Twitter
Facebook

 

 

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required

"Call Me Adam" chats with...

Entries in Off-Broadway (278)

Wednesday
Jun252014

Call Answered: Ryan McCartan: 2014 Jimmy Awards

Ryan McCartan"Call Me Adam" chats with Ryan McCartan, 2011 Jimmy Award winner for Best Actor about winning the coveted award, hosting the 2014 Jimmy Awards, starring in the Disney Channel's Liv and Maddie, USA's Royal Pains, and his recent run in the Off-Broadway hit musical Heathers. The 2014 Jimmy Awards, created in honor of legendary Broadway producer/theater owner Jimmy Nederlander, will be held Monday, June 30 at Broadway's Minskoff Theatre (200 West 45th Street) at 7:30pm. Click here for tickets!

For more on Ryan be sure to visit http://www.ryanmccartan.com and follow him on Twitter and Instagram!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? My sister is also an actress, and she inspired me to follow in her footsteps!

2. Who do you hope to get to work with during your career? I think I'd literally die and go to heaven if I got to do a movie with Jon Hamm or Bryan Cranston.

Ryan McCartan, 2011 Jimmy Award Winner3. You are the 2011 winner of the Jimmy Award, which is in honor of legendary Broadway producer/theater owner James M. Nederlander. What was it like for you that night to win the award? Everything happens so fast the night of the Jimmy's. Finalists and winners are announced live and in real time, so all the news comes as a complete surprise. The whole night was a blurry concoction of adrenaline and surprise. Actually winning was so surreal, and shocking, it took a few days for me to actually process that it happened.

4. How do you feel winning this award has helped advance your career? People know about the Jimmy's, so having the fact that you were even a FINALIST not to mention a winner is a great thing to have on your resume. If nothing else, winning the award validated that I was good at what I do-- it was a huge confidence booster, which is really important for a young actor.

5. What skills did you pick-up in preparing for the Jimmy's that you might not of otherwise had? The Jimmy's are an amazing experience, but I'd be lying if I said they didn't work me harder than I had ever been worked before. I learned a lot about self-control, pacing myself, and compartmentalizing my skills to cater to the many different needs of my peers and directors.

6. What are you looking forward to most about hosting this year's award show? Just to be back on that stage again celebrating this cool organization. I just love how things come full circle. I can't wait to meet this year's finalists, knowing exactly what they're going through and thinking about since I was there just a few years ago.

7. What advice would you give to the nominees in preparation of the award show? Cliche, but I would tell them to relax and have fun. It's a high pressure situation, but the people who work with the finalists are PROS. I remember being so much more prepared than I thought I was, and therefore truly had nothing to worry about.

8. What guidance do you have for the winner of the 2014 Jimmy Award? Be gracious. Winning isn't a matter of being the best. It isn't a matter of "beating out" competition. It's not about the glory, the money, the award, or the interviews. It's about being an outstanding artist, a humble victor, and an inspiration to others.

Ryan McCartan on Disney Channel's "Liv and Maddie"Ryan McCartan in "Heathers: The Musical"9. Your current projects include a run in the Off-Broadway hit musical, Heathers, appearing regularly as "Diggy" in Liv & Maddie on the Disney Channel, and a recurring character on the USA Network's Royal Pains. What do you like best about working in both theatre and TV? They're both so different in so many regards, but the fact is, when I'm acting, I'm happy. When I get to dive into an imaginary mind and process imaginary circumstances, I feel such a rush. Whether it's the stage lights or a camera pointed at me, I just truly feel like I was put on this planet to do this. I haven't "gone to work" a day in my life. It's not work. It's play that pays. l'll take that every time.

10. What's the best advice you've ever received? It's okay if you have butterflies, as long as they're flying in formation.

11. What have you learned about yourself from your career and preparing for/winning the Jimmy Award? I've learned I'm an actor with an impatience problem. Which is like being a sprinter with a sprained ankle. It doesn't work. To have a successful career, one must be patient and diligent and wait for the right doors to open.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

12. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Invisibility: I love to play pranks.

