The newest musical to illuminate the stage at Bucks County Playhouse is Summer of ‘42. This musical is based on the novel and 1971 film of the same name. Herman Raucher wrote the novel and screenplay. Hunter Foster (Urinetown, Hands on a Hardbody) wrote the book for this musical and David Kirshenbaum wrote the music and lyrics. Foster also directs this production. According to Bucks County Playhouse, “Summer of ‘42 is a coming of age story about three teenage boys living on a tiny island off the coast of Maine during the time when America was in the middle of a full-scale war and men were lining up to join the army. It becomes a summer they will never forget.”
Baily Buntain, most recently known for her portrayal of Ginnie on Bunheads, portrays one of the teenagers in the play, Aggie. We had a chance to talk to Buntain about her role in Summer of ’42 and her career as a dancer.
Kelli Curtin: Tell me about your character, Aggie. How would you describe her?
Bailey Buntain: Aggie is one of the three young girls on the island, and these girls have crushes on the three boys on the island. Aggie is paired up with Hermie, and it is teenage love. Hermie should end up with Aggie, but unfortunately, that is not where his heart is.
Kelli Curtin: Are there any characteristics of Aggie that remind you of yourself?
Bailey Buntain: Aggie is 15, and on the cusp of maturing. She still looks like she is 12, and she is still a sweet and innocent kid. The fact that she is still 15 and looks like she is 12 definitely reminds me of myself. In addition, she is honest and is excited about all things life has to offer that she has not yet experienced.
Kelli Curtin: What can people expect from the show Summer of ‘42?
Bailey Buntain: The entire cast is amazing. It is a beautiful and tragic story. The music for this show has made some of the songs my favorite in musical theatre. And having Hunter Foster, the person who wrote the book for this musical, also direct this show is special.
Kelli Curtin: How did you get involved in musical theatre?
Bailey Buntain: I started out in dancing and got involved in theatre because of the different opportunities available. I like being able to tell a story and turning into a character. I have done jobs where I got to sing, dance and act. On Bunheads I got to dance and act, and in Summer of ‘42 I get to do all three. There are parts of the show that the music is really fun, and there are songs where it is a play on the Andrew Sisters.
Kelli Curtin: Are there any favorite roles you have played?
Bailey Buntain: My favorite role so far has been Minnie Fay from Hello,Dolly! and Ginny Thompson in Bunheads. In addition, I am enjoying Summer of ‘42 as well. It is a fun show, it is set in the 1940s and it is a fun style to take on.
Kelli Curtin: Who influences you as a performer?
Bailey Buntain: Vera-Ellen is my favorite dancer, she is the person who originally peaked my interest about dancing. I also watched Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire and thought that I wanted to do what they do, they sparked my curiosity.
Kelli Curtin: How does your stage acting experiences compare to your television acting experiences?
Bailey Buntain: Stage and television acting are similar, but a different process. In television, you get to play the same character, but the plot and storyline are changing. The character evolves and keeps moving forward. On the stage, you are telling the same story, but you find new things in the same story.
Kelli Curtin: You have many fans of Bunheads who have expressed their disappointment about the cancellation of Bunheads over the last few days. What was your reaction to the cancellation?
Bailey Buntain: At the time the cancellation was announced, I was travelling to Bucks County, so I found out through twitter. I tend to process things after they happen. I am sad this show is ending, and that I will not have the opportunity to say the words Amy Sherman-Palladino wrote. I will also miss seeing this great cast every day. Bunheads had great potential; it just needed more time. I am sad we are not going to see what it would have turned into. Although, for six months we have been waiting for answer on whether the show was renewed or not, and we all have an answer and can move forward to do other projects. I will really miss being a part of Bunheads.
Kelli Curtin: Do you have any advice for aspiring young actors?
Bailey Buntain: The best advice that was ever given to me was: never make it about yourself, make it about the people you are working with and the people you are working for. This is the greatest piece of advice I was given.
The Summer of ‘42 runs at Bucks County Playhouse through August 11, 2013. For more information and tickets visit their website at www.bcptheater.org or call their box office at 215-862-2121.
Photo Credit: Mandee Kuenzle
Kelli Curtin is editor and writer for theatresensation.com. In addition, she writes for the online sites broadwayworld.com and figlancaster.com and is a freelance writer. Kelli is excited to share her passion about theatre and the arts with her readers. Kelli can be found on twitter @theatrescribe and on Facebook/theatresensation.
Originally appeared on the Broadway World Philadelphia website on July 29, 2013.