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"Call Me Adam" chats with...

Entries in Off-Broadway (278)

Monday
Aug182014

Call Answered: Laura Abbott: I Am Not I: 2014 International Fringe Festival

Laura Abbott"Call Me Adam" chats with playwright and director Laura Abbott about her show I Am Not I which is currently running in the 2014 NYC International Fringe Festival at Teatro SEA at the Clemente through August 22 (107 Suffolk Street, between Rivington and Delancey). Click here for tickets!

I Am Not I is about Jane Jiménez, daughter of a Mexican-American father and Jewish mother, who is about to have her quinceañera. But how can she "transition into womanhood" when she doesn't feel like a woman? How will her parents and girlfriend react when they find out she's not who they think she is?

For more on I Am Not I be sure to visit http://iamnotitheplay.com and follow the show on Facebook and Twitter!

1. Your play, I Am Not I will be making it NYC debut in the NYC Fringe Festival from August 8-22. What made you want to write this show? Dan Bacalzo asked me the same thing recently for a GLAAD interview. I told him: The person I am closest to in this world came out as transgender in 2008 (I am purposefully vague in describing our exact relationship out of respect for his privacy.) My very conservative, Catholic, Italian-American family did not exactly react well to this news. He confided in me first because of our closeness—but also because, I think, I identify as bisexual. I wish I could say I embraced him in rainbow-colored solidarity, no questions asked…but found myself in denial initially. I love this person with all of my heart, and always have, but it was an adjustment. Getting used to the pronouns. Change in appearance. The inability to speak of the past or look at old family photos. My conservative family members had an enormous journey ahead of them to fully understand, but even my queer, liberal self had some learning to do. But we all learned. And this play was a cathartic, therapeutic way of turning that journey into art. I think the "T" in "LGBT" is the least understood in our community, and I hoped that—by synthesizing our story into this play—I could help audiences begin to learn as well.

2. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing I Am Not I? I hope that they come away with the desire to reach out to their loved ones they may not see eye-to-eye with. This play is really about four people attempting to speak the same language and failing until it’s almost too late. Whatever keeps an audience member divided from people in their life, I hope this play inspires them to reflect on the common humanity they share with everyone. I hope that they go home and start a conversation, make a phone call, send a Facebook message, etc. to that person they just can’t agree with or understand, but still want to love and include in their life. At the end of the play, Lisa urges Rey to: "Think about what’s important." I hope that audience members are reminded of what’s important in their relationships and figure out if it’s simply pettiness or anger or pride that is keeping them from forgiving or loving.

Morgan Lavenstein and Robyn Unger rehearsing Laura Abbott's "I Am Not I"3. What excites you about having I Am Not I in the NYC Fringe Festival? How do you feel this festival will nurture the show as opposed to another festival? Fringe is a juried festival, which means that people read and evaluated this script before selecting us to participate. The Fringe team sees potential in the work—all of the shows are here because someone felt they deserved a stage in New York. That means so much to me. By the same token, a lot of the shows are from fledgling artists just beginning their careers (and our team is no exception.) Being a part of Fringe means that you are here because of your potential—not because you’re a big name, not because you’ve got a ton of time and money to waste, not because of nepotism. This industry can be so insular, and Fringe is a festival that warmly embraces emerging talent and allows their voices to be heard amid all of the noise in this city. They’re celebrating their 18th anniversary—they are an enormous part of the NYC cultural landscape. To simultaneously be so huge and support unknown talent is a dichotomy that applies to very few theatre festivals. We are able to get media attention here, advertising and production support, a gorgeous venue to perform in, and we are part of a large (but intentionally chosen) community of like-minded artists. Beyond Edinburgh, I can’t think of any other festival that does what FringeNYC does. It’s an incredible honor and privilege to participate.   

