Phoebe Strole is a rising performer who has appeared on Broadway in the original cast of "Spring Awakening." Her other theatrical credits include "The Metal Children" (Vineyard Theatre), "Mourning Becomes Electra" (The New Group), "Parade" (Mark Taper Forum), "A Different Moon" (Penguin Rep) and "Girls I've Like Liked" (Ars Nova, Comedy Central Stage in LA). On film and television Phoebe has been seen in "Hamlet 2," “30 Rock,” and “Rescue Me.”
Next, Phoebe will be starring in an industry-only reading of Lisa Lewis' "Schooled" which will also feature Tony Award Winner Michael Cerveris, James Kautz (founder of The Amoralists Theatre Company), and Broadway's Mara Davi.
"Schooled" will be presented on November 15 at 8pm at The New Ohio Theatre in NYC. Industry reservations can be made by e-mailing SchooledThePlay@gmail.com.
1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? This is such a complicated question. There are so many people and inspiring events that helped me to get where I am, but the most influential person has been my father. He doesn't come from a particularly artsy background, but once he knew this is what I wanted to do with my life, he's always been my number one fan. He still believes in me when I'm feeling discouraged or when jobs are scarce. It's also not just about becoming a performer, it's about being consistently reinspired to pursue a career in the arts. Sometimes I need to step away, and feeling I'm supported in that is so helpful as well.
2. Who is the one person you haven't worked with that you would like to?I want to do a play with Amy Sedaris. Maybe with just the two of us. We could get up to mayhem and shenanigans. I think she is a genius.
3. What attracted you to Lisa Lewis' "Schooled" and what do you hope audiences come away with after seeing it? What do you look forward to about working with this cast? First of all, I think Lisa is a fiercely smart young woman and writer. In Schooled, she has illustrated some of the complicated sexual politics that take place behind the scenes in the entertainment business (or any business). I think any woman trying to "make it" in her chosen field of work can relate to feeling a certain pressure to conform to an existing order of gender roles and expectations. The same goes for men, actually. The questions we're left with are
personal in nature and deliberately unanswered - who is hurt worse than whom, and was the personal loss worth the professional gain?
4. What excites you about pariticpating in a reading by a rising playwright? What excites me about working with rising playwrights is the opportunity to be part of the development of a new wave of theater. I also consider Lisa to be a friend and a peer, someone who challenges me to think more deeply and encourages my opinions, sometimes over a cocktail or three. I think this is what her work does for her
audiences as well. Minus the cocktails.
5. What is your favorite part of ther rehearsal/preview period in a show? Where is your favorite place to rehearse/practice on your own? Honestly, I love everything about the rehearsal process. From the first day of awkward introductions to opening night when you've become a funny family, I love it all. Sometimes I'm sad to leave a really good day. I even love tech! Even if I leave frustrated or feeling that I didn't live up to my expectations, I want to always push myself to be better. I feel lucky to be there and I miss it when I'm not.
My favorite place to rehearse is definitely NOT my own apartment, even though I have to. It's too distracting. Oh look, snacks, oh look, the internet, oh look, my couch. Sometimes, for important auditions or projects that are making me shake in my boots, I'll rent out a little quiet studio in midtown from a studio rental place and spend a couple of hours alone with the material.
6. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? Oh, dear. So much. And not all of it good. I've learned that I have a nasty perfectionistic streak - the little mean voice in my head that says if I can't be THE BEST at something, I shouldn't even try. It's why I have half-made art projects and half-knitted scarves and half-read books around my home. I have to just suck it up and not be afraid to fail big time, to dive in even when I don't understand something, to look really stupid or crazy. To give the finger to non-useful criticism, inside or out of my head. I've learned I need to be nicer to myself, I suppose!
7. What's the best advice you've ever received? Just keep swimming. And, everyone's going through something.
8. Favorite way to stay in shape? Favorite skin care product? Beer runs, bathroom scrub-downs, anxiety.
I use Dr. Bronner's soap, and then I moisturize. Sometimes I use a scrub. Boring, I know. Wait, I take it back! My new favorite product is this Mario Badescu facial spray with aloe, herbs, and rosewater that I got for $7 in an airport to use on the plane and I LOVE it. It was especially nice in the summer. It's great before I
put on moisturizer. I had major acne as a teenager and had an endless supply of "miracle" products coming in and out of my bathroom in high school, so now I'm into a "simpler is better" non-routine-routine.
9. Favorite website? My current favorite website is a blog - www.thehairpin.com. It's a hodgepodge of smart and funny essays and articles written by a hodgepodge of smart and funny ladies (and some dudes). For instance, you could read an interview with an amazing feminist writer, and then two items down, you'll be reading about how to make a wine glass out of a doll's head. Fantastic. Also, www.dangerousminds.net for an endless supply of music and art I never knew I loved.
10. "Glinda" or "Elphaba"? I've never seen Wicked. I will now duck and cover.
11. If could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? Uh-oh! Let's see, which hopeless crush should I reveal? I think I'd love to have a dream about dancing with Gene Kelly, complete with gauzy dress and wind machine. He was one of my first crushes as a young'n; his cheeky and dashing demeanor made my little 10-year-old heart race.
12. Looking back, what did you enjoy most about starring in "Spring Awakening"? I could say "everything," but that's a cop-out, so instead I'm going to get sentimental. I'm so grateful for those two years - they started my adult life. I remember some days feeling like I'd lost some direction, like I didn't know really who I was or what was coming next for me, but no matter what, eight times a week I knew I would open the stage door, walk up to my dressing room, and be able to pour my love and anger and sadness out on stage every night with a group of people I loved and trusted. And there were hundreds of people watching, validating that every moment was real and fleeting. It was my second home and my safest place. What I enjoyed most was every single show.