I first had the honor of interviewing Tony, Drama Desk, and Theatre World Award Winner Joanna Gleason last year when she starred in Nora & Delia Ephron's Off-Broadway smash hit show "Love, Loss, and What I Wore" (click here for our first interview). I am thrilled to be given this honor once again.
Since our previous interview, Joanna has been working hard on her forthcoming book, "Rancho Mirage," which is slated for release in 2012, and is currently starring in Roundabout Theatre Company's production of Stephen Karam "Sons of the Prophet" through January 1, 2012 at the Laura Pels Theatre in NYC (111 West 46th Street, between 6th & 7th Avenue). Click here for tickets!
1. What attracted you to "Sons of the Prophet" and what do you hope audiences come away with after seeing the show? The moment I read it, I knew I had never seen characters like this...or played one so rich and layered.
2. What is the best part about performing with this cast? We are tightly knit and adore each other.
3. You have peformed at Manhattan Theatre Club and now Roundabout Theatre Company. What do you like about working with non-profit/institutional theatre companies? Their internal structure, the wonderful people who take expert and personal care of a show and everyone in it.
4. Where is your favorite place to rehearse/practice on your own? I have an office upstairs at our house, and it overlooks the woods...I work there.
5. In addition to performing, you made your theatrical directorial debut in 2002 with "A Letter From Ethel Kennedy" and have directed several television series including "Love and War" and "Oh Baby." Do you feel there is a difference between directing for theatre and directing for TV? The technicalities of cameras are a world of their own, but it is all the same end--tell the story...get the actors on the same page, and tell the story in small and large ways...but the acting is the same.
6. What can you tell us about your forthcoming book, "Rancho Mirage?" What made you want to write a book? Where is your favorite place to write and what was your favorite part of writing a book? I write in that upstairs room, or in my dressing room between shows at the theatre...in the times when I wasn't working, I felt dammed up, like there were notions and tales in my brain that I wanted to get on paper...just be creative...how many dinner parties could we have (many, actually) or how many scarves to knit (also, many) but then, I sat down and it started to reveal itself.
7. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer, director, and writer? That I was always in search of a mate, children, friends, a home...the rest just got better as I found and was blessed with what grounds you in life.
8. What has kept you grounded in an industry that can lead others down a darker road? See above.
9. Looking back, what was it like/what did it mean to win a Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Award for "Into The Woods" and what did you enjoy most about working with Chip Zien (who I had the pleasure of interviewing last year)? What was the best part about starring on "Bette" and what did you learn from working with Bette Midler? The awards? Extraordinary...very moving to me to have work recognized...Chip has been since that show and remains one of my best friends...we have watched each others' kids grow...grandchildren...he is amazing and such a talent...that voice...one of the most beautiful ever...Bette Midler...a force of nature-loved that she was a regular gal and an icon at the same time.
10. You have worked in theatre, film, television, and now publishing. What aspect of entertainment have you not tackled that you would like to? Professional ice skating and tango...I am actually doing one now...the other? Ahhh, that's what watching the olympics is for.