11 February, 2014

Playbill "Cue & A"

I recently filled out a delightful little questionnaire for Playbill.com [and big thank yous to Matt Blank at Playbill who is always a joy to work with!] Here are some highlights! I had an absolute blast with it.

The full article can be viewed here.

* * *

If you could go back in time and catch any Broadway show, what would it be?
    ⁃    The original 1938 production of Our Town
    ⁃    Tyne Daly in Gypsy
    ⁃    Uta Hagen’s famous first performance on Broadway of A Streetcar Named Desire (when she stepped in from the touring company for Jessica Tandy), where she went on with Marlon Brando with only five minutes of rehearsal before the curtain went up…? Yeah.

Fire up that DeLorean…

Current show other than your own you have been recommending to friends:

Rachel Bay Jones’ performance in Pippin.

Favorite showtune(s) of all time:

Let me begin by saying that I have a very specific definition of what a ‘show-tune’ IS, and believe you me: Anything does NOT ‘Go.’ A true Broadway show tune  is more than merely a tune from a show—it must have pep, tunefulness, and vigor—it tune rallies those musical theatre troops in a singularly sensational, glittery fireball of razzle dazzle reminding you that it is time to start livin’.
That there is no business like show business.

A Show-tune is you and your family singing in the car.
A Show-tune is sung in the shower. 
Can we all agree ‘Epiphany’ from Sweeny Todd is not a sing-along in the car sort of number?
For this reason: “Sunday,” “One Hand One Heart” and “Will He Like Me?” are not on the Show Tune list, and
“Morning Glow,” “Camelot,” “It’s Today,” “There is Nothing Like a Dame,” and “The Lees of Old Virginia,” ARE.

Some favorite modern musicals:
American Idiot destroyed me.

Some favorite classic musicals:
Classic musicals are my thang so this is tough. [*thinkthinkthink*]

She Loves Me, Fiddler on the Roof, Hello Dolly!, Carousel, 1776, and Show Boat.

Broadway or screen stars of the past you would most have loved to perform with:
Mary Martin

Your personal performance idols, living or dead:
I admire many people, including:

    ⁃    Danny Kaye,
    ⁃    Bea Arthur,
    ⁃    Cate Blanchett
    ⁃    Maria Callas,
    ⁃    Marcel Marceau,
    ⁃    and Irene Pappas.

But I save the term idol for only one woman, and that is Dame Angela Lansbury.

The one performance – attended - that you will never forget:
[WARNING: I’m offering this answer in numerical points to prevent you from having a stroke whilst reading.]

1. In Seventh grade.
I went along to a
2.  middle school production
3. The Sound of Music
4. Hillel Day School
5. my friend Shira (yes, really), 
6. ballet class
was playing
7. Max Detweiller…
And Five seconds after the curtain went up I realized the entire production was…
8.    …in Hebrew.
It was also happened to be
9. Groundhog Day.


Most played song on your iPod:
“Heaven When We’re Home” by The Wailin’ Jennys.

Most-visited websites:

…Hungover. Owls.
[*She lets it sink in…*]
Get into it.

Favorite Tweeters:
Anika Chapin (@AnikaChapin). She is one of the few tweeters that can make me *actually* laugh out loud. Her thread is an uber-smart, super-witty, MENSA-level, anthropologic braniac-splosion of pop culture and musical theater.

Just follow her.

Last book you read:
I’m a voracious reader but the last book I finished was The Trickster’s Hat by Nick Bantock. Nick Bantock is an author and visual artist (the author of the Griffin & Sabine Trilogies), my lifelong artistic idol. This is his latest book which is a mischievous and thrilling study of (and guide through) the alchemical art of creativity.

Must-see TV show(s):
This lady loves herself some crime drama… the real nitty-gritty vintage stuff.  If it "looks like we gotta murder to solve" ... I’m IN.

Some films you consider classics:
What About Bob? and The Court Jester. (Cult classics? Are they cult classics if I am the only one in the cult? Dunno...)

Performer you would drop everything to go see:
I have dropped everything to see Rebecca Luker.

Three favorite cities:
Venice, Glasgow, Detroit.

Favorite sport/team/player: 
All Detroit sports rile me profoundly. I love the Red Wings (hockey), but I’m a baseball lady down to the bone marrow (my Dad was a phenomenal [left-handed!] first baseman)—so without question my Detroit Tigers! I get very emotional about it.