13. Favorite way to stay in shape? I try to hit the gym every day!

14. Boxers or Briefs? Boxers.

15. What do you want your legacy to be? To be respected. Not famous. Respected.

Ryan McCartanMore on Ryan:

Ryan McCartan is a recent Minnetonka High School graduate from Excelsior, Minnesota and a Triple Threat Award-winning participant in Hennepin Theatre Trust’s SpotLight Musical Theatre Program, and was named Best Actor at the June 27, 2011, National High School Musical Theater Awards held at the Minskoff Theatre on Broadway in New York City. McCartan was one of two students to receive a Jimmy Award, the top honor in the program. He performed Jason Robert Brown’s "Someone to Fall Back On" as his solo. McCartan received $10,000 scholarship award and consideration for other professional advancement opportunities. He also was named a Presidential Scholar in the Arts. He is one of 20 high school students nationally to receive the award, and one of only two winners in theater. It is the highest honor that can be bestowed upon an artistically talented graduating senior.

Wednesday
Jun182014

Call Answered: Michael Levesque: Jules

"Call Me Adam" chats with playwright Michael Levesque, who's new play Jules is about Broadway's most famous vaudeville and film star of the time: female impersonator, Julian Eltinge. With music direction and arrangements by the award-winning Tim Di Pasqua, Jules plays at Teatro Latea in NYC (107 Suffolk Street, between Rivington and Delancey) through June 28! Click here for tickets!

For more on Michael be sure to visit http://www.michaellevesque.net!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a playwright? I was an actor for thirty years and one day I realized I was tired of saying other people's words, so I decided to start writing. As well as being an actor I was also exploring spiritually a lot, so playwriting became my marrying of those two passions, playwriting and spirituality.

2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? There are so many but if i had to narrow it down to one person, maybe two, between all the actors, directors, composers, I would have to say Meryl Streep and Stephen Sondheim, although working with Francis Sternhaggen, was a dream come true.

3. Jules will be presented from June 18-28 at Teatro Latea. What made you want to tell the story of Jules Eltinge? I found his story to be so fascinating and tragic as well as a great piece of history for both theater and LGTB people. He really paved the way for many. It is a love story, a self love story. Without Julian there never would have been a RuPaul.

4. How do you feel your life is similar to Julies Eltinge and how is it different? Similar in how when I was first getting an agent, and performing, people tried to make me be quiet about being gay/different. I refused to be quiet and if it meant not having the career I wanted then too bad. You know I grew up in Northern California during Harvey Milk and he just come out with the campaign he advocated. I came out when I was a senior in high school, 1977, and have fought for gay rights my entire adult life. Be it prop 6, prop 64, prop 8, and many other attempts to legislate "morality laws." It was these so called "morality laws" that helped end Julian's career. Look at where we are today, we can get married and Julian helped us with even that.

5. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing the show? To have more compassion and an open heart and to be at peace with whomever and whatever you are. You are perfect just the way you are.

6. You have presented your work at Teatro Latea before. What made you want to present your work here again? What does this venue offer that other ones around the city don't? JULES take place backstage of Billy Roses, Diamond Horseshoe. I really love the look of Latea and this show fits very well in their space. Also they have a wonderful location on the lower east side.

"Jules" creative team: Tim Di Pasqua, Sierra Ryan, Andrew Glant Linden, Cameron Hansel, David Sabella, and Michael Levesque7. One of the things I am very excited about with Jules is that the award-winning Tim Di Pasqua is the show's musical director and arranger. What made you want to work with Tim and how has his talents help shape your vision of the show? First of all Tim and I are ex lovers of ten years over twenty years ago, and still best friends, so any time I can work with Tim it is an honor and a privilege. Tim and I wrote a musical about ten years ago called Synchronicity together and it was a ball. We think a lot alike so when it came to JULES and finding someone to not only play the show, but create incredible arrangements and write additional music and lyrics, there was no question, Tim was the guy. I also produced two concerts of Tim's music to raise funds and awareness for BCEFA, and to this date it was the most money ever raised for a cabaret show for BCEFA. I am also very fortunate to be working again with my great friend and very talented long time collaborator Andrew Glant-Linden who is directing JULES.

