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"Call Me Adam" chats with...

Entries in Off-Broadway (276)

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.

Friday
Jul252014

Call Answered: Lorraine Rodríguez-Reyes: Mami Confessions

Lorraine Rodríguez-Reyes"Call Me Adam" chats with award winning actress and playwright Lorraine Rodríguez-Reyes about her one woman show Mami Confessions, which was THE ONE Festival's winning show, will now have an encore run NYC from July 30-August 3 at Teatro Circulo (64 East 4th Street). Click here for tickets! 

Mami Confessions is about becoming a MOM, being a MOM. What does it mean? How does it change and define us? Lorraine Rodríguez-Reyes went on a personal quest and interviewed a host of fascinating women who were brave enough to share their stories. Mami Confessions gives us insight into these amazing women. Lorraine Rodríguez-Reyes remarkably channels the lives of fifteen women with a thread of her own life experiences. 

For more on Lorraine be sure to follow her on Twitter!

1. From July 30-August 3, your show Mami Confessions will be playing Teatro Circulo in NYC. You created this show by interviewing 15 women about their journey in becoming and being a mom as well as talking about your own. What made you want to write the show with everyone's story and not just your own? I found that once I became a Mother...I was accepted into a secret society. I experienced women confiding in me, sharing their deepest secrets and fears. I discovered that motherhood is not the same for everyone. We all have different experiences, philosophies and emotions.This has also been a cathartic and healthy experience for me to share their stories as well as my own.

2. How did you decide which stories to keep and which ones not to use? This was the most difficult because every story was important. I decided to hire Jane Barnette a dramaturg, she helped me find the arc of the story.

3. What is it like to channel all of these woman? How do you prepare yourself for quickly jumping between stories? I found this part fascinating. I am not imitating them - I have been merely capturing their essence/energy. I used character work, speech patterns, physicality, and dialects. I used costumes as a vehicle into the character and to catapult me into the next story.

4. What excited you about having Mami Confessions in the ONE Festival? How did you feel this festival nurtured the show in a way another one might not? The festival enabled us to explore and incubate the script. For the actual festival, the show was 30 min. Once we won it was back to the drawing board...we had to make it a 50 min production. The festival has been a part of the growth of the play.

5. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing Mami Confessions? I hope the audiences can relate to the stories and have moments of connection. For the non - mothers I hope it is an educational process. I would also like to increase the empathy for the challenges of motherhood. I also hope Mami Confessions incites conversation.

Lorraine Rodríguez-Reyes rehearsing for "Mami Confessions"6. Who or what inspired you to become a playwright/performer? When I was expecting my first child, I had this yearning to write my story. As women spoke to me about their experiences, I felt I had a responsibility to share their stories. Playwrights Marco A. Rodriguez and Carmen Rivera encouraged and supported me during the process. They also convinced me that I needed to be the actor in the piece.

7. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? That is a very long list! The first person that comes to mind is Sandra Bullock. She comes from the theatre world. I admire her ability to do comedic work as well as prolific dramas.

8. You are recurring guest star on What Would You Do. What do you like most about being on this show? How do the stories make you think about what would you do in a similar situation? Working on WWYD has made me more aware of my surroundings. Being a native of NYC you tend to block out all of the chaos. I also feel less fearful in putting myself out there.

Lorraine Rodríguez-Reyes rehearsing for "Mami Confessions"9. What's the best advice you've ever received? Always be yourself and have fun on the journey.

10. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer/playwright? There are many facets of myself I discovered on this beautiful journey. Some I love and others not so much. I have realized I am tenacious and I truly love telling a story.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. As it turns out, we have something in common. The American Repertory Theatre. I used to work there when I lived in Boston and you trained with their program. I know what a great program they have, but how do you feel their training prepared you for a life in the arts? Yippy! That is exciting. A.R.T. kept us on a vigorous 6 day schedule, Monday being the only day we had off. We were also working on multiple projects simultaneously. This happens often in the real world. You may be filming, then heading to your 8pm curtain...I also believe studying at the Moscow Art Theatre School truly gave me the necessary training to truly be a malleable actor.

12. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Time Turner from Harry Potter for a super power. 

