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Entries in Actress (174)

Saturday
Dec092017

Call Answered: Jessica Morris: "One Life To Live", "Ladies of the Lake", "A Christmas Cruise", "The Wrong Man"

Jessica Morris, Photo Credit: Tim SchaefferI'm always amazed at how much one person can do! Best known for her portrayal of "Jennifer Rappaport" on ABC’s One Life to Live, I am not surprised how much Jessica Morris has going on! I was exhausted just reading about it. So needless to say, I had to find out she does it all.

Jessica can be seen in so many things right now, I don't know how she had the time to do our interview, but she did and I couldn't be more grateful! This holiday season be sure to stay glued to your TV because you'll get to see Jessica along with Vivica A. Fox & Rib Hillis in ION's original holiday movie A Christmas Cruise airing December 16 at 9pm and on December 29 in The Wrong Man on Lifetime Movie Network.

Additionally, Jessica is currently filming the second season of Amazon's highly-anticipated web series Ladies of the Lake which will return in the summer of 2018! 

For more on Jessica be sure to visit http://jessicaannmorris.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? I was very shy as a child to the point where my teachers were concerned, because I would make good grades but barely spoke a word in class. But I grew up performing as a dancer. I was a member in the local dance studio's company, went to competitions, auditioned, and danced year after year in The Nutcracker Ballet. When I did my first play, being on the stage already felt like home to me. And people were shocked to see timid me playing such a confident character. It turned out that playing someone gave me the courage to express myself. At that point, I fell in love with acting and never stopped.

2. You have so much going on from filming Season 2 of Ladies of the Lake on Amazon to your upcoming original holiday movie, A Christmas Cruise on December 16 on ION TV, The Wrong Man on Lifetime Movie Network on December 29, + about nine other projects in various stages of completion in addition to getting ready for the holidays. In this busy time, how do you stay centered, healthy, and moving forward? I have been very busy, and it honestly is hard to find time to work out, meditate, and do all the things necessary to keep myself balanced. I made the choice not to travel this holiday season, which will give me a little more down time for myself and for some rest and reflection, which is much needed. Writing is an amazing creative outlet for me, as well. It keeps me sane.

Jessica Morris3. Before we get in depth about your current projects, let's go back in time to One Life To Live, where you played "Jennifer Rappaport." What was the best part about being on that show? What was your favorite story line? Which story line made you roll your eyes and say, "I can't believe this is happening, but how cool I get to live this out as an actress"? The best part about the show was everything that I learned. I was a brand-new actress. It was one of my very first jobs. I grew up a lot and learned so much about my craft.

I loved the story line when my character's mom went crazy. It was some great stuff to work with and, Catherine Hickland, the actress that played my mom, was so convincing that it was scary and easy to react off.

When I lied, and told "Christian" that I was pregnant with his baby, that got a bit silly. But it was fun to get into being so manipulative and calculating.

4. Since we only have "One Life to Live," what is something you learned while on the show that you will carry with you forever? I learned to really appreciate every moment. It was a bit of a struggle to pick up my life in L.A. and move to NYC for five years so suddenly. Much of the time I was in New York for the show, I was desperate to come back to L.A. But since being back, I have missed my experience there and only thought of it fondly. So, I realized that I need to be happy right where I am every day.

Jessica Morris5. Now, let's get to the present. We'll start with Ladies of the Lake on Amazon, where you play "Crystal Amhurst," a trophy wife who is willing to do anything for her husband's attention & love. First, how did you first come to be part of this project & what are you looking forward to most about the new season? Secondly, what is the craziest or most unusual thing you have done to gain someone's attention/love? The producer, Michael Caruso, offered me the role, and as soon as I read the script, I was so excited to jump on board. In this new season, I am looking forward to "Crystal" being less of a victim and taking control of her life.

The craziest things I have done to get someone's attention? Hhmm, there are a handful of these stories, and some of them could get me arrested, so I will plead the fifth.

