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Entries in New York City (115)

Thursday
Aug132015

Call Redialed: Stuart Williams: The Report: 2015 NYC International Fringe Festival!

Stuart Williams, Photo Credit: Taylor Hooper PhotographyIt has been five years since I first interviewed Stuart Williams. We first met when he was starring in Billy Carver and the Children in Mind at Manhattan Theatre Source. With talent, good looks, and that enticing British accent, I had no choice but to approach Stuart after the show to see if he would be willing to do an interview with me. Stuart was so kind, that he agreed, on the spot, to do an interview. I have been following Stuart's career ever since that fateful day, which is why I am beyond excited that Stuart is back on stage this summer (reuniting with fellow Billy Carver alum Jenny Green) in the world premiere of The Report which is part of the 2015 NYC International Fringe Festival from August 15-28 at Lynn Redgrave Theater (45 Bleecker Street). Click here for tickets!

The Report examines the true, unknown story of the British government’s cover-up of the deadliest civilian tragedy of World War II. On March 3, 1943, 173 people died in London’s Bethnal Green tube station, which served as a bomb shelter during air raids. But not a single bomb was dropped that fateful night. The cause of this disaster was kept secret for almost 30 years, until a young BBC journalist making a documentary began to uncover what actually took place. As the truth is revealed, we discover how trauma, fear and the paranoia of war impact our very humanity, and how the specter of a single public calamity resonates throughout multiple generations. If you are inspired by this play, please consider making a donation to the funding of a beautiful monument paying tribute to the victims at the site of the disaster: http://www.stairwaytoheavenmemorial.org/donateonline.html

For more on Stuart be sure to visit http://www.stuartwilliams.info and follow The Report at http://www.thereporttheplay.com, on Facebook and on Twitter!

1. This August you are starring in The Report, as part of the NYC Fringe Festival from August 15-28. The Report is based upon the largest WWII civilian disaster in the UK and the subsequent cover-up by Churchill's war department. What made you want to be part of this production? Last summer I was approached by the founding members of Cutting Hedge Productions to take part in a staged reading of The Report. I was exceedingly grateful and absolutely riveted upon reading the script. I called my Nan who was living in the East End of London at the time and would have been about 12 years old. Although she lived only five miles away from Bethnal Green, where this tragic incident occurred, she had no knowledge whatsoever of it's occurrence. I knew then that this was a story that needed to be told.

2. What do you identify most with about your character? He is driven and spirited but at the same time humble. He is well aware of his strengths AND his shortcomings. And his sideburns. I really identify with his sideburns.

Stuart Williams rehearsing "The Report"3. The Report is being directed by Alan Muraoka. What has been the best part about working with him so far? This is a true ensemble piece and it volleys between past and present at a tremendous pace. There's a lot to keep an eye on. With a beautiful balance of nurture and determination, Alan has managed to paint a very detailed and specific picture of those two worlds. He also happens to be a kind, genuine and generous artist.

4. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing The Report? As an audience member, nothing makes me happier than leaving the theatre with unanswered questions buzzing in my head. If it's truly effective, they're still there in the morning. Moral scruples make for fantastic stories. "What would I have done?" "Where is the line between right and wrong?" Black and white are boring. Grey is where it's at.

5. If you could give people one reason as to why they should come see The Report, what would that reason be? To be reminded of the human condition. There will always be tragedies, but so, too, will there always be hope. Only through accepting our grief may we move beyond it.

Stuart Williams and "Report" writer Martin Casella6. It's been three years since you were on stage. What made you take a break from acting and what was it about this show that lured you back? I wasn't taking a break from acting necessarily, but I got caught up in the business of acting. I was making a push to get more on-camera experience, so there were student films, short films, commercials, and my first television job, but the goal all along was to get back to the theatre. I was just trying a new strategy. I had a friend give me a great analogy describing the journey of acting in a play as a piece of music; with an arc, rising intensity, climax, denouement, etc., whereas acting in a film is akin to singing the same 4 bars over and over, very loudly. Go! I knew that it was going to take a stellar piece to knock me off that trajectory and remind me I'm really better suited at being an actor than a hustler.