Laura Abbott's "I Am Not I"4. In addition to writing the show, you are co-directing the show with Jordan Reiff. What made you want to take on the role of co-director and what have you enjoyed most about working with Jordan? Story time. When I originally applied to be part of the Fringe festival, I submitted the application with director Chrysta Naron. She directed the 2013 reading of I Am Not I, and is one of the most perceptive, intelligent, talented directors I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. Unfortunately for us New Yorkers, she moved to Texas (where she’s originally from) in May. We talked about possibly bringing the show to Texas, or waiting until she was able to visit the city to produce a full production. Then we got the news that the show was accepted into Fringe. She continues to support the team from afar, but we couldn’t logistically have her direct—and I was uncomfortable trusting this piece to anyone else. It’s such a personal play, and I’m wildly protective of it…so I decided to direct it myself. However, I’m really not a director. It was a strange stroke of fate that I happened to randomly bump into Jordan (a college theatre friend) on the street one night in Hell’s Kitchen. Jordan and I were both on a playwriting track in school, but he has decided to focus his efforts on directing these days. Knowing how incredibly smart he is, and having a lot of respect for him, I asked if he’d like to come on board. I really couldn’t do this without him. I love having Jordan in the rehearsal room to bounce ideas off of. As a playwright himself, he knows the right questions to ask. As a director, he’s got such a clear vision (where mine can sometimes get a bit muddled).

Morgan Lavenstein and Robyn Unger rehearsing Laura Abbott's "I Am Not I"5. What are you looking forward to most about having this cast bring your show to life? Just that—I’m looking forward to seeing them bring it to life. I’ve done readings of this play before, but never a fully realized production. So seeing the cast up onstage during our tech rehearsal in the gorgeous Teatro SEA space was utterly surreal. I’ve never seen the dance element of the show, either, but Kendra Slack has choreographed some stunning moments for this Fringe production, which dancer Claire Cuny beautifully executes. Seeing the dancing and lighting design, hearing the live music, watching the actors live these moments—watching the whole thing get woven together—has been so exciting and I cannot wait to share this with Fringe audiences.

6. Who or what inspired you to become a playwright? Jonathan Marc Sherman. I was in Women and Wallace my freshman year of high school. Finding out that Sherman wrote that play when he was 18 absolutely blew my mind. It made me fully realize that there should be nothing stopping me from writing. Actually, a script I started at age 16, Trapped, was a Top 20 finalist in Sondheim’s nationwide Young Playwrights competition. The same contest that Women and Wallace won in the late 1980s. And, when I received my certificate, I discovered Jonathan Marc Sherman’s signature on it—he was one of the judges that chose my play.

7. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? There’s a world full of talented artists out there—the mind boggles at the potential answers to this question. I guess, if I had to choose the actors I’d most like to see inhabit one of my plays, I’d say: Shuler Hensley or Tracee Chimo. Their talent takes my breath away.

Laura Abbott8. What's the best advice you've ever received? "Take the full swing." I’m not really a baseball (or sports) person, but I think it’s great advice that can apply to pretty much any aspect of life.

9. What have you learned about yourself from being a playwright? That I am an intensely passionate person. However, being very non-confrontational, all of my impassioned speeches and fiery verbal battles happen on the page instead of in reality.

10. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? The ability to fly. That way I could have avoided taking the L train to Brooklyn for I Am Not I rehearsals. It’s literally the worst.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. If you could be an original flavor lifesaver, which flavor would you be? Probably pineapple: unexpected, different, but still able to hold its own against more generic flavors. 

12. How do you want to be remembered? With honesty. I think we rob the dead of their humanity when we act like they were saints in life. I’m a shy, socially awkward, introverted person—my personality isn’t big enough to leave an imprint. But my greatest hope is that, someday, I’ll write a play that does leave its mark on time.

Laura AbbottMore on Laura:

Laura Abbott is a Vermont native and graduate of Ithaca College. She was the first Digital Marketing Apprentice in Roundabout Theatre Company's history, and served as a contributing writer for the organization's official blog and educational Upstage Playgoers Guide during the 2012-13 season. Her one-minute plays Falling and Wish I Were Human were featured in Playsmiths' annual Flash Fest in June 2014. A one-act she wrote while in high school, Trapped, is published through Playscripts, Inc. A rough draft of Trapped was a Top 20 finalist in Stephen Sondheim’s nationwide Young Playwrights competition.

As a performer, she has been seen onstage at the Kitchen Theatre Company, St. Michael’s Playhouse, as well as acting under the direction of the incomparable Bob Moss. She portrayed "Jo Widmere" in an excerpt from Lil Surfer Girl, an award-winning MFA student screenplay, at the 2014 Columbia University Film Festival. 

Wednesday
Aug132014

Call Answered: Ralph Harris: MANish BOY 2014 NYC International Fringe Festival

Ralph Harris"Call Me Adam" chats with actor, writer, and stand-up comedian Ralph Harris about his one-man show MANish BOY that is playing in the 2014 NYC International Fringe Festival through August 24 at The Players Theatre in NYC (115 MacDougal Street). We also discuss working with Eddie Murphy, best advice, Life Savers, and Super Powers.

