Meet The Artist: Crystal Cossette

Crystal is making her third appearance on the Theatre B stage as Jessica in Hand to God. Crystal keeps busy raising her two children and working for FBS Data Systems as a Customer Coordinator on the Customer Projects and Relations team. In her spare time Crystal loves to bake and enjoys sharing her fantastic creations with others. You can see Crystal onstage in this weekend and next (through April 8th) in Hand to God.

TB: Tell us a little bit about yourself?
CC: I was born in Moorhead, MN, but moved to New Mexico at a very young age. My first childhood memories involve mountains, hot weather, barely any snow, and lots of bugs and big spiders. My mom and I moved back to this area when I was in 3rd grade, and I swear I’ve never been able to fully acclimate to winter! But we don’t have scorpions or tarantulas here, so I’m just fine dealing with the cold. After high school, I moved to Minneapolis to attend Augsburg College and graduated with degrees in Theatre Arts and Organizational Communications. Now I live in Fargo where I’m raising my two kids, Olivia (7) and Adrian (5). Even though I work full-time and have two kids, I’m crazy lucky to still be involved with theatre as much as possible.

TB: How did you first get involved with theatre? Or what drew you to theatre?
CC: I did small school things when I was young, but it took seeing West Side Story at Trollwood Performing Arts School for me to really get the theatre bug. I saw that show and said to myself, “I HAVE to do that.” So I did plays throughout high school and spent my summers at Trollwood. I’m glad I had opportunities during those years to build my confidence as a performer, because going to college for theatre can strip that away at times! Ha! College was where I realized why I love theatre so much– it’s cathartic for both the performer and the audience. We all get to experience emotions and situations that we either can’t usually express, or haven’t been through before.

Jake Hundley and Crystal in HAND TO GOD photo by Kensie Wallner Photography.

TB: A lot of your onstage roles have been in musicals, how does your musical theatre experience (or training as a singer) influence your performances?
CC: It is engrained in my head to rely on good breath support when singing, so I think that definitely comes in handy as a way to feel grounded and in control, even when I’m not singing. Besides that, I approach the process much the same way for musicals and plays. I do have a confession to make…  I love singing, but most of the time I prefer plays. While singing is an extension of expressing emotions in musicals, removing the musical aspect also removes a lot of the stress I put on myself!

TB: Favorite production or theatrical experience you’ve been involved in? Why?
CC: I can’t pick just one! Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike is definitely up there. Darcy let us spend a good amount of time digging into our characters through a number of different exercises. And sharing the stage with Pam, Hardy, Carrie, Missy, and Taylor! It was such a dream to work with that cast.

The other show that comes to mind is The Orphan Train, which I performed in with my daughter when she was about 3. We played two orphans who wouldn’t be adopted unless the other one was adopted as well. The play ended with me holding her and crying that I wouldn’t let anyone take her away from me, and I would take her of her. Talk about cathartic. Plus, that show was when I realized that my daughter had a real gift as an actress. I was so incredibly proud of her.

Crystal and Hardy Koenig in VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE. Photo by Michael Benedict.

TB: What has working on Hand to God been like?
CC: Pure fun. Everyone is here to put on the best show possible, but there are no egos. J.J. really upped the fun by leading us in lots of crazy improv warm-ups during the rehearsal process. Also, we had a puppet workshop! Speaking of puppets, I loved the challenge of learning puppetry and staying completely focused while performing my one puppet scene with Jason/Tyrone.

TB: What do you enjoy most about working with Theatre B?
CC: Pam provides us with lots of snacks! J This is my third Theatre B show, and every time it is a positive experience with supportive people all around. It’s truly a collaboration. I love when other members of the Theatre B ensemble come to rehearsals or to see the show. They just feel like family.

TB: Why should audiences come see Hand to God?
CC: Because they will regret not seeing it, and I 100% mean that. While there is the shock factor with this show, it is such a solid script and there is nothing else out there like it. This is a chance to laugh like you’ve never laughed before, while also being truly moved and forced to evaluate your views on good and evil.