Stories & Cast Interviews

Friday, October 12, 2007

Audrey ...lovely Audrey

Posted by: WBT on Friday, October 12, 2007 at 9:04:00 pm Comments (0)

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.