Memphis actor and vocalist Annie Freres describes "A Place for Us," the "vocal and movement concert" she's dreamed up with Weightless Aerial founder Callie Compton. "It's kind of like Labyrinth," she says. "In a way. It's like, 'Welcome to my brain.'"
Freres is probably best known to Memphis theater audiences for delivering bone-shattering vocals in musicals like Lizzie and Mamma Mia. She's no stranger to burlesque comedy and has been known to take the occasional plunge into drama with shows like Tracy Letts' relentlessly shocking play Killer Joe.
"I've always dreamed of singing live while beautiful people dance around me," Freres says. "You've got to dance to something, why shouldn't it be live singing?"
Freres and Compton have worked together before. The singer was often a last minute add-on to Weightless Ariel's regular Night Shift performances at TheatreWorks.
"I did quite a few of those Night Shifts," Freres says. "But because I was always doing other projects at the same time, it seems like I was just sort of placed in the show." Nevertheless, a backstage conversation began on what a bigger collaboration might look like.
"I always wanted to do a silk number to 'God Help the Outcasts' from Hunchback of Notre Dame," Compton told Freres, who agreed to learn it. Freres also started bringing some of her favorite songs to the table. "I would say it's an even split of pop and Broadway, and even the Broadway numbers we've chosen have a crossover quality to them."
Freres jokes about her reputation for working with bawdy material, then makes an assurance. "This is completely family friendly," she says.