creative:impact - From Saline to the Kingdom of Arendelle
Creative industries in Washtenaw County add hundreds of millions of dollars to the local economy. In the weeks and months to come, host Deb Polich, the President and CEO of Creative Washtenaw, explores the myriad of contributors that make up the creative sector in Washtenaw County.
ABOUT DOMINIC DORSET:
CHOIR BOY Bobby University of Michigan
LEGALLY BLONDE Warner University of Michigan
THE WILD PARTY Sam (u/s Black) University of Michigan / Mimi Scardulla, Dir.
THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE Ensemble University of Michigan / Vincent J Cardinal, Dir.
OKLAHOMA! Fred Weston Playhouse / Reginald Douglas, Dir
WEST SIDE STORY Chino Encore MT Company / Dan Cooney, Dir.
HELLO, DOLLY! Swing Encore MT Company
Broadway Backwards 2022 New Amsterdam Theater
Walk On Through (written by Gavin Creel) Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
Broadway Our Way University of Michigan / Michael McElroy, dir.
Gavin Creel’s “Stars on Stage” PBS / Mary-Mitchell Campbell, MD
B.F.A. Degree in Musical Theatre, The University of Michigan, Class of 2022
The LINK Program with The Growing Studio, Class of 2021
Advanced piano, advanced music theory knowledge, advanced violin/fiddle, advanced mandolin, beatboxing, guitar, steel pan, accordion, electric bass, ukulele, high athleticism
Deb Polich: Welcome to creative:impact on 89 one WEMU. Thanks for tuning in to meet another creative guest deeply rooted in Washtenaw County with me, your creative:impact host Deb Polich, president and CEO of Creative Washtenaw. We're going to discover how someone's creative work, business, products, programs, or services impact and add to our local quality of life, place, and economy. Our guest bio states that they play piano, violin, fiddle, mandolin, guitar, steel pan, accordion, electric bass, ukulele, and beatbox. We're not even going to talk about any of those talents, or at least barely talk about them. Instead, we're going to talk about Sam and Fred and Werner and Chino and Kristoff--mostly Kristoff. Well, Kristoff and Sven. Dominic Dorset grew up in Saline and is a 2022 graduate of the University of Michigan's musical theater program. He's currently spending his time in Arendelle. Dominic, welcome to creative:impact.
Dominic Dorset: Hey, thanks for having me.
Deb Polich: Yeah, it's so great to have you here. Hey, being cast on a national tour of a popular musical theater production right out of school is pretty impressive. But to score that lead--the role of Kristoff in the beloved Frozen--is really remarkable. Congratulations!
Dominic Dorset: Thank you very much.
Deb Polich: So, let's go back to your earliest interest in music and theater. How did it all start for you?
Dominic Dorset: It's a funny story. I brought home a flier from school when I was in fourth grade. I grew up in the Saline school district. So, I brought home a flier for my class, and it was just an advertisement for the local production of Mary Poppins that was going up with a company called Junior Theater.
Deb Polich: Uh huh.
Dominic Dorset: And I kind of just handed it to my mom and said, "This is something that I'm interested in." So, it's humble beginnings as it can get, I guess. I auditioned for the production and got cast. Fortunately, I was Michael Banks. And so, right off the bat, I knew that this was something that I was not only interested in but could also, you know, have some potential as well. But that's where the interest all started.
Deb Polich: You know, I think it's probably surprising how many people on Broadway, in theater, and film, etc., all actors have found their way there through some community theater group.
Dominic Dorset: Yeah, I mean, it's made a big difference in many people's lives, and the amount of titans we have in the industry today. We have to thank community theaters for that.
Deb Polich: Yeah, absolutely. The investment they make in our talented young people. You know, speaking of kids, kids navigate their world, you know, trying to fit in with their peers. And being a theater geek myself and then raising kids who found their people on choir and theater, I know it's not always easy to stay on that creative performing path. Do you recall any adversity or pressure to pursue other interests when you were young?
Dominic Dorset: Um, I tried lots of sports as a kid as well.
Deb Polich: Uh huh.
Dominic Dorset: I played basketball, football, and a bunch of different things. But I think, from early on, music is what I was drawn to. And I was fortunate enough to have very supportive parents who were willing to support me as long as I was interested in it, at least growing up. I was also a big-time piano player as well. So, if there was one thing that I did outside of theater, it was play instruments.
Deb Polich: And it sounds like you continue to do that. So, the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance's musical theater program has is legendary at this point. And every show I ever go see has somebody at least one person from the U of M on it. But, you know, really, seriously, getting out there right away and auditioning for a national tour and getting the role, were you auditioning for a specific role, or did you hope to get any?
Dominic Dorset: Actually, it was a role that my agent presented me, right about a less than a month after we did our big senior showcase in New York City.
Deb Polich: Mm hmm.
Dominic Dorset: And I was on another contract at the time, so I was not able to come in person for the audition. And so, I almost passed on the opportunity because I wasn't able to make an in-person audition. But my agent asked if I would be willing to Zoom for the part. And I was presented with an audition for Kristoff. And I said, "Sure, a Zoom or film audition. If they'll accept it, then I'll do it." And I did it, and they liked what they saw. And so, I had another self-tape and a Zoom callback with the associate director. And that's kind of how that whole journey started.
