Conference Call: Amy Marcs' "Nice T!ts" Celebrity Reading at The Triad
Three years ago I was introduced to Amy Marcs, a performer/playwright, who’s incredibly moving and humorous play Nice T!ts, about Amy’s journey with Breast Cancer, made me a forever fan of hers! I have been a champion of this play since seeing it and am overjoyed by how this play has grown in the past three years.
This critically-acclaimed one-woman show has been “reconstructed” to be read by a cast of five. This new format, directed by the extraordinary Coco Cohn (known for playing Rosie in Broadway’s Mamma Mia), will be presented as a celebrity reading, featuring actresses from the world of Broadway and TV.
Joining Amy will be Paige Davis (Trading Spaces), Laura Kai Chen (HER, Days of Our Lives), Leigh Ann Larkin (Gypsy, Blue Bloods), and Elena Ricardo (Beautiful, Mamma Mia).
A portion of the proceeds will benefit The Actors Fund’s Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative, a program that addresses the myriad of concerns women face when dealing with a serious medical condition and provides a safe space to go to for confidential and compassionate help.
1. This April you are presenting your one-woman show, Nice T!ts as a celebrity reading at the Triad Theatre. What made you want to expand your one woman show to a cast of five? I am inspired by The Vagina Monologues, and Love loss and What I Wore. This is a direction that I am very interested in exploring with Nice T!ts. It is my goal to reach as wide an audience as possible. I believe having other actresses involved with the show, bringing my story to life, interpreting my words and experience will make my play even more universal. I am so thrilled and grateful to have this fabulous cast of talented women and I can’t wait to see what they do with it!!! Coco Cohn, Peter Michael Marino and I all agreed that five would be the magic number. I find odd numbers so much more interesting than even.
2. Since you originally played every role in the show, how did you decide which parts you would let go of and cast someone else in the role? I didn’t decide. I left that up to Coco. I trust her artistic vision. We have very similar sensibilities so I knew that she would cast it perfectly. And she did!!!
3. How do you feel the show has grown since presenting it in NYC? For the most part, the script has remained the same, but I keep growing and changing with it. Bringing Coco on has helped me to explore new moments, so important to keep it fresh, always as if it is the first time. I also improvise more and live off the audience more, which makes it so exciting. Every audience has its own pulse, its own heartbeat and I really tap into that. It makes each show completely different.
4. What should audiences know about this show before attending? That even though it is about cancer it is not depressing. It’s actually funny. I believe laughter is so important for healing and it is a great way to talk about topics that aren’t so easy to talk about. Nice T!ts is a show about hope, and the resiliency of the human spirit. You don’t have to have had cancer to relate to it.
5. Since the tag line of this reading is "Amy Marcs’ critically-acclaimed solo comedy gets “reconstructed,” what is something that has recently got reconstructed in your life? A little over a year ago, on Christmas day 2017 my apartment building in Chelsea had a three alarm fire and I lost everything I own. I was displaced from my apartment for over eight months and just returned home this past August. So my apartment literally has been reconstructed!!! Little by little I am replacing the furniture I lost, and creating a new space. But I have to say, once you lose your breasts to cancer losing a kitchen table and chairs is not such a big deal. All kidding aside, it was an extremely challenging time and I feel like I am finally back on my feet doing what I love.
1. How did you get involved to direct this reading? My dear pal, Peter-Michael Marino developed and directed the piece. I had the pleasure of seeing it early on. As the project continued, and Peter’s schedule expanded, he needed someone to come on as Associate — to help maintain the show as Amy had opportunities in other cities and at times when he was unavailable. He knew my work style would gel well with Amy’s, and connected us. The rest is [happy] history.
2. What is it about yours & Amy's artistic vision that lines up with each other? We speak a similar language. As an actor first myself, I feel we have a short-hand. We admire each other’s humor and heart. There is a mutual respect. And deep trust. When joining the team, I immediately understood the tone of the piece. At first, I felt I was just there to honor what she had already achieved, but as we have continued our collaboration, she has allowed me to add my fingerprint to some of the details. The show grows every time. I think we are very well aligned!
3. What do you relate to most about Amy’s story? I relate most to finding humor in heartbreak. It’s so universal.
4. What was the biggest challenge in directing this reading to take it from a one woman show to a cast of five? So far, I don’t think it’s challenging. It makes all the sense in the world. Like Love, Loss, and What I Wore or The Vagina Monologues, Nice T!ts is perfectly suited to being shared in this way.
Each woman will offer their unique talents to bringing a piece of Amy’s story to life. There is endless education in hearing the words in a new way; from a new voice. I find it so exciting. I really think we’re onto something with this!
5. Since the tag line of this reading is "Amy Marcs’ critically-acclaimed solo comedy gets “reconstructed,” what is something that has recently got reconstructed in your life? Aren’t we being reconstructed every day? I remain a work in progress and try to embrace it. On paper, my life of late has been fairly status quo, but I also recognize a “shedding of my skin” that happens every few years. A new me emerges. It might be quite subtle to others, but it is very poignant to me. Cheers to reconstruction!
Due to unforseen circumstances, Geneva Carr is no longer able to be part of Nice T!ts celebrity reading. Paige Davis (of Trading Spaces) will be joining the cast
1. What made you want to be part of this reading? I had heard about Amy’s courageous battle and one woman show after the fact and have been kicking myself for missing it ever since. I saw the opportunity to support her and the Broadway community as an opportunity to right a wrong.
