings, like “how ya goin, mate!” No one says g’day which was a bit of a let down.
What did you do for Christmas and New Year? Seasons are opposite from the Northern Hemisphere. What was it like to have Christmas in the middle of summer?
It was actually really nice to have a warm Christmas. Strange, but I’m a fan of warm weather. We just ate a bunch of food together as a cast.
What do you want your Kansas City audience to know that has not been asked?
I want KC audiences to know to that I thank you for every bit of support you’ve given me so far. I’m constantly bragging and representing KC out here and I’ll be coming back soon to keep doing what I love. I am always striving to make my hometown proud.