MANish BOY tells the story of an unexpected journey that ensues when Ralph Harris returns to his childhood home to take a DNA test revealing fears of becoming a father while reigniting good and bad memories only to discover where we're from makes us who we are. Click here for tickets!

For more on Ralph be sure to visit http://ralphharris.com and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube!

1. Your one-man show MANish BOY will be playing in the 2014 NYC Fringe Festival fromAugust 9-24. What excites you about having this show in the Fringe Festival? The idea of doing a show anywhere in NYC excites me, but the opportunity to do theatre in a town where theatre and great acting is appreciated everywhere you turn is a magnificent thought. Just speaking those words musters up the nerves in my stomach, to know that this run with the Fringe legitimizes my entry into this great tradition and experience.

2. How do you feel the Fringe Festival will help nourish the show in a way another festival might not? I've done other festivals that are targeted to a demographic; not that there's anything wrong with that! However, the fact that the FringeNYC has the word International in the name of this event speaks volumes to where this opportunity could lead. It's sure to open doors that I never considered when I decided to write MANish BOY.

Ralph Harris in "MANish BOY"3. What made you want to write MANish BOY? What made now the right time to do it? Having been a stand-up comedian for over 20 years, I had a tendency to feel that I could never get totally comfortable going deep with my story telling, to the audiences of a comedy club. I longed for an opportunity to connect with people who didn't shy aware from truth, just so they could have a laugh and a few drinks and go home. I wanted to make people feel something, after they left. After mulling over a VHS tape of Whoopi (Goldberg's) HBO One Woman Show taped in 1985 (which eventually broke from repeated use), the thing that stayed in the back of my mind is what she revealed, which was - a way to present another aspect of a comedy performance. So, in 2003, I started writing MANish BOY, and after several visits to a therapist through the creative process, I later came to realize in 2008, that it was time to tell the story!

4. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing MANish BOY? Because the show deals with issues of growing up in a single family home, I hope that they can connect with something they may or may not've experienced directly, but will have a fresher attitude towards the differences that shape people. As well, the issue of becoming a first time father, after learning of a child nearly seventeen years later. The benefits of "The Village" that become the virtual parents of us all. That watchful eye of concern who made sure you knew right from wrong, and stayed on the right path.

Ralph Harris performing Stand-Up Comedy5. In addition to being an actor and writer, you are a stand-up comedian. Since your comedy is character driven, how do you feel performing your one man show is similar to stand-up comedy and different? It's similar, because I can still be funny through my story telling. However, theatre is a different reaction because it's as if the audience is connecting to what's not being said, where with stand-up, you almost have to hit them over the head, because of all the other distractions that go on in the room at a comedy venue.

6. What was the best part about getting to perform in the blockbuster hit film Dreamgirls with your comedy idol Eddie Murphy? What did you learn from working with him? Eddie is the consummate professional, as well as so many of the other stars in the film. But, as far as my man Eddie, here is a guy who isn't known for his dancing, who took on a roll that could've gotten him chewed up by critics, but he was out there on that stage working his ass off, all while going thru a big divorce. The focus that he brought to work everyday was infectious. I was actually sad to leave after the two weeks it took to shoot my scenes. I've always wished for the opportunity to tell my comedy idols a very personal thanks, for giving me so many wonderful examples of an alternative outlet for my passion to perform. Occasionally I still get the opportunity to spend time around Eddie, because we both are big fans of professional boxing. Unfortunately, he roots for the other guy all the time! LOL

7. What do you get from your film/television work that you do not get from your stage work? What I feel about the experience of film and television, is it's priceless. I mean the work is around forever! Especially with the advanced technology we have today, this interview will be available in some library forever, and people will be able to share the experience of my thoughts at this very moment, that's monumental.

8. What's the best advice you've ever received? Long ago when I toured, and opened for George Benson, I learned the very important fundamentals of Show and Business. How necessary it was to try to give the audience more than what they might expect. I realized with stars - it had to be bigger, the performance had to be virtual fireworks. Because that's what professionalism is, it walks thru the door and takes command from that moment on, until it decides to leave. But most importantly, I must never forget the business! Because, we've all been witness to too many examples of those who didn't have the knowledge or the right amount of experience to handle the business. At the end of the day, this entertainment business will bless you beyond anything you can imagine, but there will be nothing there at the end, if you don't know the business.