Stuart Williams, Photo Credit: Taylor Hooper Photography7. How does it feel to be back on the boards? Will we have to wait another three years to see you after this run or will you keep entertaining audiences with your talent? Fantastic! Nothing creates a spark in me quite like the very cerebral process of stepping into a text and the very visceral process of stepping into a character. I can't explain the high I get when things start to fall into place one discovery at a time. I certainly hope it's not another three years, Adam, and that's very kind of you to say so.

8. What did you learn about yourself during this hiatus? In stepping away from the stage, I was reminded why I chose to do this with my life.

9. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? I would instantly be able to speak every language I came in contact with.

10. If you could create your own signature drink, what would you call it and what ingredients would you put in it? This one's easy. When I'm not on stage or in front of a camera, I can be found behind a bar. Unheard of, I know! My creation "The Highland Hussy" can be found on the cocktail list at Annabel in Hell's Kitchen. It consists of Bank Note Blended Scotch Whisky, Cherry Heering Liqueur, house infused Ginger-Orange simple syrup, fresh lemon juice, a few dashes of orange bitters and a splash of seltzer. Served in a Collins glass with healthy lemon twist and a sexy brandied cherry. It's somewhere between a Debonair and a Blood and Sand. And it's pretty tasty if I do say so myself.

Stuart Williams, Photo Credit: Alberto Hidalgo VergaraMore on Stuart:

My grandparents were children of the blitz; heroes quite by happenstance. My nan lived just five miles up the road from Bethnal Green and, like many others, had no knowledge of this incident. The fear, of course, is that we will learn nothing from history, but the greater fear is that we might be denied these lessons because history has been silenced. I am humbled to play a part in telling this story and beyond grateful to Marty, Alan and my own nanny Joy. Deeply proud I am of my East End heritage. NY credits: U.S. premier of Dr. Andrew Harrison’s The Future (Isaac) at P.S.122, rogerandtom (Rich/Will) at 59E59 Theaters with Personal Space Theatrics, U.S. premier of The Safari Party (Daniel) by Tim Firth (also P.S.T.), Wilde’s An Ideal Husband (Lord Goring), Louis Nowra’s Cosi (Henry) with Australian Made Entertainment, Gary Owen’s Crazy Gary’s Mobile Disco (Matthew D. Melody), and David Eldridge’s Under the Blue Sky (Nick) with Mind the Gap Theatre Co.  Television: Turn: Washington’s Spies, AMC www.stuartwilliams.info.

Saturday
Aug012015

Call Answered: David Barlow: Howard Barker's Scenes from an Execution at PTP/NYC

David BarlowI've seen a few productions at Potomac Theater Project over the past few years, most of them written by Howard Barker and starring Jan Maxwell. When Jan announced her retirement, I knew I had to attend Scenes from an Execution, her final stage production. After seeing this production, I was so impressed with David Barlow, I knew I just had to get an interview with him. When I got word from David Gibbs of DARR Publicity that David was game for the interview, I was thrilled to learn about his return to this production, after he (and Jan) starred in this show together seven years ago.

Scenes from an Execution deals with the eternally fractious and complex relationship between the artist and the state. Galactia, a 15th century Venetian painter, is commissioned by the State of Venice to portray the Battle of Lepanto, a naval battle described as "the greatest triumph of Venetian history." However, her 1,000 square feet of canvas contains quite a different interpretation. Thus the battle over truth, freedom and responsibility is engaged. Scenes from an Execution plays at Atlantic Stage 2 (330 West 16th Street between 8th & 9th Avenues) through August 9. Click here for tickets!

For more on David be sure to visit http://davidbarlow.org!

1. You are currently starring in PTP/NYC's production of Howard Barker's Scenes from an Execution, opposite Jan Maxwell. What made you want to be part of this revival production? The fact that Jan herself wanted to return to the play intrigued me. It made me consider what new kind of understanding and maturity we might as actors bring to this writing seven years later. They say all your cells replace themselves every seven years, so perhaps quite literally we are coming back to this production as new people. Also, to me Howard Barker's writing is so exceptional that it warrants revisiting; I love the ferocity, fun, and subtle complexities of what he allows actors to say.

