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Entries in Actress (165)

Monday
Oct162017

Call Answered: Carey Cox: "Glassheart," "The Glass Menagerie," and more!

Carey Cox, Photo Credit: Lauren Toub GriffithsAlmost everybody that knows me, knows what a sympathetic person I am. Maybe it's because I was born premature or because I grew-up with a learning disabilty, or because I felt like an outsider growing up, but whatever the reason, I love learning about people's lives and their struggles.

When I heard Carey Cox's story, I knew this was an interview I had to do! Carey is an actress with a mobility disability called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome who just made her Broadway debut understudying "Laura Wingfield" in Sam Gold's Glass Menagerie starring Sally Field.

Now, Carey is taking on her next role in Everyday Inferno's production of Reina Hardy's GLASSHEART a surprisingly modern and thoroughly adult spin on the classic story of Beauty & the Beast. Hardy's re-imagining explodes the limitations of traditional fairy tales, focusing its attention away from the ideal of conventional romance and toward something darker and much more complex: the question of what makes us human?

From being physically abled to disabled, Carey is showing the world, she is just like everyone else and we really get to the heart of it all...from acting to Lin-Manuel Miranda to life struggles to an exclusive heartbreaking story you'll only find here at Call Me Adam!

GLASSHEART will make its New York premiere at The Access Theater (380 Broadway) from October 19-28. Click here for tickets!

Carey Cox, Photo Credit: Malloree Delayne Hill1. Who or what inspired you to be an actress? Since my first school play at six years old I've had kind of a one-track mind. I always loved becoming other people and getting to live vicariously through characters. I think that I liked being able to do things that I couldn't do in my normal life. Over time, theatre gave me an excuse to learn and a jumping-off point to do research I never would have thought to do by myself. I was kind of a shy kid when I wasn't at home, and I still am in some ways, and theatre always gave me a way to connect with other wonderful weirdos. In high school, I became obsessed with Carol Burnett and was cast as "Winnifred" in Once Upon a Mattress, a role she originated. It was silly and over the top and to this day some of the most fun I've ever had. It was then that I also started to appreciate the special connection that can occur between an audience and an actor, and among all of the people witnessing the event, and that touched me deeply. Theatre had always been my passion but doing that play definitely sealed the deal!

2. Did you ever let your disability prevent you from pursuing this career path or did you keep telling yourself, "I can do this"? I was born with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, but wasn't diagnosed until a few years ago, and it's only been a couple of years since I became what the world sees as physically disabled. My disability was never really an obstacle in high school or college. It began to affect me a lot more in grad school, and I had an especially difficult time in my movement classes, I think because there isn't a format for how disabled people should be trained in a field that tends to favor athletic able-bodied people. My disability never affected my decision to become an actor because when I fell in love with acting I was able-bodied, and I could run and dance and pull all-nighters, and no one questioned my place in the theatre. My experience is different from other people I know who have been disabled their whole lives, and who have had the added obstacle of people questioning their place in theatre from the get-go. Becoming disabled has taught me a lot about people and a lot about my body, and I think I've become a richer artist because of it. The main way I let it hold me back currently is through auditioning. I have a very bad habit of looking at a casting call and thinking, "well surely they wouldn't want ME." I need to get over that because I don't think I'm giving directors and casting directors the benefit of the doubt, and I'm not representing my community in all its disabled glory! One thing is for sure: I'm not quitting any time soon.

3. What made you want to audition for Glassheart? My friend Malloree Delayne Hill, who is a wonderful actress, has been involved with Everyday Inferno for a while, so when I saw the audition notice, there was a little "ping!" in my brain. When I read the plot summary and the sides I was smitten. It was obvious to me that this play is funny and special, and that I would have a ball being a part of it and getting to say those great words.

4. What do you relate to most about you character "Aoife"? What is one characteristic of hers you are glad you don't possess yourself? That's a tough one, because I think I possess all of "Aiofe's" qualities to some degree. What I like most about "Aiofe" is her self-awareness. She has a lot of problems, but she knows she has problems and she wants to do better. She knows that she hurts people and makes mistakes, but she always comes to a point where she can confront herself and see the truth of what she's doing. I certainly hope I haven't hurt people in the way that "Aiofe" probably has, but I can appreciate the frankness with which she looks at herself. Something else I really appreciate about "Aiofe" is her open heart. When she meets the "Beast," she is ready to help and accept him, despite his strange behavior. I think that "Aiofe" has a lot of empathy and when she looks at someone she quite literally sees the human before the beast.

However, "Aiofe" and I are in very different places in our lives. At the top of the play, "Aiofe" is barely capable of functioning and her ambitions are heart-breakingly simple. "Aiofe" is starting over, whereas I feel like I have been building a life that I love for years, so I don't envy her. Though for "Aiofe," starting over is the right thing to do.

Carey Cox5. What do you think this show will teach people? I think that people might see this show and think about how we see our lives as stories. The stories we tell ourselves about ourselves have a huge effect on our behavior and what roles we play in life. I see so many juicy lessons in this fairytale but my favorite one is this: sometimes we are trapped by our own narratives, and sometimes, when our life doesn't follow our projected story, the only way to find contentment is to let the story go.

