Stories & Cast Interviews
Meet Joanna Young in The Bikinis!
I grew up in Omaha, Nebraska. My parents were both teachers and I have a younger brother. I started performing when I was 9 in a local production of ANNIE. After that show, I was smitten and did many other productions. After high school, I attend NYU as a musical theater major.
I can't really imagine any other career for myself. I feel the most alive when I'm on stage and performing. I've had a lot of amazing teachers along the way, most of them music teachers who taught me not only about technique but the value of hard work and how to express myself through this artistic medium.
My agents first told me about this show when I auditioned for a different production a couple years ago. I was cast and did the show at the Riverside Theater with both Karyn and Katy. I had a great time. I really love singing these classic songs with these women. The four-part harmony and arrangements are amazing and we have a lot of fun with the silly sketches.
My favorite show is probably A Chorus Line. I've done the show numerous times. I usually play Diana Morales, but I also got to play Val once, which was fun. I have a lot of dream roles and have been lucky enough to play some of them (Eponine in Les Miz and Janet in The Drowsy Chaperone). I'd love to play Nellie Forbush in South Pacific, but I'm probably too old for that now. I'd also love to play Dot in Sunday in the Park with George, Trina in Falsettos, and Betty Blake in The Will Rogers Follies.
I love doing new work and feel like my favorite role hasn't been written yet.
I have three sons who keep me very busy. I love to watch them play baseball and hear them practice their instruments. We love to play games together too (card & board games etc.). I'm an avid reader and I carry a book with me everywhere I go.
I have a huge assortment of music on my phone and computer. I love jazz, pop, theater. The Beatles, Linda Ronstadt, Dolly Parton, Sara Bareilles & John Mayer are some of my favorites. I've currently been reminded of my love of Blossom Dearie and I'm listening to a lot of her old albums.
Meet Jersey Girl, Karyn Quackenbush in The Bikinis!
I grew up in West Milford, New Jersey. Back then it was considered a very rural town, but my parents always took me into see Broadway shows and also took me to Radio City Music Hall.
When I was just a toddler, my parents took me to see Mary Poppins, the movie. I freaked out. I wanted to sing like Julie Andrews. Every time I was in school, kindergarten, first grade, second grade, I would always get in trouble because I was constantly singing in class. Then one day my parents took me to see Jesus Christ Superstar on Broadway, and that was it! I knew what I wanted to do for a living!
As for the show The Bikinis, I think it's safe to say that Ray Roderick, my husband, wrote the show very loosely based on my summers at the Jersey shore. He loved the fact that every summer I went to the shore and had a different group of friends than I had when I was in school. When you were at the the shore, you could reinvent yourself. The friends you had at the shore didn't know that you were unpopular in school, or you were called a band nerd!! My friends at the shore thought I was cool cause I could sing!
I've been doing the BIKINIS since the year 2010! I believe this is my seventh production.
Some of my favorite shows are the shows from a while ago. Funny Girl, Annie Get Your Gun, Little Shop of Horrors, Jesus Christ Superstar.
As far as the dream role, I have a feeling this will never happen, but I always wanted to play Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors.
When I'm not doing a show, I am a personal assistant for a famous actress. I also am a certified dog groomer and a dog walker! I love all my other jobs!
The songs I love to listen to on my iPod etc. are from artists like Linda Ronstadt, John Denver, Peter Paul and Mary, and I love love love Janice Joplin!
Meet Anne Fraser Thomas in THE BIKINIS
We met with Anne between shows... Here's what this amazing actor had to say!
I grew up in Southern California and moved out to NY about 8 years ago. I played piano since I was 5 so music has always been a passion of mine ;). My upbringing was pretty strict, mostly studying and practicing piano 2 hours a day.
I came into performing on stage late in high school, but had always loved music. My parents weren't too fond that I became a performer, but I loved becoming a different person on stage each time.
I was asked my the arranger of the show, Joe Baker, to do this project! Joe and I had worked together on a number of projects. This is my first time doing the show. I had sung all the disco songs before through bands I had worked with, and knew some of the other songs before! What a great selection of music!
I like any show that is funny and has heart.. Avenue Q is one of my favorite shows because of that! I would say I've played a majority of my dream roles. Aldonza in Man of La Mancha is my favorite part to play and I would love to play that role forever! I would love to play Lady of the Lake in Spamalot!
When I’m not on stage, I love watching shows on Netflix, working out at the gym, catching up with friends, and traveling!
I love listening to music by Lizz Wright! Also, I have a weird mix of Jazz, pop, Broadway, and random karaoke tracks that I listen to!
Meet Katy Blake in THE BIKINIS
We caught up with Katy between shows.. Here's what this multi-talented actor had to say!
I Grew up in Danville, VA. I have two sisters and we all sang in the church choir in Danville. We were in the band and I sang in a band in High School. I can't remember the name of the band but we covered George Michael and Madonna and Cyndi Lauper. I don't think we ever wrote our own song, tho:)
I was always dramatic as a child. In school plays and community theatre. I grew up with sisters and cousins and neighborhood kids and I would write plays, direct them, and star in them. I used to get upset when kids didn't show up to rehearsals.
I auditioned for the show when it was done at Riverside Theatre in Florida a few years ago. I wasn't cast originally, however, I got a call from Jim Hindman about a problem they were having with casting that production after rehearsals had started and he asked if I was available. I kind of was (had to shift some things around) but it was Florida in November and December so who was I to say No? I learned the role of Barbara in three days and had a ball! I assisted Jim in directing the show in Rochester, and I directed it in Westport, NY at the Depot Theatre a couple of summers ago!
I'm on the Hamilton bandwagon and think it's a fantastic show! I have gotten to play most of my dream roles - Eva in Evita, Christine in Phantom. My favorite role I have ever played (and I played it three times) was Percy in The Spitfire Grill.
When not on stage, I write! I'm writing an original musical (Storming Heaven: the Musical) and we just had our first reading at Playwrights Horizons in January. I love to knit - especially backstage as I can still pay attention to what's going on and can make cute clothes for all my friends who are having babies!
I am happily married to a wonderful man, Barry Wilson, and I love to cook and he loves to eat so it's a match made in heaven! I love gardening and am very lucky that in our place in Harlem, we have a large patio and I have grown everything from tomatoes and eggplants to figs and flowers!
Music I listen to? Right now it's the music to the show I'm writing. Oh, and Lady Gaga. I Love her!