9. What have you learned about yourself from being a comedian, actor, and writer? I don't tend to share this, but...I've learned thru the course of my career that my personal fears tend to get conquered more thru my acting, stand-up and writing. Because, I can play the character that I've always admired. Be the jackass or the hero through my art. But, the Ralph that walks around on a daly basis, prefers to be virtually invisible.

10. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? My superpower would be to fly. Because, at this stage in the business I've made friends in places I'd only imagined existed. And I'd love to see them every single day if I could, but we all know that airfare is nuts these days!

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. If you could be any Life Saver flavor, which one would you be? I'd be butterscotch, because even when all things in my life seem to go wrong, a butterscotch Life Saver, always makes me forget (if only for a moment) that nothing in the world is wrong.

12. How do you want to be remembered? As a person and artist, who wanted to do my fair share of humanitarian outreach, to affect positive change in other peoples' lives, as well, as an artist who deserved to have his name mentioned along with the names who audiences around the world deemed "Great at What They Did."

Ralph HarrisMore on Ralph:

Ralph Harris is one of today’s hottest comedic and acting talents and has appeared in film and TV, including the role as "Host" of the culinary competition My Momma Throws Down on the TVOne network. Making his feature film debut in Dreamgirls, Ralph kicks off the movie as the "Detroit MC" who helps Jamie Foxx hook up with the "Dreamettes," giving him the opportunity to work with so many talented actors, but most specifically the chance to work with his comedy idol, Eddie Murphy. Ralph continued his film career, immediately landing his second feature role in the film Evan Almighty, starring Steve Carell & Wanda Sykes. Ralph’s jump to the big screen comes after years of successful television work, including appearances on Seinfeld, The Parent ‘Hood, Nick Freno, Living Single, In Living Color and featured spots on The Tonight Show and Late Night with Conan O’Brien. Ralph is probably best known for his starring role in the ABC-TV sitcom On Our Own, which aired during the immensely popular TGIF block on Friday nights and which currently airs in syndication on TVOne. You can also catch Ralph on TV in airings of his two previously recorded Cable TV specials –Comedy Central Presents & the HBO Half-Hour Comedy Special, as well as the newly released, Clean Guys of Comedy. The Philadelphia native continues to tour the country and perform to sold-out audiences as a stand-up comedian, his first career. His comedy is character driven and is influenced by many of the greats, including Bill Cosby, Whoopi Goldberg, Eddie Murphy & the late Jonathan Winters.

Tuesday
Aug122014

Call Answered: Kim Ehly, Playwright & Director: Baby GirL: 2014 NYC Fringe Festival

Kim Ehly, Photo Credit: Rick Gomez"Call Me Adam" chats with playwright and director Kim Ehly about her show Baby GirL which is currently playing in the 2014 NYC International Fringe Festival through August 24 at The Kraine Theatre (85 East 4th Street, between 2nd Avenue & Bowery). Click here for tickets!

Baby GirL: After coming out as a lesbian and being alienated by her adoptive family, Ashley, a spirited young daydreamer, goes on an extraordinary journey to find love and a place to call home. When Ashley's fantasies meet reality, expect the unexpected!

For more on Kim be sure to visit http://www.kimehly.com!

1. From August 8-24, your show Baby GirL will be playing in the 2014 NYC International Fringe Festival. What are you looking forward to most about having your show in this festival? I don’t even know where to begin. The Fringe offers the chance of reaching and inspiring more people in a city that has the ability to help this story live on through the patrons, the potential for other productions in, around, or outside of NYC, and the chance to work with a really talented team. The play was conceived in NYC and it is cool to bring it back to the place of inception.

2. How do you feel the Fringe will help nurture Baby GirL in a way another festival might not? The Fringe is a platform that can draw audiences that we wouldn’t otherwise be able to cultivate. This show is super relevant and FringeNYC is the place for work like this to launch. There aren’t a lot of works out there by lesbian playwrights or adoptees and the Fringe welcomes unique voices.

Kim Ehly and the cast of "Baby GirL" at 2014 NYC International Fringe Festival, Photo Credit: Daniel R. Graney3. What excites you about having this cast bring your show to life? I’m truly overwhelmed by the talent on that stage. They are genuine, hilarious, creatively spontaneous, open, professional, and most importantly passionate about this true story. Having that kind of authenticity on stage is invaluable in the telling of a true story.