6. As mentioned above, you will be starring in the ION Original movie A Christmas Cruise airing December 16. In this film, you play "Pam's" best friend "Becky" who drags "Pam" along on a holiday themed sail in the hopes "Pam" will unexpectedly find the love of her life. What do you still aspire to do in your own life? What is the most unexpected thing to happen to you in your career so far? I have actually never been on a cruise. I need to make this happen soon. Also, there is so much traveling that I have put off because of work or not wanting to miss opportunities. But I plan on taking time to travel more in 2018. And I aspire to keep writing. In my career, I never really thought that I would end up writing scripts that I could star in. I have sort of surprised myself this year with a couple of developments on that front.

7. On December 29, you will be seen in The Wrong Man on Lifetime Movie Network where you play "Kim," a woman who after the untimely death of her grandmother, returns to their home to slowly discover the friendly, handsome man caring for her grandfather isn’t at all what he seems to be. What's the biggest loss in your life you have suffered? What do you miss most about this person? I have lost a few people in my life, and it is never easy to process this kind of pain. Definitive endings are something that are very difficult to wrap my brain around. When I think of these people, who are no longer in my life, I think about their smile, the sparkle in their eyes and their hugs.

8. You also starred in two Lifetime movies, The Wrong Roommate & The Wrong Student. What is something you did as a student that in looking back, you wish you didn't do? I was a good student and made excellent grades -- until I had my heart broken by my first love. I was destroyed. I thought I would never get over it. So, I kind of gave up during that time, and my grades began to slip. I failed a couple classes. I regret that. I will never again let a boy or a man come in the way of my success in life. Or, I will at least try.

Jessica MorrisJessica Morris9. There is a picture on your Instagram where you are at a bowling alley with your friend. What is something that was a sure-fire strike in your life and what is something that was a spare, just one pin off? Most of the time it's one pin off. I guess anytime I book a role I feel that it is a strike. And I must say that making the decision to move to Los Angeles was a definite strike. I have always felt that this is the right place for me.

10. There is another picture on your Instagram where you are alluding to a secret project. What is one secret you have not revealed in any other interview that you are ready to share with the world here? Unfortunately, I still cannot talk about that project. It should be coming out in 2018 though. But I do have a secret about the world: No one knows what the heck they're doing. We are all just pretending like we do. We are all excellent actors. Some of us just learned our lines better.

Jessica MorrisMore on Jessica:

Known for her portrayal of series regular "Jennifer Rappaport" on ABC’s One Life to Live, Jessica has cultivated her career as the leading lady in various television shows and independent films. Also making a memorable appearance in Universal’s theatrical success Role Models. Jessica has recently been the star of Lifetime TV’s hit movie The Wrong Student and has also had strong guest starring roles on popular primetime shows, including Fox’s Rosewood and TNT’s Perception. Jessica stands out as an actress who conveys honesty and depth through all of the characters she plays and has also discovered her passion for screenwriting.

Thursday
Dec072017

Call Answered: Sarah Stiles: "Squirrel Heart" returns to Joe's Pub this January (2018)

Sarah StilesOne of my favorite musicals is Avenue Q! Upon it's Broadway closing in 2009, Avenue Q did something no other show had done at the time, it re-opened Off-Broadway at New World Stages. It was there, I got to feel special when I saw Tony nominee Sarah Stiles as "Kate Monster/Lucy the Slut."

Now, I am able to return the favor and make Sarah feel special with this fun interview about the return of her show Squirrel Heart at Joe's Pub this coming January! Squirrel Heart is a marathon of musical genres and caffeinated emotions wrapped up in 20 or so costume changes and big hair.

Cartwheels at birth, pooping nerves, working in Television & Theatre, developing Squirrel Heart, Sarah & I cover it all!

Squirrel Heart will play Joe's Pub (425 Lafayette Street) on Wednesday, January 3, 2018 at 7pm & Monday, January 8, 2018 at 9:30pm! Click here for tickets!

For more on Sarah follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? Born that way. My mom says I was born to applause. Which is literally true because she pushed me out in a home birth surrounded by her hippy friends who were holding hands and singing songs. I cartwheeled outta that vag and took center stage to the roar of the crowd.