6. Glassheart explores the space between light & dark. With all the recent tragedies we've been having from the deadly hurricanes, the shooting in Vegas, and so many others, how do you find the light in the darkness? Knowledge is a light. Lately I am trying to listen and to keep my mouth shut. I'm trying to question what I think I know and actually hear what people say when they talk. I'm finding light in other people. I'm reaching out to friends, I'm meeting eyes on the street, I'm talking to people on the subway. I'm laughing as much as I can. When I look at people, I'm trying to see the human before the beast.

7. The show also shows the sacrifices we make in search of an ordinary life. What sacrifices, if any, have you made in your life and art? I don't think I've made any sacrifices on a grandiose scale, but having a painful chronic illness means I sacrifice a lot of little things every day to be able to remain reliable in this collaborative art form. I was always taught that real actors never get sick. Well, no disrespect, but I'm literally always sick. To make sure that I am strong and alert enough to work during rehearsal hours, I don't do a lot of the things I want to do. I work a job with very flexible hours so that I can work a ton when I'm healthier but take it easy on myself when I'm not doing so well. I have to ration my energy because if I overdo it one day, I will pay for it for days after. It gets me down being so young and having to treat myself so delicately, but there are beautiful spiritual side effects from living life at a slower pace in this city. That sounds cheesy but for me it's been so true!

Carey Cox, Photo Credit: Lauren Toub Griffiths8. Glassheart is a take on the classic story of Beauty & The Beast. If you were to star in a revival or remake of Beauty and the Beast, Who would you want as "The Beast" to your "Belle"? My best friend thinks the last beast should have been Dev Patel and I think she's seriously onto something. However, Lin Manuel Miranda. Though to be fair, if you asked me that question about pretty much any show, I would say "Lin Manuel Miranda."

9. I find it quite funny that you recently finished your run in the Broadway revival of The Glass Menagerie starring Sally Field and now you are starring in a show called Glassheart. So, both shows have the word "glass" in them. Since glass is so fragile what is the most fragile thing about yourself you keep hidden, but maybe now, with so much uncertainty around us, you are ready to reveal? Something I don't talk about much is the loss of my brother and sister. I lost my brother when I was 16 and my sister a couple of years ago. I've had the support of wonderful family and friends and moving to New York has been incredibly healing, but it's something I struggle with. You never know who might be harboring a secret pain. Maybe even the guy being a jerk on the train. I promise I didn't intend for that to rhyme, but I'm keeping it.

10. What was it like acting with Sally Field? What did you learn from her? Sally Field was wonderful! She kept everybody laughing and was incredibly kind. I got the chance to act with her one time when I went on as "Laura's" understudy, and she made me feel so comfortable and safe. What I learned most from her came from watching her in the rehearsal room. For me it was a terrific example of how great work is not only emotionally connected, but also logical and smart. I was so lucky to get to watch that caliber of work in process.

In my own rehearsals I worked mostly with Sally Field's incredible understudy, Kathryn Meisle, who is fiercely talented and was a joy to act with every week. She gave me wonderful acting and life advice and boosted my confidence with her kindness. I was lucky to work with amazing people then, and I'm working with amazing people now! I've been very lucky. New York has been very kind to me!

Carey Cox, Photo Credit: Malloree Delayne HillMore on Carey:

Carey Cox is an NYC actress with a mobility disability called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. She received a BFA in musical theater from Santa Fe University of Art and Design and an MFA in acting from UNC Chapel Hill where she performed with PlayMakers Repertory Company in Three Sisters, Seminar, Mary’s Wedding, We are Proud to Present…, Trouble in Mind, Into the Woods, Metamorphoses, and others. Carey recently made her Broadway debut understudying "Laura Wingfield" in The Glass Menagerie directed by Sam Gold.

Tuesday
Oct032017

Call Redialed: Alison Fraser: "Squeamish" by Aaron Mark, All For One Theater

After providing coverage for Aaron Mark's two previous plays Empanada Loca & Another Medea, I'm so excited to get the inside scoop on his third psychological horror play, Squeamish, in this new interview with the show's star, two-time Tony nominee Alison Fraser! Alison & Aaron have known each other for several years now, so it's rather exciting to hear about their collaboration and find out how Alison prepares herself every night for this darkly twisted adventure!

Squeamish is the tale of an Upper West Side psychoanalyst, a long-time recovering alcoholic whose bloody quest for personal balance begins when she finds herself in the South Plains of Texas, off her meds, after her nephew's suicide.

Squeamish, produced by All For One Theater, will play The Beckett Theatre at Theatre Row (410 West 42nd Street) from October 6-November 11. Click here for tickets!

For more on Alison be sure to visit http://alisonfraser.com and follow her on Twitter and Instagram!

1. You are currently starring in All For One Theater's production of Aaron Mark's psychological horror play Squeamish. First, how did you and Aaron come to know each other? What does it feel like to have a role written specifically for you? Aaron and I met when he was assistant directing a reading that I was doing. I believe he was 18 or 19. Five years after this reading he contacted me about a part he had written for me in an excellent little indie film called Commentary he was directing. I read the script, and immediately fell madly in love with his writing. I accepted the role, and have continued to work with him ever since. Having a role written for you is a huge honor of course, and I have been incredibly lucky to have worked on many original plays and musicals for some of the greatest writers around. When you are involved in the creation of a piece, naturally pieces of you end up in the finished product, but my artistic connection with Aaron is very deep. He obviously sees something intriguing in me because he has written five pieces, all of them quite dark, specifically for me. One was very much inspired by a jarring incident in my life -- Deer - a wonderfully funny and scary play about the crazed deer that tried to commit suicide on my car. It's being produced around the country now, and has been published by Dramatists Play Service. Now, thanks to #TheTwistedMindOfAaronMark (yes I came up with that hashtag and he likes it) the deer did not die in vain-now he belongs to the ages. And as for having had Aaron write the astonishing Squeamish for me? He's plumbing depths I had no idea I possessed. It’s thrilling, and more than a little frightening. He saw that in me?

