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"Call Me Adam" chats with...

Entries in Off-Broadway (288)

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.

Monday
Jul212014

Call Answered Again: Max Crumm: The Fantasticks Off-Broadway

Max Crumm"Call Me Adam" catches up with actor Max Crumm about starring as "Matt/The Boy" in the hit Off-Broadway show The Fantasticks playing at Jerry Orbach Theater in the Snapple Theater Center (210 West 50th Street). Click here for tickets!

A modern twist on Romeo and Juliet, THE FANTASTICKS (music by Harvey Schmidt, book, lyrics, and direction by Tom Jones) is the quintessential story of a boy and girl who fall in love and then quickly grow apart when they realize they want to experience the world. The score, includes the hit songs "Try To Remember," "Soon It’s Gonna Rain" and "They Were You."

For more on Max follow him on Twitter!

1. Starting July 8, you joined the cast of the hit Off-Broadway musical The Fantasticks as "Matt/The Boy." What made you want become part of this show? Although I had not seen (or done) the show until a couple of weeks ago, I knew that The Fantasticks was one of those shows that everyone has either seen or been in at LEAST once in their lives! I couldn't pass up the opportunity to work with this incredible company of people in this legendary production!

2. What do you identify most with about "Matt/The Boy" and the story of The Fantasticks? To me, "Matt" is an artistic man child who loves adventure. That is what I identify most with.

3. What excites you about singing some of theatre's most well known songs? These songs are beautiful! That alone is exciting enough but I enjoy putting my own twist on them as well! There is something extremely rewarding to be able to take on these songs in this particular production!

Samantha Bruce and Max Crumm in "The Fantasticks"4. What do you think you will bring to the role of "Matt/The Boy" that others have not? Hmm..I hope to bring a fresh goofy/grounded take on "Matt." I feel very similar to him. Hopefully I can bring a lot of myself to the role.

5. What are you looking forward to about working with this cast? These actors are SO hilarious and true! I can not WAIT to hop in there and play with them!

6. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Ha! Ummm...flight?

7. I know you are a big puppet fan. If you could be an Muppet, which one would you be? I would be Janice.

8. What do you want to be remembered for? I hope to be remembered for being a magically talented goof! :)

Max CrummMore on Max:

Recent credits include "Scott" in DISASTER! and "Christian" in F#%KING UP EVERYTHING, both Off-Broadway. Max is best known for playing "Danny Zuko" in the most recent Broadway revival of GREASE, having won the reality television show "Grease! You're the One That I Want!" He also appeared in the hit film EASY A.

Thursday
Jul172014

Call Answered: Facetime Interview with Tony and Emmy Award winner Lillias White: 54 Below Birthday Show

"Call Me Adam" went live on location to 54 Below to interview Tony and Emmy Award winner Lillias White about her upcoming birthday show at 54 Below, July 18 and 19 (254 West 54th Street - cellar, between Broadway & 8th Avenue). Click here for tickets!

 

 

 

Interview with Lillias White at 54 Below:

Wednesday
Jul162014

Call Answered: Doug Cohen: The Gig NYMF 2014

Doug Cohen"Call Me Adam" chats with Fred Ebb and Richard Rodgers award winning playwright Doug Cohen about his show The Gig which will be part of NYMF 2014 from July 15-24, playing at PTC Performance Space (555 West 42nd Street). Click here for tickets!

The Gig tells the story of a used car salesman, a dentist, a real estate agent, a financial advisor, a deli owner, and a teacher who put their careers and families on hold to pursue their passion – jazz – with their first professional "gig" in the Catskills.  The results are funny, touching, and unexpected.

1. What made you want to write The Gig? I saw the movie on TV and had a very visceral, emotional response. It deals with the opportunity to live a dream and explore the road not taken, even if the timing is less than fortuitous. First and foremost, it follows six entertaining guys who have the capacity to feel tremendous joy through music, even though their interaction becomes more complex when the music stops.

