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Entries in Theatre (322)

Tuesday
Nov142017

Call Redialed: Chris Harder: "Porn to be a Star" at Stonewall Inn

Chris Harder, Photo Credit: Adrian BuckmasterLast year, Chris Harder stripped down to reveal all with me about his show #BigBrightStar. Now Chris is back, unzipping even more details of his professional life in his new show Porn to be a Star, directed by Obie-winner David Drake. Porn to be a Star is loosely based on Chris' own experiences in porn. Chris takes you by the hand on an up, close, and in your face search for fame, followers and a place to shine in the gay adult industry.

Featuring new characters and plenty of surprises to unzip, Porn to be a Star is set around the annual "Dirty Dish Porn Awards." Chris introduces you to a variety of adult performers, directors and even his mother, all weighing in on the coveted "Porn Star of the Year" trophy. Who will take home the title? Zach Parks, the trailer park kid turned Twitter socialite? Gay for pay bang bro’s, Patrick and Duncan? Or that home grown, homo-from-the-range himself, Chris Harder? (He’ll put a camera anywhere, you know.) You’ll have to click at the Dish to find out.

Porn to be a Star will play at the Stonewall Inn in NYC's West Village (53 Christopher Street) November 29-December 7 at 7:30pm. Click here for tickets!

For more on Chris be sure to visit http://www.harderburlesque.com and follow him on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

1. This November/December you are bringing your new show Porn to be a Star to the Stonewall Inn. Loosely based on your own experiences in gay porn, how does this show differ from your previous show #BigBrightStar? Well, in a nut shell, Porn to be a Star is all the good parts of #BigBrightStar restructured into a new plot with additional characters and also choreography. It really is a completely new show, but fans who saw #BigBrightStar might recognize certain monologues and characters too. Essentially I wanted to expand the scope of my work to not just be my story but the combined stories of all these different porn stars each battling to win the fictional "Dirty Dish Porn Star of the Year" award. So I would say Porn to be a Star gives you the extra inch view into the world of gay porn where as #BigBrightStar was just a taste of my own life.

2. Porn to be a Star takes the audience by the hand on an up, close, and in your face search for fame, followers and a place to shine in the gay adult industry. In our last interview we discussed how you got into the gay adult film industry, now I want to know, what do you remember about your first film---excitement? nerves? When did you realize you were a porn star? I think more than anything I was just excited for my first "on camera" experience, which was a solo scene but done in a documentary style so I was also stripping and go-go dancing. I imagine a lot of male performers might worry about whether or not they can get an erection on film and I won’t lie, I felt the same way. But once the camera was on I suddenly felt very at home with myself and things just kind of, "sprang" into action. In some ways that feeling is no different from when I’m doing a burlesque number or even acting. There is definitely an exhibitionist bone in my body and a joy that comes from entertaining an audience. I think one of the questions Porn to be a Star asks is what happens when it seems the audience is no longer watching? And what does it really mean to be a star? There are millions of stars in the sky but we don't see everyone and we certainly can't name everyone, so are they stars? And...if a porn star falls in the woods and no one hears him...actually never mind.

The Official Porn to be a Star Trailer! from Chris Harder on Vimeo.

3. What has been the best part about being a gay porn star? What was your most frightening moment? Performing on camera helped me understand my body in ways I don't think I otherwise would have realized. A common misconception about adult film performers and sex workers is that we become "numb" to sex. However, I learned how to value and use my body to literally work in ways that many people I think at times feel self conscious and intimidated by even when the camera isn't watching. That doesn't mean every day onset feels completely "empowering" or that I'm having transcendental orgasms with every scene partner either. Porn is pleasure. Porn is work. And porn is product.

The most frightening thing to happen to me onset? Well, I can honestly say I've always felt very well taken care of by my directors onset, even if I haven't always enjoyed my scene partner(s)--again, porn is work. I think the most "scary" time onset though was when I shot a scene in an abandoned cotton gin outside of Manchester--you know, a typical Monday. We were on the second floor and my friend casually said, "Watch out for the mossy areas, the floor is basically eaten away and you'll fall into the basement." Nothing like a potential death drop to motivate you through missionary!

Chris Harder4. Since the show talks about other voices commenting on what it means to be a star, what was that conversation like when you told your mom you were a porn star? My mother and my family in general were less than thrilled when I told them I was "officially Harder" online. That said, they didn’t denounce me either. I think I’m very fortunate to have a mother who wants me to succeed in life and also worries about all my life choices, whether it’s wearing a leather jacket in winter or a leather jock strap onset. At this point though I don’t think anything can faze her. In general the relationship I have with my mother has been on a long journey ever since coming out to her in high school. I even play a version of her in Porn to be a Star--spoiler alert! She requested a pink wig but we’re in talks.

5. What advice would you give someone wanting to break into the gay adult film industry? What's one warning you would tell them as well? I’ve never directly told anyone, "you should definitely do porn," because even though I don’t regret my own decision, it is one of those "big adult choices." It’s like buying a car except everyone can Google your car and then say things like, "wow, your car obviously has a lot of miles on it." Or write you really short messages on Facebook like, "Hey. Hot car."

What I๏ธ would say above all else is respect your body. It is literally your work tool. And also, have fun. Sex should be enjoyed. Filming porn is hard work but ideally there are moments when you can actually enjoy that work—even when you have to freeze in mid-thrust while a light is adjusted.

