Call Answered: Sarah Naughton: "Trapped In The Closet" at Feinstein's/54 Below
Sarah Naughton performing "Trapped In The Closet" at Feinstein's/54 BelowGrowing up I was obsessed with "Weird Al" Yankovic's "Stuck in the Closet with Vanna White" off his Even Worse album. When I was older, I hid in the closet myself because I wasn't ready to admit I was gay. I have finally embraced my gayness & love looking at closets to see how they are set up. Now, I get to go inside Sarah Naughton's closet for a revealing look at her show Trapped In The Closet which will be at Feinstein's/54 Below (254 West 54th Street, between Broadway & 8th Avenue) on Saturday, December 2 at 9:30pm!Click here for tickets!
Trapped In The Closet is a wildly imaginative journey inside her bedroom closet-turned-recording studio as she shares tales from the unsung world of audiobook narration and reveals some of the most ridiculous books she has ever been paid to read out loud! Trapped In The Closet features music from Broadway favorites (9 to 5, Sunday in the Park With George, Avenue Q, and Spring Awakening) as well as original music written with her music director and collaborator, Jake Weinstein. Also featuring special guest Vishal Vaidya (Groundhog Day).
1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? My mom! Patty Naughton is an excellent pianist and musician. As a kid she would teach me songs from old Broadway musicals and we would play and sing together. Those were some of my favorite times. And I cultivated a real love of musical theatre that way. Plus I've been a ham since day one, so becoming a professional performer has always kind of been a no-brainer.
2. On December 2 you are returning to Feinstein's/54 Below with your show Trapped In The Closet. What are you looking forward to most about this return engagement? The return engagement has given me and Jake (Weinstein, my collaborator) a chance to fine tune the show. We're debuting some new material that I'm really excited to share. One medley in particular is going to blow people's socks off!!
3. Trapped In The Closet takes audiences inside your bedroom closet-turned-recording studio as you share tales from the unsung world of audiobook narration. You reveal some of the most ridiculous books you have ever been paid to read out loud! How did you initially get into audiobook recording? There was, and still is I believe, an audiobook production company in my home town of Syracuse, New York called Full Cast Audio that produces beautiful audiobooks. They cast a different actor to play each character, and score the books with music. They're incredible. And they were producing a book called Gilbert and Sullivan Set Me Free by Kathleen Karr that was about a women's prison putting on a production of The Pirates of Penzance. And they were looking for singers! So I auditioned. And they cast me in a small role ("Rachel," the prostitute) but also had me sing "Poor Wandering One." After that I recorded a couple more books at Full Cast, which gave me a few credits on my resume by the time I was down in New York and reaching out to places like Audible. So I actually got into audiobooks via singing!
Sarah Naughton4. What do you like about this world as opposed to performing on a stage? Unlike my first book at Full Cast Audio, with the books I record in my closet, I read the entire thing myself. But that means I get to play every character in the story! Roles I would never get to play like grandfathers and Russian mobsters. So that's really fun. I get to be in charge of every element of the story.
5. What is one book you didn't get to record that you wish you did? Oh I've auditioned for so many great books I didn't get. There was one recently called Hap and Hazard at the End of the World by Diane DeSanders about a family in Texas after World War II that looked great. But didn't go my way. That's the biz!
6. Since the show is called Trapped In The Closet, when has there been a time you have felt like you were "Trapped In The Closet"? How did you break free? The title, "Trapped In The Closet," refers to the work I do narrating romance novels under a pseudonym, and the embarrassment I've felt about bringing such spicy content to life. When I feel like I have to hide this aspect of my work from people I'm literally and figuratively in the closet! But creating and sharing this show has put me back in the driver's seat. Telling my story gives me a real sense of ownership about it and allows me to break free.
Sarah Naughton7. If you could create your dream closet, what would it look like? I love this question! It would be a nice size, comfortable to stand and walk around in, but still small enough so it would be easy to control the sound quality. It would be packed with twinkle lights. Mine has some. But if I had my way it would look like the Rock Center Christmas tree in there. And I'd have some plants, maybe for the oxygen, and some color. And a really comfy chair!
8. What was the best part about performing on The View? What was the most intimidating? The audience was so supportive and awesome when I performed on The View. My parents were there, and before the show the warm-up comic made my Dad read aloud a page from 50 Shades of Gray (it was really hot at the time). So I think that really won the audience over before I even went out there. But the whole thing was super intimidating. It was set up American Idol style so I did 90 seconds of stand up and then got feedback from the ladies of The View! They were, let's say, very honest. And I was just starting out writing standup, so at the time I was bummed that they didn't love me, but in retrospect they gave me really good advice and I learned a lot.
Sarah Naughton9. I know you love living in NYC, so what are some of your favorite things to do? Living in NYC is truly the best. Going out to eat is, I think, life's greatest pleasure. It gets pricey to do a lot. But going out with friends every so often is the best treat. I love The Smith and Kashkaval Gardens. I love New York's parks! We have so many great ones: Central Park, Riverside, Madison Square Park. And I love to go to the theatre of course. Broadway shows, downtown theatre, improv shows, I love it all! I especially love me an immersive experience! Sleep No More. A Third Rail Projects show. Maybe because I'm a performer myself, but I love being a part of the action. Also New York has some sick fitness options. I recently got Classpass and it's so cool! I've gotten to try out a lot of awesome workouts. Title Boxing, Mile High Run Club, and Aerial Yoga at Crunch were some of my favorites.
10. What are your top 5 take-out places to order food from? LOVE this question. I live for this question.
Now I live in Astoria so this is very neighborhood specific BUT:
1. Pizza (my #1 favorite food) - TIE between Retro Pizza (my corner mom and pop shop) and Rizzo's (which is just sick good)
2. Sushi - Pink Nori (beyond bomb)
3. Comfort Food - Sanford's (they have a pecan crusted chicken salad that makes a burger seem healthy by comparison but is so good)
4. Healthy (when I have to) - Create
5. Thai - Three E Taste of Thai
Sarah NaughtonMore on Sarah:
Sarah Naughton is a singer, actress, and Audie-nominated audiobook narrator living in New York. Some favorite credits include: New York Theatre: Death Comes for the War Poets (The Sheen Center) Romeo and Juliet (Lincoln Center - Clark Studio Theater), Diamond Alice (Roundabout Underground), and Summer and Smoke (Access Theatre). Regional Theatre: Mame (Human Race Theater Co), AcousticaElectronica (A.R.T. Oberon), and Meet Me In St. Louis (Mt. Gretna Playhouse). Sarah has narrated over 70 audiobooks which are all available on audible.com. Additionally, Sarah is a comedy veteran and has performed stand-up on ABC’s The View as well as at major NYC venues such as New York Comedy Club, Stand Up NY, and The PIT. Sarah is also a member of the immersive dance theater company called toUch performance art and she works as a supporting artist for CO/LAB theater group, a non-profit organization that has been providing individuals with developmental disabilities a creative and social outlet through theater arts since 2011. Sarah holds a BFA from NYU Tisch and is a proud member of Actors' Equity.