Interview with Kylie Westerbeck
By Sean McCall
Kylie Westerbeck is a freshman Theater major at Rowan University who grew up in Fredericksburg, Virginia. She recently moved on-campus in Glassboro, NJ, when she decided to attend Rowan. She decided to come to Rowan because of their well-known Theater program. Westerbeck has been involved in theater since the 8th grade. In addition, she has a passion for music and has been writing music before she was even involved in theater. She plays piano, guitar, and sings. Kylie first realized she wanted to pursue a career involving theater when she played a role as a ditzy nun in a show called Nunsense her sophomore year of high school. This was the year she initially came up with the idea of Complexity, the new musical Kylie wrote and created herself. I had the opportunity to sit down and talk to her about her upcoming musical debut.
S.M.: What’s a brief description of Complexity?
K.W.: Complexity: A New Musical – It surrounds a story of a girl named Beth who moves to NYC with her best friend Jamie. Beth doesn’t have her life together, but her roommate, Jamie, does. She lives the life Beth wants to live in New York City, so Beth becomes really lonely. She ends up falling in love with the guy next door, through his music, even though they never meet. It’s a love story between the two of them. It turns out Beth imagines these people, and falls in love with somebody who is not even there because of her level of loneliness.
When did you first come up with the idea to write your own musical?
I first had the idea my sophomore year of high school, so I wrote a few songs for it. I developed the idea then, but didn’t really crack down on it until this year when I came to Rowan. I wrote the script and some more filler songs this year.
What classes are you taking this semester, and did any of them help you create complexity in any way?
Intro to Performance, Script Analysis, dance class, West Civ since 1660, and Social Problems, practicum, colloquium. Script Analysis definitely helped contribute to certain elements and details.
How long will the show run and how many songs are there?
The show is about 65 minutes, and there are roughly 11-12 songs.
How did you get the opportunity to debut this show through Rowan?
I initially applied for the Capital Fringe Festival, not thinking I would even get in. Then, I got accepted, so I went to our department’s Chair, Liz Hostetter, to ask for rehearsal space, and she decided to do it in conjunction with Rowan. So the festival runs from July 7th - July 31st in D.C. There will be five performances total:
THURSDAY JULY 7:
House opens: 9:00 PM
Performance: 9:15 PM
SUNDAY JULY 10:
House opens: 12:30 PM
Performance: 12:45 PM
THURSDAY JULY 14:
House opens: 6:00 PM
SATURDAY JULY 16:
House opens: 8:45 PM
Performance: 9:00 PM
FRIDAY JULY 22:
House opens: 7:45 PM
Performance: 8:00 PM
Ticket prices TBD.
CHARACTERS: 22-23 years old
A homebody with big aspirations and big dreams. She doesn’t have a passion for anything and doesn’t know where life is going. She is a girl lost in the city, struggling to find her dreams.
Successful in her field, but the type of person to be a crowd pleaser, and popular in any room she walks into immediately. Jamie finds a job that she loves and she’s good at it, while Beth is struggling at home.
Aspiring musician in NYC, stuck in the city and can’t seem to find success.
She is John’s girlfriend, who ultimately ends up representing successfulness and sexiness, who ends up being Jamie’s friend. Beth is the complete opposite, and Beth is a little jealous of this.
Casting just started, and there are 7 members including a 3-person movement/music ensemble. Lauren Ackermann plays Babe, William McGlone is John, Kylie Westberbeck is playing her own role as Beth, and Dana Campana is Jamie. The three-person ensemble is Beatrice Hemmings and two outside people, Brandon Weber and Jenny Fernandez, from an ad to the Philadelphia theater company [Theatre Philadelphia]. 25 people auditioned, and 7 people were accepted. Rehearsals start in May, and they will rehearse at least a few hours everyday Monday - Friday. "We’ll rehearse up until the show," said Kylie. The cast is responsible for their own transportation, but they’re raising money through a show at Rowan before the festival.
Kylie wanted the message to be the idea of when it’s not okay to leave somebody you love. The show itself is based around Kylie’s own personal experiences, and she wanted to portray a message of love and abandonment.
“It’s a very humbling experience, but also makes you take a step back. It’s taking over my life and it’s a promenade aspect, but it feels good to be a freshman and doing this. The community of people that I found through this show has helped build my love for the Rowan Theater program.”
- Kylie Westerbeck
Kylie has started a gofundme for the costs of her creativity, and she has already reached half of her goal. If you want to contribute to the cost of Kylie’s production, you can donate here: https://www.gofundme.com/mjymktwc
About the Writer
Sean McCall is a Music Business Technology Major studying at Rowan University with a Minor in Theatre. He has been attending shows and events since he was in middle school and has had his own band he’s been involved in for about 7 years called Breaking Tradition. He has been actively involved in the music scene since he was young and holds an overall passion for all types of music. He has an ear for music and tries to pick up as many instruments as he can. Sean has sung in multiple competitive honor choirs throughout the country, ranging from All-State Honor Choir to as far as All-National Honor Choir, and plans to take off in the Music Industry in as many ways possible. Sean also recently helped book a show in Glassboro with his friends, Alex Lavallee and Alex Bradley, and plans to book many more independent shows in the near future. With a passion for music, bands, and the overall scene, he is adding music journalism to his resumé to contribute even further into this talented area we call home.