Stories & Cast Interviews
Victoria Lauzun Plays Her Dream Role In RAGTIME
Craig Waletzko on stage as Father in Ragtime...
Craig Waletzko (l) as Father with Todd Ritch (as Younger Brother)
I grew up mostly in Northern California, near San Jose. There’s tons of children's and community theatre there. My mom took me to a children's theatre audition for "Alice in Wonderland" in 5th grade. I got cast as King's Horseman #2.
What influenced you to become an actor? Any mentors?
I had seen Singin' in the Rain on TV when I was 7. That hooked me on the musical side. Then in 7th grade I was doing a straight play with this semi-pro theater in my hometown. I got to help one of the character men with his upcoming Julius Caesar audition - the Cassius monologue. ("The fault dear Brutus lies not in our stars but in ourselves...") Language, inflection, rhythm, emotion - HOOKED!!
When did you first hear of RAGTIME ... Have you done the show before?
I first read the book sometime in the 80's, and I remember being surprised by how much sex was in it. When the original production came to Broadway, I wondered how they would translate it for the musical stage. AMAZED at the result. All that adult-oriented material is kept under the surface. It’s still a (mostly) family-friendly show, but for discerning adults there's a LOT more going on than just what is in the dialogue.
I've never done the show myself before, and I’m glad to have the opportunity. (Always excited to play the less-than-lovable characters!)
What are some of your favorite shows? What is your dream role?
Favorite show of all time: Gypsy. I’ve been in five productions (playing everything from newsboy to Tulsa to the back of the cow) including the 1989 Broadway revival with Tyne Daly. The score is amazing, but even if you take away all the songs, the book is so powerful all on its own.
Dream role: Anything that pays well, runs for years, and lets me sleep in my own bed!
What do you enjoy doing when you're not on stage?
I've been married for nearly 24 years to actress/playwright/director Joey Brenneman, and we have two daughters. So offstage life is pretty busy with volleyball practice, college applications, homework help etc. I also work in real estate with the Corcoran Group here in NYC. (Do you know anyone who's buying or selling?)
What's on your iPod?
Surprisingly, not a lot of show tunes. Tons of classic and not-so-classic rock, some NPR Podcasts, and I just bought the Inside Llewin Davis soundtrack.
Meet Ragtime's Antoine Smith! (Booker T. Washington)
My grandmother Modupe Omawale was a playwright and poet. She is where I believe I got my passion and love of everything theatrical. 2 of my greatest mentors were Russ Clifford and Julie DeGroot, 2 of my teachers in High School, who pushed me beyond what they had to. But, my ultimate mentors would have to be my parents Christine and Cleotha Wooten. Truly without them I don't know where I would be today. There was never a time in my life where they let me give up on anything. And they have been there every step of the way in my life and my career.
I first heard of Ragtime when it first came out I'd say '97 or '98. I used to come home from school everyday and watch the Rosie O'donell show. And that's the first time I ever saw or heard of Ragtime. Fun fact, my best friend Amanda Adams Berry and I would sing all the Coalhouse and Sarah songs on our way to play rehearsals in high school. She was my white Sarah. And boy could she sing just like Audra McDonald.
Some of my favorite shows are of course RENT being the number 1. The Tony Award Winner for Best Musical "Memphis" not only because I was in it. But it's one of the best musicals to play Broadway in my opinion. Ragtime of course. Gypsy with Patti Lupone to be specific. The Wiz, FELA, In The Heights, Big River, Chaplin, CATS. Fun fact about CATS: I used to love that show so much in my freshman year in college, I didn't have cable, so every night before bed, I would pop in my CATS VHS to fall asleep to. And 10 years after my freshman year of college, I had the opportunity to join the National Tour of CATS. I won't say the year:-) I have played several of my dream roles already. But Coalhouse is next on the list.
When I'm not on stage I enjoy sitting on my couch watching the Food Network. Fun fact, I also have my A.A.S. in Culinary Arts.
I have everything on my iPod from Classical, to Rap, to African to Gospel music. It's definitely a WIDE array of music.
In RENT In MEMPHIS