2. What is it about Howard Barker's plays that keeps you wanting to be part of them? Barker's writing is bitingly funny. And whereas he is loath to passively "entertain" an audience or lull anyone into the complacency of enjoying theater as one might a nice meal, the very fact that he forces an audience to reckon with the discomfort of their own existence and heartache with such black humor is for me utterly refreshing. I want to speak his text. I am pulled toward it.

Jan Maxwell and David Barlow in "Scenes from an Execution"3. What do you enjoy most about acting opposite Jan Maxwell? What have you learned from her? Jan is a force of nature. Her commitment is 100% no holds barred. She attacks her roles with searing intelligence and then comes at you like a freight train at top speed. Anyone on stage with her better be ready to be on their front foot, and I like that, I respond to that. I have performed in three plays now with Jan, and I'm grateful for having had such an extreme sparring partner. It always demands I be at the outer limits of my own capabilities.

4. What do you identify most about your character "Carpeta"? Well, I guess at some point (or many points) in our lives we face the issue of being true (or not) to our own sense of integrity, and honoring an inner purpose that is not seduced by all the images of the culture's celebration of fame and "success." "Carpeta" is completely caught up in his own efforts to please and be embraced by outside authorities, and so he is for most of the play incapable of following an inner compass toward the true nature of his own talent (be it great or mediocre). Consequently he is, after his namesake, a carpet that can be easily walked upon. Compromise becomes a way of life for him, whether he admits it or not. I would like to say I couldn't relate to that scenario at all, but in truth playing this role is an invitation to have compassion for that same struggle within myself. After all one cannot mature beyond that painful human need to be recognized without fully embracing that the need exists in the first place, and that that need is often born of old wounds.

Jan Maxwell and David Barlow in "Scenes from an Execution"5. "Carpeta" seems to be quite a complex character who's deeply immersed in his love for "Galactia" (played by Jan Maxwell). How did you prepare for getting into character for this each night? When the writing is as strong and rich as that of Barker's, I think it best to get out of the way to deliver what's on the page. I did not do much psychological prep work for this role (if any), as I assume all of "Carpeta's" complexity will come through by simply being true to the words. And at the end of the day, perhaps "Carpeta" isn't all too complex anyway--he is in love with an artist who is more accomplished and gifted than he is, while coveting all that makes her great, wishing her talent were his own. For a shot at fame and glory, he is willing to throw his love under the bus, and then he is forced to confront the repercussions of his actions.

6. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing Scenes from an Execution? Scenes From An Execution is perhaps Barker's most accessible play, which I've read is why the playwright himself now dismisses it. So in light of that, I hope audiences come away from the play poked and prodded a bit, forced to reconcile the often all too corrupt relationship between art and sponsor, and to recognize how States and Empires often consume art to further their own agenda, thus neutering the very art they champion. Whether audiences like this play or not, I wish for them to engage it head on, not sit back waiting to be given their dose of entertainment. The play IS entertaining, thrilling even, but as an audience member you have to do your job and meet it half way. And we the company of course must do our job and serve the text with passion.

7. If you could give people one reason as to why they should come see Scenes from an Execution, what would that reason be? Come experience something out of the ordinary!

8. You've been in several productions at PTP/NYC. What do you like about performing there? PTP/NYC offers audiences the kind of work that you'll hardly ever encounter anywhere else. I'm sure there are people out there for whom that's just as well and good, as this is the very kind of material they would prefer to steer clear of. And that's fine. But to me and others the plays of Howard Barker and Caryl Churchill (for example) are totally vital to the theater. Since they are not ordinary safe fare for many established institutions though, PTP/NYC has become a home to dig into some really challenging and fertile dirt, and to do so without apology.

9. What's the best advice you've ever received? If you don't love it, don't do it.

10. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? I've learned that coming from a place of humbleness amidst intense collaboration creates one kind of experience, and coming from pure ego creates another.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Flying, including off world, and at great speed.

12. If you could create your own signature drink, what would you call it, and what ingredients would you put in it? I already have, but there's no alcohol in it, so maybe it's too boring. In a Vitamix or other high powered blender, blend two bananas, a handful of raspberries, blueberries (or both), some flax powder, a dollop of honey, almond milk, a raw egg, and a fistful of spinach. I call it: Breakfast.