8. I had seen a previous incarnation of Jules a few years back at The Laurie Beechman Theatre. How has the shown grown over the past few years? It has grown quite a bit on many levels. First of all there is new opening involving "Freddy," the character of the stage manager. Second, the actors are getting so much more out of the text now, finding new things, it has just become so much richer, and more nuanced.

David Sabella and Cameron Hansel in "Jules"9. What excites you about having this cast bring Jules to life? They are amazing. David Sabella, as you know plays "Julian." David did "Mary Sunshine" in the revival of Chicago, which come to find out, was loosely based on "Julian." It's great to always hear David sing, but it is more fun watching him being pushed beyond his comfort zone and go places I don't believe he has had to go to before as an actor. Cameron is just a doll. He is young, handsome, talented and always willing to try anything, he just jumps right in. They really are a fantastic team. Then you add Ed in there and I am pretty damn thrilled!

10. What have you learned about yourself from being a playwright? I've learned I have a lot things in my life that need healing. It's interesting, I am not one of those playwrights that sits every day and tries to write. It may be months before I write, but when it comes it comes, and three days later I will have a first draft of a new play. I always think, where did that come from, and then months later I realize there was a reason that came through and usually it is something within myself needing attention, needing healing. Playwriting for me is about listening.

11. What's the best advice you've ever received? "Always reach for the moon because even if you do not make it you will always be in the company of the stars." -High school drama teacher.

BONUS QUESTION:

12. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? To fly.

Michael LevesqueMore on Michael:

Readings include Not in Our Town, No Man Can Serve 2 Masters and FAL$E PROFIT$, at the Genesius Guild, Restoration and Freedom Summer at the Hansberry Project, On Hold at the Houseman Theatre with seven-time Tony-nominated and two-time winner, Frances Sternhagen and Tony-nominated Douglas Sills, directed by Scott Schwartz. Who's Sorry Now? at Charles Rosin Casting and his musical Synchronicity, written with award-winning composer Tim Di Pasqua, had a reading at BMI, Seven Angels Theatre and is out on CD. Bad Connections? was produced at The Peoples Theatre in Santa Monica, San Jose City Theatre, and at the Hollywood, Orlando, Toronto and Edmonton Fringe Festivals, where it played to sold-out houses and standing ovations. Bad Connections? also had two NYC engagements, one at the Cell Theatre and the other through Third Eye Theatre Company. His Christmas show, The Christmas Present, ran for three months at La Comedia Dinner Theatre in Akron, Ohio. No Man Can Serve 2 Masters was produced as an Equity Showcase through Third Eye Theatre Company, where Michael also serves as Artistic Director. Michael's plays also include his hysterical whodunit farce, Fire Island and Fire Island, The Next Season, Transubstantiation (also in collaboration with Teatro LATEA) and his political stinger, One Nation Under___? He has written over 25 plays.

Wednesday
Jun182014

Call Answered: Jay William Thomas: A Map To Somewhere Else

Jay William Thomas, Photo Credit: Jake Raynor Photography"Call Me Adam" chats with actor, writer, director Jay William Thomas about starring in Reina Hardy's new Off-Broadway show A Map To Somewhere Else, playing at The 133rd Street Arts Center Lab (308 West 133rd Street) through June 28! 

A Map To Somewhere Else asks What happens to the imagined worlds we create as children? The tender, heroic, silly, elaborate fantasies that shape the souls of so many ordinary people, then are abandoned as we grow. What if, all this time, they were there waiting, hoping we'd come back? A Map to Somewhere Else is a comic drama full of fantasy, music, and magic that dares to ask what happens when that long-closed door is reopened. What adventures wait for us beyond the threshold? Click here for tickets!

For more on Jay be sure to visit http://www.jwilliamthomas.com and follow him on Facebook!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? Performing has always been a gateway for me to feel more connected, to the world, my peers, and myself. I love what I do and I do what I love. That inspiration came from my father, and acting was the vehicle I chose to drive.

