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Interview: Kevin Cahoon Talks MONARCH Country Music Series on FOX

Interview: Kevin Cahoon Talks MONARCH Country Music Series on FOX

An encore presentation of the premiere episode will air tonight at 9:00 p.m. on FOX

Known for his work in musicals like Hedwig and the Angry Inch and The Lion King, Kevin Cahoon is taking his talents to television as Earl Clark in the new FOX series, Monarch.

Monarch is a Texas-sized, multi-generational musical drama about America's leading family of country music. An encore presentation of the premiere will air tonight at 9:00 p.m. on FOX before the series movies to its time period premiere on September 20. New episodes of Monarch premiere Tuesdays at 8:00 p.m. and will stream on Hulu.

In the series, Cahoon is joined by Susan Sarandon, Trace Adkins, Tony-winner Faith Prince, Anna Friel, Beth Ditto, Joshua Sasse, Callum Kerr, Martha Higareda, and more.

BroadwayWorld caught up with Cahoon to discuss his character, working with Susan Sarandon and Faith Prince on the new series, what to expect from the new series, and more.


What can you tell me about your character, Earl?

Monarch is about iconic country music royalty. I play Earl Clark, who is the right hand of Dottie Roman, who is played by Susan Sarandon, and I've worked for the family for years, and I live on the ranch, which is called The Rambles. I am her makeup artist and hair stylist and also her best friend. I have watched the kids grow up, who are played by Anna Friel, Beth Ditto and Joshua Sasse, so I know all of the secrets and I know where all of the bodies are buried, so to speak.

The character was inspired by a gentleman named Earl Cox who lives in Nashville and is an iconic hairdresser and makeup artists for every country artist you can imagine. He did the famous Faith Hill haircut. Remember when she cut her hair off really short? He did that and Martina McBride and the list goes on and on. He has a salon in Nashville and Melissa London Hilfers, who is the creator of the show was inspired by his story and his life and, although I am not portraying him, there is a sprinkle of him in this character. That's for sure. I've not met him, but I wanna meet him. So that's who I play.

Interview: Kevin Cahoon Talks MONARCH Country Music Series on FOX
Kevin Cahoon as Earl Clark in Monarch on FOX.

You mentioned that your character's very close with Susan Sarandon in the new series. What was it like working with her on set and close with her?

It was incredible. And of course, she's Susan and she's an icon and you've seen every single movie she has ever done so the first day in the makeup trailer when we met, she was sitting on one end and I walked in and she said, "Are you Kevin?" She made me feel so warm and welcome right away. We had so many scenes together that we really have become wonderful, wonderful friends. Since shooting has completed, we've had lunches in New York and dinners in New York and we text and I consider her a wonderful, wonderful friend.

I know people say this, but I just want to say that everyone in this cast, we were all living in Atlanta together for pretty much eight months and we were living in a hotel and it forces you to go to dinner, have drinks, hang out, watch TV. It really, really connected us all as a family. I love everybody.

And Faith Prince is on the show, too. She plays Dottie Roman's sister, Nellie Cantrell, uh, who is so it's faith is playing Susan's sister and we lived in a hotel together. Faith and I were went to every meal. We went to see my dear friend, Brandy Clark, who's a country singer whose tour was coming through Atlanta. We went to see Brandy Clark, we went to see the Wes Anderson movie that just came out, we went to Trace Adkins concert. Like we just had a great, great time. I made friends on that job that I'll carry with me for the rest of my life.

Monarch is a musical series, as well. Were you able to show off your singing skills at all?

No. No, I wasn't. You know, maybe if there's a season two I'll get to warble a little bit. But it is a musical. Faith gets to sing and Anna Friel gets to sing and be ditto. You're aware of Beth Ditto, the lead singer of Gossip, right? She is spectacular. I cannot wait for America to fall in love with her. Of course Trace gets to sing. There are two fantastic younger actors on the show, Emma Milani and Iñigo Pascual who get to, uh, sing as well.

Although it's a drama and there are twists and turns and lies around every corner, I think people will find it also joyful at the same time with music being involved. It's really gonna be fun to watch for a lot of people, I'm praying.

Speaking on you and your career, you've had experiences with different aspects of theater, directing and acting, but you've also worked a lot on screen. So what are your favorite differences between the two mediums?

Oh, well, yeah, theater was my first love and that's what I done my entire life. A lot of people, I'm sure, say this, but there is nothing like a live audience and it is such a malleable living organism from night to night. The audience, I consider, you know, a character in the piece, you don't know where they are. You have to meet them every night with a new set of given circumstances. So that's the main difference.

However, film is such a wonderful challenge as well, because you don't have a lot of rehearsal, that's for sure. Sometimes you read through it once and there you go. Also, hitting your mark for focus. I know a lot of people probably don't consider that a huge thing, but it is becasue there are guidelines you have to hit and as you're saying your line, you're like glancing towards the floor to see like, did I hit the mark, did I not?

Monarch was really such a giant production. It was shot on this giant ranch right outside of Atlanta and then we had stages as well in Atlanta. We were shooting scenes with 300 background actors in concert scenes and horses and a rodeo and it was just such a giant.

I had no expectation that this job was gonna appear. As a theater actor, you just, you hope and dreamed that maybe a job like this will come along. I made a self tape and then I got a phone call that said, "Hey, they wanna test, you do a zoom test," nothing was in person with the writer and the creator and the director and someone from the network. I did that and it wasthree pages of sides. It was not a ton of material. It was only supposed to be five episodes. It turned out to be every episode, the writers were really creating as we moved along. I just thank my lucky stars. I mean, I really, really so grateful to have been part.


Watch the trailer for Monarch on FOX here:

Photos courtesy of Dirty Sugar Studios and Fox

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