Northwestern University honors graduate Erik Sandvold has been featured frequently by Colorado’s leading theater companies, in productions such as: PLAINSONG, WELL - Denver Center Theatre Company; MOONLIGHT AND MAGNOLIAS, 1940’S RADIO HOUR - Arvada Center; ROMEO AND JULIET, TWELFTH NIGHT – Colorado Shakespeare Festival; PASS OVER, APPROPRIATE, LUCKY ME (Best of Westword Award), CLYBOURNE PARK, 9 CIRCLES, HOMEBODY/KABUL, TAKE ME OUT (Denver Post Ovation Award), and I AM MY OWN WIFE (Ovation Award – Best Solo Performance) – Curious Theatre Company. Erik performed the new, one-actor musical BUBS (Ovation Award – Best Solo Performance) at FringeNYC, and has narrated nearly a thousand books (including the entire Harry Potter series) for the Library of Congress, as well as numerous concerts with the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, the Colorado Symphony, and other ensembles. In 2003, in Madison Square Garden, Mr. Sandvold was given his second, national Alexander Scourby Narrator of the Year Award. He is one of only two people ever to receive the award twice.
Erik Sandoval in I AM MY OWN WIFE, Theatreworks, 2008
Erik Sandvold: Boulder, CO
TW: Home now?
ES: Denver, CO
TW: How are you doing right now?
ES: I am feeling extremely grateful to have the privilege of having our immediate family all safe and healthy together at home, and to have the unexpected gift of time to spend with them and far flung friends (virtually), as well as time to use exploring long-dormant creative projects.
TW: What are you listening to on Spotify (iTunes, Sirius, etc) or watching (on Netflix, Hulu, etc)?
ES: Jeff Finlin - an amazing, respected Colorado-based musician who has probably been more appreciated abroad than here in the United States. Paul Buchanan (the leading force for The Blue Nile), especially his amazing solo album Mid Air. Tom Waits. More musical theater than usual - a wide variety. Much more! As for TV, Ric Burns’ New York documentary, Run, Songland, Top Chef, The Mick, some classic sports that I missed when they originally aired, lots of David Lynch movies that my youngest daughter has to watch for a college course, American Vandal, and more… I’d never be able to watch anywhere close to this much if it weren’t for the stay at home orders.
TW: Who are your heroes in real life?
ES: Bruce Springsteen. My parents. People who are battling on the front lines of the struggle for social, economic, and (especially) racial justice, and who are doing so with passion, deep thinking, and love.
TW: What is your most treasured possession?
ES: My trove of creative ideas.
TW: What is the best gift you have ever received?
ES: Our daughters, far and away!
TW: Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
ES: Cool. My daughters said that I should add "golldang!" - they say I say it every day. Ha!
TW: What is your motto?
ES: I don’t really have one, but here goes (long-winded, as usual)… Bring the very best of yourself you possibly can to everything and everyone, especially the things and people you care the most about, and endeavor to keep finding more things and people you care the most about.
TW: Who are your favorite writers or playwrights?
ES: Besides those mentioned above: Eugene O’Neill, Richard Greenberg, Stephen Sondhiem, Lerner and Loewe, Antoinette Nwandu, Tarell Alvin McCraney, August Wilson, Alan Ayckbourn, and several more I’m sure. I also love the adaptations of Frank Galati.
TW: Who are your theatre idols?
ES: Actually, I don’t really have many, but one of An Iliad’s co-creators, Denis O’Hare, is one. Maggie Smith and Colm Wilkinson also made indelible impressions. And, I greatly admire many current young playwrights, such as Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and Meridith Friedman.
TW: What is An Iliad all about in one sentence?
ES: It is about the enduring, seemingly inescapable pull of war, and its wasteful, devastating consequences; and the concurrent power of community, story, poetry, and the human spirit to persevere and strive to overcome our baser impulses.
TW: Why does An Iliad matter now?
It has always mattered, since the time it was created. I’m really bothered by the popular, short-sighted, self-aggrandizing phrase “now, more than ever”. I think that part of the power of this play derives from the fact that it links us to the people, civilizations, and struggles of the ages - and to humanity’s ongoing heroic perseverance. I hope that it speaks in a particularly inspiring way to us now, in the throes of this pandemic, showing us that through community, ritual, understanding, art, and heroism (of many kinds), we have managed to find our way through devastation and loss in the past - and will again. And, I hope that it speaks to us in a cautionary way, as well, clearly reminding us again of what has been known for ages: that rage and unchecked ego, especially in leaders, directly leads to that devastation and loss.
TW: What's one line from An Iliad which really speaks to you?
ES: “That’s right! Hector is wearing Achilles’ armor, my god, and so there is Achilles, spear in hand, and he’s looking at himself in a way, at an image of himself--” We’re all in this life, on this earth, together - wondering, scared, alive - and our perceived enemies are really part of the same global family. They are not “other”. They are “us”.
TW: One thing we should be doing to foster the next generation of theatregoers?
ES: Make a wide variety of programming accessible, frequently, to young people throughout their youth and education - through affordable/free tickets and free transportation. Preserve a sense of occasion, but develop it as a habit, a regular part of civic practice. Then, continue to engage young adults by making top quality child care readily available to parents with young children and offering a variety of showtimes, so theatre doesn’t frequently have to compete with other arts, sports, and social activities.