13. If you could be any original flavor lifesaver, which flavor would you be? Pineapple.

14. Favorite skin care product? Anything that is on sale. :)

15. How do you want to be remembered? A loving, caring and generous person.

Lorraine Rodríguez-ReyesMore on Lorraine:

Lorraine Rodríguez-Reyes received her MFA from Harvard’s American Repertory Theatre (A.R.T.)/Moscow Art Theatre Institute for Advanced Theatre Training, illuminating an acting career that has led her to the stages of the Cherry Lane Theatre (Verse Chorus Verse), Mint Theatre (On the Edge), Repertorio Español (La Gringa), Theatre Row (A Bicycle Country, Dog Day Afternoon) and so many others. Lorraine’s love of character development is what makes her such a versatile actor and she insists it’s difficult to choose favorites, but if pressed, she may tell you she’s quite fond of Three Sisters, performed at Columbia Stages, Dostoevsky Demons, performed at Moscow Art Theatre, Melancholy, a show she did at the beginning of her career at Harvard, directed by Scott Zigler and the role of "La Extraña" in De Dónde at The Looking Glass Theatre, which earned her an OOBer Award.

Lorraine’s on-camera work is nearly as prolific as her stage work. Some highlights include the HBO mega-hit series, The Sopranos, as "Nurse Ramirez" & on ABC, as a recurring Guest Star on What Would You Do?

In film, Lorraine again joined team HBO as part of the HBO International Latino Film Festival as "Carmen" in Taught to Hate. Another of her many film projects, Willets Point, an independent film by TJ Collins, made its World Premiere at the Quad Cinema in New York City. For her performance as "Doris," one of Willets Point’s leads, Lorraine was nominated for Best Dramatic Actress at The Long Island International Film Expo.

Tuesday
Jul222014

Call Answered: Sue Loncar: Contemporary Theatre of Dallas: Laundry & Bourbon

"Call Me Adam" chats with Contemporary Theatre of Dallas' Artistic Director and actress Sue Loncar who is mounting James McLure's Lone Star and Laundry & Bourbon (which she also stars in) through July 26 at Theatre Row's Clurman Theatre in NYC (410 West 42nd Street, between 9th & 10th Avenue). Click here for tickets!

Lone Star is a character study of a pair of Texas "good ol’ boys" carousing on a Saturday night while Laundry & Bourbon focuses on the discontent and very funny gossip of three small-town wives whose marriages have turned out to be less than ideal.

For more on the Contemporary Theatre of Dallas visit http://www.contemporarytheatreofdallas.com and follow them on Twitter!

1. From July 5-26, you are bringing Contemporary Theatre of Dallas' productions of James McLure's Lone Star and Laundry & Bourbon to NYC. What made you want to have a NYC run of these shows? I wanted to bring the "real" Texas to New York. I wanted New Yorkers to see Texas as Texans know it, not Texas as it's displayed on TV and in movies. As part of that, I wanted our company to be made of Texas actors. James McLure (who just recently passed away) loved Texas, and it shows in Lone Star and Laundry & Bourbon. I also knew James McLure personally, and thought he was hysterical. We successfully produced these two shows in Dallas twice, in 2004 and 2006 to critical raves and full houses. It remains to this day one of our most beloved shows. I also thought it was good timing with all the love out there for Friday Night Lights, the TV show that they filmed in Austin that was so brilliant.

2. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing these shows? I hope audiences get a sense of how proud we are of our state and culture, but that we are also able to laugh at ourselves. To me, though, the much bigger theme of the show is the love and strength of family and friendship. And how that sustains us in our life. That's what I get out of it every time I perform.

Sue Loncar as "Hattie" in "Laundry & Bourbon"3. You are going to be starring in Laundry & Bourbon. What do you identify most with about your character? Her hectic life with her kids-I have six! I understand her love and devotion to "Elizabeth," her best friend, and how they will always be there for one another. I love that "Hattie" is a survivor; you can throw a situation at her, and she will come up with a solution and turn a negative into a positive. My friends would probably say that we're most alike because I'm loud and talk a lot! Everyone has always said this is the perfect role for me, and I'm not quite sure how to take that....

4. Since Laundry & Bourbon focuses on the discontent and very funny gossip of three small-town wives whose marriages have turned out to be less than ideal, how have you gotten through moments of discontent in your life? I lived in Amarillo, Texas for 12 years in a very tightly knit community that was filled with generations of family. I didn't know anyone and had to work my way in, which was no easy task! It was a place where getting into the Junior League was like trying to win a senate seat, and until then I had been a big city girl having grown up in Atlanta and Houston. Everything you did was under scrutiny, and everybody did talk about everybody. It was like living under a microscope. You don't have the luxury of any anonymity. The only way to get through that or anything is faith, family, and friends.