2. What has been the best part about working with Aaron? How does his vision as a playwright line up with what you look for in looking for parts to play? Not only is Aaron a sensational writer and a highly skilled director, he is one of the sweetest, smartest, funniest hardest working people I have ever met. The best part of working with Aaron is getting to be in the room with him every day.

As for his plays? They are exactly what plays should be--inventive, original, dangerous, passionate and challenging. 45-pages-of-solo-dialogue challenging. Who was it that said if theatre doesn't scare you it's not worth doing? With Squeamish, I am shaking in my shoes.

Alison Fraser, "Squeamish", Photo Credit: Mara Baranova3. What do you relate to most about your character? What is one characteristic of hers that you are glad you don't possess yourself? I relate to "Sharon's" sense of wonder and discovery, her need to explore what makes her tick, her independence, and of course her low key New York fashion savvy.

As for part two of the question? I am seriously glad that aside from that little pill glitch mentioned below, addiction does not seem to be in my tool belt.

4. How do you prepare yourself mentally & physically for such a heavy show each night? I stopped drinking completely for this show, because I realized I needed all the brain cells I could possibly muster. I try to sleep well, and walk as much as possible. I eat very simple, usually home-prepared food, except for the insidious and delicious Reese's peanut butter eyeballs that keep showing up in rehearsal. They are addictive, which is apropos of our show.

And as for mentally? I will go through the show at home before I perform at night, just to make sure all the pieces are in right order. I already do it on the street & a lot and people are starting to give me a wide berth.

Alison Fraser, "Squeamish", Photo Credit: Mara Baranova5. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing Squeamish? I hope after seeing Squeamish people come away with the feeling that they have just seen a world premiere of a play by an important new playwright, and the realization that actors can indeed (hopefully) hold single court for an hour and a half or so just by telling a compelling, beautifully written story. Not all theatre needs the Phantom’s chandelier.

6. Your character is long-time recovering alcoholic. Have you ever been addicted to anything? If so, how did you recover? I had about a year in my life when a very bad doctor would call in Xanax and Prednisone prescriptions for me whenever I asked for it. Recovery? I think the show that was stressing me out closed, and my anxiety waned and I didn't have to belt long high notes for a while so I just stopped taking the pills.

Alison Fraser, "Squeamish", Photo Credit: Mara Baranova7. "Sharon" is also on a quest to find personal balance. How do you find the balance between work and personal life? Right now my work life is my personal life because of the nature of the Squeamish beast. I basically live like a hermit and am zero fun, because of the daunting task I face. But I am looking forward to the time when I can get out to my sweet little place in the country again and relax without words words words occupying my brain. And reading a book again will be nice. And oh for a glass of fine red wine!

8. The character you play is a psychoanalyst. If you had to psychoanalyze yourself, what is something you feel you need to change about yourself to improve your life? I really have to stop taking politics so seriously because it has led me in this past year down a dark dark path. My doctor and I are working on it. Switching from the constant CNN feed to an occasional Modern Family helps. Temporarily.

9. Since the show is titled Squeamish, what makes you most squeamish? Easy answer. Salt pork. I wish it didn't exist in the world because even the thought of it makes my skin crawl. And don't even get me started on fried pork rinds.

More on Alison:

Alison Fraser was recently seen as "Mommy" in Lila Neugebauer’s production of Edward Albee’s The Sandbox and "The Landlady" in Adrienne Kennedy’s Funnyhouse of a Negro at The Signature Theatre, in addition to "Nancy Reagan" and "Betty Ford" in Michael John LaChiusa’s First Daughter Suite at the Public Theater, for which she was nominated for both a Drama Desk and Lucille Lortel Award. She is a two-time Tony Award nominee for The Secret Garden and Romance/Romance. Other Broadway roles includes "Dorine" in Tartuffe at Circle-In-The-Square, "Helena" in The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and "Tessie Tura" in Arthur Laurents’ production of Gypsy starring Patti LuPone. She has created many roles Off-Broadway including "Arsinoé" in David Ives’ The School For Lies, "Sister Walburga" in Charles Busch’s The Divine Sister, "Jessie" in Terrence McNally’s Dedication or the Stuff of Dreams, "The Matron" (opposite Shirley Knight) in the world premiere of Tennessee Williams’ In Masks Outrageous and Austere, "Trina" in William Finn’s March of the Falsettos and In Trousers, and "Miss Drumgoole" in Todd Rundgren’s Up Against It. Film and TV credits include the new SyFy series Happy! opposite Chris Meloni, High Maintenance, Happyish, Smash, It Could Be Worse, Impossible Monsters, Blowtorch, Socks and Bonds, Understudies, Jack in A Box, and The Thing About My Folks opposite Peter Falk and Paul Reiser. She has been heard on thousands of radio and television commercials, hundreds of audiobooks, and dozens of albums, including three solo efforts: A New York Romance, Men In My Life, and Tennessee Williams: Words and Music.

