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How These Performers Found Their Power In The New Musical ‘Only Gold’

If, as the saying goes “dancers are the athletes of God,” then the show Only Gold is as spiritual as it gets. The new Off Broadway musical combines the music and lyrics of Kate Nash (Glow), a book from Andy Blankenbuehler (Hamilton) and Ted Malawer (Everything Beautiful Happens at Night) and choreography and direction by Blankenbuehler.

Told through riveting dance and Nash’s luscious songs, Only Gold is a fable of a story set in Paris in 1928. King Belenus (Terrence Mann) and Queen Roksana (Karine Plantadit) come to the City of Lights from their native Cosimo to help their daughter, Tooba (Gaby Diaz), prepare for her wedding.

On the surface they seem to have everything, but everyone is unfulfilled. Meanwhile, there’s a parallel story with Henri, a clockmaker and his pianist wife, Camille, (Hannah Cruz) who have ditched their dreams to be practical.

Currently playing at MCC Theater, the show is all about finding the courage to re-write your story and see the possibilities within yourself. “Only Gold is like being inside the heart of a clock,” says Cruz. “It’s powerful in its simplicity. On its face are themes we’ve all seen before. But it burrows into crevices and shows you details you haven’t taken the time to examine.”

In Only Gold Karine Plantadit, Hannah Cruz, and Gaby Diaz each play strong women who are grappling with the challenge of honoring their unique voices and holding on to their identity. For Karine Plantadit, who plays the Queen, Only Gold resonates deeply with her. “We’re matching script with movement, fusing voices and motion, sharing an unprecedented magical story involving heartbeats and listening,” she says. “All this makes this fable from far away very powerful.”

The three performers shared more.

Jeryl Brunner: What went through your mind when you first heard about Only Gold?

Karine Plantadit: Hell yes! I thought, let’s tell a new story that has not been imagined before. And there was dancing to Kate Nash’s divine music and learning to move with Andy Blankenbuehler.

Hannah Cruz: I remember reading the script and knowing I wanted it. Bad. Sometimes material just fits. And this was one of those times.

Brunner: What has your character taught you about yourself?

Cruz: Camille made me look deeper at the parts of me that make myself smaller in certain situations. I was tapping into the younger version of me who would see Broadway shows and movies and wonder why it wasn’t me and feeling like it was unattainable. I had forgotten that frustration.

Gaby Diaz: I’ve learned a lot about embracing my strength, my boundaries and trusting my instincts. My character may not know what she wants, but she knows what she doesn’t want. And that is equally as valuable.

Plantadit: Roksana’s journey to find truth makes her reconsider being in a relationship that has become empty, ordinary and mediocre . From the outside eye, it might look like she has the perfect relationship with money, travel, status and security. She is willing to walk away after years of status quo and compromises. I have certainly done that before.

Brunner: As we go through the musical the women you play find personal strength. What is your own personal strength?

Diaz: My ability to say “no” is my biggest strength. I have learned a lot about advocating for myself and how to put boundaries in place without being combative.

Cruz: I’m a very hard worker. It’s why I love acting so much. The work is never over.

Brunner: During Only Gold the characters are faced with making life choices. What does following your heart look like to you?

Cruz: It’s showing up to work every day and giving it all I have. That is my favorite thing in the world.

Diaz: Following my heart means listening to what I need in the moment and trusting that wherever it leads me is where I’m meant to be.

Plantadit: Following my heart means being myself and sharing it shamelessly with the world. It’s also seeing other people’s heart journey with the same respect and attention. It’s contagious. I believe that our hearts are our true guides and we can use their wisdom to rebuild a better humanity. It takes courage and determination. However, is there a better way to live?

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