2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? I'll shoot for the stars here, literally. I would do anything to work with Matt Damon. I think he has had a brilliant career and I respect his decisions as an actor.

3. From June 19-28, you are going to be starring in a new Off-Broadway play called A Map To Somewhere Else. What made you want to be part of this show? My current show is being produced by Everyday Inferno Theater Company. This company amazes me with the challenges they choose to take on. This new show incorporates song, dance, combat, and imagination all into a unconventional quasi-round stage. There is so much to tackle here I wouldn't know where to begin, but they do. It is a blast working with them and shaping this new play for its New York Premiere. Come see it! "A Map to Somewhere Else"

4. What do you identify with most about your character of "Constantine"? My "real-world" character, "Constantine," (I also play two other fantasy based characters) is struggling to find something that is missing. I feel like that everyday. He's a young man turning around every second over-analyzing the past and hesitant towards the future. I connect with him because we share the same intrinsic qualities.

Jay William Thomas in "A Map To Somewhere Else" Photo Credit: Anais Koivisto5. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing the show? My big hope is for the audience to walk away awe-struck. This play is a story telling piece and it hits all the highs and lows of a great epic.

6. Since the show is about letting go of our childhood fantasies, what childhood fantasies have you let go of? Have you ever gone back to them? I always wanted to be a professional baseball player. I let that go in the 9th grade, but I go back to it every time I turn on a Cincinnati Reds game.

7. In addition to A Map To Somewhere Else, you also star in the web series GAYS. What made you want to be part of this web series? What do you like about filming a web series as opposed to being on stage? GAYS was such an amazing experience. I wanted to be a part of that project because of the Roller Coaster my character takes. From a life of glamour to an earth shattering wake-up call. That was a challenge, and I like challenges.

The big difference between the two mediums is really the ability to stop and start. In theatre the ride doesn't stop, that's why we rehearse and rehearse and rehearse, while a day on set may mean several hours of break, ten minutes of shooting, and then another break. On-camera work is essentially a story told through one lens while theatre has as many lens's as can fit in the audience.

8. What's the best advice you've ever received? Failing to prepare is preparing to Fail.

9. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? Too much to write, but the main thing is that life should be spent with the people you love and in a community that supports you. Success is inevitable then.

10. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Flight or instant teleportaion, anything that would make travel easy and less expensive.

BONUS QUESTION:

11. Favorite way to stay in shape? Push-up competitions with my roommate.

Jay William Thomas, Photo Credit: Purple Fringe PhotographyMore on Jay:

DeathBed Ripple Effect Artist Directed By Brent Buell; Einstein Variations Theatre Group Directed by Randolph Curtis Rand - Off-Off Broadway: Something Wicked Everyday Inferno Theatre; Zombie Frat House Bash EndTimes Productions; I Do Wonder Synapse Theatre Ensemble; Leaving Normal Avalon Studios. Jay is a company member of Ripple Effects Artists and holds a BFA from Western Kentucky University.

Monday
Jun162014

Call Answered: Em Grosland: The Anthem Interview

Em Grosland"Call Me Adam" chats with Em Grosland about starring in The Anthem, directed, choreographed, and designed by Rachel Klein. The Anthem is a new rollicking sci-fi musical about a revolt of the young against an evil state. Lovingly inspired by Ayn Rand's classic novella "Anthem," the show features expansive aerial movement and a circus environment.

The Anthem plays at the Culture Project's Lynn Redgrave Theater in NYC (45 Bleecker) through July 6. Click here for tickets and follow the show at http://www.theanthemmusical.com and on Facebook and Twitter!

For more on Em be sure to visit http://www.emgrosland.com and follow Em on Twitter!

1. What attracted you to The Anthem? The director. Rachel Klein. Her artistic vision is so clear and her creative voice is incredibly unique.

2. In the show, you have a lot of physical movement/acting. What do you like about this kind of performance? I don’t have to go to the gym!