Tuesday
Sep192017

Call Answered: Kathleen Turner: "Finding My Voice," cabaret debut at PTC, "Serial Mom" & "The Graduate"

Kathleen Turner, Photo Credit: Deborah LopezI feel eternally grateful for being given the opportunity to interview the one and only Kathleen Turner, Academy Award nominee, Golden Globe winner & two-time Tony nominee, about her upcoming cabaret debut, entitled Finding My Voice, at Philadelphia Theatre Company. I grew up watching Kathleen Turner light up the big screen and as an adult, I got to see her on the Broadway stage. Peggy Sue Got MarriedSerial Mom, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Jewel of the Nile, and The Graduate on Broadway are just a few of my favorite Kathleen Turner projects.

Getting to talk with Kathleen about this special project was a true honor! She is so passionate about making her cabaret debut. The road to getting here was an interesting one. I loved hearing how one lunch meeting and a play lead to Kathleen fully embracing her desire to sing and the real reason why she waited so long to do it. It also fascinated me to learn why she is making her cabaret debut at the Philadelphia Theatre Company. But, my favorite part of this interview was learning who she would "Serial Mom" and who she would like to seduce, just like her character "Mrs. Robinson" did in The Graduate on Broadway.

Finding My Voice brings Kathleen's trademark husky voice to the American songbook, performing classic songs, interwoven with personal anecdotes, with her band, led by Mark Janas. Finding My Voice will play on Monday, September 25, for one night only, at Philadelphia Theatre Company at 7pm & 9pm! (480 S. Broad Street, Broad & Lombard Street, Philadelphia, PA 19146). Click here for tickets!

1. This September you are making your cabaret debut at Philadelphia Theatre Company with your show Finding My Voice. What made you want to venture into the cabaret world? How long has this been in the works for...from your first thought of, "I want to do a cabaret show" to inception? Molly Smith, who is the artistic director at Arena Stage in Washington, DC, asked me to do Mother Courage and Her Children in 2014, which is a play with songs as opposed to a full fledged musical. The character "Mother Courage" sings five songs, so I thought, I’d like to give it a try. The reason I never sang professionally, prior to Mother Courage, was because when I started in the business 40 years ago, any woman my age was a Soprano, which clearly, was not going to be me. So at the beginning of my career, I told people, "No I don’t sing, I just act" and that became true.

So I worked on my singing to get those songs to a place where I would be confident performing them before I started rehearsals. If you know Mother Courage and Her Children, they called it Lear2 because it’s a huge text, so I felt, if I got the songs out of the way before I get down there, it’d be of good for everyone. The production was thrilling, absolutely amazing. I loved doing it, I loved my singing, so, when I got back to New York, in between jobs, I contacted Andy Gale and Mark Janas, and said, I want to keep working with you guys and just see what I can do. Then I went away to do Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking and upon my return, I called Andy & Mark and said I want to get serious about signing, set a real schedule, and see what happens. So all three of us started bringing in songs that we loved or thought would fit my vocal range and we discussed some stories that reflected parts of my life and from there things started to fall into place. Then one of us said, "Let’s make this a cabaret" and I said, "Ok!" So, I sat down and really started to write the body/patter of the night, linked them up to the songs and it turned into Finding My Voice.

Kathleen Turner2. What made you want to make your cabaret debut at Philadelphia Theatre Company? I'm making my debut at PTC because I created the play Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins there. They’ve always been very supportive and good to work with. The new artistic director Paige Price is just terrific. Paige & I were throwing our heads together to find a way to generate more income ourselves because you know whatever budget comes out of Washington, G-d help us, it will cut the arts. So we thought of a template to allow us to have cabaret shows on the theatre’s stage. We are sort of going to close the curtains to the house and put tables on the stage. We have a great designer who is going to hang practical chandeliers to create a ceiling and room atmosphere and we have the best sound guy in the business, Nevin Steinberg, who happens to be married to Paige (thank you very much), to figure out how to work the sound in the cinderblock world.

If we can really make this template work, why wouldn’t it work for other regional houses around the country who have dark nights during the run of a show and like PTC, have a subscription based audience.

3. What excites you most about making your cabaret debut? I’m really very proud of myself because this is something that I created and I’m getting better and better as a singer and I love it!

Some of the show is about my career and the excitement of it and being away and what that costs you and some it is about how your life changes and how you have to adjust to those unexpected moments. It’s kind of like an arc of my life, but with songs that make sense to me about it.

4. What has it been like to prepare for this evening? How is it similar to your preparation of an acting role? As you can imagine after all these years in the business, I have pretty good control of my voice, period. It wasn’t that big of a leap to use it in another way, but it is different. There’s a lot you can do with the rhythm and melody line that creates emotion or thought in cabaret that you don’t have in scripts. It’s almost like floating a boat. I’m not real sure how to describe it. I think it takes me more out of myself.

5. What was the first song you knew, hands down, you just had to sing? I was down in Washington DC doing my usual marching or testifying & Molly Smith asked me if I wanted to have lunch with her. I said, "Yeah, great." As we are driving around in her Volkswagen, and I tell this story in the show, she asks me if I can sing. I said, "Yeah, I can sing." So she asks me to sing something. I said, "What? Now? Right here in the car?" She said, "Why not?" I thought to myself, you know the song I always loved to sing is "Since I Fell For You," and so I sang that and afterwards, Molly says, "You can sing" and that is when she offered me the part in Mother Courage. But I’ll tell you, the song sounds a lot better with a band though [laughs].

