Alum Krystina Morrill Stars in “The Office Musical”
Krystina Morrill graduated from Marin Ballet in 2018 and from Hartt School, a performing arts conservatory, in 2022. She just landed a coveted role as Angela in the Off-Broadway production of “The Office Musical,” which premiered in 2018. Board Member Mona Steinberg saw the show and managed to catch up with Krystina for a chat.
Mona: Tell us about your role in The Office
Krystina: My primary character is Angela, however, I play three other characters throughout the performance, creating a total of 17 quick changes! The other actors in the production have similar responsibilities. We all have a main character, but share the load in terms of playing multiple other roles. The casting is reminiscent of a “corps de ballet”, or in theater jargon, an Ensemble show. We truly work together to carry the show and most of us are present for almost every scene, if one of us isn’t on stage, we are likely changing characters (with the incredible help of backstage crew, fellow cast members, and the head of wardrobe)! The choreography backstage was actually the most daunting part of joining this show and I had very little time between accepting the casting offer and learning the onstage show (three rehearsals and one dress rehearsal). But ultimately, because of the well-oiled teamwork machine, every new cast member is able to adjust very quickly to the fast paced, five show weekend.
Mona: What was it like auditioning for the part?
Krystina: My auditions spanned the course of about two weeks. The initial submission was virtual, through a database called Actor’s Access. A week after my initial submission, casting called me in for multiple rounds. Each time I went in, I got more material from the show, starting with the primary role of Angela to make sure that was a good fit. As the rounds went on, material from the other characters were added on, to make sure I could do other impressions. Through these rounds, actors typically receive corrections from the creative team. How an actor responds to these critiques is a massive component in whether they move on to the next round. Natural talent plays a very small part in getting work as a performer – work ethic, rehearsal etiquette, and the ability to apply corrections and do justice to the vision of the creative team is key. Working through the material with the team during the callbacks allows them to see how a performer will behave upon getting hired.
Mona: Do you think that your training at Marin Ballet was helpful in getting the role?
Krystina: Absolutely! 100%…especially in regards to taking critiques. My time at Marin Ballet was very focused on learning how to be a positive contributor to a rehearsal and performance environment. I never had the raw ability for classical ballet…we’re talkin’ tight hips, flat feet, etc. Honestly, very few humans are born with a facility that moves naturally through the extremely unnatural artform of ballet. We all have challenges that we’re born with, but at Marin Ballet, I learned through explicit advice as well as personal experience, that the most important aspect in succeeding is how we work through those challenges. I learned the importance of will power and the words “I can’t do that” quickly vanished from my vocabulary. Our minds control our bodies. If we want to accomplish something badly enough, we have the power to figure out how to achieve our goals. Dance, performing arts, LIFE is not one size fits all. Comparing your journey to someone else’s is a recipe for frustration and distraction. My mentors at Marin Ballet were frank about challenges I might face, but they ALWAYS encouraged me to keep going.
Mona: What advice do you have for aspiring young performers?
Krystina: If you want to go into theater, and musical theater specifically, I cannot stress enough the value that a classical ballet background holds. Stay in ballet. Marin Ballet trains extremely clean and artistic dancers and that is a very unique skill set in the realm of theater. Not only does the work ethic and thick skin come in handy, but Marin Ballet’s training assures that your technique is planted very firmly in your muscle memory. The wonderful thing about Marin Ballet is that there are multiple instructors to take advice from so keep an open mind to all the information you are being taught. For those looking into theater, try to get into singing lessons a couple times a month, and really take advantage of the other styles that Marin Ballet will offer through summer intensive and guest teachers.
Most importantly, take care of yourself. You have one body, and right now, that body is allowing you to dance with your friends in gorgeous, well maintained, sun-soaked studios. Respect yourself, your peers, your teachers, and the incredible facilities that Marin Ballet provides.
And remember why you do this! You are choosing to be there every day after school – so make it worthwhile and remember that there will always be hard days. But If you begin to feel that the truly bad days outweigh the good, have a conversation with yourself, your parents, and your teachers – they are there to support you. Communication, honesty, and gratitude will see you through.