I first interviewed Drama Desk Nominee and LA Ovation Award winner, Christine Pedi, in 2010. Since that time, Christine continues to be busier than ever. On SIRIUS/XM Radio, she hosts "The Broadway Breakfast" (Mon-Fri from 9am-3pm) and co-hosts "Dueling Divas" with Seth Rudestky (Saturdays, 9am-3pm). She's created several YouTube Videos (a parody of Lady Gaga's "Telephone," "Shit Liza Minelli Says," and "OUTTAKES: Shit Liza Minnelli Says," all embedded below), performed her annual "There's No Bizness Like Snow Bizness" at the Laurie Beechman Theatre, revived her starring role in "NEWSical the Musical" when that returned Off-Broadway in 2011 and now currently starring in the hit Off-Broadway show, "Miss Abigail's Guide To Dating, Mating, and Marriage" while continuing with "NEWSical the Musical."
Between "Miss Abigail" and "NEWSical," Christine's comedic genius is lighting up the stage 9 times a week! If you have never seen Christine before, I would highly recommend seeing her in both shows, which perfectly demonstrate her talented range!
"Miss Abigail's Guide To Dating, Mating, and Marriage" plays every Saturday at 5pm at Sophia's Downstairs Theater in NYC (221 West 46th Street, between Broadway & 8th Avenue). "NEWSical the Musical" plays at Theatre Row's The Kirk Theatre in NYC (410 West 42nd Street, between 9th & 10th Avenue). Click here for tickets to "Miss Abigail" and click here for tickets to "NEWSical the Musical."
For more on Christine be sure to visit http://www.christinepedi.com.
1. What attracted you to "Miss Abigail's Guide To Dating, Mating, and Marriage"? Initially, the casting of Eve Plumb as "Miss Abigail" and it was an interesting title. I loved the marketing of it. It had a cute, kitschy, kind of a 1950s visual. Then Joyce DeWitt when into the show after Eve Plumb left and that is when I finally went to see it. Literally the week I went to see it, the producers offered me the role. It was quite coincidental. Joyce was wonderful in it. I saw the show three times before I started doing it. Eddie Gutierrez, who plays my assistant "Paco," was in it all three times. He's wonderful! His finger is on the pulse in both the comedic timing and grounding it in reality, which is very important. This is one of the easiest jobs I've ever had in regards to stress factor. I learned it on my own, had three rehearsals, and then started doing it. Eddie couldn't have been easier to work with. The crew and producers are all wonderful. It fits between my two shows of "NEWSical the Musical" perfectly. Color me happy!
2. What do you identify most with "Miss Abigail"? Talking to the audience. The fact that she's giving a seminar. I have a radio show on Sirius XM Radio ("THE BROADWAY BREAKFAST" Mon-Fri from 9am-3pm), so it really reminds me of my work on the radio. That's the reason I took to it easier than I expected, because I'm very comfortable talking to an audience because of my radio show and my cabaret acts. I think other actresses, who don't have that same experience, might not be able to come to the table with it because those are life experiences that are not part of every actresses' performing life. Not every actress does cabaret, which is breaking the fourth wall and certainly not everybody has a radio show. I didn't connect those parts of my life to this until I had my first performance.
3. If you could give advice on love, what would be your secret to a successful marriage? You got me, I ain't married...haha. I've given my life to the gays, I'm gonna die alone...hahaha. I personally think that with any relationship, whether it's a good friend, a parent, a sibling, or a spouse, when you are dealing with problems and issues, you have got to approach it like a business. You've got to be clear, objective, have your facts correct, and you've got to be calm because you can't hear the real problem if you're yelling. This really goes with anybody you are trying to resolve conflicts with and live in harmony. Even my own personal life got better when I realized that nothing gets resolved with screaming.
4. What's your favorite moment in "Miss Abigail" to play out? I love "Love, Lust, or Stalking." I love the way the whole thing is created and I think it's an important part of the show and it goes from high comedy to very poignant in a short amount of time. I like that a lot. It has everything the show is about. It has audience participation, a beautiful little story in it, comedy, and a reveal.
