Stories & Cast Interviews

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Heartbreaker!

Posted by: wbtpress on Tuesday, March 24, 2009 at 4:02:00 pm Comments (0)

      

GRANT  NORMAN plays gambler, Nicky Arnstein, in Funny Girl.

 

I was born in Two Harbors, MN, and grew up in the Midwest, around Minneapolis. I was the only one in our family to enter the performing arts...and when I say family, I mean the entire family tree! I started singing at a very young age, and remember being in my first choir in the 5th grade.  I definitely got the bug, and continued to sing throughout high school and into college, where I auditioned for a dance company, and got in!  From there it was on to theater as a dancer, and eventually...leading roles.  I never had in my mind that I wanted to be an actor when I was young, it just happened.  I was aware how difficult the industry was, so I just played it by ear.  As long as I enjoyed it, and could make a living from it...I continued.  Fortunately, that led me all the way to New York City and Broadway.
I learned from so many people along the way but didn't really have any mentors for the business.  Kathy and Eddie Gasper were my mentors for dance.  I was in their dance company for 4 years (13 shows).  I learned an awful lot from them.  Eddie was a one time Bob Fosse dance asst. on Broadway and the movies.  He had many stories to tell.
I don't have a dream role. My favorite show is still "West Side Story".  The combination of story, music & dance makes it uniquely stand out for me as a masterwork of theater.       I've never seen the film of Funny Girl.  I try not to watch a movie version of a show I will be working on. 

Jill Abramovitz (Fanny Brice) is wonderful to work with.  I have found so many moments in the show that are moving with her.
When not on stage, I enjoy spending time with my wife and soon to be little girl.

My iPod holds a wide variety.  The song that is currently on it is "Black Hole Sun" by Soundgarden.  A hit from the 90's.  I love pop and rock songs from the 60's all the way to the present.  I LOVE classical music!  There's some Country Music, Jazz, R&B, Show Tunes (of course), New Age... Music is very important to me.  I try to appreciate and expose myself to all kinds of music.

 

 

Monday, March 23, 2009

She's A Funny Girl!!

Posted by: wbtpress on Monday, March 23, 2009 at 9:49:00 am Comments (0)

  JILL ABRAMOVITZ stars as Fanny Brice in FUNNY GIRL.

I grew up in Morristown, New Jersey.  A lovely place.  (My sister will mock me when she reads this because I overuse the word "lovely.") Went to Morristown High and had a great time.  Did all the school shows and played field hockey - at which I stunk.  I'm not one of those people who hated high school.  I actually loved it.  Then I went to the University of Pennsylvania for college, which I also loved.  I Majored in French literature and Psychology.  I wanted a liberal arts education.  


I'm emotional, I'm expressive, and I have a big mouth and large opinions.  But I did have some of those incredible experiences in the theatre that steered me more strongly in the actor direction.  I remember when Peter Pan flew out over the audience and I lost my mind.  Or when I sat in one of the first few rows of Song and Dance and fell in love with Bernadette Peters.  She was so alive and passionate and beautiful and it was a transformative experience going through that journey with her.   I cried like a little girl.  Well, I was a little girl, but still.  I suppose, like most people, I'm still having those experiences, so they continue to make me want to be an actor. Except when I have to audition, then I don't want to be an actor.  That's when I dream of being an accountant or a fish.  I tell my husband that all the time.  I get jealous of fish because they don't have to audition.  

 

Mentors are everywhere.  I hate to sound corny, but you get so much from watching people perform.  Movies, TV, theatre, everywhere.   I saw an actress in a show a few years ago and I remember the power of her stillness - how much command she had when she stood in one place and sang.  The entire cast of  Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me  on Broadway taught me about bringing in fresh ideas every single day to rehearsal.  Always throwing a new batch of spaghetti on the wall and seeing what stuck.   My high school director, Jane Wintz, taught me about discipline - being on time, shutting up backstage, and not missing rehearsal.  A guy I did one day on a film with said to me, "You don't have to look at me just because you're yelling at me."  I loved that.  Jason Bateman on “Arrested Development” - he is the all-knowing guru of deadpan and perfect timing.  So, yeah, I think mentors are everywhere.   

I would love to play Cordelia in Falsettos.  I would love to do a Christopher Durang play.  ANY Christopher Durang play.   I would love to pay the Baker's Wife in Into The Woods.  

How could I not be a fan of the film?  Barbra Streisand is perfection.  Brazen and beautiful and on fire - and so impossibly young!  I learned of the real Fanny Brice through the show - which I don't necessarily think is a bad thing.  I appreciate how theatre can immortalize historical events and characters, and introduce them to a wider audience.  Art is a vehicle for history.  It electrifies the past.  


My favorite moment in this show?   “Don't Rain on my Parade”.  I love how it sounds like a big LOOK AT ME moment - but it's not. She's on a mission.  It's almost a DON'T look at me moment.  Like - just leave me alone and let me live my life, make my own mistakes.  

I have a lot of writing going on right now - so that takes up a lot of time.  Other than that - I like to hang out with babies - there are a lot of them in my life suddenly, including my one-year-old niece.  I love hanging out with my brilliant and funny friends - but I haven't done enough of that lately.  I love walking in Central Park and going to this killer class called Core Fusion.  And I enjoy my fair share of reality television.  (Watched The Real Housewives of NYC tonight. Yes I did.)   

What music I listen to the most:  Tied for first place are Ben Folds and Jonathan Brooke, followed by Shawn Colvin and Stevie Wonder. There are obviously musicals on there - I'd say "The Last Five Years" is in first place this week.  I also listen to my husband's (Brad Alexander's) music a lot.  And I'm not biased - he's amazing.  I listen to my own stuff, too - I'm a lyricist and I'm usually obsessing about something that needs rewriting.  I have a lot of genius writer friends who are not famous yet, but will be.  So I listen to their music.  I seriously listen to my friend Adam Overett's demo on the treadmill.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Last Chance To SeeThe NUNS!

Posted by: wbtpress on Thursday, March 19, 2009 at 4:43:00 pm Comments (0)

Meshuggah-Nuns! is coming to a close! Last four Performances ... 3/19,  3/20 and a Matinee and Evening performance on 3/21........What's even better..order online tickets and get 20% off!!    Don't miss the fun! Oy Vay!!

David Edwards & Sister Mary Annette!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Melody? Sarah? Please step forward!

Posted by: wbtpress on Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 2:08:00 pm Comments (0)

Stephanie Wahl as Cruise Director Melody Joy Lapidus

I grew up in Baltimore.  My mother was involved in a local not-for-profit theatre group and got my older sister involved in classes because she was shy.  I went along to rehearsals at 3 years old and started performing with the group when they needed a replacement for Gretl in The Sound of Music.
I had so many wonderful actors around me as a child as well as the artistic director of the company and I learned all my basics from them - it was wonderful.
I've been lucky enough to perform some of my dream roles: Wendy in Peter Pan Laurey in Oklahoma, Lady Macbeth in Macbeth and Abigail Adams in 1776.  One dream role still eluding me is Hedda Gabler.
I've known about "Nunsense" since it's run Off-Broadway.  And it is truly a delight to get to work everyday with Danny Goggin.  He is kind, generous, and oh yeah...funny!
What is my favorite moment in this show? Of course when I get to say "I can see Russia from my state room".
I think you can learn anything if you have an affinity or love for it.
I love to cook, be with my family, watch movies, and watch other great actors work on stage and film.