Heights resident, headed for 2 TUTS roles, says performing is in her DNA

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by Cynthia Lescalleet
For the Leader

When actor Julia Krohn, 31, credits the influence of her “stage parents,” she means they are venerable members of the Houston theater community and “masters of their craft.” Charles and Chesley Krohn were her first teachers in the performing arts, she said. They taught by example as well as experience.
Otherwise, Krohn’s childhood was “pretty normal,” she said.

“They worked hard at that, keeping thing calm and together,” she said. Some of the balance came from both her parents being teachers as well as performers, she added.

Father Charles Krohn has been a member of Alley Theatre for 27 seasons and has worked in more than 40 TUTS productions since 1969 as well as those of Houston Shakespeare Festival, among others. He’s also a professor of English at University of St. Thomas. Mother Chesley Krohn, also a performer, has been a choreographer, dancer and artistic director.

In Montrose-born Krohn’s Meyerland-area childhood, “the arts were present,” she said. Her three older brothers also steeped in the culturally rich home environment. (Elder brother Aaron, now of New York City, is also a professional stage actor.)

A Heights resident since her return to Houston in 2009 after a two-year stint in the original Las Vegas company of “Jersey Boys,” the mezzo-soprano will be on stage in the ensemble of two upcoming TUTS shows: “Camelot” (Jan. 22-Feb. 3) and “Man of La Mancha”(Feb. 26-March 10).

When Krohn’s on stage, “It doesn’t feel like work,” she said. “I’ve done this my whole life.”
She’s thrilled at the chance to perform in two classic tales. “There’s something sweet about the older pieces,” she said.

Meanwhile, having toured with regional productions and been on Broadway, Krohn is especially pumped about appearing in TUTS’ 2013 shows in which she will sing, dance and act.

“It’s like being home when I am working there,” she said, recalling her years backstage as her folks rehearsed and performed at Houston’s former Music Hall.

Working in a musical production and getting to shine in all three disciplines (dancing-acting-singing) is “very special,” she said. So is getting to appear in a show with her father. Charles Krohn has been cast as Merlin in “Camelot.”

As a performer of these older stage works, the younger Krohn is aware that she needs to move her body differently than when she’s in modern shows.

“There’s a regal quality to how to hold the body,” she explained.

Similarly proper demands came into play during her just-completed role in Alley Theatre’s production of “A Christmas Carol.” A member of the holiday party in that show, she was conscious that the times in which it was set would not have tolerated poor posture or table manners, such as elbows on the table, for example.

Even the way actors move when dancing needs to reflect the time of the story they’re telling, she said.
Krohn, a 2000 graduate of Houston’s High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, was selected as a Presidential Scholar in the Arts and earned first place in that as well as in the NFAA Arts Recognition.
That was “an amazing opportunity, a real boost,” she said, when leaving her childhood home for The Boston Conservatory’s musical theater program.

Julia Krohn’s previous TUTS shows include “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,” “Anything Goes” and “Cats.” At Alley Theatre, she performed in “Sherlock Holmes,” “A Christmas Carol” and “Toward Zero”; the latter with her father at decade ago. At Stages Repertory Theatre, she was the title character in “Betty’s Summer Vacation.”
Krohn said her interest in performing is in her DNA. “My mother says it must have come from the womb.” Now it is Krohn who is watching a new generation’s performing inclinations take root.
She and husband Charlie Mechling – a member of national a cappella juggernaut Straight No Chaser – have a son who, at 18 months, could be exhibiting the family genes, she said. “He loves to sing and loves to dance.”

On Stage:
“Camelot” (Jan. 22-Feb. 3)
Set in a land where honor and chivalry reign, “Camelot” follows the love triangle of King Arthur, his Queen Guenevere and the young Lancelot.
Dazzling and spellbinding with sweeping romance, historic grandeur and heart-breaking drama, “Camelot” is considered the definitive musical theatre fable.
“Man of La Mancha” (Feb. 26-March 10)
“Man of La Mancha” is an epic story of swashbuckling imagination, romance and adventure. Set amid the Spanish Inquisition, the show follows knight-errant Don Quixote in his quest for “The Impossible Dream,” along with his servant Sancho and the lovely Dulcinea, as he attempts to right all wrongs and win the heart of a good woman.
www.TUTS.com or (713) 558-TUTS (8887)

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