Chris Harder6. You probably have a lot of stories you can tell about your time in the porn industry. What is one story you are ready to unzip and reveal that you have not told previously? One of the most fun yet bizarre scenes I filmed was this FBI agent/criminal scene with Wolf Hudson for Kink.com. I๏ธ (as agent Harder) chased Wolf all across the giant rooftop of a reconverted cathedral in San Francisco until he masterfully disarmed me and then captured me with my own handcuffs--we call that porn magic. You can fill in the rest--Wolf certainly did--but during the shoot a bunch of construction workers on the roof directly across from us would cheer and shout encouragement. You know you're having a true San Francisco moment when you're strapped up in bondage on an abandoned cathedral now owned by a hippie colony while questionably gay construction workers provide commentary during their lunch break.

7. I have a new segment in my interviews called "I Can See Clearly Now," where I give the interviewee the opportunity to clear up any misconceptions about themselves. What do you feel is the biggest misconception out there about you that you want to clear up? To be honest, one of the hardest parts of being a performer for me, whether it’s onstage or in front of the camera, is letting go of what people think of me and specifically of my work. I want people to enjoy both my porn and my writing but you can’t be everyone’s favorite. In fact, now I would worry I was doing something wrong if I๏ธ was everyone’s favorite. That said, I’d love it if people acknowledged that I actually am the writer of my plays and solo pieces. I๏ธ usually get at least one person each show who says, "Did you right that all by yourself?" That to me is the equivalent of a pat on the head. But again, you can't control what people think. No matter what you do for a living, I think we are always trying to impress someone to get to that "next level." And simultaneously, we are all most likely guilty of underestimating a person we perceive to be below us in some capacity. It's more motivation for me to just get back to the work.

Chris Harder, Photo Credit: Richard Burrowes8. Let's go in a bit deeper now. Yeah, you like it deeper? Haha. The by-line of Porn to be a Star is "Porn to be a Star is funny, shocking, and biting in all the right places. My question to you is, what is the funniest thing to happen to you during sex? What's the most shocking thing to happen to you during sex? What are all the right places you like to bite someone? I like it any way as long as my scene minimum is being met.

Funniest moment: This is probably only funny to me, but I think it's hilarious that we have "lunch breaks" onset. I'd rather plow through the work but inevitably we will stop and a PA will ask me, "Do you want a burrito?" Well, not unless you want to make this a really long day for everyone else.

Most shocking moment: The day my scene partner had a burrito.

(Consensual) biting: Neck and back--just like Kelis! I like a little nipple play too although I feel like most gay men I've been with have only two speeds in that area: "rip my nipples off" or maybe, maybe give them a little flick. The journey is long my friends.

9. Along the same lines, what are your favorite things to do in bed? I can't give away all my secrets--no one would come to my play! Working in nightlife and porn has always been an interesting line for me to walk with my public and personal sex life. Every performer handles it differently but I like being able to have private, "me time" sex and relationships. I don't post a lot of photos of my boyfriend or "BTS" moments in my bedroom because I like having something for myself. Also, the lighting in my room sucks.

10. How hard does Chris Harder get? No matter what I'm doing, there's a good chance I really like my work on a given day. So I try "harder" (see what I did there) to push myself to be the best porn/burlesque/writer/actor/naked freelancer I can be.

Chris HarderMore on Chris:

Chris Harder is a New York male burlesque performer, writer, and porn star. Known as "The Raunchy Romeo of Burlesque," Harder has toured his solo burlesque performances throughout the US as well as Europe including shows in London, Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam, and Stockholm. Harder was named "Best of the Naked City" by the Village Voice (2011) and also crowned "Best International Male Performer" at the 2011 World Burlesque Games, London. Recently, Chris Harder was one of the American Headliners for the 2017 Helsinki Burlesque Festival and also a featured burlesque performer at the 2017 World Buskers Festival, New Zealand. Harder is also the writer and producer of the Nasty Drew and That Harder Boy series, New York. Find out more and #getHarder at www.HarderBurlesque.com and @HarderBurlesque on Instagram and Twitter.

Thursday
Nov022017

Call Answered: Conference Call: Max Crumm and Lucy DeVito: "Hot Mess" at The Theater Center

Max Crumm and Lucy DeVito, Photo Credit: Jeremy DanielWhen it comes to love, everyone is a Hot Mess in one way or the other, which is why when I heard about this new show opening this month, I knew I had to get the inside scoop from the show's stars themselves, the adorable & hilarious Max Crumm and the beautiful & funny Lucy DeVito.

Hot Mess is a new romantic comedy where "Max," a Jewish recovering alcoholic comedian begins dating "Elanor," a mile a minute aspiring magician. "Max," however, holds a secret that he is scared to share with "Elanor," something he confides in his therapist and best friend, and something that he grappled with for his whole life. There are many types of relationships and Hot Mess shows us that with trust and communication, anything is possible.

Hot Mess plays at The Theater Center (1627 Broadway/210 West 50th Street, between Broadway & 8th Avenue) starting on November 7. Click here for tickets!

For more on Hot Mess be sure to visit http://www.hotmesstheplay.com and follow the show on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

For more on Max follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

For more one Lucy follow her on Twitter!

1. What attracted you to Hot Mess?

Max Crumm: Initially, I was was attracted because of the premise of the show. The idea that I would be getting to play an LGBTG character that is normally under represented was extremely attractive! also...a job. ;)

Lucy DeVito: I love rom com's about imperfect people!

2. What do you each relate to most about your characters (Max, something other than the fact that you share the same name...haha)?