David BarlowMore on David:

PTP/NYC: Gertrude, The Castle, Serious Money, Victory. Other New York credits include This Is My Office (Play Company, Drama Desk Nomination); The Film Society (Keen Company); Horizon (New York Theater Workshop); Oroonoko, Andorra, Saved (Theater For A New Audience); and Romola And Nijinski (Primary Stages). David most recently toured France in Jean Genet’s The Splendids. Regional theater credits include Pericles (title role— Berkeley Rep); Venus In Fur (Portland Center Stage); The Tempest and The Crucible (Hartford Stage); and Oleanna (Bristol Riverside Theater). His original show LA Party), directed by Phil Soltanoff, was first presented at the 2010 Under The Radar Festival, and has since toured venues around the country. Training: Middlebury College, NYU Graduate Acting, MFA.

Friday
Jul242015

Call Answered: Beth Newbery: Actress, Playwright, Director, Founder of infusionarts

Beth Newbery, Photo Credit: Ronnie WrightThen there are times when your friends refer someone to you. So when Jennafer Newberry suggested I interview Beth Newbery, I said, yes, let's do this! Beth and I talk about acting, her latest play Undone, creating her own company, infusionarts, the difference between acting here in the states and over in the UK, and so much more!

For more on Beth be sure to visit http://bethnewbery.com and follow her on Twitter!

1. Who or what inspired you to be a performer/writer? I met Sidney Poitier right after I left drama school. I kept going back into the acting scene but one day realized that all I wanted to do was perform. Then writing followed when I wanted to do something that had a real personal meaning. I love theatre and films that are also a message for society.

2. Your latest play, Undone, has gotten quite a lot of attention, with the hopes of it being made into a feature film. What made you want to write a play about a former sex slave rebuilding her life? I like stories that are about a social issue or ones that make you think. Even if an audience only discusses it for a while then I have played a part in creating and spreading awareness. Woman who have suffered any type of sexual abuse, particularly for a long time can be seen as "okay" once they get married, have children or simply get a job and move on, but it's all too often a small fraction of what is really happening. So often a deeper level of despair, uncertainty, and insecurity stays in the mind. This is what I wanted to explore and have the actor portray.

Beth Newbery in "Undone"3. When you found out there was talk of Undone being made into a film, what went through your head? How do you feel this story will play out on film as opposed to on stage? First of all I had a two-hour discussion with the playwright about it, thinking about the characters and those who had been involved in this girl's life. I thought about the opportunity to have such a story get seen by many more people using the media of film. It will be different in the film because you can create the external world and show the story of how she got to where she was and the aim will be to have some understanding of her love for her captor. My first reactions was, great, lets do this and was thrilled to have it suggested as a feature rather then a short film.

4. You have acted in both theatre and film. Is your approach to preparing for each medium the same or different? What do like about acting best in theatre and in film? I don’t think it is that different for me in my preparing but for theatre I do get more nervous! I always ask myself about the character and how I have a connection. No matter how different your character, you have to find some understanding of each character you play. I love the thrill of acting in theatre because of the reactions and perceptions are engaged in the moment whilst being watched. In film you are stopping and starting but there is an edge to it with your audience being able to look right in your eyes, and can give away the slightest fear or lack of being’ when portraying your thoughts as a character. This is always something that I am aware of.

5. In addition to acting, you founded your own company called infusionarts, which runs educational, social and community projects in Great Britain and Africa. infusionarts uses the arts to engage and enhance relationships and social issues awareness. How did you start infustionarts?? What do you get from this venture? I started infusionarts after attending the TED conference in Africa along with many others including singer Bono, Bill Ford, and the wonderful Jane Goodall. I had completed a documentary called My Journey’ based on the culture of the Maasai people with amazing footage of weddings, and other ceremonies studying the performative elements. I used it to achieve my Masters degree. I loved exploring theatre whilst there and noticed how quickly the children would engage in theatre based games and workshops so I decided to begin a company that would develop this connection within communities and use the arts to highlight many social issues. It really had grown for my love of Africa and the wonderful playwrights such as Wole Soyinka, Gibson Kente, and Athol Fugard. We fund children as often as possible to attend school for a year with a percentage of any profit made on each project.