4. Since this show is about finding love and a place to call home, where do you call home and have you found love? I have found true love. It took me a while though! Home is with my partner, Faiza Cherie and our 3 dogs, Monkey, Butter and Mona. Wherever they are, I am home. Oh and we have a house by a beautiful lake in Fort Lauderdale. Though, we are weighing options of where to land next.

Christa Meyers and Nori Tecosky in Kim Ehly's "Baby GirL" at 2014 NYC International Fringe Festival, Photo Credit: Daniel R. Graney5. Baby GirL made it's world premiere in 2012 in Florida at your theatre company Kutumba Theatre Project with a sold-out run and named one of the Top Five Plays by the Sun Sentinel, Top Ten by the Miami Herald & Best Debut by Florida Theater Onstage. You were also named one of the 9 most intriguing people in the arts community of South Florida & one of the 50 most influential people in the LGBT community of South Florida by the South Florida Gay News. Additionally, you are the first female playwright to win the SILVER PALM AWARD, honoring outstanding contributions to South Florida theatre as well as being nominated for a Carbonell Award & a Broadway World Award for Best New Work for Baby GirL. What do all these honors and accolades mean to you? You know, I was entirely surprised by these accolades. I didn’t really know I was a writer or that my words would be so meaningful to people. I wrote my story, because it had to come out. I wrote my story hoping that audience members would be comforted in knowing that we all feel alone sometimes and that we can find a place to fit in, in the world. I love that I was able to do that with a sense of humor. Hearing the audience roar with laughter is such a gift! All of the awards and accolades are a wonderful surprise. The biggest gift is the audience members that come up to me afterwards to share what the play means/meant to them.

6. How do you feel the show has grown since its premiere? This is such a fun show to work on. Since it’s a comedy, that lends itself to an atmosphere of exploration and that is even more apparent with this production. I’ve also grown as a director and a writer since the premiere, so that is a benefit to the process. This production is blessed with a cohesive, fun and dedicated family of actors, designers and assistants. The people make the project.

Christa Meyers and Nori Tecosky in Kim Ehly's "Baby GirL" at 2014 NYC International Fringe Festival, Photo Credit: Daniel R. Graney7. There are a lot of people out there who are adopted. What has the reaction from fellow adoptees been like after they've seen Baby GirL? This may be one of the most humbling aspects of sharing my story. Adoptees have a special connection to the struggles of "Ashley," our central character, because most of them know what it is to wonder about where we came from, who might be more like us, where we might find a sense of belonging that is only known with a birth parent, at least in the adoptee mind. The fantasy aspects of this show really resonate with adoptees. The reunion element is tricky for most adoptees and that is something most have a strong connection to with this story.

8. How did this experience make you stronger? What a great question. I grew up with a family member (I’d rather not say which one to protect their privacy), but I grew up with a family member that used to say "You will live a very lonely life, if you continue to be so opinionated." What they meant by opinionated is simply being "me," being the gay, artistic, liberal lesbian I am. What I have realized in putting my story out into the world, is that the more "me" I am, the more loved and respected and honored I am by my partner, close friends and even people I barely know. My world has become bigger since Baby GirL and my courage even stronger to speak my truth.

9. Who or what inspired you to become a playwright/director? Ironically, the family member that I quoted earlier is the one that said to me when I was a kid that I was a gifted writer, so that is where the inspiration began. I took a writing workshop when I lived in NYC (as an actor) for the heck of it and wrote a personal monologue for a scene study class. That’s when Baby GirL was conceived. Once I put Baby GirL out there and received such a warm reception, I realized I had found another place to call home, tapping on the keyboard. My degree is in Acting and Directing, so it was a natural progression for me to move from acting to directing. The ability to choose the play and put my stamp on it makes directing my preference to acting these days.

10. What have you enjoyed most about having your own theatre company? What challenges do you face? Having my own company means I can choose the stories I put out there into the world. It is an excellent way to have a voice in a very clear way. I am also able to put an emphasis on the "L" in LGBTQ, which is needed. Kutumba Theatre Project is focused on producing works for underserved populations, so I get to build a patronage with people who are hungry for their voices to be heard.

The challenge is convincing people that our voices are valid. My first and thus far only blog, which I posted on August 4th speaks to the struggles of wanting to write and produce work for a population that is underserved. The blog can be found at kimehly.com, if your readers are interested.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. What's the best advice you've ever received? Be yourself and speak your truth. Live your life in the way that is meaningful to you, not what you think others want your life to be. In tough times, "Another train’ll be along in a minute." – My Gram used to tell me that, meaning there is hope and it’s about to arrive.

12. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? The ability to grant empathy to people, who don’t have it or lack it.

13. If you could be any original flavor lifesaver, which one would you be? Orange, because it’s yummy and it’s my favorite color and I might add, my partner is a ginger ;)

14. How do you want to be remembered?As someone who inspired change, inspired people to embrace who they are and have the courage to speak up for themselves and others, for being a loyal and loving partner and friend.

Kim Ehly, Photo Credit: Albert AcevedoMore on Kim:

Kim Ehly is a veteran of the theatre and has worked in film, TV, theatre, commercials and voiceovers in NYC, LA, and South Florida. Kim recently directed Julie Johnson and The Beebo Brinker Chronicles, two of Kutumba’s smash hits. Kim wrote and directed her debut play, Baby GirL, as the inaugural production of her company, Kutumba Theatre Project. Baby GirL enjoyed sold out audiences and critical acclaim. As a result of that production, Kim was the first female playwright to receive the SILVER PALM AWARD for Outstanding New Playwright and was nominated for a Carbonell Award and a Broadway World Award for Best New Play. Kim’s play under her direction, also received the honor of being named in the Top Five Plays of 2012 by the Sun Sentinel, Top Ten in the Miami Herald, and Best Debut by Florida Theatre On Stage.

Kim has a BFA in acting/directing from FAU. She directed two shorts for an LGBT short play series (SILVER PALM AWARD). Kim wrote a short for that project called The Happy Ones. That short was selected to be part of Girl Play at The Women’s Theatre Project this summer and was voted Audience Favorite. Kim was recently commissioned to write two, one-minute plays, "T" and "Places," which premiered at this year’s One Minute Play Festival in Miami. She has directed for City Theatre, The Women’s Theatre Project, Island City Stage, The New Theatre, Naked Stage, and in NYC at Michael Howard Studios. Kim was recently named one of 9 most influential people in the arts community of South Florida and one of 50 most influential people in the LGBT community of South Florida by the SFGN (South Florida Gay News).

Monday
Aug112014

Call Answered Again: Andrew Glaszek: Doubtless Summer Shorts 2014 

Andrew Glaszek, Photo Credit: Kevin McDermott"Call Me Adam" once again chats with actor Andrew Glaszek. This time around we discuss starring in Albert Innaurato's Doubtless as part of the 2014 Summer Shorts Series taking place at 59E59 Theaters in NYC through August 30 (59 East 59th Street). Click here for tickets!

With such formidable opponents as hypocrisy, government, hysteria, neurosis, family, religion and pop culture - can we ever really know and accept who we are? Well, these two brave nuns are going to give it a go in Doubtless.

For more on Andrew be sure to follow him on Twitter!

1. From July 26-August 30, you will be starring in the Summer Short Series B at 59E59 Theaters, specifically, in Doubtless written by Albert Innaurato. What made you want be part of this show? I love working on new shows and was thrilled to be asked. There's a few random references in the script (like one to a song from Brigadoon) that seemed to speak to me specifically saying that I was meant to take this trip

Andrew Glaszek in Albert Innaurato's "Doubtless" as part of Summer Shorts 2014 at 59E59 Theaters2. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing the show? A quote or two to shock and mortify their friends! Mr. Innaurato's play gives us a fantastical chance to consider the absurdities of pop culture and religious dogma...Peaches Geldof, Ann Romney's horse, little Mother Teresa, and the second coming.

3. What do you identify most with about your character? The script only describes "Father" as "distinguished"...um, that's me! We get to dance on and cross the lines of propriety and political correctness, with a lot of blasphemy thrown in - that's very much my humor

4. What has been the best part about working with your fellow castmates, director Jack Hofsiss, and playwright Albert Innaurato? Getting to watch the man who directed the original The Elephant Man in action and be directed by him is an honor. Then to hear him and Mr. Innaurato talk about the play and share stories about their experiences in the theater including some people they've worked with has been priceless and hilarious.

Andrew Glaszek in Albert Innaurato's "Doubtless" as part of Summer Shorts 2014 at 59E59 Theaters5. What excites you most about being part of the Summer Shorts series? Besides riling up the audience with the rest of the cast, Brenda, Tasha, Dana, and David... we're on a bill that includes new work by Neil LaBute, Daniel Reitz, and Warren Leight which is pretty exciting.

6. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? Every teacher who would have me read aloud in class - it came naturally to me and encouraged me to take it further.

7. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? Elaine Stritch! No? ... Abbi Jacobson & Ilana Glazer on Broad City...Terrence McNally...Martha Plimpton...and I think Michael Fassbender, Chris Pratt, and I would make a good team.

Andrew Glaszek in "Broadway Bares Winter Burlesque"8. I know you give a lot of time raising funds for Broadway Bares every year. Why is this cause so close to your heart? BC/EFA is an amazing organization & supports so many - I raised the red bucket at shows before I moved to New York and then I saw Broadway Bares and was hooked. It's a way for me to do what I can for good. I've also met some of the best people and made lifelong friends by doing it.

9. What's the best advice you've ever received? "If You Don't Dance They Beat You" - Jose Quintero (and I think I JUST got it)

10. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? Everything I've learned about others and therefore myself has come from being a performer. Which is a lot. And perhaps nothing at all.

Andrew Glaszek in the film "Leather"BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? I'd want to fly. Fast.

12. If you could be any original life saver flavor, which one would you be? Pineapple.

13. Boxers or Briefs? If someone really wants to know, they can watch the Nothing But Trash interview video on this blog ;)

Sunday
Aug102014

Call Answered: Gregg Daniel: True Blood & Lower Depth Theatre Ensemble

Gregg Daniel"Call Me Adam" chats with Gregg Daniel, actor and Artistic Director of Lower Depth Theatre Ensemble about starring on HBO's True Blood for the past 4 seasons, his stage work including this summer's run of Romeo & Juliet at Shakespeare Center of L.A., and being the Artistic Director of Lower Depth Theatre Ensemble.

True Blood airs every Sunday on HBO at 9pm.

For more on Gregg be sure to visit http://www.lowerdepththeatreensemble.org, IMDB, and follow him on Twitter!

1. It's the final season of HBO's True Blood and you are back on as "Reverend Daniels." What initially made you want to be part of this Emmy Award winning show? One of the factors which drew me to the show was learning that writer producer, Alan Ball had created it. I'm an absolute devotee of Alan's work since he created, SIX FEET UNDER. He's an outstanding writer and possesses a fine sense of creating drama for television. I knew if Ball was involved, it was going to be high quality.

2. What has been the best part about being on the show for 4 seasons? What will you miss the most? One of the best parts of being on the show for 4 seasons is seeing how each character’s story line is being developed by our writers. I’m in awe of how our writers introduce key story elements and how those elements will alter the lives of our characters in future episodes. One of the many things I’ll miss about the show is the camaraderie among the actors, crew, office staff, etc. Every member on the True Blood team is focused on creating the best possible episode/season we can. To be in the company of so many dedicated and consummate professionals is inspiring!

Gregg Daniel as "Reverend Daniels" on HBO's "True Blood"3. What do you identify most with about "Reverend Daniels"? I like to think of "Reverend Daniel’s" as an ordinary man caught up in extraordinary circumstances. I identify with his fierce loyalty and the compassion he feels for compassion for Lettie Mae as well as for the town of Bon Temps. Daniels tries to face even the most difficult circumstances with faith and unconditional love.

4. This summer you're starring in Shakespeare Center of L.A.'s production of Romeo & Juliet as "Lord Montague." What makes you most excited about being back on stage? What makes working in theatre and being on stage exciting is the interaction between the audience and the performer. No other art form has anything quite like it. There’s a new and different audience every night to perform for. In the theatre, an actor can feel the audience’s interest and attention, it’s a amazing, unpredictable alchemy which fuels our performance!

5. In addition to acting, you are also the Artistic Director of the L.A. based Lower Depth Theatre Ensemble. Why did you want to become the Artistic Director of a theatre company? What do you get from this venture that you do not get from acting? Lower Depth Theatre Ensemble was founded by a group of theatre artists who wanted to keep their instruments sharp as well as to work with writers, actors, directors and designers we admire. Rather than waiting for a phone call to be invited to do something creative, we decided to create our own theatre company to mount plays we cared about. My colleagues chose me as the Artistic Director along the way. However, we make all our decisions in a very collaborative way.