3. Your role has you interacting with the audience the most out of everyone in the cast. What do you enjoy about this interaction and what are some challenges? I know it sounds silly, but by the end of the show there are always a handful of audience members with whom I feel I have really connected. From "Hermes’s" point of view, they are his new friends.

Rachel Klein, Director, Choreographer, and Designer of "The Anthem"4. The show is directed by Rachel Klein, who typically combines dance, circus movements, musical theatre, and other performance art together. What have you learned from working with her? As I said above, Rachel Klein has a very unique creative voice. Her work is immediately recognizable. As an artist, latching onto a specific point of view is scary because you are letting go of all the other possibilities. You are putting yourself in the vulnerable place where people can love your work or hate it. She seemingly does this without fear. I believe that is because every choice she makes comes from a genuine and honest expression of herself. Rachel is a genius and I can’t wait to watch her cover Broadway with black leather and pink glitter! 

Cast of "The Anthem"5. What is the best part about performing with this cast which include Randy Jones from The Village People, Jenna Leigh Green from Broadway's Wicked, and Jason Gotay from Broadway's Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark, Ashley Kate Adams from Broadway's La Cage Aux Folles, and Remy Zaken from Broadway's Spring Awakening? They are all truly wonderful people and extremely professional artists. Randy is one of the sweetest people I know. Knowing what he and the rest of the Village people did for the visibility and acceptance of gay people in this industry is awe inspiring. Plus during sound check one day, we all sang YMCA with him…it was awesome. When Jenna first sang her big 11 o’clock number in rehearsals, the whole room was in awed silence…audiences do the same every night. Jason is incredibly friendly with everyone…and damn can that boy sing! Ashley has become our event planner of the group. She is extremely generous and even offered up her home for our Tony’s viewing party. And Remy is one of the hardest working people I’ve met. She is always willing to go that extra mile to make each moment happen. And her adlibs are perfection.

But for as awesome as they are, the ensemble members of this show are my heroes. Their physical strength will blow you away. And their "Yes, and…" attitude has been so inspiring for me.

Cast of "The Anthem"6. What is your favorite part of the show? I have SO many favorite parts of the show! But today I will pick Remy’s new "Hamlet" adlib that she does with the "Executioner’s" severed head. You will have to come see the show to know what the heck I’m talking about.

7. Did you prepare differently for this show than you have for previous shows? I play two very distinct characters in this one. So one of my main challenges was figuring out how to separate them physically, vocally, and emotionally.

8. The show has a futuristic theme to it, what do you think about when you think about the future? What do you imagine life or theatre will be like? I think we are on our way to a world where our differences are our strengths. This business is starting to reflect the true diversity of our world. We have a ways to go, but Broadway is becoming more open-minded about casting. Things that exist without question in our world (multiracial families, transpeople, powerful dynamic women, etc.) are beginning to weave themselves into the theatrical canon. 

Cast of "The Anthem"9. What do you identify most with about this show? What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing the show? Honestly, I hope the audience feels like they were just part of a big crazy party.  We are all having so much fun onstage, and that seems to be infectious for our audiences. I hope that everyone’s sides hurt from laughing so much. I know mine do.

10. Since this show is titled The Anthem, what is your personal anthem? Hmm? Lately I’ve been singing Mika’s Grace Kelly a lot in the shower. Does that count?

Em Grosland in "The Anthem"More on Em:

Off-Broadway: Eve Ensler’s Emotional Creature. National Tour: Danny Who/The Grinch...Regional: Prince/The Little Prince (CFRT), Linus/YAGMCB (California Theatre Center), Tom Thumb/Barnum (Totempole Playhouse), Ring Cycle (LA Opera), Gypsy and Big (Stages St. Louis), Mo/Cowgirls (Florida Studio Theatre), and Peter/Peter Pan (Candlelight Pavilion). TV: L&O SVU; "Comic Perversion."

Thursday
Jun122014

Call Answered: Donna Lynne Champlin: ValueVille NYMF 2014

Donna Lynne Champlin, Photo Credit: Laura Marie DuncanCall Me Adam chats with OBIE and Drama Desk award winning actress Donna Lynne Champlin about making her directorial debut with the 2014 NYMF show of Rowen Casey's Valueville which will play from July 7-13 at PTC Performance Space (555 West 42nd Street). Click here for tickets!