Max Crumm: I think I relate to "Max" in a lot of ways, but the most relatable thing I find in him is his ability to bounce back and forth between what he thinks and what others think. There is an inherent people pleaser in him that I scarily identity with.

Lucy DeVito: I relate to "Elanor's" struggle in defining who she is as a comedian. I'm always trying to reflect on my journey as an actor and re-examine how to express myself artistically.

Lucy DeVito and Max Crumm, Photo Credit: Jeremy Daniel3. What is one characteristic of "Max" & "Elanor" you are both glad you don't possess yourself?

Max Crumm: I’m super glad that i don’t possess the ability to compartmentalize my emotions. I wear my heart on my sleeve, sometimes to a fault. But "Max" definitely knows how to navigate his & and others’ emotions so that there is no room to address them.

Lucy DeVito: "Elanor" has issues with her mom. I'm so thankful that's not like me...my mom is the best!

4. In this show, "Max" holds a secret that he is scared to share with "Elanor." What is one secret each of you have been holding on to, but are now ready to reveal?

Max Crumm: Nice try ;-)

Lucy DeVito: I have a sweet tooth and in times of severe laziness and desperation I will to run down to the bodega, in my sweatpants, buy a Kit Kat and eat it before I even get back to my couch.

5. There are so many kinds of relationships out there...monogamous, open, polyamorous, etc. What kind of relationship do you both seek out for yourselves? 

Max Crumm: I am an old fashioned Monogamous lover/relationship person. I’m too selfish to share anyone with anyone.

Lucy DeVito: I'm a monogamy gal.

Lucy DeVito and Max Crumm, Photo Credit: Jeremy Daniel6. What are the top five things you look for in a relationship? What are your top five deal breakers?

Max Crumm:

Top Five Things: Sense of humor. YOU HAVE TO MAKE ME LAUGH, someone who makes time for me even if they are super busy, must love dogs, must believe in some sort of magic, MUST be a sexy hot hunk who loves me and only me endlessly forever and ever.

Deal Breakers: IF YOU CAN'T MAKE ME LAUGH, if you hate dogs...bye, if you don’t like cuddling...bye, if you can’t hold an intense conversation about cartoons...bye, if you’re an actor/singer and I think you have no talent and would have to eventually tell you my opinion or lie to you.

Lucy DeVito:

Top Things: Have a great sense of humor, be kind, be confident, be able to tolerate cats.

Deal Breaker: Voted for Trump.

7. What is one characteristic of yours someone would describe as being a "Hot Mess"?

Max Crumm: I sometimes decide to ignore tact to get my point across.

Lucy DeVito: I spill food on myself almost every meal.

Lucy DeVito and Max Crumm, Photo Credit: Jeremy Daniel8. Since Lucy was in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, let's play with that title for a moment. When each of you are down, what is your go to place that "Is Always Sunny"?

Max Crumm: My bed!! ๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—

Lucy DeVito: At the beach!

9. With Max being in the 2007 revival of Grease, let's learn about you both from two different songs. To keep things interesting, we'll go with songs Max did not sing. So, if each of you were to sing "Look At Me, I'm Sandra Dee" & "There Are Worse Things I Could Do," who would you be imitating in the first song & what event would you be singing about in the latter?

Lucy DeVito: Max Crumm in the first song and making out with Max Crumm in the second song.

10. The tag line of the show is "Hot Mess: A Romantic Comedy That Goes Both Ways." Have you ever gone another way (in life) than you usually do?

Max Crumm: Why, yes... yes i have ;)

Lucy DeVito: Why? Who's interested? I'll think about it ๐Ÿ˜‰

Max CrummMore on Max:

Max is currently starring in Legendale at the Human Race Theatre and starred in Beatsville at Asolo Repertory Theatre earlier this year. Last year, he originated the role of "Scott" in Disaster! on Broadway.  Max is represented by Headline Talent Agency and Vanguard Management Group. Broadway: Disaster! (Scott - The Nederlander), Grease (Danny - Brooks Atikinson). Off-Broadway: The Fantasticks ( Matt - Jerry Orbach Theater), Disaster! (Scott - St. Luke's Theatre), Brooklyn Crush {formerly: F#%king Up Everything} (Christian Mohammed Shwartzelberg - Elektra Theatre). Festival/Regional: Matthew McConaughey vs. The Devil (Woody Harrelson, - NYMF 2017), Jersey Shoresical (The Situation,  - NY Fringe Festival). Beatsville (Walter Paisley - Asolo Rep.), Legendale (Andy - Human Race Theatre). Film: Easy A, Killing Diaz, & Echoboom.

Lucy DeVitoMore on Lucy:

Lucy DeVito was named in Backstage's second annual list of 30 actors "On the verge of career breakthroughs" in 2013. Originally from Los Angeles, after studying theater and graduating from Brown University, Lucy moved to New York City where she currently resides. She most recently starred in Curmudgeons, directed by Danny DeVito, which screened at The Tribeca Film Festival (as well as various international festivals) and was just released on Vimeo. She will next be seen in Taylor Hackford's film The Comedian, starring Robert DeNiro and Leslie Mann. Lucy starred opposite Tyler Labine (playing his love interest) for two seasons in the comedy Deadbeat (Hulu). She recurred on ALPHA HOUSE opposite John Goodman for Amazon and did an episode of Girls. She is known for her work in movies such as Leaves of Grass, alongside Edward Norton, Mike Birbiglia's Sleepwalk With Me, Speech & Debate, A Quiet Little Marriage, Syrup, Beware The Gonzo and Just Add Water. Lucy has made appearances in the television shows Girls, It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, and Melissa and Joey. Onstage, Lucy recently starred in Steel Magnolias opposite Elaine Hendrix, Patricia Richardson, Susan Sullivan and Jessica Walter, directed by Marsha Mason at The Buck's County Playhouse. Previously, she worked with Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron in the original readings of their play Love, Loss, and What I Wore. She performed the play many times in New York at the Westside Theater and in Los Angeles at the Geffen Playhouse. Other plays in which she's performed include In Quietness by Anna Moench, Stefanie Zadravec's The Electric Baby, Bruce Graham's Any Given MondayThe Diary of Anne Frank, in which she played "Anne," and The Miracle at Naplesby David Grimm. She's a member of The Ensemble Studio Theater and Morgan Gould & Friends.

Tuesday
Oct242017

Call Answered: John Windsor-Cunningham: Brian Friel's "The Home Place" at Irish Rep

John Windsor-CunninghamI initially heard of The Home Place because of my friend Polly McKie, who's starring in the show alongside John Windsor-Cunningham. When I was approached about doing an interview with John, I just had to say yes! In addition to being a world-renowned actor, John is also one of NYC's top acting coaches. 

He is currently starring in Irish Repertory Theatre's production of Brian Friel's The Home Place, the story of "Christopher Gore," his son "David," and the housekeeper that they’re both in love with, and how their lives & their village are affected when "Christopher’s" cousin comes to town to prove his Darwin-inspired theory. He hopes that be measuring the craniums of the indigenous Irish people, he’ll prove their natural inferiority within the human race.

The Home Place plays at Irish Repertory Theatre through November 19. Click here for tickets!

For more on John be sure to visit http://windsor-cunningham.com and follow him on Facebook and Twitter!

1. Who or what inspired you to become an actor? What started me off was the fact that when I was a boy I was incredibly lonely and I somehow ended up going to the local theatre regularly and just fell in love with what seemed like a whole new world that existed there.

2. You are currently starring in Irish Repertory Theatre's production of Brian Friel's The Home Place. What made you want to be part of this show? There are some secrets that an actor doesn't want to share, but I will say that the play is simply so damned good. I love plays of all sorts, but am quite difficult to please, and Brian Friel quite simply knows how to write!

John Windsor-Cunningham in "The Home Place"3. What do you relate to most about your character "Christopher"? Hmm! Being a landlord, which I was in my spare time in the UK before I moved here. But I strongly believe actors should keep some of their thoughts secret, so if the truth is something to do with wanting to marry someone like my co-star I'm not going to say!

4. What is one characteristic of "Christopher" you are glad you don't possess yourself? I possess all sorts of characteristics, and there's none about "Christopher" which I truly would not be happy to have.

5. In The Home Place, your character "Christopher" & "Christopher's" son "David" are both in love with the housekeeper. When has there been a time in your life when you and someone else were in love with the same person and who eventually won out? I would always persevere, refusing not to 'win', whatever the situation, believing - out of pure, stupid, ego - that I would win her in the end! But there was one time when I was 'madly keen' on an actress in a show and the large, very overweight actor (a famous comedian, and this was long ago so nobody can guess who I'm describing now that way) managed, somehow, to get her to marry him, and I was amazed, and ridiculously jealous and ridiculously annoyed, but it was a long time ago, and it was definitely not 'love'. No, I've avoided that!

Stephen Pilkington, Christopher Randolph, Polly McKie, & John Windsor-Cunningham in "The Home Place"6. Eventually "Christopher’s" cousin comes to town to prove his Darwin-inspired theory. His cousin hopes that by measuring the craniums of the indigenous Irish people, he’ll prove their natural inferiority within the human race. Have you ever felt inferior to something before? If so, how did you come out on top? I often feel inferior to people! But the feeling just goes after five minutes, except when they are truly, truly great actors, in which case I can only work as hard as I can, and try to forget that I'm very, very far from perfect.

7. In addition to acting, you are an acting-coach. When did you decide you wanted to give back in this way? Soon after I moved permanently to the USA, ten years ago, I realized there are a few things about acting which I happen to know about, like one thing about Shakespeare that others seem to forget, and one about Harold Pinter, and I put a few dozen short videos on Youtube and suddenly lots of people asked for coaching. And because of Skype, it's easy, of course, to coach people all over the world.

8. What has been the best compliment a student ever gave you about your coaching? That would be much too arrogant to say, and they may have just been very, very polite!

9. What is one thing you learned from one of your students? That I'm often wrong.

10. Bringing the interview back to The Home Place. Where do you feel most at home? In The Home Place I have only one home, in Ireland. In real life it is very hard to say.

John Windsor-CunninghamMore on John:

John Windsor-Cunningham trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and with Sanford Meisner in New York where he now lives. He has worked with every major theater company in the UK, and many in the USA including The Old Globe (CA), Shakespeare & Co (MS), Triadstage (NC), and Theatreworks (CO). Additionally John has worked with prize winning Off-Broadway companies such as The Irish Rep, The Mint, The Peccadillo, and The Keen Company. In the UK, John has performed with The Royal Shakespeare Company, The Royal National Theatre’s Education Department, The Old Vic with Sir Anthony Quayle, The Royal Exchange Manchester with Sir Tom Courtney, and The Haymarket Theatre with Sir Donald Sinden. 