6. I love the title of your show, Finding My Voice. What do you feel you found with cabaret that you were not finding in acting/directing? There's many ways to use your voice. I don’t think there is only one avenue, one method. But cabaret is a new way to use my voice. At least new to me. One of the things that was most pleasing to me was I had an invited dress about a week ago at Don’t Tell Mama’s in NYC and somebody said to me, "I really liked this. It’s not just like going to a cabaret and hearing somebody sing songs. It’s more like coming to a night of theatre." That was very exciting for me to hear because this is a show I put together.

Kathleen Turner, Photo Credit: REX/SHUTTERSTOCK7. Are there plans already to bring this show to NYC or will you wait until after the show to figure out next steps? I already agreed to book Michael Feinstein’s club in San Francisco, Feinstein's at the Nikko, and at first, I said, "Wait a minute, I haven’t even done this yet," and Michael said, "Well, if you’re doing it, it's going to be great" and I was like "Well, thank you for the vote of confidence." So, yeah, I’m booked there in October and then I’m getting all kinds of calls from different venues around NYC, so I think we’ll be bringing it to the city. I don’t want this to run away with me, but it’s kind of ideal because, now that I know I love doing it, if I do a film or a play, I can book this show around it. It gives me a freedom within a longer-term project which is really kind of cool.

8. I have a new segment to my interviews called "I Can See Clearly Now" where I like to clear up any misconceptions out there. What do you feel is the biggest misconception out there about yourself that you'd like to clear the air about? Oh honey, I’m not going to criticize myself in public. Give me a break! I mean there are plenty of people to find fault with me, let them do it.

Kathleen Turner as "Mrs. Robinson" in "The Graduate" on Broadway9. I also have a section called 1% better, where through my own fitness regime, I try to inspire people to improve their lives by 1% better everyday. What is something in your life you'd like to improve by 1% better everyday? Doing service in the organizations I volunteer for: City Meals, Planned Parenthood, and People for the American Way. I give as much as I can, given the availability of my time. It’s so rewarding & enriches my life. I tell people all the time that you don’t know how much this gives you until you start doing it. I’m always trying to do a little more of that. 

10. Two of my favorite projects of yours are Serial Mom & The Graduate on Broadway. So my two questions are, if you could Serial Mom anybody, who would you run down (my favorite way you offed someone in the movie.)? [Huge Laugh] Oh, well, why not be honest, I usually am, Mike Pence. I don’t worry about Trump as much as I worry about him.

11. In The Graduate on Broadway, you played "Mrs. Robinson," who seduced Jason Biggs' character "Benjamin Braddock," Kathleen Turner interjects, "At age 48 might I add." If you could seduce anyone today, who would you choose? That’s a good one. It’s not my style usually to seduce, but I just met Nathan Fillion, from Castle, in Toronto. He was a sweetheart! I’ll take him.

Kathleen TurnerMore on Kathleen:

American film, television and stage actress, Kathleen Turner is known for her trademark husky voice. She starred on Broadway in High, Indiscretions; The Graduate; and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, for which she received Tony nominations for Best Actress. On screen, she garnered critical acclaim for her performances in Body Heat, for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe; Romancing The Stone and Prizzi's Honor, each of which earned her a Golden Globe Award; Peggy Sue Got Married, which brought both Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations; and War of the Roses, for another Golden Globe nomination.

On television, Kathleen guest starred on the hit NBC sitcom Friends as "Chandler Bing’s" cross dressing father and as a sex crazed owner of a talent agency on Showtime’s Californication. As a voice actress, Kathleen performed the role of "Jessica Rabbit" in Who Framed Roger Rabbit and on the television series The Simpsons and King of the Hill.

Recently, Kathleen has turned her attention to directing with such productions as Would You Still Love Me If… at New World Stages, The Killing of Sister George at Long Wharf Theatre, and Crimes of the Heart at both Roundabout Theatre and Williamstown Theatre Festival. In addition, Kathleen released her 2008 autobiography Send Yourself Roses: Thoughts on my Life, Love, and Leading Roles, which secured a position on the New York Times Best-Seller List.

Wednesday
Sep132017

Call Answered: Allison King: "Midnight Special," "Baby Driver," and "Thank You For Your Service"

Allison King, Photo Credit: Birdie Thompson, Hair: Matilde Campos, Makeup: Anton KhachaturianWhen you meet an actress like Allison King who loves dogs, goes hiking, and has worked with some of your favorite actors, there's nothing you can do, but get excited to interview her!

If you look at Allison King's resume, it's like a who's who of Hollywood, of whom she has already worked with: Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, Kevin Spacey, Amy Schumer, Kirsten Dunst, & Adam Driver. In this interview, we find out about all the projects she's worked on plus the one trip that changed her life!

Most recently, Allison was seen in Baby Driver, alongside Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, Kevin Spacey. This October she can be seen with Amy Schumer in Thank You For Your Service, based on the book of the same name, which follows the story of men who have come back after tours in Afghanistan with PTSD. The film concentrates on how the disease can affect the individuals and their families.

For more on Allison check out her IMDB page and follow her on Twitter and Instagram!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? I had wanted to be an actor from a really early age. I wanted to be "Joan Wilder" in Romancing the Stone or "Mikey" in Goonies. When I was a kid though, my parents insisted I have a normal childhood so they quietly discouraged it. It wasn’t until much later, when I saw Bill Irwin do Fool Moon in San Francisco that that desire came back…and it came back strong. Right away I signed up for a part time conservatory at ACT in San Francisco and it started me on this path anew. Since then, I’m constantly inspired by the work of other actors. Frances McDormand and Nicole Kidman are my current obsessions.