2. What do you relate to most about the character you are playing? Each one of the actors gets to portray Amy at a different stage in her personal journey. I play Amy the night before her surgery. It feels like the darkest, most out of control moment for her and reading her words, embodying Amy when she’s most out of control feels like a gift.
It’s so rare that we get to shoulder each other’s burden’s in life. In writing this piece and sharing with other actors and audience members, Amy opens a window onto personal pain and fear. And isn’t that the meaning of life? Giving witness to what we all share? So we don’t feel alone?
3. What is something you learned about yourself from reading this play in getting ready for this show? My BFF from childhood and beyond is battling thyroid cancer. It’s known as the easiest cancer to beat and yet, her journey has had setbacks and disappointments and a finish line that we can’t yet see. Though it’s a totally different form of cancer, Amy’s play has taught me that cancer can break down who you feel you are. It’s a foreign body that hijacks you from the inside and in order to win, you need not just a team of experts (and yes, good-looking doctors help), but a support system of loved ones full of compassion and patience.
Tackling Amy’s play as an actor has made me more equipped to be there for my bestie. And when she needs a god damned turkey sandwich, she’s gonna get it!
4. How do you feel Amy's story will help others? I think every artist hopes to make people feel less alone. Amy’s journey is so raw and funny and real, it makes me feel less alone to face what comes next not only in my life, but in those around me. It gave me a lesson in bad assery. And nipple tattoos. Who knew?
5. Since the tag line of this reading is "Amy Marcs’ critically-acclaimed solo comedy gets “reconstructed,” what is something that has recently got reconstructed in your life? I’ve recently come out of a relationship that broke me to my core. I’ve been slowly and painstakingly putting myself back together and Amy’s play makes me feel like I’ve got a new pair of tits on the inside. Reconstruction is empowering. Thanks Amy!
1. What made you want to be part of this reading? I was so excited just to work with Coco but then I read the script and the process that Amy had to go through and it just felt like a really important story to tell. And then to hear it told through multiple talented and hilarious women is just an added bonus!
2. What do you relate to most about the character you are playing? Amy’s savage humor is very much like my own and her unfiltered train of thought is probably very similar to everyone’s inner dialogue. I can definitely relate to her trying to find the humor in the situation but at her core, she is really terrified of losing this part of herself that makes her feel feminine and desired.
3. What is something you learned about yourself from reading this play in getting ready for this show? I didn’t realize how emotional I would get imagining having to lose my breasts in order to survive. I, like Amy, have attached a lot of my identity and sexuality with my breasts and the thought of losing them really triggers some unexpected devastation and anxiety in me.
4. How do you feel Amy's story will help others? Any kind of conversation is immensely important for a topic like this. Her thought by hilarious thought dialogue is probably immensely tangible for someone going through this kind of treatment. It’s just the brutal, raw, unfiltered truth of her experience, which is so much more informative than any of the hundreds of brochures most Cancer patients are handed after being diagnosed.
5. Since the tag line of this reading is "Amy Marcs’ critically-acclaimed solo comedy gets “reconstructed,” what is something that has recently got reconstructed in your life? I recently got out of a very long term relationship with my boyfriend and though it is nothing compared to Amy's story, the adjustment period has been a lot harder than i anticipated. Once you're truly on your own, you start to address some of the things about yourself that you can kind of mute out when you have a partner. I've been reconstructing not only my surroundings but my beliefs about myself and what I need. It's a process that's needed to happen for awhile. Crazy how sometimes it takes a great loss to truly kick start your life.
Leigh Ann Larkin:
1. What made you want to be part of this reading? I loved the concept and I feel like many women can relate to what Amy has been through. I was also excited to work with Coco ❤️
2. What is something you learned about yourself from reading this play in getting ready for this show? This is a very real and heavy situation which must be incredibly difficult to get through. I’ve learned that it’s important to tell your story and find the humor even when things are tough.
3. How do you feel Amy's story will help others? I feel like so many women can relate! And I love when artists open up their lives so that others don’t feel alone.
Laura Kai Chen:
1. What made you want to be part of this reading? Truly, I wanted to do this reading because of the great women involved!
2. What do you relate to most about the character you are playing? Probably anxiety about change. It’s hard to live in the unknown!
3. What is something you learned about yourself from reading this play in getting ready for this show? Initially, stepping into Amy’s shoes was a little daunting since it’s her voice and I really wanted to do it justice. I learned, in this process, how much I can empathize with her story & how universal it is for all of us.
4. How do you feel Amy's story will help others? Amy’s writing is funny and frank. It’s great to have her voice out there, helping to make all the women going through similar circumstances feel less alone. Also, humor...it does a mind, body, and spirit good!
5. Since the tag line of this reading is "Amy Marcs’ critically-acclaimed solo comedy gets “reconstructed,” what is something that has recently got reconstructed in your life? Well, my husband and I recently became bicoastal (he works a lot on Broadway and I have been working in TV back in LA), so one could say that our home life has definitely been deconstructed and reconstructed recently! I am constantly searching for that one pair of shoes or yoga pants only to realize it’s back in LA...I need to buy two of everything now!