2. This January, you are returning to Joe's Pub with your show Squirrel Heart. What are you looking forward to most about this return engagement? Not being so stressed and worried leading up to it. The first time we did it I was PETRIFIED that I would get laughed off the stage, and not in a good way. I got so nervous my body shut down. I lost my voice, I couldn’t sleep, I got super skinny cause I couldn’t stop pooping, it was awful. But the show was really great and we’ve since made it even better. I love doing every single second of SQUIRREL HEART. There are no wasted moments. I’m really confident in it this time.

Sarah Stiles3. How did you come up with the show's title Squirrel Heart? It's the title of a poem I wrote awhile ago. When Holly Gewandter and I were coming up with the show we were inspired by that poem. It is now woven into a medley that is ultimately the heart of the show. "The Squirrel Heart Medley" is a true collaboration between my Musical Director Brian Nash, Director Darren Katz, and Holly and me. Once we created that piece, the rest of the show fell into place pretty easily.

4. If you were a squirrel, what do you think your New Year's wish would be? I read this wrong. I thought the question was "If you were a squirrel, what do you think your New Year’s PLANS would be?" So here’s that answer: I would grab an acorn or two, a thimble of champs and lay out in sheep’s meadow watching the fireworks and those nut jobs with glow sticks do the midnight run.

Sarah Stiles as "Lucy The Slut" in "Avenue Q"5. What did you learn from the first engagement of this show in 2016 that you will now bring with you in 2018? The people who show up want to have fun, they want to be filled with joy, they want to smile and laugh and explore your world with you…all you have to do is stay present and bring them on the journey. It’s actually really simple and sweet. And truly whatever happens, happens. Messy is ok as long as you’re ok with it. I didn’t know that the first time around. Now I do!

6. For people who didn't see this show the first time around, what can they expect? It’s a nightclub act with theatrical moments. It’s fully staged and intricately designed but feels off the cuff and spontaneous. I got stories and songs and my morning poems and dance numbers and lots of costume changes. I play the ukulele one time, hand out four packs of goldfish and there may or may not be puppets.

7. Press notes say, Squirrel Heart is a marathon of musical genres and caffeinated emotions wrapped up in 20 or so costume changes and big hair. What are some caffeinated emotions you want to slow down in this coming New Year? Are you suggesting caffeinated emotions are bad? Why are they bad?! Why would I want to slow down?!? AND HOW CAN YOU DO IT WHEN YOU HAVE SO MANY THOUGHT AND IDEAS CONSTANTLY SWIRLING-……Yup seeing it now.

Sean Bridgers & Sarah Stiles in "Get Shorty" on EPIX8. Your press release also mentioned that while you were busy on the West Coast playing "Gladys" in the new hit EPIX series Get Shorty, you also missed the NYC theatre scene. What was the exact moment that made you go, "I miss the bright lights of Broadway"? I missed people laughing at me! I would do these funny scenes in Shorty and not a peep, cause duh we're filming, but it totally messed with me. It took me awhile to get comfortable. I was like, this is cool and all but I’m too needy. I gotta get back on a NY stage so I can get some instant gratification. Also I was really hungry to sing again. I got to sing a tiny bit on Shorty and made me all cravey.

9. I was lucky enough to see you in Avenue Q as "Lucy The Slut/Kate Monster." What I want to know is how are you going to make your audience at Squirrel Heart feel special? Hmmmm... well….Coming to my show is like coming into my bedroom and looking through my private drawers so…that’s pretty special.

10. You also made quite a splash in Showtime's I'm Dying Up Here as "Toni Luddy." When has there been a time in your career when you felt the sentiment of "I'm Dying Up Here"? Oh yes. So many times. Failure is an important part of being a performer - It means you were brave. And I consider myself a little warrior.

