Call Answered: Sarah Stiles: "Squirrel Heart" returns to Joe's Pub this January (2018)
Sarah StilesOne of my favorite musicals is Avenue Q! Upon it's Broadway closing in 2009, Avenue Q did something no other show had done at the time, it re-opened Off-Broadway at New World Stages. It was there, I got to feel special when I saw Tony nominee Sarah Stiles as "Kate Monster/Lucy the Slut."
Now, I am able to return the favor and make Sarah feel special with this fun interview about the return of her show Squirrel Heart at Joe's Pub this coming January! Squirrel Heart is a marathon of musical genres and caffeinated emotions wrapped up in 20 or so costume changes and big hair.
Cartwheels at birth, pooping nerves, working in Television & Theatre, developing Squirrel Heart, Sarah & I cover it all!
Squirrel Heart will play Joe's Pub (425 Lafayette Street) on Wednesday, January 3, 2018 at 7pm & Monday, January 8, 2018 at 9:30pm! Click here for tickets!
1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? Born that way. My mom says I was born to applause. Which is literally true because she pushed me out in a home birth surrounded by her hippy friends who were holding hands and singing songs. I cartwheeled outta that vag and took center stage to the roar of the crowd.
2. This January, you are returning to Joe's Pub with your show Squirrel Heart. What are you looking forward to most about this return engagement? Not being so stressed and worried leading up to it. The first time we did it I was PETRIFIED that I would get laughed off the stage, and not in a good way. I got so nervous my body shut down. I lost my voice, I couldn’t sleep, I got super skinny cause I couldn’t stop pooping, it was awful. But the show was really great and we’ve since made it even better. I love doing every single second of SQUIRREL HEART. There are no wasted moments. I’m really confident in it this time.
Sarah Stiles3. How did you come up with the show's title Squirrel Heart? It's the title of a poem I wrote awhile ago. When Holly Gewandter and I were coming up with the show we were inspired by that poem. It is now woven into a medley that is ultimately the heart of the show. "The Squirrel Heart Medley" is a true collaboration between my Musical Director Brian Nash, Director Darren Katz, and Holly and me. Once we created that piece, the rest of the show fell into place pretty easily.
4. If you were a squirrel, what do you think your New Year's wish would be? I read this wrong. I thought the question was "If you were a squirrel, what do you think your New Year’s PLANS would be?" So here’s that answer: I would grab an acorn or two, a thimble of champs and lay out in sheep’s meadow watching the fireworks and those nut jobs with glow sticks do the midnight run.
Sarah Stiles as "Lucy The Slut" in "Avenue Q"5. What did you learn from the first engagement of this show in 2016 that you will now bring with you in 2018? The people who show up want to have fun, they want to be filled with joy, they want to smile and laugh and explore your world with you…all you have to do is stay present and bring them on the journey. It’s actually really simple and sweet. And truly whatever happens, happens. Messy is ok as long as you’re ok with it. I didn’t know that the first time around. Now I do!
6. For people who didn't see this show the first time around, what can they expect? It’s a nightclub act with theatrical moments. It’s fully staged and intricately designed but feels off the cuff and spontaneous. I got stories and songs and my morning poems and dance numbers and lots of costume changes. I play the ukulele one time, hand out four packs of goldfish and there may or may not be puppets.
7. Press notes say, Squirrel Heart is a marathon of musical genres and caffeinated emotions wrapped up in 20 or so costume changes and big hair. What are some caffeinated emotions you want to slow down in this coming New Year? Are you suggesting caffeinated emotions are bad? Why are they bad?! Why would I want to slow down?!? AND HOW CAN YOU DO IT WHEN YOU HAVE SO MANY THOUGHT AND IDEAS CONSTANTLY SWIRLING-……Yup seeing it now.
Sean Bridgers & Sarah Stiles in "Get Shorty" on EPIX8. Your press release also mentioned that while you were busy on the West Coast playing "Gladys" in the new hit EPIX series Get Shorty, you also missed the NYC theatre scene. What was the exact moment that made you go, "I miss the bright lights of Broadway"? I missed people laughing at me! I would do these funny scenes in Shorty and not a peep, cause duh we're filming, but it totally messed with me. It took me awhile to get comfortable. I was like, this is cool and all but I’m too needy. I gotta get back on a NY stage so I can get some instant gratification. Also I was really hungry to sing again. I got to sing a tiny bit on Shorty and made me all cravey.
9. I was lucky enough to see you in Avenue Q as "Lucy The Slut/Kate Monster." What I want to know is how are you going to make your audience at Squirrel Heart feel special? Hmmmm... well….Coming to my show is like coming into my bedroom and looking through my private drawers so…that’s pretty special.
10. You also made quite a splash in Showtime's I'm Dying Up Here as "Toni Luddy." When has there been a time in your career when you felt the sentiment of "I'm Dying Up Here"? Oh yes. So many times. Failure is an important part of being a performer - It means you were brave. And I consider myself a little warrior.
Sarah StilesMore on Sarah:
On Broadway, Sarah was nominated for a Tony Award for "Best Featured Actress in a Play" for her role in Hand to God. Additionally, she has appeared as "Muriel" in On a Clear Day You Can See Forever with Harry Connick Jr. and Jesse Mueller, popped her puppet sex cherry as "Kate/Lucy" in Avenue Q, and took turns playing multiple eccentric children in The 25th Annual Putnum County Spelling Bee. Sarah received critical acclaim as "Little Red Riding Hood" in The Public Theater’s Into the Woods, presented as part of its Shakespeare in the Park programming. In addition, she voices "Lacey" on Nick Jr.’s Sunny Day and "Spider" on Pasek and Paul’s James and the Giant Peach album. Sarah made a splash as "Toni Luddy" on Showtime’s I’m Dying Up Here and is in Steven Soderbergh’s upcoming feature Unsane.