It’s almost Valentine’s Day peeps! We were so excited when we learned about Signature Theatre’s Winter Cabaret series. We recently had the privilege and delight of chatting with Chelsea and Geoff Packard who will be performing a cabaret show of theatre, pop and original music from February 12th through the 15th. We love learning about other couples and we love theatre so we were thrilled to get to spend time talking to such a cute couple!
Kari: Why do you guys like Cabaret performing?
Geoff: The first cabaret I’d done professionally was at Signature a couple summers ago. I’d never done anything like that. Matt Gardiner, who’s the associate artistic director of the Signature, saw me in a couple of musicals in Washington, DC and asked me if I wanted to do a night of my own stuff which I thought would be fun.
Chelsea: I have sung in concert settings for longer than I’ve been a part of theater, so I feel really comfortable doing the show in a cabaret format. I really like it because it’s up to the performer what they’d like to include. There’s no particular genre that you have to stick to. I like being able to put together a night that both showcases different parts of my voice and musical taste, but also caters to different preferences in the audience. I think it’s really cool that the Signature has a series and that it’s subscription based because I think it really exposes theatergoing audiences to a bunch of different kinds of music and performers, that maybe they wouldn’t normally be exposed to.
RJ: So you have been in the DC area before, what do you like about it here?
Geoff: I like American history. DC’s got the market on that as far as museums and stuff you can go to. I did a production of Candide that we did in a handful of different cities, so you actually got to compare audiences. I felt that Washington, DC audiences are very intelligent. They’re super-smart.
Kari: How did you guys meet and how long have you been together?
Chelsea: We met doing the National tour of Wicked. That was back in 2007. We met because we were there, but we fell in love because we were the two coolest people there.
Geoff: And we started dating in Baltimore, Maryland. So for a while I had a t-shirt that said, “I fell in love in Baltimore”
Kari and RJ: Awwwwww
Chelsea: We actually started dating right at the beginning of February and our first official date was going out to dinner on Valentines.
RJ: You’ve told us about your first date, but do you guys have a go to date? I know you probably travel around a lot so it might not be a specific place, but is there a specific activity?
Geoff: We started as skiers, but now I’m a snowboarder. When we were on tour we went to Vermont and we went skiing with a few people. Chelsea and I were the only good skiers there so we spent all day together and I thought, “This could be something cool.” Then I proposed on a ski trip and we got married in the mountains so that’s definitely our go to.
Kari: What’s your favorite part about working together?
Geoff: One of my favorite things in the world is arranging songs with Chelsea. She’s a very talented arranger. We’ve done that for fun and we’ve started doing that more seriously in the past couple of years. We make music together, but we haven’t shared the stage together a lot recently. So it will be fun. That’s what I love, is the actual rehearsing and coming up with arrangements of songs because it’s very collaborative, and I feel very unique with her when we do that.
Chelsea: I really like rehearsing with Geoff. The show that we just had the chance to do, Meet Me in St. Louis, was the first time that Geoff and I had ever done a rehearsal process together. It was like any normal rehearsal process you would expect. In the beginning it was let’s open up our scripts and start reading it from the beginning and everybody gets to know everybody in a room while we’re putting on a show together. It just was so fun to be at work with Geoff. To be at work together, I fell in love with him at work!
Kari: That’s so sweet.
Chelsea: I just think it’s cool to go to work with Geoff because that’s when he’s the most on. Most people in the theater are usually the most on when they’re socializing and Geoff is the most on when he’s at work, and that’s when he thrives the most. So it’s great to be a part of that process with him.
RJ: So talking about rehearsing and building a show and arranging together what are some of your favorite artists and songs, and how did that influence how you guys put together the cabaret?
Geoff: We tried to pick songs that are close to the songs that we have performed on Broadway and elsewhere, but not those songs. So for instance, we’re doing a couple of Stephen Schwartz songs, but we’re not at this moment doing anything from Wicked. We are doing possibly a Burt Bacharach song. Chelsea was in Promises! Promises! but we’re not doing something from Promises! Promises! So stuff like that.
Chelsea: I really like the idea of doing a Valentine’s Day show. It makes it easier to curate a night of music that has a theme already built in. A lot of the songs we’re doing are love songs. Some of them stem from the theater and some of them are pop ones that we are putting our more folk-singer-songwriter spin on. I play piano and Geoff plays guitar, so a portion of what we do will be where we play for ourselves, like a little Guy and Girl from Once kind of vibe. Another portion of the night will be with our friend Howard Breitbart playing piano will be more traditional musical theater style.
Thank you, Chelsea and Geoff for such a great interview! We look forward to seeing you perform!
Our Funny Valentine with Chelsea and Geoff Packard runs from February 12th through February 15th Signature Theatre. You can buy tickets at Signature’s website here. Or you can call the box office at 703-820-9771.