Emily Grosland is a performer on the rise. She is about to make her NYC stage debut in Sanguine Theater Company's production of Sarah M. Duncan's "Bees and Lions" after performing throughout the country in numerous regional productions and National Tours. Emily's credits include "Anne Frank" in "The Diary of Anne Frank" and "Minnie Fay" in "Hello Dolly" (Theatre L’Homme Deiu), "Peter Pan" in "Peter Pan" (Candlelight Pavilion Dinner Theatre), "Logainne" in "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" (Pacific Repertory Theatre), "Danny Who" in "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" (National Tour), and "Linus" in "You're A Good Man Charlie Brown" (California Theatre).
Currently, Emily is bestowing her talent in her NYC stage debut in "Bees and Lions" which tells the story of Sean, the famous son of a multi-millionaire, who crashes an employee party at one of his father’s hotels and meets Julie, a low income hotel employee. Shortly thereafter, she agrees to go home with him, but they don’t get very far—on the way down, the elevator stops. Stuck, Julie and Sean contemplate getting help, but neither follows through. Their flirtatious, digging questions and taunts, not to mention mounting sexual tension, culminate in two startling confessions, prompting Julie to make a bold, controversial decision.
Inspired by Strindberg’s "Miss Julie," "Bees and Lions" is also about the fall of a woman—but this time when said woman falls, she takes everyone with her—some willingly–in the name of her cause. Who will be the first to get back up?
1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? As far back as I can remember, I loved being on stage. My parents were always supportive...but they were far from being 'Stage-parents.' I spent all of my free time after school in dance classes or at rehearsals for the local Children's Theatre. I think that is what really inspired me early on! I was lucky enough to live in a town that had a great little Children's Theatre Company and a wonderful Community Theatre. My first show was Beauty and the Beast (I was a fork), and I just couldn't seem to stay away after that. I realized I wanted performing to be my profession when I was in college. I had a few truly wonderful professors who made me see that this was something I was very passionate about pursuing.
2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? Cathy Rigby. Sorry to be predictable...but she is sort of my hero.
3. What attracted you to "Bees & Lions"? When I saw the breakdown information for the auditions, I was immediately drawn to the character, Kris/Kristina. He is a female to male (FtM) transsexual in the beginning stages of transitioning. And there is one flashback scene where we see Kristina before he began his transition. I consider myself to be pangender (genderqueer) and I have very recently been trying to be more open about that in my career. I have been going to more and more auditions for male roles and added a section to my website about my experience so far with being a pangender actor.
4. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing "Bees & Lions"? For me, 'Bees and Lions' is about seeing beyond the simplistic categories that we put people in. I hope 'Bees and Lions' will be the kind of play that makes you think and discuss after you leave the theatre. I hope it makes people begin to question our tendency to see the world in black and white.
5. What do you identify most with about your character "Kris"? I sort of answered this a little bit earlier, but I will also say that Kris is a very grounded and solid character. He knows who he is and what he wants. However, like me, he is still building the courage to fight back when he is not accepted. He is also head over heels in love with Julie (the plays leading lady) which I can very much identify with because I'm a bit of a hopeless romantic myself.
6. What have you enjoyed most about working with the Sanguine Theater Company? It is very apparent that everyone in the company is so excited about this script. Their excitement and commitment to making sure the story is told well is infectious. The playwright, Sarah M. Duncan, is often on hand to answer questions or give us insight into her words. And all of my fellow actors are so passionate about their work.
7. What excites you about making your NYC stage debut? I think a lot of actors who move to this city are afraid they won't find a place for themselves among such an incredibly large number of talented people. I have been fortunate so far to make a living purely as an actor in LA and elsewhere. I was afraid that moving to New York would change that. Getting the opportunity to perform in the city gives me hope that I will find my place in the New York Theatre scene. And it is a first step to being seen as part of this great community of actors and artists.
8. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? I have learned that I am a lot stronger and braver than I often give myself credit for. I have learned that our mistakes and our weaknesses are usually the most interesting and important aspects of who we are. And I am starting to learn that being who I am is more important than being what I think they want me to be.
9. What's the best advice you've ever received? "Just keep swimming." - Dory in Finding Nemo
10. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? You, Adam...you :)
11. Favorite way to spend your day off? Hiking and kayaking with my girl.
12. Favorite way to stay in shape? Avoiding the Subway.
13. Favorite skin care product? Origins A Perfect World SPF 25 Age-Defense Moisturizer. It smells delicious!
14. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? I would like to fly (does everyone say that?)