Monday
Oct162017

Call Answered: Carey Cox: "Glassheart," "The Glass Menagerie," and more!

Carey Cox, Photo Credit: Lauren Toub GriffithsAlmost everybody that knows me, knows what a sympathetic person I am. Maybe it's because I was born premature or because I grew-up with a learning disabilty, or because I felt like an outsider growing up, but whatever the reason, I love learning about people's lives and their struggles.

When I heard Carey Cox's story, I knew this was an interview I had to do! Carey is an actress with a mobility disability called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome who just made her Broadway debut understudying "Laura Wingfield" in Sam Gold's Glass Menagerie starring Sally Field.

Now, Carey is taking on her next role in Everyday Inferno's production of Reina Hardy's GLASSHEART a surprisingly modern and thoroughly adult spin on the classic story of Beauty & the Beast. Hardy's re-imagining explodes the limitations of traditional fairy tales, focusing its attention away from the ideal of conventional romance and toward something darker and much more complex: the question of what makes us human?

From being physically abled to disabled, Carey is showing the world, she is just like everyone else and we really get to the heart of it all...from acting to Lin-Manuel Miranda to life struggles to an exclusive heartbreaking story you'll only find here at Call Me Adam!

GLASSHEART will make its New York premiere at The Access Theater (380 Broadway) from October 19-28. Click here for tickets!

Carey Cox, Photo Credit: Malloree Delayne Hill1. Who or what inspired you to be an actress? Since my first school play at six years old I've had kind of a one-track mind. I always loved becoming other people and getting to live vicariously through characters. I think that I liked being able to do things that I couldn't do in my normal life. Over time, theatre gave me an excuse to learn and a jumping-off point to do research I never would have thought to do by myself. I was kind of a shy kid when I wasn't at home, and I still am in some ways, and theatre always gave me a way to connect with other wonderful weirdos. In high school, I became obsessed with Carol Burnett and was cast as "Winnifred" in Once Upon a Mattress, a role she originated. It was silly and over the top and to this day some of the most fun I've ever had. It was then that I also started to appreciate the special connection that can occur between an audience and an actor, and among all of the people witnessing the event, and that touched me deeply. Theatre had always been my passion but doing that play definitely sealed the deal!

2. Did you ever let your disability prevent you from pursuing this career path or did you keep telling yourself, "I can do this"? I was born with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, but wasn't diagnosed until a few years ago, and it's only been a couple of years since I became what the world sees as physically disabled. My disability was never really an obstacle in high school or college. It began to affect me a lot more in grad school, and I had an especially difficult time in my movement classes, I think because there isn't a format for how disabled people should be trained in a field that tends to favor athletic able-bodied people. My disability never affected my decision to become an actor because when I fell in love with acting I was able-bodied, and I could run and dance and pull all-nighters, and no one questioned my place in the theatre. My experience is different from other people I know who have been disabled their whole lives, and who have had the added obstacle of people questioning their place in theatre from the get-go. Becoming disabled has taught me a lot about people and a lot about my body, and I think I've become a richer artist because of it. The main way I let it hold me back currently is through auditioning. I have a very bad habit of looking at a casting call and thinking, "well surely they wouldn't want ME." I need to get over that because I don't think I'm giving directors and casting directors the benefit of the doubt, and I'm not representing my community in all its disabled glory! One thing is for sure: I'm not quitting any time soon.

3. What made you want to audition for Glassheart? My friend Malloree Delayne Hill, who is a wonderful actress, has been involved with Everyday Inferno for a while, so when I saw the audition notice, there was a little "ping!" in my brain. When I read the plot summary and the sides I was smitten. It was obvious to me that this play is funny and special, and that I would have a ball being a part of it and getting to say those great words.

4. What do you relate to most about you character "Aoife"? What is one characteristic of hers you are glad you don't possess yourself? That's a tough one, because I think I possess all of "Aiofe's" qualities to some degree. What I like most about "Aiofe" is her self-awareness. She has a lot of problems, but she knows she has problems and she wants to do better. She knows that she hurts people and makes mistakes, but she always comes to a point where she can confront herself and see the truth of what she's doing. I certainly hope I haven't hurt people in the way that "Aiofe" probably has, but I can appreciate the frankness with which she looks at herself. Something else I really appreciate about "Aiofe" is her open heart. When she meets the "Beast," she is ready to help and accept him, despite his strange behavior. I think that "Aiofe" has a lot of empathy and when she looks at someone she quite literally sees the human before the beast.

However, "Aiofe" and I are in very different places in our lives. At the top of the play, "Aiofe" is barely capable of functioning and her ambitions are heart-breakingly simple. "Aiofe" is starting over, whereas I feel like I have been building a life that I love for years, so I don't envy her. Though for "Aiofe," starting over is the right thing to do.

Carey Cox5. What do you think this show will teach people? I think that people might see this show and think about how we see our lives as stories. The stories we tell ourselves about ourselves have a huge effect on our behavior and what roles we play in life. I see so many juicy lessons in this fairytale but my favorite one is this: sometimes we are trapped by our own narratives, and sometimes, when our life doesn't follow our projected story, the only way to find contentment is to let the story go.

6. Glassheart explores the space between light & dark. With all the recent tragedies we've been having from the deadly hurricanes, the shooting in Vegas, and so many others, how do you find the light in the darkness? Knowledge is a light. Lately I am trying to listen and to keep my mouth shut. I'm trying to question what I think I know and actually hear what people say when they talk. I'm finding light in other people. I'm reaching out to friends, I'm meeting eyes on the street, I'm talking to people on the subway. I'm laughing as much as I can. When I look at people, I'm trying to see the human before the beast.