Allison King2. As a kid you often put on plays and dance recitals for your parents. Now that you are professionally working, what does the kid in you think about where you are now? I kind of can’t believe it. The road upward in this business gets very daunting. There was a day about eight years ago where I had to release any expectation of success. I had been auditioning pretty regularly and I just could not book a job. I had to say to myself: "Even if I never have any outward success I’ll be happy just doing free theater in my community." And that was the truth. The process and the joy of the work is really the best part. Funny enough, that hasn’t changed since being a kid and putting on silly recitals in my front room.

3. Seeing whom you've starred alongside thus far, is like a who's who of Hollywood, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, Kevin Spacey, Amy Schumer, Kirsten Dunst, & Adam Driver, just to name a few. What do you think is one lesson you learned from each of these heavy hitters? Yeah, meeting your idols is always a strange experience. You realize quickly that they’re just another creative artist trying to do their best work, and you hope they’re just another actor. Meaning: We actors have similar ways of working, of taking care of each other during a scene, whether it’s on stage or on set: we show up for each other in a way that is intimate and vulnerable and really magical. I think the thing to learn is they’re doing the same work we’re doing. Yes, they have higher salaries and other fun perks, but ultimately the work is the same. That scene you did in class feels the same as the scene you do on set with Big Name Star. You may get a lot more juice from them, but it’s still the same work. 

Allison King, Photo Credit: Dana Patrick4. What can you tell us about your experience filming the recently released Baby Driver starring Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, Kevin Spacey? I had been talking to anyone who would listen about Shaun of the Dead for years. So when I got the audition for Baby Driver, I already knew the Edgar Wright canon and just wanted to work with him so badly. Then in the call back he was just about as nice as a sweet peach. Talk about meeting your idols! So yeah, it was really fun! I mean, Edgar is a genius and I knew I was in good hands. Then meeting Bill Pope was like a cherry on top and again, so nice and generous and down to earth. Then the actors. I mean, I almost have nothing to say because it was all like a dream…a beautiful dream that I’m still afraid I’ll wake up from.

5. This October you star along with Amy Schumer, in Thank You For Your Service, a film which follows the story of men who have come back after tours in Afghanistan with PTSD. How did you prepare for your role of "Linda Sanders," an overworked Veterans Affair Counselor? How do you feeling working on film with such a serious subject matter changed you? The movie is based on a book (of the same name) by David Finkel and is a follow up to his other book, The Good Soldiers. So, to prepare I read the books and I spoke to some vets I knew in my own personal life specifically about their experience at the VA and with their own counselors. Jason Hall’s script is so beautiful and stays close to what David Finkel wrote so I felt I had so much source material to get lost in. It was really lovely to have those touchstones. As for how it changed me, it’s hard to say, because I’ve always been concerned about the welfare of our veterans. It’s a shame on our country how we treat our vets. The sheer will and bravery these soldiers have shown deserves a lot more than they get. Especially with this administration and it’s unhinged tweets isolating an entire sector of that group. I mean, it’s a deep shame we all carry. We can pretend it’s not there but we need to face it and do something about it.

Allison King in "Midnight Special"6. In the sci-fi drama Midnight Special, you played "Hannah," a cult survivor who lived each day to the fullest. What I want to know is in this post-election world where it looks like doomsday could be any day, how do you, Allison, live each day to the fullest? Wow good question! I definitely have had to limit my exposure to media since November. I get my news from only a few trusted sources so that I can stay informed and the rest I kind of block out. I also take action when it’s necessary so that I feel a part of this great democracy. Then there are two things that keep me happy. The first is paying attention to my body. I think as a woman we’re taught from an early age to be polite and be nice even in situations where we feel we’re in danger. This creates a disconnect of self to body so we begin to not trust our instincts and ourselves. I believe our body always knows the truth and so I try to stay connected. That means drinking water, exercise and rest. It also means taking time out and re-reading my favorite books, or listening to music that pleases me.

Secondly, I try to cultivate joy. This goes back to the body and listening to what she needs. But it’s also checking my mindset and making sure I don’t focus only on the negative. As someone who’s dealt with depression, this is really important. My mind can get dark and I need to make sure to keep the blinds up and the windows open, you know? I have a quote on my refrigerator that I stole from my friend (fellow actress) Annie Cavalero: "Relax and Breathe: There are too many possible positive outcomes to be a pessimist." I love this and it’s a perfect reminder as I refill my water bottle.

Allison King7. How do you feel studying abroad in Paris shaped you as an actress? What is one thing you miss most about Paris? Paris was actually a huge turning point in my life, not just in acting. It was seismic and profound and hard and lonely and sad and romantic and wonderful. I had been a very young 19 going in and had a profound growing up experience there. I think the biggest lesson I walked away with was how limitless life could be. We grow up in our little kid lives, and our parents are like gods, and you play by the rules and do what you’re told, and we’re completely shaped by our limited experiences.

It was this amazing gift that I gave myself, to jump out of my mold and see what it was to be American, Woman, Student, Nanny from a completely different perspective. My family was just amazed that I had done this thing…I mean I had never even left California! I came home bigger and more fluid and compared to that, things weren’t as scary as they used to be. As for what I miss, I mean, I miss the night walks through the city, I miss the history, the trees in spring, sitting beside the Seine in the summer. And the metro: if only all cities had such an impressive transportation system!

