Interview: Laura Mehl aka Pam from The Office! Musical Parody
The Office! Musical Parody is the first Off-Broadway production to resume shows in New York City post-COVID. Of course, as the title should suggest, the Off-Broadway hit is about the megahit TV series, The Office. We got to chat with actress Laura Mehl on her return to the stage.
How did you get started in theatre?
I started performing in theatre my sophomore year in high school. I was in choir a lot and danced, but I had never thought about musical theatre until my choir teacher encouraged me to audition! I got the role of Sarah Brown in Guys and Dolls, and I have been in love with performing ever since!
What was your reaction when you found out your show was going to be one of the first to open up post-pandemic?
When I found out the show was going to be one of the first to open up post-pandemic, I completely lost it. I accidentally read the email while I was teaching a voice lesson, and one of my students (who is eight years old) watched me sit in shock and then start crying. He thought I was broken. Of course, then I had to explain what in the WORLD was going on and we ended up going over the lesson by like forty-five minutes because we just couldn’t recover from finding out. The catharsis was SO strong in that moment and it still is.
Jim and Pam are an iconic couple. How are you guys preparing for this role while attempting to stay six feet apart and masked?
We’ve been studying the characters and talking about our theories about their relationship a LOT. And to be honest, so much of Jim and Pam’s relationship happens with eye contact, so there are a TON of those moments in the show that we’ve started building in. If there’s something weird or funny going on, we’re definitely looking at each other.
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How do you think Jim and Pam would have handled COVID-19?
I think they would’ve realized they were unhappy with their lives a LOT sooner. Pam wouldn’t have made it two weeks in quarantine with Roy and would be calling Jim leaving voice mails every day.
What’s your favorite song in the show?
“Papercut Heart” is my absolute favorite song. It has to do with the staging with I am NOT going to tell you about because honestly you need to see it to believe it.
If someone, god knows why, has never seen The Office, how would you convince them to come to your show?
I would encourage them to watch the list of episodes on Instagram – honestly just seeing those will get you hooked, and if that’s not for you, the musical numbers are absolutely hysterical, and you can’t find them anywhere else but live on stage!
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What do you think the future of live theatre is going to look like? Will stage door ever exist again?
Oof. This is such a rough question. I think the future of live theatre is looking bright. The pandemic brought about so many needed changes, not just in taking care of yourself, but in society and how we treat one another. I’d like to think that that will come into the theatre realm as well. Once we’re all vaccinated, I’m hoping we’ll go back to normal, but a kinder, more understanding version of normal. With lots of self-care.
Other than The Office, what did you watch, read and listen to during quarantine?
I am a HUGE fan of the podcast My Favorite Murder, so I binged that a lot. I also have really enjoyed re-watching New Girl in my free time. Reading wise, I’ve been a SUPER NERD in the best way and have been reading this book called The Singing Teachers Guide to Transgender Voices because I am trying to keep up to date on my voice knowledge (I can go on about it for ages) and I am one of those people who never wants to stop learning.
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