For more on Donna be sure to visit http://www.donnalynnechamplin.com! 

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? I honestly don’t remember. I think it was always in my bones. My first memory of anything "show biz" was when my mom took me to audit my first tap class. I was three years old, sitting on my mom’s lap, watching a class from the side of the dance studio. A bunch of little girls were doing their routine which included a cute finger wag and the lyrics "Don’t forget your tap shoes!" and I went completely ballistic. Normally a very calm kid (according to my Mom) she immediately took me outside to find out what was wrong. Apparently, I was SO indignant that she had taken me to dance class unprepared as the song CLEARLY stated "DON’T FORGET your tap shoes" (of which I had none) that I had flown into an absolute rage. After my mom stopped laughing, we picked up a pair of tap shoes on the way home and that was the beginning of the end, I guess.

2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? Ooh. That’s a long list but I am a huge Randy Newman fan and I was absolutely devastated that I was not available to audition for the FAUST they’re doing at the ENCORES! Off Center Series this July. My audition book is wall-to-wall Randy Newman, and pretty much my whole wedding "score" (ceremony, cocktail hour and reception) was 75% his stuff. I think he’s an absolute genius, both as a musician and a story-teller and I would love to just be in the same room to watch him work.

3. You are making your directorial debut in ValueVille, the NYMF show running from July 7-13. What made you decide that now and this show was the right time to make your directorial debut? In all honesty, people have been asking me to direct for years and I’ve always said "no" for various reasons but I just couldn’t say "no" to ValueVille. Long story short: I was a judge for the NYMF 2014 season and ValueVille was my #1 pick of the season. I just found it to be so incredibly funny and insightful, but also very different from most of the scripts I see submitted to NYMF. On paper it’s got that rare quality of being both very commercial while also being artistically and intellectually satisfying. The best way to describe Valueville is that it’s like NO EXIT meets A CHORUS LINE. Cool, right? Anyway, I submitted my notes and suggested dramaturgical fixes along with my rankings, like I do with all the shows and about three weeks later NYMF called me to say that the writer of ValueVille (Rowen Casey) had liked my notes so much, he wanted me to direct it. After a few phone calls with RC (who lives in CA) we both decided to take the NYMF plunge together and I have to say (knock wood, toi toi toi, etc), so far so good.

4. What made you want to shift some of your career focus to directing? Again, a big part of my decision was the piece itself. It’s not so much that I’ve had a burning desire to direct (quite the opposite). But I just really believe in ValueVille immensely as a new musical and directing it (after some serious soul searching) was something I genuinely wanted to do. I’d never felt that before about a directing opportunity so I decided to go with my gut on this one and say "yes" for once.

Also, having done numerous NYMF shows as an actor, "celebrity judge," etc, I felt confident that this festival was the perfect place for me to debut directorially. Knowing the NYMF staff already to be such incredibly competent, intelligent and kind people, I knew that if I ran into "first-time" directorial issues or had to ask really basic questions, that I would be helped and encouraged in my process and not treated like an ignorant newbie. I’m looking at this whole thing as a chance to learn everything I can about being a director in the safest environment possible, which for me is NYMF. That way, if directing is something I want to pursue more of in the future, I will be able to go further outside my comfort zone theatre-wise and have the confidence that I will already know experientially what is expected of me especially in pre-production.

And not for nothing, having done many NYMF shows over the years I know exactly who is the best design, management and artistic people team-wise and I have to say, I’m 100% confident that I’ve succeeded in surrounding myself with THE best people NYC has to offer. My main hope (besides their talents making ValueVille the very best it can be) is that their brilliance will also make up for any unforeseeable directorial deficiencies I might have.