Beth Newbery in "Tom Jones"6. You acted in both the UK and US. What differences do you notice between the two? What are some similarities? I think many great actors are both sides of the world and we cannot compare in terms of good and bad, better or worse. But I have read there are two major schools of thought when it comes to acting. And I agree with the different approaches such as: the classical; best known by such people as Laurence Olivier and the Method which began a new art form in America with James Dean and Marlon Brando, who brought it to the film. The classical can be seen as more of an external approach, and then you have the Constantin Stanislavski's approach, naturalistic, more inside out. In the UK we have stressed the training in voice and posture and the physical attributes, whereas in America training is deep rooted in the actors emotions. I think the culture of acting in the UK is much more rooted in traditional styles of training. The similarities: well, with many new ways of using the methods in training I think actors are beginning to grow and realize the need of both speech and physical training but the most important, which is what I begin within my coaching is being comfortable with yourself. Then you can expand and express with more ease and faith with stronger risks. Yes, I coach actors and can be reached at beth@bethnewbery.com or contact www.infusionarts.org.

7. What is the best advice you've ever received? Forget you and your baggage. You have to be comfortable and centered for who you are to be an insightful and engaging actor.

Beth Newbery in Africa8. What have you learned about yourself from being an actress/writer/business creator? I have to say that it’s only in the last couple of years that I truly have understood who I am. I mean the power, the ability and the sense of loving who I am is now within me. It’s through doing all these things and meeting wonderful people that I have grown. Many of my stories and creations are from what I have previously experienced but now I can use this life to enhance and be a part of many people’s lives. I have learned that all is possible. Being creative is who I am and I would rather never know where my next check is coming from then do a nine to five job!

9. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? To remove the fear, greed, and anger within individuals so that poor decisions can be removed and more done to help the planet and it’s people.

10. If you could create your own signature drink, what would you call it and what ingredients would you put in it? "Get over yourself" would be the title of my drink, with good vodka, grapefruit, splash of sec, and flavored gin. Get over yourself is a statement I use when I think of a person who is so over the top, or simply annoying!

Beth NewberyMore on Beth:

Born in Devon, England, Beth grew up on a farm until the age of twelve. Since leaving school Beth has travelled extensively. After trying a number of various career paths, Beth followed her passion for acting. She trained for three years at an Acting School with Patron Peter Brook and worked hard to get an Equity card once she had left. Beth has worked in theatre, TV and film and has enjoyed gaining plenty of insight behind the scenes, especially in producing and directing.

Beth backpacked through Tanzania, which included living in the bush with the Maasai people. Her research here was used to gain her Masters degree after completing a documentary on her journey. Not content with that, Beth has also shark dived to get up close to the great whites in South Africa, and climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Always one for a challenge, Beth set up Infusionarts to take drama to small communities in Africa, and now explores ways to develop theatre focusing on social issues. Beth has worked as a coach and director with many successful productions including her own play I Wait Till Dusk.

Tuesday
Jul142015

Call Answered: Ginger Minj: Crossdresser for Christ - The Musical: A Drag Queen Confessional at The Laurie Beechman Theatre

"Call Me Adam" chats with RuPaul's Drag Race Season 7 favorite Ginger Minj about her return to NYC's Laurie Beechman Theatre (inside West Bank Cafe at 407 West 42nd Street, between 9th & 10th Avenue) with her show Crossdresser for Christ - The Musical: A Drag Queen Confessional! With just two shows left, Crossdresser for Christ - The Musical: A Drag Queen Confessional will play Tuesday, July 14 and Sunday, July 19 at 7pm! Click here for tickets!

Crossdresser for Christ - The Musical: A Drag Queen Confessional is a musical comedy that tracks Ginger's quest for spiritual enlightenment in song and story. Raised as a Southern Baptist in Lake County, Florida the self-described "chubby little lady-boy" gets tired of having hell and damnation shoved down her throat. So she begins her own search for alternative answers. It is a wild and wacky journey that promises to have you on your knees before the night is over. A relig-ish experience.

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

1. Your show, Crossdresser for Christ - The Musical: A Drag Queen Confessional is back by popular demand through July 19. What excites you about having this show back at The Laurie Beechman Theatre? There's no better place for music and theatre than New York City, and to play such a well respected venue with such an amazing staff is beyond an honor! If I could move into the dressing room and perform there forever I would!