7. The show also shows the sacrifices we make in search of an ordinary life. What sacrifices, if any, have you made in your life and art? I don't think I've made any sacrifices on a grandiose scale, but having a painful chronic illness means I sacrifice a lot of little things every day to be able to remain reliable in this collaborative art form. I was always taught that real actors never get sick. Well, no disrespect, but I'm literally always sick. To make sure that I am strong and alert enough to work during rehearsal hours, I don't do a lot of the things I want to do. I work a job with very flexible hours so that I can work a ton when I'm healthier but take it easy on myself when I'm not doing so well. I have to ration my energy because if I overdo it one day, I will pay for it for days after. It gets me down being so young and having to treat myself so delicately, but there are beautiful spiritual side effects from living life at a slower pace in this city. That sounds cheesy but for me it's been so true!

Carey Cox, Photo Credit: Lauren Toub Griffiths8. Glassheart is a take on the classic story of Beauty & The Beast. If you were to star in a revival or remake of Beauty and the Beast, Who would you want as "The Beast" to your "Belle"? My best friend thinks the last beast should have been Dev Patel and I think she's seriously onto something. However, Lin Manuel Miranda. Though to be fair, if you asked me that question about pretty much any show, I would say "Lin Manuel Miranda."

9. I find it quite funny that you recently finished your run in the Broadway revival of The Glass Menagerie starring Sally Field and now you are starring in a show called Glassheart. So, both shows have the word "glass" in them. Since glass is so fragile what is the most fragile thing about yourself you keep hidden, but maybe now, with so much uncertainty around us, you are ready to reveal? Something I don't talk about much is the loss of my brother and sister. I lost my brother when I was 16 and my sister a couple of years ago. I've had the support of wonderful family and friends and moving to New York has been incredibly healing, but it's something I struggle with. You never know who might be harboring a secret pain. Maybe even the guy being a jerk on the train. I promise I didn't intend for that to rhyme, but I'm keeping it.

10. What was it like acting with Sally Field? What did you learn from her? Sally Field was wonderful! She kept everybody laughing and was incredibly kind. I got the chance to act with her one time when I went on as "Laura's" understudy, and she made me feel so comfortable and safe. What I learned most from her came from watching her in the rehearsal room. For me it was a terrific example of how great work is not only emotionally connected, but also logical and smart. I was so lucky to get to watch that caliber of work in process.

In my own rehearsals I worked mostly with Sally Field's incredible understudy, Kathryn Meisle, who is fiercely talented and was a joy to act with every week. She gave me wonderful acting and life advice and boosted my confidence with her kindness. I was lucky to work with amazing people then, and I'm working with amazing people now! I've been very lucky. New York has been very kind to me!

Carey Cox, Photo Credit: Malloree Delayne HillMore on Carey:

Carey Cox is an NYC actress with a mobility disability called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. She received a BFA in musical theater from Santa Fe University of Art and Design and an MFA in acting from UNC Chapel Hill where she performed with PlayMakers Repertory Company in Three Sisters, Seminar, Mary’s Wedding, We are Proud to Present…, Trouble in Mind, Into the Woods, Metamorphoses, and others. Carey recently made her Broadway debut understudying "Laura Wingfield" in The Glass Menagerie directed by Sam Gold.

Tuesday
Aug012017

Call Answered: James Kiberd: "The Crusade of Connor Stephens" + "All My Children"

James KiberdI am a huge All My Children fan and I love getting to catch with AMC alum, so needless to say, it was an honor to get to interview actor James Kiberd, best known as "Trevor Dillon" on ABC's All My Children from 1989-2000 (the uncle to "Hayley Vaughn," played by Kelly Ripa). After almost 11 years of not being able to act, James Kiberd is making his triumphant stage return in the Off-Broadway play The Crusade of Connor Stephens.

In The Crusade of Connor Stephens, extreme loss shakes a Texas family as it comes to terms with a tragic act of gun violence. In the midst of widespread media attention, their story becomes an allegory for the national debate over religion, tolerance, and the seedlings of hate. With humor and resilience, they will confront the ghosts of the past and discover the brutal universal truths that define the American family in the 21st century.

The Crusade of Connor Stephens will play through August 6 only! Click here for tickets! 

There will be a special live streaming on Thursday, August 3 at 8pm! Click here for more info!

For more on The Crusade of Connor Stephens be sure to visit https://www.crusade2017.com and follow the show on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

1. Who or what inspired you to be an actor? Gee it’s almost 40 years ago. Grants in support of my art making (I am a Painter) had lead to some expertise in arts management and a consultation for Joe Brancato’s Penguin Repretory. He asked me to audition for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. I said to myself…Acting? Phony Baloney! But, I knew I wouldn’t get it, so why do it. Then, I imagined that some day, I could be comforting a disappointed daughter after being turned down for a role she sorely wanted. "Honey, Dad auditioned for a role once and didn’t get it. I know how you feel, you’ll be ok." Only, I got the part…and, sadly, not the daughter.  My life was forever changed.

As a painter, you spend 12-15 hours a day alone. For years on end. You are the center of that Universe. Not so as an Actor. It’s about the other person! OMG! Relationship! Something at which I was totally inept. But, my God, I needed it so! Joe Brancato kept me working as an actor and brought me into the "wild unknown," with a sure and steady hand. Over the years, I returned to Penguin to some great roles on that delicious stage.