NaTasha Yvette Williams as "Sharonda" in "ValueVille"5. What excites you about directing and what makes you nervous? At first I was so excited about the idea of having more control over the process. As an actor, you’re pretty much the lowest man on the totem pole and I always imagined being a director was way more satisfying in the decision-making department. Ironically, I’m already learning that the control you gain in overall aesthetic, you lose once the show is onstage. I’m so used to having control as an actor ON stage, that I totally forgot that the director has NO control once you’re in a run. So…I’m excited about having conceptual control and I’m really excited about our fantastic cast and working with all of them in rehearsals. But I am admittedly absolutely terrified of that first performance where I will most likely be sitting helplessly in the audience, muttering every single line in the show like an escaped mental patient.

6. What are you looking forward to most about working with the cast of "ValueVille"? Oh man. We have SUCH a stellar group of actors. So smart. So talented. I can’t WAIT to see how they lift the script and score off the page. I can’t wait for their ideas. I can’t wait to be surprised by them, and honestly, I can’t wait for them to answer some problems that I haven’t solved yet. I think all of my favorite directors I’ve worked with at some point in the rehearsal process have said "I don’t know" in the room and as an actor, I always trust those directors the most. Because if you come into the rehearsal process with all the answers, then your actors are just puppets. But if you leave room for them to come up with their own answers to legitimate problems you haven’t solved, it always ends up a more organic, collaborative and bottom line, better show in the end.

7. What do you think it will be like to be part of NYMF as a director as opposed to a performer? Already in pre-production, I am learning SUPER fast just how much work and thought and preparation happens before that first day of rehearsal when the actors start their process. I always suspected there’d been a few phone calls, maybe a meeting or two before the first day of rehearsal amongst the designers and artistic team, but now I know first hand that the first day of rehearsal is actually the middle of the process for everyone else involved. I think my experience as a director already (even though as an actor, I have always had a tremendous respect for absolutely everyone involved in putting up a show) has greatly deepened my appreciation for exactly WHAT everyone else does off stage. General Managers, Casting Directors, Production Managers, Stage Managers, Designers, etc…being a director has brought me literally into everyone else’s off stage process and it’s been a truly humbling adventure thus far. I thank God every day for this amazing collection of people who’ve agreed to work on ValueVille with me.

8. What's the best advice you've ever received? Never be a second rate version of someone else. Always be a first-rate version of yourself.

9. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? That perfection is impossible, which is what makes it the best thing to strive for.

10. Favorite skin care product? L’Oreal Active Daily Moisturizer. I swear by it. That and lots of water.

11. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? These days? The ability to be in at least three places at once. Definitely.  

Donna Lynne Champlin, Photo Credit: Laura Marie DuncanMore on Donna:

A native of Rochester, New York, OBIE and Drama Desk award winner Donna Lynne Champlin has been performing since her very first tap solo in a local variety show at the age of four. Her childhood was a veritable whirlwind of lessons, community theatre productions, and national and international competitions in voice, piano, flute, theatre and dance. Having had the good fortune in her career to use these varied talents, she has deservedly earned the reputation for being a proverbial "quadruple threat."

Donna graduated with high honors from the prestigious Musical Theatre Program at Carnegie Mellon University. She also received intensive training in Shakespeare and Chekhov at Oxford University on the Advanced Acting Scholarship and The Vira I. Heinz Grant to study abroad. While still in college, she received her Equity card playing "Dorothy" in The Wizard of Oz with the celebrated Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera.

Donna Lynne Champlin in Broadway's "Hollywood Arms"Donna made her New York Debut at Carnegie Hall in a concert version of Very Warm for May in the title role under the direction of acclaimed conductor John McGlinn, and her Broadway debut followed in James Joyce’s The Dead, in the role of "Mary Jane." In her next Broadway turn, she earned enthusiastic reviews as the delightfully eccentric "Honoria Glossop" in the Alan Ayckbourn/Andrew Lloyd Webber musical By Jeeves. Next came the opportunity to work with Carol Burnett and Hal Prince in Hollywood Arms – the dramatization of Carol’s biography. National reviewers proclaimed Donna a "show-stopping star in the making" and described her performance as "brilliant", "a triumph", and "a tour de force."