6. From film to television to stage, you have acted in every medium. What do you like best about performing in each medium? The amount of people who can access an actor’s work through film and television is extremely satisfying. I’m constantly meeting fans who saw my work on a sitcom, episodic or feature film decades ago. I also enjoy the challenge of working in front of the camera. While you want your performance to be contained (since the camera is right there), it still needs to be charged, so your internal clock is needs to working overtime in order to keep the intensity. As I as stated earlier, theatre offers the thrill of working in front of a live audience nightly. Your performance changes ever so slightly depending on what the audience is giving you.

7. Who or what inspired you to become an actor? It was the love of language which first drew me into acting. My family had a volume of Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets sitting around our house. I remember when I first opened it and began to say the words. I had no idea what they meant but it was something about the poetry which thrilled me. Later on, when I heard a trained speaker reciting classical language, I was hooked. I wanted to be able to sound like that and on reflection, be that character as well.

Gregg Daniel, Joy Bryant, and Dax Shepard on NBC's "Parenthood"8. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? On our show, I’ve always wanted to work with Anna Paquin more, we rarely have scenes together. I just love what she does with the character of "Sookie," Anna makes what is an intensely complex character seem sweet and simple. In the larger realm of working with actors, there are a host of people whose work I admire and would some day like to work with, to name a few - Viola Davis, Kevin Spacey, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, Christophe Waltz, etc.

9. What's the best advice you've ever received? I’ve been lucky enough to have received support and encouragement on my journey as an actor from many sources. Beginning with my parents and continuing on to teachers, fellow actors & directors I’ve worked with, the advice has always been the same, "pursue your dreams."

10. What have you learned about yourself from being an actor? I think I’ve discovered from being an actor that I’m actually a shy, quiet and thoughtful individual. I’d much rather stay at home reading a book. However the side of me that wants to share stories and characters I care about can only be expressed when I’m acting. It takes a certain amount of courage to be an actor, I’m glad I can find that courage when I need it!

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? If I chose to have a super power it would probably be flying. The thought of defying gravity and being able to soar among the clouds is very appealing. On a practical level, being able to fly would help navigate around Los Angeles traffic.

12. If you could be any original flavor lifesaver, which flavor would you be? The one flavored Lifesaver I’ve always loved is, CHERRY. The taste and the color outshines all others.

13. How do you want to be remembered? Other than wanting to be remembered as a kind and decent human being, I’d like to be remembered as an actor’s actor. Someone who my peers thought was talented and brought honor to the craft of acting.

Gregg DanielMore on Gregg:

Actor/Director Gregg T. Daniel returns for the final season of HBO’s True Blood as the wise and sympathetic Reverend Daniels, marking his character’s fourth season on the Emmy winning series. With over 100 credits in film and television, Gregg’s roles span the spectrum from comedy (Curb Your Enthusiasm, Weeds) to drama (The West Wing, Castle, Desperate Housewives) to procedurals (NCIS), science fiction (Star Trek: Voyager) and children’s shows (Austin & Ally, Kickin’ It). Big screen credits include Spiderman 3, Hancock, Mars Attacks, Evan Almighty, Pump Up The Volume, and White Men Can’t Jump.

An accomplished theatre director, Gregg is the Artistic Director of the Los Angeles-based Lower Depth Theatre Ensemble, and was nominated for a 2013 NAACP Image Award for helming the Los Angeles production of Kwame Kwei-Armah’s Elmina’s Kitchen, which also won the NAACP Award for Best Ensemble for 2103. Prior to that, his stage direction included 2009’s acclaimed production of Tom Stoppard’s Heroes, Sybyl Walker’s Beneath Rippling Waters, Lee Blessing’s Cobb, and Frank McGuinness’s Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me. Gregg also directed the world premiere of solo performance artist Joyce Guy’s War Stories at the Los Angeles Theatre Center and at St. Mark’s Church in New York. For Theatre 150 in Ojai, California, he directed Athol Fugards’ Sizwe Bansi, Diana Son’s Stop Kiss, and the 2004 Pulitzer Prize winner, I Am My Own Wife by Doug Wright.

A trained theatre actor from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Gregg's previous stage acting credits include the Williamstown Theatre Festival (Back Country Crimes, Gogol), The Mark Taper Forum (Joe Turner’s Come and Gone), the Pasadena Playhouse (Jitney), Actors Theatre of Louisville (Master Harold), Hartford Stage Company (Peer Gynt), and South Coast Repertory (Fences, Death Of A Salesman).

A native of Brooklyn, NY, Gregg Daniel resides with his family in Los Angeles.