5. In addition to starring in "Miss Abigail's Guide To Dating, Mating, and Marriage," you continue to star in "NEWSical the Musical." What do you love about most about "NEWSical" and what is about working with Tom D'Angora and his creative intelligence that you enjoy working with so often? That is the first thing I would have said. Of course I love the show, but the first thing I love is the environment and the people. Tom D'Angora is a fabulously generous, dynamic, exciting, and loving person and producer. That is rare. You don't usually get both. He loves what he does and he surrounds himself with people that are like minded and instinctively come to the table with a common love of the piece and style. In the case of "NEWSical," it's this satirical comedy style. In addition to having a shared love of the art form, everybody he casts in the show is incredibly good at it, so everybody wins. We all enjoy each others company. We are a lucky group of people.
6. One of your many talents is your comedic timing. How does your comic timing in "Miss Abigail" differ, if at all, from that of "NEWSical"? "Miss Abigail" isn't as broad, she's much more reality based. "Miss Abigail" isn't based on any celebrity, except for the blueprint that Joyce DeWitt left. I'm nothing like Joyce DeWitt. She's just so dear and lovely and bubbly. I think she's naturally like "Miss Abigail." I'm not. I'm just a sassier, louder, crasser person. I have to create something out of nothing. In "NEWSical," I do impressions. I have source material to look to, most of the time, but there are a few comedic characters in skits that I do create from scratch, but that's for a minute. "Miss Abigail" is an hour and a half. She's just a lovely lady. She gave out the best candy at Halloween. She's just one of those people.
7. What's your favorite part of the rehearsal/preview period in a show? I don't love the rehearsal process. I often dislike it. I hate standing around and waiting. I just become frustrated with myself because I just want to learn it and get on with it. I want to know the words and melodies and stuff already. I love previews. I love figuring it out on stage in front of an audience. I think that maybe because of doing "Forbidden Broadway" for years. We didn't have lots of rehearsal time with any given number and often times had to learn them very quickly and usually had to tweak it and fix it in previews. I prefer that because that's the real litmus test. It's what the audience thinks. You can rehearse something into the ground, but the sooner you can get it up in front of an audience, the better. I love having an audience inform me and then rehearsing it and changing it and then applying what I think may work to improve the piece.
8. Where is your favorite place to rehearse on your own? If I had to pick a place, I would say, I learn most of my material on the exercise bike at the gym or on the treadmill, however I actually learned "Miss Abigail" backstage at "NEWSical." I read things on the bike and listen to things on the treadmill. Learning my lines, makes an hour on the bike fly by. I think I just need to do a series of one person shows if I want to lose any weight.
9. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? I've learned that I love to travel. I've learned that I hate to get up in the morning, always did, but I forget, since I rarely have to as a performer. The few times I do have to get up early, I realize, "dear God, I am in the right profession" because I can't stand getting up in the morning. Finally, I've learned that I should have had more confidence in myself earlier on in my career.
10. What's the best advice you've ever received? Follow your instincts and often times it may appear that they are silly, but you will always regret it if you don't. That way you can always say you gave it a shot. If you are always sitting on instincts, feelings, hunches, and desires then you'll turn around at many points in your life and kick yourself.
The thing I base my performance on, which isn't advice anyone gave me, but it was watching others perform from their deepest organic place. If you watch people like Chita Rivera or Julie Wilson, sometimes you don't realize you are allowed to do that until you see someone else do it. You think, "Oh, you are allowed to go there." They kind of taught me to relax and be yourself.
11. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? Hahahaha....I've had some weird dreams let me tell you. Happily, everyone close to me are all still here, except for my grandparents, and I've had recurring dreams about them, but I would imagine, if someone close to me passed away, I would dream about them.
If I could dream about anybody, it would be a wonderful, gorgeous, dashing, rich, handsome, sexy, and magnificent man who is devoted solely to me.
Footnote: "Upon reading this for approval Christine realized that she left out a crucial and very necessary adjective for the man of her "dream"....STRAIGHT. (Don't want to take any chances should the universe decide to make my dream come true)"
Christine Pedi as "Liza Minnelli" and "Carol Channing" in a Parody of Lady GaGa's"Telephone"
Christine Pedi in "Shit Liza Minnelli Says"
OUTTAKES of Christine Pedi in "Shit Liza Minnelli Says"