8. Like you, I am a dog lover as well. If you could be any kind of dog, which one would you be? I mean, any dog would do! But I think a mutt. I feel like a mutt most days, the long shot, the scrappy one no one ever expected much of, the one you’re not sure about at first but who wins you over in the long run. That seems about right.

Allison King and her dog9. When you take your dog for walks on the beach, do you ever just sit and stare out into the ocean? If so, what do you think about when you are looking out over the great body of water? Honestly, I go very literal when I look at the ocean. I imagine all the life down there that you can’t see. I think of the forms of life we haven’t discovered yet. I think of how all those forms of life are interconnected and interdependent. I also like to think that this water may have touched the shores of Japan or China and India and Dubai and France. The water is all connected and it connects us all. I also like to think about how it’s always moving and never at rest. I love being near the water. It is wonderfully uplifting and grounding all at once.

10. I also love how you enjoy hiking with your dog. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day? What a nice question. I think…hmmm…I’d like to think I work on my own self-love every day. I hate that word: self-love, but there is no word for it that I’ve found. It comprises self acceptance, self understanding, self knowledge and self growth. I think when you’re not in the mainstream (ie, white, cis, straight male), there is this voice inside of you that is separate from your Self and you examine your Self from that external vantage and necessarily that Self is found wanting because it isn’t in line with the mainstream. I think recognizing that separation, healing it, and then discovering, without judgment, who you are and what you love is a radical act. I’m really jazzed about the new voices emerging from the "fringes" on shows like Transparent, Insecure, Masters of None. It feels so fresh and exciting and whole and creative. And I want to continue to find that voice in myself: what is the feminine without the whore/mother division. But it’s a constant journey of acceptance and love and striving for growth and then acceptance and love again. Sometimes all I want to do is take over the world and sometimes I want to eat Cheetos and watch Hulu. So there you have it.

Allison King, Photo Credit: Dana PatrickMore on Allison:

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Allison's passion for acting began at the young age of five. A natural performer, she would often put on plays and dance recitals for her mother and father. After noticing her talents, her mother put her into dance classes to further develop her skills. Allison went on to attend San Francisco State University, where she studied International Relations and French, as well as taking her first acting classes. After studying abroad in Paris for a year, Allison landed in New York City where she studied at The Esper Studio. After her stint on the East Coast, Allison returned to Los Angeles where she resides with her husband and their beloved dog Cassius. In her spare time, she loves to go on hikes with Cassius at parks and dog beaches.

Monday
Sep112017

Call Answered: Jamie Aderski: "Cry Baby: My (Reluctant) Journey Into Motherhood" at The PIT

Jamie Aderski, Photo Credit: Eric Micheal PearsonIf you are a parent, particularly a mother or mother-figure, this interview is for you! Life is one big adventure and how we react to it varies from person to person. Motherhood is one journey, and while I don't have personal experience with it, I know a lot of woman who handle it with varying degrees. Some are super excited by it and all that has to go with it. Others can barely keep their head above water. And some glide through it, taking it all in stride. How ever you walk through it, one thing is for sure, you are not alone. And that's what Jamie Aderski has discovered in her show Cry Baby: My (Reluctant) Journey Into Motherhood, which will be coming back to The PIT this fall.

Cry Baby: My (Reluctant) Journey Into Motherhood came about because Jamie had a baby. People ask her "How’s it going?" and she’s tired of saying "Great!" Everyone lied to her about birth and beyond, so here’s the raw truth. After this show, people may now ask "Is she ok?" Whether you have a kid, are thinking about having one, or can’t even keep a plant alive, it’s vital you attend.

Cry Baby: My (Reluctant) Journey Into Motherhood will play from September 15-November 10 at The PIT's The Striker Theatre (123 East 24th Street). Click here for tickets!

For more on Jamie be sure to visit http://jamieaderski.com and follow her on Facebook, TwitterYouTube and Instagram!

Jamie Aderski1. Who or what inspired you to become an actress/comedian? I wanted to be an actress since I was a kid. I loved musicals, that was what I wanted to do; acting, dancing and singing. I knew early on that in order to stand out, you needed to create your own material, so I produced a show in my backyard when I was seven. Nobody showed up. Hoping this show goes better.

I got into comedy because I was tired of trying to fit into a box as an actress. I was always drawn to comedy, but didn't think it could really be a thing for me. I grew up watching SNL, SCTV, The State, Upright Citizens Brigade, Mr. Show, and the women seemed like an afterthought. They didn't get to play the meaty bits like the men did. More often than not they were there for the men to play off of, the "straight (wo)man," mom, wife. Looking back, there are many female comedians to look to as inspiration for a career in comedy, but that's not how it felt at the time. I think the late 90's was a turning point, when I started to see females really kicking ass. I'll never forget when I first saw Waiting For Guffman. I was so in awe. These were real (comedic) characters with depth! And the women! Parker Posey, and of course, the brilliant Catherine O'Hara whom I have always admired. Then, Tina Fey, Cheri Oteri, Molly Shannon, Rachel Dratch, Amy Poehler, Kristen Wiig, these are the woman that I wanted (and still aspire) to be. They were all funny as hell and fearless. They commanded respect.

Designed by Cayla Merrill2. This fall you are returning to The PIT with your show Cry Baby: My (Reluctant) Journey Into Motherhood. What made now the right to bring this show back? It gets me out of the house, ha! But also, I miss it. There is an endless cycle of people thinking about having kids, having kids, deciding not to have kids. It's a pretty universal topic. Lately, a lot of people I know are recently married or pregnant couples, which I think fired me up to do this show again because I've been talking about it so much. It's a public service, really.