2. What do you enjoy most about performing Crossdresser for Christ? Our show is such a living, breathing animal, that it's never the same twice! We generally take the same emotional journey through laughter, tears, shock, etc., but the detours are always a little different!

3. If you could give people one reason as to why they should come see Crossdresser for Christ, what would that reason be? I've lead a crazy life, full of amazing ups and downs. I'm sure everyone will find something in the story that they can relate to. Come get a glimpse into the side of me you didn't get to see on TV!

4. What initially made you want to write this show? I initially sat down to write an hour long stand up special in the same vein as Bianca del Rio's Rolodex of Hate, but the story of my life poured out of me, onto the page. It's somehow easier to talk about things you've never even discussed with your therapist when you set it to showtunes! It has evolved from there into a very unique cabaret "experience."

5. How did writing this show help you come to terms with your own spirituality? I don't know that it has effected my spiritual beliefs at all, to be quite honest. I have been pretty steadfast in those for years! It has, however, helped me to come to terms with and move on from certain events in my life that I've never had the courage to face before.

6. You describe yourself as "Florida's chubby little lady-boy." When did you start describing yourself this way? How did describing yourself like this empower you? I refer to myself as a lot of things! Chubby little lady boy, glamour toad, southern fried sass, mouth of the south, etc. I have a pretty self-deprecating sense of humor. If you make the joke first, you're in on the laugh, and everyone is better off because of it.

Ginger Minj7. According to press notes, Crossdresser for Christ will have you on your knees before the night is over. What is it like having so many people kneel before you? I'm only 5'3" out of heels (and without my hair!) so it's nice to have people on my level for for a change! ;-)

8. How do you feel being a plus-size actor/comedian has made you a stronger performer? Regardless of size, I identify as an entertainer first and foremost. I was very thin when I was much younger, but because of a medical procedure I had when I was 11 years old, I started gaining weight rapidly and have never really been able to control it. I learned very quickly how to use comedy to deflect the nastiness that was thrown at me, and I think that's what I owe my quick wit to. I'm also very comfortable being me.

9. What's the best advice you've ever received? Just be yourself. Warts and all. There's no other you!

10. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? I would love to fly, I think. It beats having to stand in TSA lines every day!

BONUS QUESTION:

11. If you could create your own signature drink, what would you call it and what ingredients would you put in it? I'd call it "The Flooded Basement" and throw a little bit of everything into it! Like a Long Island Iced Tea, but murkier.

Ginger MinjMore on Ginger:

Ginger Minj has long reigned as The Comedy Queen of The South, with the pageant titles, including "Miss Gay United States 2013," "Miss National Comedy Queen 2012" and others. Originally from Leesburg, Florida, she now calls Orlando home. Minj cites classic funny ladies Carol Burnett and Lucille Ball as her idols. "Anyone who can pile three wigs on their head, squeeze their body into a beaded and rhinestoned gown and serve humor alongside the glamour is my hero," says Ginger. Ginger’s future career goals, in addition to winning the title of "America’s Next Drag Superstar," on RuPaul’s Drag Race is to follow in the footsteps of similar plus-sized comedians like Melissa McCarthy and Rebel Wilson. And she’s already got the acting credits; before becoming Ginger Minj, this talented performer was a child actor starring in a series of Christian movies and books on tape, and even won a Best Actor Award for the state of Florida in 2002.

Monday
Jun152015

Call Answered: Rain Pryor: Fried Chicken & Latkes

"Call Me Adam" chats with comedian, actress, and writer Rain Pryor about her one-woman show Fried Chicken & Latkes, Rain's funny take on growing up Black and Jewish as the daughter of one of the world’s most beloved and iconic funny men, comic genius Richard Pryor

Fried Chicken & Latkes, directed by Kamilah Forbes, is making its world premiere at Dr. Barbara Ann Teer’s National Black Theatre (NBT) in Harlem (2031 Fifth Ave between 125th & 126th Street) through June 28! Click here for tickets!

For more on Rain be sure to visit http://www.rainpryor.com and follow her on Facebook and Twitter!

1. After several developmental runs, Fried Chicken & Latkes, is now making its world premiere at Dr. Barbara Ann Teer’s National Black Theatre (NBT) in Harlem from June 2-June 28. What made now the right time to have the show's world premiere? We finally had the right level of production team and the right director.

