With a dashing disarming smile and voice like butter, it’s hard to believe Wade McCollum is as perfect as he is. He melts our hearts as Sir Ernest Shackleton in Ernest Shackleton Loves Me, now available on BroadwayHD, but he’s also starred in Wicked and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. And he’s really nice and funny, too!
See what Wade has to say about joining the BroadwayHD family and how this magnificent multimedia musical came to be.
Watch Ernest Shackleton Loves Me today, only on BroadwayHD.
How did this role come to be? What can the audience look forward to?
I had worked with Val and Brendan (lyricist and composer) in LA some years ago workshopping Woody in their brilliant Toy Story musical for Disney. I became an instant fan of their work. When this came around, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to work with them again. Plus, who wouldn't be drawn to playing Ernest Shackleton?!
I love the seemingly insurmountable task of creating new musical theater and Shackleton's optimistic spirit and thirst for adventure seemed a perfect vehicle to motivate us all through the daunting and exhilarating task of penning our way into uncharted waters.
The audience will love the music, the whimsy, the inventive technical aspects, the taut story-line, the mash up of Joe's very funny, very smart book along with the epic songs and orchestrations, the joy of adventure, the history lesson couched within an unexpected template, Lisa's awesome direction, Alex's incredible set/light/projection design, Val's kick-ass performance and musicianship, Shackleton's most dashing smile. ;)
Val Vigoda is a goddess-like force to be reckoned with, plus a violin for an arm. What was it like to share the stage with her? How is your own performance affected by someone as renaissance and talented like her?
It's funny you say that Val is a goddess-like force- my thoughts exactly. She is like Artemis. Her violin/appendage is like her bow and her music, the arrow. She has a near perfect aim too. Her bullseye?- Hearts all over the planet. She is quite astonishing, in many ways.
Sharing the stage with Val is an absolute delight. I have the time of life playing opposite her as Kat. As an actor she is present, vulnerable, generous, funny, beautiful, powerful and wise. As a lyricist she is agile, adept, inventive and masterful. As a musician she raises the bar so high I had to get a rocket pack and blast up there just to see where we were aiming.
I learned the banjo for this role and the very first time I played the banjo in front of an audience was on LIVE morning television during our out of town world premier! It could have been a disaster, but thanks to Val's rock steady presence, Shackleton's spirit of optimistic adventure and my work ethic (and Ryan our brilliant music director) we pulled it off! Watching the segment back the next day, I was astonished to see that I sounded pretty darn legit. Next to Val Vigoda on a violin, that is no small feat. Though I have to say that on the cast recording, my tambourine playing is off the hook. Two and four – look out, I'm on you like hot sauce!
It's a cold snowy night and a historical figure climbs through your fridge. Who is it, and why?
Hermann Hesse. I am penning/composing a new musical about Hesse writing of his famous novel/poem Siddhartha and I have seventeen thousand questions for him! Plus I have imagined what he was like, how he walked, talked, laughed, pontificated so much in my imagination, it would be enlightening to experience him in the flesh. I also have some questions for him in regards to societal trends and what he believes could be the most potent medicine for our era of massive transformation and reckoning. I would like to listen to Bach with him and have him wax poetic, I would like to share his favorite meal, smoke a pipe, a glass of spirits, laugh heartily.
I am so honored my performance as Ernest is now in the pantheon of Broadway HD's luminous catalogue! I will be ecstatic to share this with my family for generations to come!