First CD/Tape/LP you owned:
What’s an LP…? #kidding

What are some of your most memorable roles as a kid or teenager and how old were you?
Annie Sullivan in The Miracle Worker (I was 16)
Amalia Balash in She Loves Me (17, in high school at Interlochen Arts Academy—opposite Michael Arden as Georg)
MISS HANNIGAN… I was 8… it was most-likely an inappropriately accurate, gin-soaked carbon-copy of Carol Burnett’s performance down to the vocal inflection but still…

First stage kiss:
I don’t remember. But certainly my most memorable stage kiss blunder was last summer in She Loves Me with Santino Fontana (a very old “Dear friend’ from Summer camp). We ran at each other at the just-wrong moment and totally botched the final kiss.

Basically: I broke his face.
There was blood.
Then I apologized to Laura Osnes:

How you got your Equity card:
the anti-climax
Hilarious. I began my career in the West End for five years before I came to America for what I believed to be a short visit. Because I assumed I would eventually return to London, I didn’t join Equity for the two short projects (Carousel at Reprise and Master Class at the Kennedy Center) I was working on.

But by the time Hello Again at the Transport Group rolled around, I realized that my original 10-week “visit” to America had turned into a-year-and-a-half. Who was I kidding? I lived here.

I walked into the Equity building… and ten minutes later I walked out with my Equity card. Okay, fine—a touch anti-climactic, but that’s my story and I like it.

Most challenging role you have ever played:
Helen in Howard Barker’s The Bite of the Night, and Julie Jordan in the last West End revival of Carousel.

What has been the biggest challenge about this project?
Aside from it being a kind of performance marathon, Arlington is an incredibly complex piece of text and music which requires me to be in optimum shape in every respect. Combine that with a difficult subject matter (and subsequent emotional gymnastics) and you’ve got a challenge on your hands…

What has been the most fun or fulfilling aspect?
…I love a challenge.

Plus, working on it with the creative company I am keeping.

Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap:
[Sigh… Please see blood-soaked stage kiss above.]

Worst costume ever:
Once upon a time I was a “spirit of the wood” in a Christmas pantomime in Glasgow in 2002.
I’ll say the words UNI-TARD and FELT LEAVES and just let your imagination do the rest.

Craziest audition story:
- I have sung all three daughters’ parts of ‘Matchmaker’…. with different voices for each daughter plus played all the dialogue…with myself.
- I have had someone say: “See we're gonna need you to create the physical comedy of the donkey yourself…”
- I have faked being English (in London), only to book the job and have to film it for three days… in New York…trapped in my English accent lie the whole time.
- I have mimed a blind girl being eaten by a werewolf.

But this one takes the cake:

When I auditioned for Master Class I—in utter seriousness—ACCIDENTALLY LOCKED MYSELF IN A UTILITY CLOSET at the studio. I might have missed the audition altogether had the casting director not come to GET ME OUT.  True story.

…Luckily that embarrassing tale of Sophie De Palma has a happy ending. :)

West Side Story
Any upcoming or side projects you can talk about?
I was honored to portray Maria in the first full-symphonic performance of West Side Story last year with the San Francisco Symphony (opposite the gorgeous Cheyenne Jackson as Tony). The recording is set to be released later this summer.

Leading lady role you've been dying to play:
Hedda Gabler.

Leading man role you'd like a shot at:
Captain Hook. [*achem*]— hand down.

Something about you that surprises people:
I am an introvert. Or, perhaps more accurately, a ‘shy extrovert.’

Something you are incredibly proud of:
I’m a proud lady from the state of Michigan.

Sooo…I even made up a snazzy Michigan handshake called “Glove Love” (because Michigan is shaped like a mitten or a glove for those of you who might not be aware)….It is super intense. I may or may not have Glove Loved with James Earl Jones (who is from Grand Rapids).

Career you would want if not a performer:
I am so lucky to already have it—a teacher.
I’m a Professor at Pace University and it is one of the most rewarding aspects of my life. (I’m “Professor Silber!” Ha!)

Three things you can't live without:
Honestly, there is nothing I “can’t live without.”
But I really like watermelon, crime drama and red shoes.

"I'll never understand why…"
…Skeeter is in The Muppet Babies but not in The Muppets? (Like: did she DIE?)
…Britons say “The Menopause”
…the Snuggie is a thing
…Theatres don’t do Ivanov more often?

Words of advice for aspiring performers:

Success is not about what you do, it is about how you feel about what you do.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the shout-out, Al! Just seeing this now. Glad we could do this.



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