Sarah StilesMore on Sarah:

On Broadway, Sarah was nominated for a Tony Award for "Best Featured Actress in a Play" for her role in Hand to God. Additionally, she has appeared as "Muriel" in On a Clear Day You Can See Forever with Harry Connick Jr. and Jesse Mueller, popped her puppet sex cherry as "Kate/Lucy" in Avenue Q, and took turns playing multiple eccentric children in The 25th Annual Putnum County Spelling Bee. Sarah received critical acclaim as "Little Red Riding Hood" in The Public Theater’s Into the Woods, presented as part of its Shakespeare in the Park programming. In addition, she voices "Lacey" on Nick Jr.’s Sunny Day and "Spider" on Pasek and Paul’s James and the Giant Peach album. Sarah made a splash as "Toni Luddy" on Showtime’s I’m Dying Up Here and is in Steven Soderbergh’s upcoming feature Unsane.

Sunday
Dec032017

Call Answered: Frances Ruffelle: "Les Misérables" + "Frances Ruffelle Live(s) In New York" at Green Room 42

Frances RuffelleOne of my all time favorite musicals is Les Misérables, so how excited was I when, "On My Own," I got asked to interview the show's original "Eponine" (in both London & Broadway), Frances Ruffelle! Frances returns to The Green Room 42 with her show Frances Ruffelle Live(s) in New York, an intimate evening of song that whispers seductive secrets, lays bare the naked truth and explodes with the one of a kind bottle rocket charisma that's kept "Frankie's" ardent fans coming back for more since she created the iconic role of "Eponine" in Les Misérables and turned "On My Own" into one of Broadway's most beloved standards.

Frances Ruffelle Live(s) in New York will play The Green Room 42 (570 10th Avenue, 4th Floor of the Yotel) on Saturday, December 9 at 7pm! Click here for tickets!

For more on Frances be sure to visit http://www.francesruffelle.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? I was possibly born in a trunk! My Mother is Sylvia Young of the famous British Theatre School. I grew up going to the theatre and living around creative work and I don’t remember not wanting to perform.

2. On December 9 you are returning to NYC to perform at The Green Room 42 with your show Frances Ruffelle Live(s) In New York. What are you looking forward to most about this show? I love performing my one woman shows…I also think I get quite excited about surprising the audience with my unusual theatre piece. The audiences usually expect a cabaret style show…but I tell a story in song and I love how involved they get…I take them on dark but funny trips and I love it when they tell me how they can relate to my story.

3. What will excite fans about this show and what will surprise them? A lot of my fans love me to sing "On My Own" my song from Les Miserables…Of course I do it, but I also love some of to them to sing it too…so get studying on those lyrics!

Frances Ruffelle performing at The Green Room 42.jpg4. Press notes state, Frances Ruffelle Live(s) In New York is wildly entertaining ride straight through the core of the most tender heart, fiery passion and loose comic confidence of a seasoned performer at the height of her game. Let's break this down into a few questions:

 

  • What has been the most tender moment to happen to you in a show? Lot’s of tender moments…but in this show my favourite is when my British friend, the talented Sally Ann Triplet, comes on stage and we sing a sisterhood best friend moment…I cry every time.
  • What’s a project that you worked on or are working on that you have a fiery passion for like nothing before? I secured the rights to Michae John LaChiusa’s Wild Party…I certainly have a fiery passion for that and LOVED performing it in London and am dying to do it again in NY.
  • What is the funniest thing to happen to you on stage? Probably when Andrew Lloyd Webber gave me champagne when I was 18 in between the matinee and evening performances of Starlight Express…which I performed on roller skates…the evening show during the song "A Lotta Locomotion…" I fell on my bum and was a heap of giggles.

Frances Ruffelle5. Press notes also say the show is an intimate evening of song that whispers seductive secrets, lays bare the naked truth and explodes with the one of a kind bottle rocket charisma. What is one secret you've held on to that you are now ready to share with the world? My secrets wouldn’t be secrets if I announced them in print…it’s all part of the fun of the show :)

6. You were the original "Eponine" in both the London & NYC productions of Les Misérables. When you look back at your time in that role, what makes you smile and what makes you go, "Oh, I wish I did that better”? I am so lucky and proud that I was offered that amazing role and performed it in London and New York. I don’t feel I could have done better...I always work hard and do my best in my work and my performances…I never stray from being in the moment…sometimes the moments are different..but that’s the beauty of live theatre.