2. What excites about you having this show be part of NYMF 2014? I had an excellent experience with NYMF in 2005 when I wrote the score to THE BIG TIME (with a book by Douglas Carter Beane). I love how the emphasis of NYMF is not on big production values but the material itself. Plus the opportunity to work with the very talented Igor Goldin (who is directing his eleventh show for NYMF) is a significant incentive.

Doug Cohen's "The Gig" cast3. How do you feel NYMF will foster this show in a way another festival might not? I’ve never been part of another NYC festival, but I like the way NYMF makes you feel like an integral part of the experience. They’ve chosen excellent venues this year and have been attentive to our needs. They have a strong marketing campaign and a great staff. We were honored to be part of their press launch and represented with an abridged version of our opening number. 

4. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing the show? I hope people will be entertained and moved by the characters’ journey. It would be great if they’d consider their own choices in life and how important it is to take risks, even if the end result isn’t necessarily what you planned.

The cast of Doug Cohen's "The Gig"5. Since The Gig is about pursuing your passion, did you leave a previous career to pursue playwrighting or do you still have another passion you want to pursue? For eighteen years, I was an employment counselor helping people find jobs while I wrote musicals in my spare time. I got a keen sense of the 9-5 world and how important creativity was for my soul and sanity. I now teach song interpretation at the Neighborhood Playhouse, which is a great way to encourage students to embrace musical theater and understand how the best songs are really one-act plays.

6. What are you looking forward to about this cast bringing your work to life? I think I most look forward to their choices as actors, which illuminate the material. This is an exceptionally talented cast of actors who are also very giving and intuitive. I’ve made changes based on some keen observations, so I welcome the time we spend together in rehearsal as it strengthens the piece. They also work beautifully as an ensemble, which is how the show was designed.

Doug Cohen's "The Gig" cast7. You have one several awards and grants for your previous work. What do this recognition mean to you? Who doesn’t want to be recognized, especially in such a difficult field which is usually devoid of recognition? If an award gives credibility to the work and makes people eager to see it, then that in itself is meaningful.

8. Who or what inspired you to become a playwright? I was raised on musicals starting at the age of two, so I have to thank my parents for making theater an important part of my diet. My grandmother was a concert pianist, so her influence is keenly felt. But the idea of writing music and lyrics first occurred to me when I was cast in HANSEL AND GRETEL in the fifth grade and wanted to beef up my ancillary part by writing a song for the "narrator." Fortunately, my teacher encouraged me, and the score of H & G became 95% Englebert Humperdinck and 5% Doug Cohen!

9. What's the best advice you've ever received? I’m not sure I have an answer to that, although I truly admire Frank Gilroy’s fortitude. He never dwells on the negatives and instead always thinks "onward and upward."

10. What have you learned about yourself from being a playwright? Creating musicals takes time. You have to be willing to accept a significant gestation period, be humbled by workshops and early productions, and learn from people who may have the perspective you lack.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? I definitely like the idea of popping in and out of locations, revisiting the past and exploring the future. Basically anything Elizabeth Montgomery did on BEWITCHED.

12. What do you want to be remembered? I think THE GIG contains more of me than other shows I’ve written, so I guess I’d like this musical to be my legacy.

Doug CohenMore on Doug:

Doug received the 2010 Fred Ebb Award and two Richard Rodgers Awards for writing No Way to Treat A Lady (produced twice off-Broadway and worldwide) and THE GIG (O’Neill Conference, Goodspeed). He penned scores for The Opposite of Sex (WTF) and The Big Time (book by Douglas Carter Beane) which debuted at NYMF. Drama Desk nominated for Children's Letters to God, Doug received a Jonathan Larson Grant for Barnstormer and contributed songs to Boozy directed by Alex Timbers. Nine Wives, with collaborator Dan Elish, debuts July 24-27 at the TriArts Sharon Playhouse.

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