2. Why did you choose to create a one woman show about your life as opposed to writing it as a book? I wrote a book also, but after I had begun my solo show. I never set out to tell my story as much as, I wanted to entertain and show my talents.

Rain Pryor in "Fried Chicken & Latkes"3. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing Fried Chicken & Latkes? A sense of, we all still have work to do, to make the world a more racially tolerant place. That maybe they audience member can see a piece of themselves or people they know or have known in it.

4. In Fried Chicken & Latkes, you play all 11 characters. What do you like about playing multiple characters in one show and what challenges do you face with this kind of immediate change every night? I love characterization of us humans and the psychology that goes with their movements and choices. The challenge is, to separate each character in specifics as not to have them be one, but to really craft individual people.

5. What was it like to go back through your life to create this show? Did any emotions or memories come to the forefront that you didn't expect? I grew up with telling the reality/truth. So there was no real catharsis, just writing a story that was about us versus them but yet from my perspective.

6. Fried Chicken & Latkes is your take on growing up Black & Jewish as the daughter of one of the world’s most beloved & iconic funny men, comic genius Richard Pryor. What do you think your dad's reaction would be to this show? Dad would love it. He would say he was proud and to keep on keeping on.

Rain Pryor in "Fried Chicken & Latkes"7. Without giving too much away or answering this question with something that is not in the show, what was it like to grow up as Richard Pryor's daughter and how did you come into your own? Do you remember the moment you felt like I have made it on my own? What was that moment like? Dad was a dad. He was strict, which I find funny for a comic and known drug abuser. However, it made me who I am and strong. I think I found my "own" when I had a child.

8. What was one thing your dad taught you that you don't talk about in Fried Chicken & Latkes? Don't ever date a comic. I of course a few times, had to test his theory. He was right.

9. In addition to Fried Chicken & Latkes premiering at The National Black Theatre Festival this summer, your new documentary, That Daughter's Crazy will be shown as well. How does your documentary differ from Fried Chicken & Latkes? The film is a more in depth look of how I came to create the show and why.

10. As if your show and documentary weren't enough, you are also releasing your comedy CD Black & White on the same label as your dad's 12 comedy CDs. What made you want to record your comedy CD on the same label as your dad? What was the recording experience like for you? I did not set out to do a comedy CD. I am still a baby in that world. However when David Drozen approached me, I knew I had to take a leap and do what was presented to me. The experience was a challenge I had to overcome. I had to face the fear that I had/was becoming a stand up.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. What's the best advice you've ever received? Tell the truth no matter what. You'll feel better in the end.

12. What have you learned from being a performer/writer? You must as a writer, write it all down and never edit as you go. As a performer it's to always breathe life into the person or persons you are portraying.

13. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? The ability to control water. It's a powerful and needs to be respected. We depend on it to survive.

14. If you could create your own signature drink, what would you call it, and what ingredients would you put in it? It would have watermelon, rum, gin. I don't know, but sounds exotic lol.

15. Favorite skin care product? I have two, pure coconut oil great for skin and bacteria. And Kai it's a fantastic oil perfume that smells divine.

Rain PryorMore on Rain:

Rain Pryor is an award-winning actor, writer, producer, standup comedian, activist, dynamic speaker and mother. She wrote and starred in Fried Chicken & Latkes receiving rave reviews during its development. She followed up with That Daughter’s Crazy, an award-winning, autobiographical documentary and her comedy CD Black & White.

Rain made her TV debut on the ABC hit series Head of the Class, playing the tough-talking "T.J." and starred opposite Sherilyn Fenn & Lynn Redgrave as "Jackie" on the Showtime series Rude Awakening. She is currently a co-host of ARISE TV’s Arise & Shine, which airs in New York, London & throughout Africa. Her stage credits include the title role of "Billie Holiday" in The Billie Holiday Story (UK Tour), "Ella Fitzgerald" in Marilyn & Ella (UK tour) and "Lady in Red" in For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf.

As a standup comedian, Rain regularly headlines across the country, from the Florida Improv (with the Jokes on You Comedy Tour) to Carolines on Broadway & from the Funny Stop & Joke Factory to the Borgata.