Erik Altemus is yet another one of our next generation performers on the rise! Entertaining audiences in theatre, film, and television, Erik always delights his audience! His theatre credits include "Matt" in the Off-Broadway show "The Fantasticks," "And The Curtain Rises" (Signature Theatre), "Parade" (Musical Theatre Guild of Los Angeles), "Annie," "Meet Me in St. Louis," and "Camelot" all at the MUNY. In film and television, Erik has been seen in "The Miraculous Year" (HBO Pilot) and "The Newman Shower" (American Film Institute).


Now Erik can be seen in "Yeast Nation" as part of the 2011 NYC International Fringe Festival starring Tony Award Winner (and from "Desperate Housewives"), Harriet Harris along with Manu Narayan from August 13-25. "Yeast Nation" plays at The Ellen Stewart Theatre at La Mama (66-68 East 4th Street, between 2nd Ave and Bowery). For tickets, click on the date you want to see the show: Sat, Aug 13 @ 8pm, Thurs, Aug 18 @ 5:15pm, Sun, Aug 21 @ 2:15pm, Mon, Aug 22 @ 8:15pm, Thurs, Aug 25 @ 2pm.

For much more on Erik be sure to visit

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? As a kid, my parents would listen to an eclectic mix of everything from Prince to Verdi and I took a liking to it all early on. I would sit in front of the record player and "conduct" the music in perfect time. After that I realized I liked music, a lot!

2. Who is the one person you haven't worked with that you would like to? In a dream world? I would love to work with Meryl Streep...She is an acting goddess and seems like a lot of fun.

3. What attracted you to "Yeast Nation" and excites you most about performing in the NYC International Fringe Festival? Greg and Mark. I am a big fan of Urinetown and so when I got the call to audition for their new project I was immediately interested! Plus, who can resist talking, singing and at times dancing yeasts?

4. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing "Yeast Nation"? There is a major underlying theme of sustainability in the show (this was also something that really excited me about working on it). I think we are entering a new age where the issue of sustainability must seriously be discussed and solutions must begin being enacted into people's daily lives, in whatever way, big or small. The show is an allegory for the challenges mankind has faced in the past and still faces today, now more then ever. I think that will mean something different to everyone who watches it, but as long as it means SOMETHING to them, I will feel we did our job.

5. What is your favorite part of the rehearsal/preview period in a show? I love when all of the elements (scenic, lightening, sound, costumes, orchestra, etc.) come together for the first time at a tech rehearsal. It is thrilling to take that next step in the process because it is so informative to the world of the show and it's fun! It gives me the feeling I felt as a kid seeing theatre for the first time.

6. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? Hmmm...That's a tough one. I've learned a lot about myself, what I respond to as an artist in a theatrical setting as well as in daily life. I've also learned a lot about harnessing the anxious energy associated with "performing" and being able to channel that into focused energy. It's something I will always be working on, but performing has made me much more conscious of it, which is the first step!

7. Favorite way to stay in shape? I am a bike rider, so my legs get a workout every day! I love to hike and explore the outdoors a lot, it's a great way to calm your mind while giving your body a great physical workout.  I also have a trainer who does a pretty good job of kicking my butt into shape.

8. Boxers or Briefs? Boxerbriefs?

9. Favorite website? Hmm...I would have to say Pandora. I love discovering new music on it!

10. "Glinda" or "Elphaba"? Oh man, I guess Elphaba. I connect to her ferocity and will to do what is right regardless of the status quo.


11. What was your favorite part about performing in "The Fantasticks" and what did it mean to you to perform in the longest running show Off-Broadway? I feel so lucky to have been apart of "The Fantasticks." It was a great first job to have in the city and taught me how to keep a show fresh eight times a week, for a year! The show is so beautifully crafted that it wasn't a challenge to enjoy doing every night and I constantly found myself discovering new things through out my time there. It was also really cool being there for the 50th Anniversary. Tom Jones joined the cast as the "Old Actor" (that was a trip!) and we had a big party after the show where a bunch of "Fantasticks" alumni (including Rita Gardener) got together to share their experiences. It was really special to be apart of such an important event for the show and for musical theatre in general.

Joyce DeWitt

Beth Grant