Frances Ruffelle as the original "Eponine" in London & Broadway's "Les Misérables"7. You got to sing "On My Own" eight times a week and it has become synonymous with you. How do you keep the song fresh for you after singing it for so long? Each word must be expressed as if it’s the first time you have ever thought about it or spoken it.

8. What is something in your life that would ring true to the lyrics of "On My Own," where you created a scenario in your mind, but the reality was quite different? It’s there in my show!

9. You have released five studio albums in addition to performing on stage, TV, & in Film. I love the title of your fourth album Imperfectly Me. When you look in the mirror, what is one imperfection only you see that you would like to improve on? Oh Gosh…I’m sure we all do that…and growing older is no fun…but that title is about the imperfections of human behaviour...I think I do everything with the best intentions but sometimes I make human mistakes…that’s the way it is.

10. Bringing this back to your upcoming concert, Frances Ruffelle Live(s) In New York City, what are your top five favorite things to do when you are in NYC? I live in NY now. I love to wander around the west village, go to the theatre, eat soft boiled eggs at Joseph Leonard, pop into Club Cumming and go to Barry’s Bootcamp!

Frances RuffelleMore on Frances:

You could be forgiven for expecting Frances Ruffelle to be French. After all, her latest album, I Say Yeh-Yeh features a number of French songs and she has played many French roles on stage. Then of course there’s her Gallic-sounding name.

You possibly know her best however for originating the role of iconic waif "Eponine" in the original London production of Les Misérables, for her anthemic hit single "Lonely Symphony," or for recently playing "Naomi," Dorien Green’s vicar daughter in ITV comedy Birds Of A Feather. But Frances is a recording artist at heart, with five solo albums and a series of 5-star sellout UK and US live performances to her name. Oh, and she is British, born in Essex.

As a singer/songwriter Frances has released the albums Fragile (produced by Guy Chambers), Frances Ruffelle (an album of torch songs from the 16th century to the present day, produced by Spandau Ballet’s Gary Kemp), Showgirl and Imperfectly Me. She also recorded the meditative album Purify, based on ancient Sanskrit mantras as one half of duo PaTala. I Say Yeh-Yeh, her new, fifth solo album showcases her collaboration with renowned singer/songwriter and producer Gwyneth Herbert as she puts a unique, earthy and at times mischievous spin on some of the best – and lesser – known French songs.

Following the success of her widely acclaimed solo Beneath The Dressconcerts at the Edinburgh Festival and in London in 2014, Frances took the show to legendary venue 54 Below in New York, for a series of sold out performances. Later that year she premiered her follow-up show Paris Original at The Crazy Coqs, London, with an updated version of Beneath The Dress selling-out the same venue in March 2015. Following five dates performing I Say Yeh, Yeh in its entirety to celebrate the album’s release, at Crazy Coqs in October 2015, Frances also took the show to Washington DC, New York, and again in London in 2016.

Aside from her own albums and live performances, Frances’ is famed for creating the character of "Eponine" in the original London RSC production of Les Misérables (for which composers Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil wrote the legendary number "On My Own" especially to suit her voice). She went on to recreate the role on Broadway where she won a coveted Tony award, Helen Hayes award, Theatre World award and Outer Circle Critics award for her performance. It seems fitting then, as Les Misérables celebrates its 30th Anniversary in the West End, Frances reinterprets "On My Own" and introduces us to "L’Un Vers L’Autre," a song originally written for "Eponine" that didn’t make into the show.

Frances’ first hit the London stage in Terence Rattigan’s play The Sleeping Prince with Omar Sharif, before starring as "Dinah" in the original production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Starlight Express at the Apollo Victoria Theatre. Numerous stage adventures have followed, including creating the role of "Yonah" in director John Caird’s West End production of Children of Eden, playing opposite Ian Dury in Apples at the Royal Court and starring as "Roxie Hart" in Chicago at London’s Adelphi Theatre.

More recently, Frances was able to explore her love of French chanteuse Edith Piaf, playing the title role in Pam Gems’ play Piaf at the Curve Theatre, Leicester, for which she received a UK Theatre award nomination.

