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‘Catalyst Sessions’ recap: Chris Crawford of freeFall Theatre

Bill DeYoung



In "Buyer and Cellar," 2019.

Freefall Theatre Company associate artistic director Chris Crawford can pinpoint his “aha” moment, when he knew, without hesitation, that he was destined to be on the stage.

“I saw a production of Pippin back in probably 2001, 2002,” Crawford said on The Catalyst Sessions Friday. “And I was so taken aback. I was raised in a very conservative household in Oklahoma, and Pippin is a very racy show. I was ‘maybe I should leave.’

“(But) I stayed through the end. I looked around, and I watched people around me reacting. And I was, myself, sobbing because I was so moved. And I got up and I thought ‘If I can make one person feel the way that I feel right now, then my life has meant something.’ From then on, it was storytelling, and theater, and performing.”

Crawford joined the freefall staff last year, after making his name as both an actor and director in the Orlando area, and then around Florida. As a visiting artist at Freefall, he had performed in numerous shows – most recently in the one-man comical tour de force Buyer and Cellar. His work as a director, for comedies, dramas and musicals, was also well known here.

The Covid-19 scare has, understandably, put freeFall’s immediate future in limbo – still hopeful for a summertime debut is Oz, an original musical by Artistic Director Eric Davies and Musical Director Michael Raabe.

Crawford is to star as Wizard of Oz creator L. Frank Baum.

“We’re hoping to make some pretty crucial decisions in the next few days,” Crawford said. “We’re kind of seeing how the governor’s early opening rollouts are going. But we will stick to the CDC recommendations – so we will make sure we keep our performers safe, and we keep our patrons safe. That’s what’s the most important to us.”

In the meantime, he’ll take to the innerwebs again Sunday, for a 7 p.m. visit Freefall is calling Cocktail Hour With With Chris. Look for it on the theater’s Facebook page.

It’s part of Freefall’s these-are-strange-times-but-we’re-still-here outreach series.

“Two weeks ago, Matt McGee did one where he talked about his favorite movies. Different staff members will be appearing, different freeFall artists will be appearing, just to answer questions – just to talk with the community about theater, about life or whatever, over a cocktail.”

Davis moderates a Zoom discussion every Wednesday, to talk about the National Theatre archive shows now available on YouTube (see the Freefall Facebook page for details on jumping aboard).

“And we have some very exciting titles on board for next season, so that announcement is coming soon,” Crawford explained. “So yeah, there’s a lot to talk about, and a lot to think about, over the next few days.”

Monday (May 4) on The Catalyst Sessions: Colleen Cherry

Weeknights at 7 on the Catalyst Facebook page


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  1. Avatar

    Bunny Newman

    May 2, 2020at5:32 pm

    Pippin is NOT a racy show AT ALL. In fact, it is fundamentally conservative, with the main character in the end choosing a domestic life.

  2. Avatar

    Sylvia Rusche

    May 2, 2020at5:24 pm

    Good interview Bill! Chris Crawford is a treasure…we are fortunate to have him.

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