My working relationship twixt graphic art and acting is keen. There is a solid "click" of recognition of "rightness" when working with Art’s physical materials. Not so with Acting, however, where impulses, emotions, relationships, bring ever changing moments different from every moment that came before, especially in front of an audience. My thrill is to bring the "click" to the acting and the emotion and impulse to the art. Serious Fun.

2. You are currently starring in the new Off-Broadway play, The Crusade of Connor Stephens, about a Texas family who suffers extreme loss as a result of gun violence. What made you want to be part of this show? As you may or may not know, 10/12/17 will be the 11th anniversary of the stage injury that took me out of commission for years. These past 10 years has been spent trying to find a way back to functionality through four operations. So, on May 9, 2016 (my hip replacement day), I woke up in my hospital bed to find a new play script forwarded to me by an actor I know and respect, Ben Curtis, with a request for me to read and consider the key role. I was astounded! Reticent - no terrified - to even consider it. But, I told myself, "it came to you - read it James." I read it. Enthralled, I asked my wife to bring me "Lear" - the next role I wanted. After I read it, I went back to Crusade.

Through the haze of the drugs, I found a profoundly disruptive play, lead by one of the most soulfully despicable characters ever written. A play that hangs our era in it’s own noose of contradiction and ultimately shows us a way to redemption. Though terrified of this challenge; I just had to play this part. This was worth getting out of bed for! Could I do it? I can’t even walk! Rehearsals were starting in four weeks! I started writing the producer/director/ writer, Dewey Moss to let him know I was interested. I told him I wanted to audition so we all would know what we were getting. He offered to drive out of NYC to meet & audition me in seven days - my first day out of rehab.

Saturday at 9am, I met him at the door - asked "Coffee?" "No." "Water?" "I’m good." So, I handed him the script as he came through the door and started the scenes as he found his way to a chair in the kitchen. No small talk. 20 minutes later, he was doubled over in between tears and laughter. "You have no idea how I have been trying to figure out ways to tell you how you are just not right for the role. It is such an impossible challenge…but you're perfect! Now I have to ask you - will you do it, really do it? And why? It's only a festival - three performances - and a lot of time and effort to rehearse in the city. Why would you want to do this?"

"I am doing this for me - me alone - not to get another job (as actors will do) - not for notice - not for PR. I want to see if I can still act, if I enjoy it, if I can pull off such a wickedly ambitious role.

First, my old friend, Bryan Cranston, saw the Festival Performance and compared this piece to All My Sons by Arthur Miller. "It gives us the picture of our times and the ethics, morals and values we need to live by. There is great humor, pacing, tension and passion wrapped into a compelling story."  Then, Crusade won all of the main Awards in the festival, so we were off to the races.

Dewey’s play sears a brand in the side of the times asking Americans to meet each other face-to-face in a conversation over who we love, what we do with guns, what is fact, what is belief, what is truth—what we kill for, what we live for, how and why do we pray?

James Kiberd in "The Crusade of Connor Stephens", Photo Credit: Russ Rowland3. What do you relate to most about your character? What is one characteristic of his you are glad you don't possess yourself? Strong, relentless surety and promulgation of his truths. Passion.

I am staggered how people hate him so. Perhaps because he so resonates our current leader…though "Big Jim" is much more rigorously trained in his thinking. At the same time, I have had audience members claim he changed their point of view.

West of NJ to California he could be seen as a hero. The play is so well-crafted, that the points of view could shift according to the community where it is performed.

His is a "truth not tolerance" position. Furthest from my own position.

4. Guns have been killing people for years, but it seems we hear about a massive shooting somewhere almost every day of our lives. How do you feel this show will either help someone who's been affected by one of these deadly shootings or perhaps change the way someone feels about instilling stronger gun laws? Wow! That’s an impossible question because it doesn’t involve common sense. In my experience, the only time people really take gun control seriously is when they get shot in the face. Any and all assumptions we maintain about positions on these issues only become relevant when we have direct experience of the event, its horror and the people affected. We Americans need to meet each other face-to-face in a conversation over who we love, what we do with guns, what is fact, what is belief, what is truth; what we kill for, what we live for, how and why we pray? These are not issues that merely decorate the glorious tree of America. No, No. These are the "divers-est" roots that grow that tree strong. The healthy conflict of ideas and passions that are the very roots of our Constitution. America needs the feeding of face-to-face compassion, humor and brutal talk - - that is our America. Crusade brings all these issues forward in an almost sporting event immediacy. A prize fight for the Soul of America.

James Kiberd and Ben Curtis in "The Crusade of Connor Stephens", Photo Credit: Russ Rowland5. How do you find the resilience to get through rough times in your own life? Having been disabled for the past 10 years, this is a question to which I have too many answers. Really listening to what the body is saying is both complex and simple. But of paramount importance. Having had four doctors tell me I am fine when I sure didn’t feel fine, I finally found whiz bang PT at West Side Dance in Lincoln Center who could tell me why and what was so dysfunctional. Two years of hard work, 21 exercises a day brought me a new me. Also, Alexander Training is an truly liberating process.

My wife keeps joy in my life. And she reminds me that our dogs (born in our house) have opened my heart, my garden teaches me each day (humility) and nature so soothes and inspires me. I have learned, finally, that The Dark Funk changes when I move - yes physically move.

