Stories & Cast Interviews
Audrey ...lovely Audrey
Julie Connors as Audrey in Little Shop Of Horrors.
I grew up first in San Jose, CA (thru 8th grade), and then Turlock, CA, where I went to high school. So I am a (Northern) 'California Girl'! I started out as a dancer. First with tap, starting in 2nd grade. By junior high, I was in jazz class, and by high school, was studying ballet. I taught tap and ballet to youngsters when I was a senior in high school. I danced at the Atlas School of Dance in San Jose, and the Backstage Academy of Dance in Turlock, CA.
I always enjoyed singing. I attended St. Christopher School, a Catholic School, in San Jose, for first thru eighth grade. Starting in the fourth grade I sang in the church choir. I got a lot out of this experience and between the dancing and singing, naturally fell into the musical theatre. I did my first musical at Turlock High School when I was in the tenth grade. THE ROAR OF THE GREASEPAINT, THE SMELL OF THE CROWD. I was a member of the ensemble. When one of the cast members who had a featured role of "The Girl" came down with the chicken pox, I took over her role the opening weekend and even received a positive review in the local paper. From that time on, I had officially caught the theatre bug...even if I didn't yet know it. :)
The late Cathy Wydner was a positive role model for me. Cathy played Peggy Sawyer in the National Tour of 42ND STREET and many regional productions in the Southern California area afterwards. I got my AEA card by performing in a production of this show in which Cathy was playing Peggy. I deeply admired Cathy's immense singing, dancing, and acting talents. Peggy Sawyer had always been a dream role of mine. Ever since I had seen the National Touring production of 42ND STREET at the Golden Gate Theatre in San Francisco, around the time of my eighth-grade graduation. Turns out I had seen Cathy in this role. Amazing. More importantly, Cathy was an incredible individual. She was warm and friendly, complimentary, and encouraging. I ended up playing the role of Peggy in 42ND STREET at the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse in Auburn, NY many years later. I felt like I had learned how to do that role successfully by learning from the best. I even got to wear the "Peggy" costumes from the most recent National Touring Co. It was a dream come true.
Another favorite show is LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS. Audrey was a dream role! I also love MY FAIR LADY. And GYPSY. I have performed in both shows. Just love both of those shows' scores. Have played Dainty June (long ago; it was the first role that I performed in a professional production!). I think that someday I'd like to play Mama Rose. ANYTHING GOES is also a fantastic show, with wonderful music. I loved playing the sassy gun moll, Erma. But someday I'd like to play Reno Sweeney. Would love to sing that role. CABARET is also an all-time fave. Just LOVE Liza! The film is the perfect movie musical. How thrilled was I when Liza came to our last performance of LITTLE SHOP at WBT? And she came backstage after the show! Pretty awesome. I saw the Broadway revival of CABARET five times. That's a record. Sally Bowles is definitely a dream role. Liza definitely the inspiration. I think it is her greatest performance. She's an icon. One of the last "real" musical theatre stars. If I were to play Sally, it would have to be pretty soon!
I loved watching the film of LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS. Ellen Greene is a phenomenon. But I couldn't study her performance before creating mine. We are so different! I'm glad I "did my own thing". :)
My favorite moment in the show was singing "Suddenly, Seymour". For the high-powered singing plus the emotional investment. Talk about a theatrical high!
I just had a baby on November 1, 2008! Adrienne Nicole Grunspan. She is already the love of my life. I know she will react positively to my being on stage. When I get back on one! For now, I am happy to take care of this precious little miracle.
I love to EAT. And I love to TRAVEL. I love to travel to different countries and EAT their food! My husband and I took a trip to Poland this past summer. I was about 5 1/2 months pregnant. I had a fantastic time eating. Enjoyed some kielbasa and pierogis-to-die-for, for sure, and other delicious traditional polish cuisine. I like to stay in shape by way of dance class and jogging. Actually, I do not enjoy jogging. I guess I enjoy the way I feel AFTER I jog...good about myself and energetic! I enjoy good conversation. A good conversation with a family member or friend really makes my whole day. I enjoy going to the movies and the theatre, of course! I love documentary films, independent, foreign, drama, comedy, even action/adventure, and animated films, on occasion. In fact, I take my movie-going/movie-watching fairly seriously! And I like to cook and bake. Just made a delicious Christmas dinner for five. Yum! Oh, I mustn't leave out my "guilty pleasures"...reality TV in the form of lots of Bravo TV: Project Runway, Top Chef, and Top Design. Also addicted to "So You Think You Can Dance?". Next season I am starting an internet pool to predict the winner among my family and friends, LOL. Oh, and I can't leave out "The Office". Have watched every single second of every single season of that show. Never laughed so hard in my life.
I have lots of favorite musicals! MISS SAIGON, DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS, CHESS, COPACABANA, MY FAIR LADY, WICKED, THE LAST FIVE YEARS, CABARET. also some musical theatre soloist albums: Kristin Chenoweth, Debbie Gravitte...Barbra, of course. Dolly Parton, Norah Jones, Annie Lennox, Kelly Clarkson. The Story. Ella. I guess you could say I'm into female vocalists. ;) There are some men...Bill Withers, James Taylor, Nat King Cole, Billy Joel. I want to see James Taylor in concert.