LIANNE as Lucy in Jekyll & Hyde!!

tags: News, Press
Posted by: wbtpress on Friday, December 31, 2010 at 12:42:00 pm
LIANNE MARIE DOBBS joins the cast of Jekyll & Hyde this New Year!  Read on for some insider info!  
I was blessed with a very supportive and musical family- and grew up listening to records (yes records) of Itzhak Perlman, Toscanini conducting the NY Philharmonic, Joan Sutherland at the Met, Tchaikovsky ballet suites, and Abbey Road. (Can't forget Abbey Road!) And on weekends after my ballet class and my little brother's little league game, my brother and I would usually "unwind" watching black & white films, usually comedies like Abbott & Costello or Jerry Lewis & Dean Martin, but sometimes I would convince him to give a Gene Kelly film a try - and if Esther Williams was in a swimsuit for half the film he usually didn't squawk! 
For a while growing up, I didn't know whether I wanted to be Judy Garland or Julie Kent (prima ballerina) - but I finally figured it out. My first professional theatre experience was as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz in Walnut Creek, California, and several of my cast members ended up becoming mentors for the rest of my career.  I shall always strive to live up to the example of professionalism and generosity that my fellow actors in that production gave to me as a young actress.  Both my parents worked backstage that show, and later my brother worked as an assistant stage manager for that company.

I will confidently say that all those years of 30 or more hours of ballet a week helps me in my life every day: nothing teaches self-discipline and perseverance like ballet. Ballet is soooo hard! But for me, ballet class wasn't just about the height of my jumps or precision of my turns- it was about breathing with the music and strengthening my body so that it could reflect the music's melody and rhythms through movement as accurately as possible. And finally, I realized that my definition of the ballet was ACTING not just dancing. I wanted to act out the story of the music... and I wanted to sing with my whole being. So here we are. And I can actually eat FOOD now too! 

The biggest influence in my life is my grandfather- Rocco DiStasio - who was an accomplished symphony trumpet player and conductor. He was also a revered high school music teacher in San Jose, California for many years and was very vocal about his love for GOOD music and fine musicianship. I sang in the church choir from the age of 8, and making Papa proud with the way I sang a solo was a wonderful accomplishment!  My enthusiasm, passion for music, and confidence come from him and I carry the memory of him with me always. 

This is my first time performing Jekyll & Hyde - and I already hope I play Lucy again! I owned recordings of the show, but actually haven't seen a production before!  I love portraying Lucy, and I understand her, in my own way.  We are both strong-minded romantics who take risks in order to survive.  My risks certainly haven't cost me my life, but some of the crazy survival jobs I have done sure don't help my mom sleep easy at night!  It's a wonderful blessing to play opposite Xander Chauncey - who is a dear friend of mine. The story of Lucy and Jekyll & Hyde requires us both to be vulnerable on stage, and sharing that experience with someone you trust and admire is a cherished gift for an actor.

So far my favorite theater experience has been originating the role of Emma in the new musical version of Jane Austen's Emma – from its conception, I journeyed from reading the first draft in the composer's backyard to recording the demo, to doing workshops in CA and NY and then three full productions... an actor's dream come true!  I played Emma opposite the fabulous Timothy Gulan - who previously portrayed Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar at WBT.  I would love to originate another role - it's such a delicious challenge. Hmmm.... maybe Nora Charles in a musical version of The Thin Man - anybody want to write it for me? ;-) 

My favorite hobbies are swing dancing, singing good ol' standards at jazz clubs, getting a single standing room ticket to the Metropolitan Opera and weeping shamelessly, and cooking a big meal and watching friends eat!  Favorite outdoor hobbies that I am ashamed that I don’t do enough are bicycling down the Tuscany hillsides with a backpack full of wine, kayaking in the Russian River, skiing in Tahoe, and motorcycling along the Pacific Coastline – but maybe someday they will all be repeated!

The most played music on my iPod: Barbra Streisand's first three albums (AMAZING!!!!!), Rosemary Clooney, Peggy Lee, Linda Eder, Judy Garland, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Billie Holliday, Oscar Peterson Trio, U2, Mark Lanegan, The Black Keys, The Beatles, and The Who.


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