Frances’ film career includes a cameo appearance as "Whore #1" in Tom Hooper’s Oscar-winning big-screen version of Les Misérables (2012), where she was one of only two original West End cast members invited to take part in the movie (the other being original "Jean Valjean," Colm Wilkinson). She also appears in the films Devil’s Tower (2014), Hide (2014).

Alongside the release of I Say Yeh-Yeh, Frances appears in a short film produced by Sadie Frost, which features her album track "Bang, Bang."

With a multi-faceted career spanning recording to live performance to theatre to TV to film, who knows how Frances Ruffelle will surprise us next?

Thursday
Nov302017

Call Answered: Megan Freels Johnston: "The Ice Cream Truck"

Megan Freels JohnstonAs an ice cream (cookies-n-cream) & horror film lover myself, I couldn't wait to get a big scoop on the making of Megan Freels Johnston's The Ice Cream Trucka provocative psychological thriller that stars Deanna Russo (Being Human, Gossip Girl) as "Mary," who moves back to her suburban hometown after her husband gets relocated for work. As her family ties up loose ends back home, she moves into their new house alone. And although the move makes "Mary" nostalgic for her youth, there’s something very sinister about that Ice Cream Truck that patrols her suburb.

The Ice Cream Truck is available on DVD through Amazon!

For more on Megan be sure to follow her on Twitter @number1megan

For more on The Ice Cream Truck visit http://www.icecreamtruckmovie.com and follow the film on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a writer/director? I was just a producer originally. I think I got fed up with how long it took movies to get made. I got into the film business because I just love movies. So after a few years of things not going forward as a producer I decided to make a movie myself with a small budget. That was my first film Rebound. I am a big fan of retro horror and the suspense films of the 60s and 70s so they serve as my creative inspiration.

2. Your new psychological thriller, The Ice Cream Truck has just been released on DVD. What do you like about writing in the psychological thriller genre? I love playing with things that are scary inside and outside the mind. It’s fun to do both in the same film. People are so complex so the story ideas that revolve around human emotions and anxiety are limitless.

Scene from "The Ice Cream Truck"3. How did you come up with the concept for The Ice Cream Truck? I lived in an area of Los Angeles that happened to have a lot of ice cream trucks. I am also from the Midwest suburbs so I grew up around ice cream trucks. I just felt like there is something so creepy and strange about getting ice cream from a virtual stranger’s car. So I had to write a story about it. But I wanted to do it in a way that wasn’t your typical B horror movie.

4. What was the most complicated part of the film to make? What was the most fun? Making indie films are always a challenge because you have financial constraints. You can’t just do whatever you want. You have to be realistic and work with what you have. So that is always the hardest part. Making this film was a total blast. Everyone loved the project and wanted to be there so it was just a really fun set to be a part of.

Deanna Russo as "Mary" in "The Ice Cream Truck"5. How many gallons of ice cream did you go through to make this film? We used quite a bit of ice cream, but probably more blood, to be honest!

6. What's your favorite ice cream flavor? I am a Rocky Road fan. Simple, yet complex.

7. In the film, "Mary" moves back to her suburban hometown, which makes her very nostalgic for her youth. What is something from your childhood you long for as an adult? I have two kids so it allows me to be a kid in my every day life. But the one thing I have taken with me along the way is my old school Nintendo NES game system. It’s got some kinks and I still know all the tricks when it’s not working correctly but no modern game will ever compare to me. I love the original Nintendo. Kid Icarus is my favourite game.

Emil Johnson as "The Ice Cream Truck Driver" in "The Ice Cream Truck"8. You are the granddaughter of legendary crime writer Elmore Leonard. What did you learn from him that influenced your own writing? Elmore was a big proponent of writing for yourself. That is one thing I try to do. Don’t write what you think other people want. Be authentic within your voice and tell the stories you want to hear or see.