3. Let's go back to the beginning for a moment. When did you decide to write this show? I really didn't decide to. I actively made the decision that I wasn't going to write anything for a while. I was in such a deep hole after having my son. Two-ish months in, I woke up, not because he was crying, but because the title popped into my head. I grabbed pen and paper (I always keep next to my bed, I find I get my best ideas in the middle of the night) and ended up writing a few pages. I woke up and was like, "Well crap, I have to write this show now." And from there, honestly, it was the easiest thing I've ever written, which made me question if this show was just the incoherent ramblings of a sleep deprived, hormonal, postpartum mom. Happy to say I was pleasantly surprised that people dug it so much.

Jamie Aderski in "Cry Baby: My (Reluctant) Journey Into Motherhood", Photo Credit: No Future Photography4. How did writing/performing this show help you reconcile your feelings of frustration with what others told you or didn't tell you about motherhood? It was/is cathartic. I think that's why I love to perform it so much. I have a real goal and a message I want to get across, well, several. It's an active, living, breathing show. The things I talk about are graphic, raw, and (what I thought was) my experience alone. I didn't expect that so many people would be able to relate to it. Parents and non-parents have thanked me after the show for being so honest. I'm a pretty private person, but it's worth the risk of being so vulnerable if I can put on a show that is healing for me, and empowers other people. (And also if I can make people laugh at this crazy shit. Then it's worth it).

5. Since the show is called Cry Baby, what is one thing you just cried like a baby over about birth or motherhood? My body being destroyed from pushing a human out of it. It was a shock. I read every book, every blog, but nothing was thorough enough, specific enough. I felt like I would never heal. Everything hurt, everything was was bleeding, everything was out of order. And I thought I would pee my pants forever. But it gets better.

Jamie Aderski, Photo Credit: Eric Micheal Pearson6. I feel the description of your show is like that episode of Sex and The City where "Berger" tells "Miranda," "He's just not that into you" and she has that revelation of truth and then in turn tries to impart that knowledge on others. What one piece of advice you learned from birth or motherhood that you must let people know before they themselves experience it? That you can't really prepare for it. That it's okay to be depressed after what is "supposed" to be the most incredible experience of your life. It doesn't mean you love your child less than someone who isn't. Let go of expectations.

You can't prepare for how you will feel physically or mentally after birth (or in life, like, ever, right?) And ask for help. I don't like to ask for help, I never have, but now, I am humbled. I need to sometimes. Look for the helpers, like "Mister Rogers" said, they are there. Don't be too proud to stand by the subway stairs with your stroller and make eye contact until someone offers to help. I make a point to pay it forward, so that I don't feel bad about needing help from a stranger. Now I look for people who need help, and it feels good. I never saw them before.

7. What has been the worst part of motherhood? What has been the best part? The worst part is having to give up time for yourself. I can't just grab a drink with a friend or wander around Union Square or take a nap. It sounds selfish, but I'm selfish. Aren't we all? Shouldn't we be? The best part is that it's not just you anymore. There is someone more important, and that's oddly freeing. I've realized how most of the shit I worried about doesn't matter. And I'll nap when I'm dead. So there's that to look forward to.

Jamie Aderksi and family, Photo Credit: Jamie Grill photography8. What has been some of your favorite audience reactions to this show? A 20-something said to me: "I thought it was just gonna be about having a baby (eye roll). But it wasn't! I loved it!" - my favorite quote.

A woman who recently had a baby thanked me with tears in her eyes. She felt like she was alone. It's 2017 and the mental health and well-being of new moms is a taboo subject? All the more reason I want to do this show to normalize it and create awareness. Also to make people laugh. I said that already, right?

9. Has your mom seen this show? If so, what did she think of it? She did! She thought it was "so relatable" because she "went through all those things, too!" Naturally, I was pissed, and of course, I asked why she didn't warn me. Her answer: "It (having a baby) is so difficult, but if I told you, I wouldn't have a grandchild." Clearly my Mom is part of the problem, oy!

10. If you could do it all again with the knowledge you gained, would you still become a mother? A thousand times, yes. (But I would go easier on myself).

Jamie Aderski, Photo Credit: Eric Micheal PearsonMore on Jamie:

Jamie is an actress, comedian, and writer, originally from South Jersey. She studied at The Peoples Improv Theater, Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, and Annoyance Theatre (NYC). She is a graduate of the Maggie Flanigan Studio conservatory program for acting (NYC), and graduated summa cum laude with a BS in psychology from Fordham University. Jamie has been featured in sketches for Comedy Central, UCB Digital, Elite Daily, and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. She has appeared in several national commercials, and in print ads with babies and stuff. Inspired by real things and imaginary things in her head, Jamie is the writer and performer of character pieces. Also, her solo show, I Just Disappear, was showcased in the 2016 Boston Comedy Arts Festival and her newest one-woman show, Cry Baby: My (Reluctant) Journey Into Motherhood was a part of the 2016 SOLOCOM Festival in NYC. The comedic sitcom pilot she wrote, The F-Factor, most recently won 4th place in FilmMakers.com's TV script writing competition. She performs in repertory at The Peoples Improv Theater (where she also teaches improv,) Wednesdays at 8pm on the Mainstage with improv house team, "Desperado."