Sue Loncar, Marianne Galloway, Marisa Diotalevi in "Laundry & Bourbon", Photo Credit: Julie Ann Arbiter5. What made you want to be the Artistic Director of Contemporary Theatre of Dallas? What has been the most rewarding part of this journey and the most challenging parts? I didn't! Honestly, I just wanted to do a couple of shows a year that I loved with roles that really mattered to me. The shows had to be important to me if I was going to take that kind of time away from my family! I wanted to be close to home so I didn't have to spend a couple of extra hours in the car driving. The next thing you know I own a building, and I have a full season and subscribers. The whole project snowballed on me! It got totally out of control from what I had had in mind. I was not remotely prepared to do this job; I still am not (my 14 year old daughter knows more about theater than I do)! I have an English degree! I know next to nothing about the technical end of theater and less than that about the business end. I hadn't even acted a lot by comparison, and Dallas has a huge acting pool. My focus has always been on being a Mom! It still is my #1 priority. It's my staff that makes everything possible. They make this happen, and I get to work on the artistic projects. Ignorance truly is bliss! My secret is that I've always found and hired the best people in town! They surround me and make me look good!

The most rewarding part of acting is the family we create when making a show. It is always devastating to me when it is over. I go through an almost crippling withdrawal and depression. I miss the show and the people so much. Plus, our patrons are the loveliest, kindest, most supportive audience you could ever hope to have! They love us, and they feel like CTD is their home. They never stop telling me this. They fill my heart with such love and joy and such a feeling of appreciation that I can't even describe it. I always say, "Damn the naysayers or critics. If my audience loves the show I have done my job!" That's who I aim to serve and please.

Sue Loncar and Marisa Diotalevi in "Laundry & Bourbon", Photo Credit: Julie Ann Arbiter6. Contemporary Theatre of Dallas' mission to present plays that depict relationships of all kinds. Whether it is a mother, sibling, a lover, a friend or a child, we all struggle to connect, to communicate, to find intimacy, acceptance, tolerance and above all, love. How did you decide for this to be the theatre's focus when choosing plays? I'm all about relationships. I wish I had been a therapist. I would have been a damn good one. I wanted the theater to be an extension of who I am. I wanted it to feel like a home, and it's close. Our building is actually an old church! The building brings its own personality to the whole enterprise. I wanted the theater to represent what I think is important, which is relationships, community, overcoming things, and not feeling alone in this world with your problems. I want people to leave feeling like they have had a shared experience, that they saw themselves and their life play out on that stage. I want them to hear their story.

I think we all want to feel a little less alone in our struggles and be able to identity with one another. We are all so much more alike than we are different. I want to highlight that. The best is being able to move people, to touch their heart. I love when three days later they are still thinking about a scene from the play, or something a character said, or that a character (as they often tell me) is either "just like" them or someone they know. That just thrills me! Someone just told me "Hattie" was the spitting image of her best friend all through high school. I loved that. She then proceded to tell me all about her!

7. What's the best advice you've ever received? Take reviews and critics with a grain of salt. It's just someone's opinion. That is so true. One day you're up and the bees knees and the next time maybe not so much, so you can't let the critics be your litmus test. Unfortunately, as a producer, it can effect the box office, so it does matter. Just don't take it personally. Maybe you were having a bad day or maybe the critic just doesn't like that play, and that's okay. It's not the end of the world, and it doesn't mean I was wrong to choose that show. I love that about art. There is no right or wrong.

Sue Loncar and Marianne Galloway in "Laundry & Bourbon", Photo Credit: Julie Ann Arbiter8. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer and Artistic Director? How much stress I can take is unfathomable to me now! I would have never thought it possible to survive the chaos. I've learned I can perform after my best friend's daughter killed herself and after learning my beloved grandmother died. I've learned I can come straight from the hospital on morphine with a major migraine and perform this very show as well as Steel Magnolias. He'll, I've learned I am a steel magnolia. I've learned that actors are the most passionate people on earth and will work tirelessly to get the job done. I've learned that almost anything you think can go wrong will at some point. Nothing surprises me anymore. You just learn to deal with it-just like life! In the end it's what YOU think about your performance that matters. It's your experience! Claim it for yourself! Don't give that power to anybody else.

9. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? To create love, peace, and understanding between all people. I would promote the concept that we are all so much more the same than we are different, that we all want the same things out of life: to love and be loved, to be healthy and safe, and to guarantee our children's happiness. Wow, if I could do that...imagine!

Sue Loncar10. Favorite skin care product? Retin-A to keep the age monster at bay.

BONUS QUESTION:

11. What do you want to be remembered for? For having a heart as big as TEXAS.