9. For a while you worked on adaptations of his work. When did the moment come when you said to yourself, "I need to write & direct my own work"? What did that moment feel like for you? Well initially that came from frustration of not getting enough movies off the ground. Even Elmore Leonard adaptations. It was supposed to be more of an experiment, my becoming a filmmaker. But it was life changing and now that’s where my true passion lies within the film business. I prefer to do my own material because I can just do it however I want which is really creatively freeing. Putting in all the work from writing a script, to being on set to shaping your film in post-production is one of the greatest feelings.

10. After completing The Ice Cream Truck, what is one lesson you learned from this film that you'll carry with you for the remainder of your life? I learned so many things from The Ice Cream Truck. I think the main thing is work with people you like and be appreciative. The rest kind of falls into place.

Megan Freels JohnstonMore on Megan:

Megan Freels Johnston is a producer and writer, known for The Ice Cream Truck (2017), Rebound (2014) and Convention (2018). She is the granddaughter of legendary crime writer Elmore Leonard.

Monday
Nov272017

Call Answered: Sarah Naughton: "Trapped In The Closet" at Feinstein's/54 Below

Sarah Naughton performing "Trapped In The Closet" at Feinstein's/54 BelowGrowing up I was obsessed with "Weird Al" Yankovic's "Stuck in the Closet with Vanna White" off his Even Worse album. When I was older, I hid in the closet myself because I wasn't ready to admit I was gay. I have finally embraced my gayness & love looking at closets to see how they are set up. Now, I get to go inside Sarah Naughton's closet for a revealing look at her show Trapped In The Closet which will be at Feinstein's/54 Below (254 West 54th Street, between Broadway & 8th Avenue) on Saturday, December 2 at 9:30pm! Click here for tickets!

Trapped In The Closet is a wildly imaginative journey inside her bedroom closet-turned-recording studio as she shares tales from the unsung world of audiobook narration and reveals some of the most ridiculous books she has ever been paid to read out loud! Trapped In The Closet features music from Broadway favorites (9 to 5, Sunday in the Park With George, Avenue Q, and Spring Awakening) as well as original music written with her music director and collaborator, Jake Weinstein. Also featuring special guest Vishal Vaidya (Groundhog Day).

For more on Sarah be sure to visit https://www.sarah-naughton.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

For more on Feinstein's/54 Below visit https://54below.com and follow them on FacebookTwitterYouTube, & Instagram!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? My mom! Patty Naughton is an excellent pianist and musician. As a kid she would teach me songs from old Broadway musicals and we would play and sing together. Those were some of my favorite times. And I cultivated a real love of musical theatre that way. Plus I've been a ham since day one, so becoming a professional performer has always kind of been a no-brainer.

2. On December 2 you are returning to Feinstein's/54 Below with your show Trapped In The Closet. What are you looking forward to most about this return engagement? The return engagement has given me and Jake (Weinstein, my collaborator) a chance to fine tune the show. We're debuting some new material that I'm really excited to share. One medley in particular is going to blow people's socks off!!

3. Trapped In The Closet takes audiences inside your bedroom closet-turned-recording studio as you share tales from the unsung world of audiobook narration. You reveal some of the most ridiculous books you have ever been paid to read out loud! How did you initially get into audiobook recording? There was, and still is I believe, an audiobook production company in my home town of Syracuse, New York called Full Cast Audio that produces beautiful audiobooks. They cast a different actor to play each character, and score the books with music. They're incredible. And they were producing a book called Gilbert and Sullivan Set Me Free by Kathleen Karr that was about a women's prison putting on a production of The Pirates of Penzance. And they were looking for singers! So I auditioned. And they cast me in a small role ("Rachel," the prostitute) but also had me sing "Poor Wandering One." After that I recorded a couple more books at Full Cast, which gave me a few credits on my resume by the time I was down in New York and reaching out to places like Audible. So I actually got into audiobooks via singing!

Sarah Naughton4. What do you like about this world as opposed to performing on a stage? Unlike my first book at Full Cast Audio, with the books I record in my closet, I read the entire thing myself. But that means I get to play every character in the story! Roles I would never get to play like grandfathers and Russian mobsters. So that's really fun. I get to be in charge of every element of the story.

