Update: Joan's show at the Catalina Jazz Club on March 16 has been postponed until May due to Joan cracking 2 ribs. She is on the mend and looks forward to hitting all the high notes in May. Stay tuned to Call Me Adam for a new date!
"Call Me Adam" chats with actress and singer Joan Ryan, known for her role of "Tina Pallodrino," from the long running hit series Saved By The Bell. After a sold-out run at NYC's 54 Below, Joan is now bringing her one-woman show to the Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood, CA on March 16, 2014 at 7:30pm! Come hear Joan's stellar four-octave voice, along with special guest Eric McCormack, from the Emmy Award winning sitcom Will & Grace! Click here for tickets, which a portion of the proceeds will benefit The Trevor Project.
1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? I have loved performing ever since I was a little girl. I used to sing and dance around our living room for anyone who would listen. it's just always been what I knew I was here for.
2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? Stephen Sondheim and Hal Prince.
3. On March 16, 2014, you will bestow your talents upon the Catalina Jazz Club, after receiving rave reviews at NYC's 54 Below in 2013. What excites you about this upcoming engagement? It's my hometown and I'm excited to bring my show back here after NY and San Francisco. And I'm really happy to be working with director Andrew MacBean and Music Director John McDaniel. John and I started out together in a little theater in Los Angeles, so it's all full circle.
4. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing your show? First of all, that they have been totally, one hundred percent entertained, moved and uplifted! Secondly, that they have been on a ride with me.
5. Eric McCormack, star of the Emmy Award winning sitcom Will & Grace, will be your special guest. How did you decide to bring him on as your special guest? What do you like about working with him? Eric and I met a few years ago when we were doing a benefit. It was a very big cast with Jason Alexander, Steve Carell, Forest Whitaker, etc. and during the long rehearsals we talked about doing something together when the time was right. The time is finally right! Eric is a fabulous singer, so talented and a really great guy.
6. You have one of the most amazing voices I have heard. What do you get from singing that you don't get from acting? Thank you! That's a great question and not one I've gotten before. They are different and yet not different at all. I approach every song as an actress first, not a singer. I choose songs by how they affect me and how I personally relate to them when I first hear them. Hard to explain, but the music carries me and holds me up. Singing is between me and the audience, not me and another person, as acting is. They are both so satisfying in their own way, but when I sing, I get to do both.
7. How do you feel you express yourself differently as a singer? Well, I 'm not the kind of singer that can say open a piece of sheet music and say "Play this in D" and do it easily at an open mic night. Rehearsals are pretty key for me. My songs are pretty specific, all with a purpose and a reason that they are in the show. That said, I'm going to be singing (with no rehearsal) at Cast Party when I go to New York next week, but with Billy Stritch at the piano, I know I'm in good hands!
8. I grew up watching you on Saved By The Bell as the music and arts teacher "Tina Pallodrino." Looking back, what was the best part about being on the show? Who, if anyone, do you still keep in touch with? I loved my Saved By The Bell experience! It was my first TV series and it was very exciting. I have many nieces and nephews who watched the show so that made it even more fun. One of my nephews was in college at the time, and every time he wanted to get a date, I had to send him an 8x10 signed by "Tina," addressed to the person he wanted to go out with. He said it worked every time.
Saved By The Bell has such a cult following and I am proud to be a part of it. I am in close contact with "Mr. Belding" Dennis Haskins and he will actually be at the show with some other cast members. We both got the job on Saved By The Bell from the same show we were in, Angry Housewives.
9. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? That it's what I'm supposed to do. That one's pilot light never goes out and that thing that you wanted to do when you were little is always possible, if you want it badly enough and you don't give up. That may sound simple, but it's really true.
10. What's the best advice you've ever received? See above! And not to forget to have children.
11. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? I would really like the power to protect everyone. That would be good.
12. Favorite skin care product? Epicuren and sunscreen. Lots of sunscreen.
Joan's four-octave range has led to numerous leading roles in Little Shop of Horrors, Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Footloose, Nunsense, Angry Housewives, Triumph of Love, Nite Club Confidential, and the West Coast premiere of Stephen Sondheim's Anyone Can Whistle. She has also been featured in the annual star-studded S.T.A.G.E. fundraising shows benefiting AIDS Project LA.
Joan's self-titled debut solo recording continues to remain a best-selling CD. Other recordings include the cast albums of Ruthless!, Sondheim: A Celebration, A Salute to Stephen Schwartz, Lerner, Loewe, and Lane, Dream the Music of Johnny Mercer, and Jerome Kern's Life Upon The Wicked Stage.
Television audiences know Joan from her long running role as "Tina Pallodrino," the crazy music and arts teacher on the long running series Saved By The Bell. In addition to appearing in numerous commercials, pilots, and television roles, Joan spent two years as "Kathleen Houghton," everyone's favorite psychiatrist, on The Young and the Restless and was featured on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Joan can be seen as "Patricia" in the feature film Hot Guys with Guns. Variety shows include Forever Young with Jason Alexander and Kirstie Alley, and One Night Only with Steve Carell, Forest Whitaker, and Erick McCormack.
She made her featured debut at the Hollywood Bowl in Leonard Bernstein's Mass. Joan was honored to have performed the National Anthem for The Lakers and the Harlem Globetrotters at the Staples Center.
Joan's unique rendition of Rodgers & Hammerstein's "Shall We Dance" was heard nightly during the touring production of Stars on Ice, produced by Olympic skating legend, Scott Hamilton. Performing this signature song live at Rockefeller Center, this special televised performance was also featured on The Today Show.
Joan trained and performed with The American Conservatory in San Francisco where she appeared in productions of The Taming of the Shrew, Cyrano De Bergerac, and A Doll's House.
She is one of the founding partners of the successful Voice-Over Company SOUNDS GREAT, whose credits include Criminal Minds, Heroes, Smash, White Collar, Medium, Army Wives, and both of Steven Spielberg's latest TV projects Touch and Falling Sky.
Joan Ryan has performed her critically acclaimed, one-woman show to sold-out houses in New York, Los Angeles, and around the country. Rex Reed has exclaimed, "Joan Ryan has a voice that soars through the air like a crack of new sun...She's a trumpet, she's an angel, she's the music that makes me dance!"