6. In this show, the family confronts the ghosts of their past. What is one past ghost you've confronted? PTSD - always needs to be respected and tended. My father - a WWII vet never dealt with his PTSD and passed it on to his family. This is something I share with my Crusade character.

Kathleen Huber and James Kiberd in "The Crusade of Connor Stephens", Photo Credit: Russ Rowland7. From this confrontation, the family discovers the brutal truth that defines the American family of the 21st century. What is the most brutal truth you've discovered about yourself that you fought so hard not to believe? I think more than one brutal truth is discovered in the play…I‘ll say again, "We Americans need to meet each other face-to-face in a conversation over who we love, what we do with guns, what is fact, what is belief, what is truth; what we kill for, what we live for, how and why we pray?  These are not issues that merely decorate the glorious tree of America. No, No. These are the "divers-est" roots that grow that tree strong. The healthy conflict of ideas and passions that are the very roots of our Constitution. America needs the feeding of face-to-face compassion, humor and brutal talk - - that is our America. Crusade brings all these issues forward in an almost sporting event immediacy. A prize fight for the Soul of America.

I am not sure how to answer this question without sounding full of bull. But I asked my wife and she immediately said it, "Honey, for some reason, you don’t feel worthy of love." I am still working on it. My Alexander teacher, Judith Stern, noticed a couple of things immediately when we started. When she would work with me, she noticed that my eyes were always moving. This was me trying to remember and analyze the experience I was having. She suggested that I could either have the analysis or the experience but not both. That I could allow myself to just have the experience and begin to trust that. She also noticed that when she encouraged me to see, take in what was around me, that I would look. What happens when I "look" is I focus hard and tend to thrust my head a bit forward which moves the head out of alignment and breaks the easy flow of energy in the spine, triggering "fight or flight" response. This kind of "looking habit" usually arises in a child when the person who was to nurture that child was in fact dangerous to that child.

And ………………………………………

Common Sense

And …………………………………..

The parts of me that I share with Trump. He reminds me every day of the selfish, thoughtless, small minded, fatuous, un thinking, pompous, lying, lazy glutton that I could so easily become.

James Kiberd8. I can't do an interview with you without asking about your time on one of my favorite soaps, All My Children. From 1989-2000, you played "Trevor Dillon," uncle to "Hayley Vaughn," played by Kelly Ripa. First, why did you want to be part of the All My Children family? What was the best part about working with Kelly Ripa? Can you tell us one fun juicy tale from your time on the show? Kelly was an unspoiled bundle of life and joy that I wanted to play with. Whatever I could share with her was immediately soaked up and made her own. The intimacy we had was blood family in nature. Just that matter of course kind of thing. She told me right away that her dream was not so much the acting but to be a talk show host! Well Well Bang Zoom Hip Hip HoooRaaay!

Why AMC? and Juicy? Here goes! A five day gig turned into 11 years. I had been developing a character in experimental theatre from my sense that by the year 2020 America would no longer be a "White" society. That we needed to encounter other world/third world cultures—their morals and ethics. On the morning of my first day after having come home during the night from a trip, I asked my wife if she liked my "look" for the part. In her sleepiness she said "What’s with the beard and the pony tail? You look like a pirate! AMC won’t go for that! "That’s what I want!" said I. She joked, "Then you need an earring." I grabbed one of hers, poked a hole in my ear, went off to AMC with my bloody booty."  At first, they wouldn’t let me in the building - so scruffy was I. Ha!

After camera rehearsal, I got called to the the producer’s office (Felicia Behr). I walked in saying, "I know, cut the hair, shave the beard, axe the earring." "No, No, NO!" she said "Would you be interested in a three year contract?" "I have to think about it" said I. The next day I suggested that I write a background description of the character I would like to play for the writers to consider. To my surprise, she said great.  When I submitted a 22-page document detailed to costume, set, lingo, accent and music, she was surprised and then sent it to the writers. Couple of days later, she told me they loved it! And would go ahead with my character as presented. Six months was my first contract. I wasn’t sure they, AMC, would or could really do it.

Well they went along with my creation! All the names I made up for the characters on the show, the wild outfits ,the Runyonesque lingo and the other world values. At my first public appearance the first audience question asked was "What planet is this guy ("Trevor"/my character) from? I knew we all were on to something special. The shows rating went from #7 to #2 rickety split and I was having some Serious Fun!

Katherine Leask and James Kiberd in "The Crusade of Connor Stephens", Photo Credit: Russ Rowland9. Since 2001, for the most part, you have focused on stage/film work as opposed to TV. Why did you choose to focus more on the stage and film? What do you get from this work that you weren't getting from TV? Acting Chops. Bad ass scary adventures. Every day I give up what I know for what I might discover. (me). You can’t do something that you don’t know, if you keep on doing what you do know. (FM Alexander).

AND my new agents in LA gave me two pieces of advice….

1) Lose weight and whiten your teeth!

2) And if you really want to act you need to find away to do some theatre. We would love to see you acting.

Well, I invited them to come see me about four months later. I was opening as "Gabbo the Clown" in Merchant of Venice on a Friday Night , Saturday 10am was Henry IV Part I, 2pm Henry IV Part II, 8pm Henry V. They didn’t come. And told me they couldn’t work with me as I was to busy doing theater an not available for TV!

10. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day? Joy. (which means doing what my wife, dogs and garden tell me to do) My acting. My art making. My Garden. My dogs (they are major hunters and need a lot of clean up) Spinning! House keeping, Friends…..Have you read Twyla Tharps books?