5. What is one book you didn't get to record that you wish you did? Oh I've auditioned for so many great books I didn't get. There was one recently called Hap and Hazard at the End of the World by Diane DeSanders about a family in Texas after World War II that looked great. But didn't go my way. That's the biz!

6. Since the show is called Trapped In The Closet, when has there been a time you have felt like you were "Trapped In The Closet"? How did you break free? The title, "Trapped In The Closet," refers to the work I do narrating romance novels under a pseudonym, and the embarrassment I've felt about bringing such spicy content to life. When I feel like I have to hide this aspect of my work from people I'm literally and figuratively in the closet! But creating and sharing this show has put me back in the driver's seat. Telling my story gives me a real sense of ownership about it and allows me to break free.

Sarah Naughton7. If you could create your dream closet, what would it look like? I love this question! It would be a nice size, comfortable to stand and walk around in, but still small enough so it would be easy to control the sound quality. It would be packed with twinkle lights. Mine has some. But if I had my way it would look like the Rock Center Christmas tree in there. And I'd have some plants, maybe for the oxygen, and some color. And a really comfy chair!

8. What was the best part about performing on The View? What was the most intimidating? The audience was so supportive and awesome when I performed on The View. My parents were there, and before the show the warm-up comic made my Dad read aloud a page from 50 Shades of Gray (it was really hot at the time). So I think that really won the audience over before I even went out there. But the whole thing was super intimidating. It was set up American Idol style so I did 90 seconds of stand up and then got feedback from the ladies of The View! They were, let's say, very honest. And I was just starting out writing standup, so at the time I was bummed that they didn't love me, but in retrospect they gave me really good advice and I learned a lot.

Sarah Naughton9. I know you love living in NYC, so what are some of your favorite things to do? Living in NYC is truly the best. Going out to eat is, I think, life's greatest pleasure. It gets pricey to do a lot. But going out with friends every so often is the best treat. I love The Smith and Kashkaval Gardens. I love New York's parks! We have so many great ones: Central Park, Riverside, Madison Square Park. And I love to go to the theatre of course. Broadway shows, downtown theatre, improv shows, I love it all! I especially love me an immersive experience! Sleep No More. A Third Rail Projects show. Maybe because I'm a performer myself, but I love being a part of the action. Also New York has some sick fitness options. I recently got Classpass and it's so cool! I've gotten to try out a lot of awesome workouts. Title Boxing, Mile High Run Club, and Aerial Yoga at Crunch were some of my favorites.

10. What are your top 5 take-out places to order food from? LOVE this question. I live for this question.

Now I live in Astoria so this is very neighborhood specific BUT:

1. Pizza (my #1 favorite food) - TIE between Retro Pizza (my corner mom and pop shop) and Rizzo's (which is just sick good)

2. Sushi - Pink Nori (beyond bomb)

3. Comfort Food - Sanford's (they have a pecan crusted chicken salad that makes a burger seem healthy by comparison but is so good)

4. Healthy (when I have to) - Create

5. Thai - Three E Taste of Thai

Sarah NaughtonMore on Sarah:

Sarah Naughton is a singer, actress, and Audie-nominated audiobook narrator living in New York. Some favorite credits include: New York Theatre: Death Comes for the War Poets (The Sheen Center) Romeo and Juliet (Lincoln Center - Clark Studio Theater), Diamond Alice (Roundabout Underground), and Summer and Smoke (Access Theatre). Regional Theatre: Mame (Human Race Theater Co), AcousticaElectronica (A.R.T. Oberon), and Meet Me In St. Louis (Mt. Gretna Playhouse). Sarah has narrated over 70 audiobooks which are all available on audible.com. Additionally, Sarah is a comedy veteran and has performed stand-up on ABC’s The View as well as at major NYC venues such as New York Comedy Club, Stand Up NY, and The PIT. Sarah is also a member of the immersive dance theater company called toUch performance art and she works as a supporting artist for CO/LAB theater group, a non-profit organization that has been providing individuals with developmental disabilities a creative and social outlet through theater arts since 2011. Sarah holds a BFA from NYU Tisch and is a proud member of Actors' Equity.