Deb Polich: And what happened when you got the call that you got the part?
Dominic Dorset: Whoa. I got the call back in June. And it was obviously very, very exciting, very thrilling, first major booking. And then, of course, right out of school was like just thrilling. It was the word I can use.
Deb Polich: I bet.
Dominic Dorset: I wasn't able to tell anybody for a few months. So, it was definitely a little secret that I had to sit on for a while.
Deb Polich: Like nobody? Not even your family?
Dominic Dorset: I could tell my parents. I could tell close family members. But I wasn't allowed to make an announcement until the end of August.
Deb Polich: Wow. Secret. Secret. So, being cast as Kristoff, you know, it's kind of a nontraditional casting, right?
Dominic Dorset: A little bit. Yeah. I think. I obviously don't look like the Kristoff from the Disney animated movie, but I think what Disney is going for with that is by making a statement that these stories--the stories of Frozen, stories of really any Disney movie--are universal stories. And so, they can be played by actors who look like anybody because these are stories that could happen to anybody in the world.
Deb Polich: Oh, absolutely. 89 one WEMU's creative:impact continues. I'm your host, Deb Polich. By day, my guest goes by the name Dominic Dorset. But at night and on weekends, he answers to the name of Kristoff. So, Dominic, when did you join the tour, and where are we reaching you right now?
Dominic Dorset: I joined originally in Cleveland, Ohio, which was back in mid-August for rehearsals. We just finished playing Pittsburgh. We just finished playing Pittsburgh earlier this weekend. We're going to Tulsa, Oklahoma next.
Deb Polich: And has your family had a chance to see you in the show?
Dominic Dorset: Yes. You know, they were there opening night.
Deb Polich: I bet they were.
Dominic Dorset: Yeah. And then, they've seen it a couple of times since then.
Deb Polich: So, my husband Russ and I took the grandkids to see Frozen in Lansing this winter. And, you know, there were all these lots of young girls, little excited girls, many in costumes. Some skeptical brothers like my grandson, Brooks. And lots of parents and grandparents.
Dominic Dorset: Sure.
Deb Polich: Frozen on stage isn't a duplicate of the animated Frozen, but it does tell the same story. And there are some spectacular, spectacular special effects. That one costume change comes to mind for me. But by the end of the show, Brooks, my grandson, couldn't stop asking about, "Oh, my gosh! How did they do that? That was so exciting!" Do you see that change in people that may be skeptical about going into a theater experience?
Dominic Dorset: Absolutely. But what we try to tell people upfront is that Frozen is a show for everybody. It's not just for kids. It's for people out on the town for a night. It's for dates. It's for families. It's for friends. But, I mean, everybody seems to be talking very highly of it when they're on their way out from the theater, no matter what their notions were going into it.
Deb Polich: Do you get a chance to meet members of the audiences after the show?
Dominic Dorset: Occasionally, yeah. On the way out of the stage door, if somebody is hanging around, I'll try and stop by and say hi and take a picture. But that's one of the best parts of the job is seeing the faces of these audience members, usually children, and just how wide-eyed they are about, you know, an experience like this.
Deb Polich: Yes. So, I have to ask about Sven. What's it like having, you know, a reindeer for a sidekick?
Dominic Dorset: Sven is, without a doubt, the best part of the show for me, in my opinion, me getting to be on stage with this beautiful puppet. And I can't even put it into words. You just have to see it. It's a puppet designed by Michael Curry, and it's a giant, life-size reindeer animal costume that we have two different actors that rotate the role, so they each do four shows a week. But it feels like talking to an actual reindeer sometimes. For anyone who has a dog, it feels like you're talking to your best friend up there on stage.
Deb Polich Oh, that's so awesome. And, you know, you had to meet up and travel with new people and fit into a new ensemble on the stage. How did you navigate that?
Dominic Dorset: Um, I mean, I was lucky that this company is a very, very welcoming company and very helpful. And I got a lot of help from them and a lot of patience from them. I did not get a whole lot of time to rehearse with everybody because they were still doing the show every night while I was in rehearsals. But, as soon as I jumped in, they were all open arms and helpful tips and just a really warm family to come in to.
Deb Polich: So, are you scheduled to get back into Michigan any time soon?
Dominic Dorset: We are coming to Grand Rapids next summer, I believe.
Deb Polich: Well, we're going to look forward to that, and we're going to have that information up on our website. And I just want to say thanks so much for being on our show.
Dominic Dorset: Yes. Thank you for having me. It's been great.
Deb Polich: That's Dominic Dorset from Saline, who is playing Kristoff in the national tour of Frozen. Find out more about Dominic and the Frozen tour at WEMU dot org. You've been listening to creative:impact. I'm Deb Polich, president and CEO of Creative Washtenaw and your host. Mat Hopson is our producer. Join us every Tuesday to meet another creative Washtenaw guest. Celebrating 45 years of jazz broadcasting, this is 89 one WEMU FM Ypsilanti. Public radio from Eastern Michigan University.
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