In 2006 Donna played "Pirelli" (and the accordion, flute and piano) in the groundbreaking Broadway revival of Sweeney Todd where critics characterized her performance as both "hilarious" and "superb." In May of 2009, she joined the Broadway company of Billy Elliot as the principle female dancer, "Lesley."

Donna Lynne Champlin in Prospect Theatre's "Working, the Musical"In 2013 she won a Drama Desk Award for her Off-Broadway performance in as "Woman #3" in Working, The Musical at the Prospect Theatre. Her performance as "Cora Flood" in the production of The Dark At The Top of the Stairs, hailed by the NY press as "perfection," "brilliant" and "a privilege to watch," earned her the prestigious 2007 OBIE award.

Since winning the OBIE, Donna went on to win other acting accolades for her Off Broadway work such as the NYMF Award for "Outstanding Performance" in not one but three productions namely as "Gracie" in Flight of the Lawnchair Man in 2006, "Kate" in the daring and brave new musical about child abuse, Love Jerry in 2008 and as "Jane Austen" in the innovative take on a beloved classic Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

Other Off-Broadway appearances include Bury The Dead, First Lady Suite, My Life With Albertine, The Audience, Reunion, and City Center Encores! Bloomer Girl. National Tour roles include what critics called "a high octane performance" as legendary hoofer "Ruby Keeler" in the national tour of Jolson.

Donna Lynne Champlin in "Simply Sondheim"No stranger to concert work, Donna has starred as "Daisy" in The City Center Encores! Production of Bloomergirl. She has received rave notices for her many concerts with the Town Hall Series, played "Sophie" in Master Class opposite Edie Falco at the Broadhurst produced by the Metropolitan Opera (the MET), performed alongside the legendary Len Cariou in the Simply Sondheim inaugural concert celebrating the opening of the new Sondheim Center for the Performing Arts, and has sung in concert with some of the most illustrious orchestras in the world including the London Symphony and the Rochester Philharmonic.

Throughout her career, Donna has received numerous awards besides the OBIE and the Drama Desk, including the prestigious Princess Grace Award from The Princess Grace Foundation, the Presidential Scholar in the Arts Grant from The National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, The Anna Sosenko Trust, The Charlie Willard Memorial Grant and the title of National Tap Dance Champion for four consecutive years from the Dance Educators of America.

Her film credits include My Father's WillThe AuditionThe Dark Half, By Jeeves, and Sweet Surrender.  TV credits include a 2013 CBS pilot Mother’s DayLaw And OrderLaw and Order SVU, The Annual Tony Awards on CBS, The View (guest star), The Rosie O'Donnell Show, and Regis and Kelly and as "Emily Dickinson" of the PBS Voices and Visions series. 

Her self-produced solo debut CD Old Friends was voted "One of the Best Ten Albums of 2009" and critics have hailed it as "brilliant," "a masterpiece" and "breath taking." She can also be heard on many cast albums including Sweeney Todd, By Jeeves, 3hree, Albertine, Reunion as well as Our Heart Sings, The Lady and the Slipper, and Have a Heart (as well as many voice-overs).

Donna also continues to perform her critically acclaimed one-woman show Finishing The Hat in NYC (most recently SRO at both ARS NOVA and BIRDLAND) and across the country, along with teaching acting master classes at many prestigious colleges such as Carnegie Mellon University, Hartt and NYU.

Of particular importance to Donna is her regular participation in many benefits for two of her favorite charitable organizations, BCEFA, the MDA and The Actors’ Fund.

Donna Lynne Champlin "Finishing The Hat"Offstage, Donna’s life is as colorful and as versatile as the characters she brings to life onstage. In addition to being an accomplished performer, writer, stand-up comedienne, pianist, composer, musical director and choreographer, she enjoys an eclectic array of hobbies and special interests including metaphysics, mystic history and philosophy. She is currently working on two books, a humorous non-fiction book inspired by her (mis)adventures in the theatre and the other a "how-to of comedy." Donna lives in New York City with her husband, actor Andrew Arrow (www.andrewarrow.net) and her son, Charlie.