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Posts Tagged ‘“Law & Order”’

I had the privilege of sitting down with Chip Zien on October 16, 2010 after seeing his show “The History of War” in NYMF, which also starred fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant Max Von Essen. My first introduction to Chip was watching him on “All My Children” when he played gossip reporter “Donald Steele,” and from that moment on I was hooked. I then got to meet Chip after seeing him in the Broadway production of “The Boys From Syracuse” in 2002. He was so nice and now to have the opportunity to sit down with him personally for an interview with “Adaumbelle’s Quest” is a real honor!

Chip Zien is an award winning actor who has delighted audiences worldwide in theatre, film, and television! Chip created the roles “The Baker” in Stephen Sondheim/James Lapine’s “Into The Woods” as well as the role of “Mendel” in William Finn’s “Falsettos.” His many other Broadway credits include “In Trousers,” “March of the Falsettos,” “Falsettoland,” “The Country Girl,” the revival of “Les Miserables,” “Grand Hotel,” “The Boys From Syracuse,” “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” “All Over Town,” and “The Suicide.” Off-Broadway and regionally, Chip has entertained audiences in “Merrily We Roll Along” (L.A. Drama-Logue Award), “Anonymous,” “An Imaginary Life,” “Isn’t It Romantic” (Drama Desk Nomination), “Split,” “Moonchildren,” “Hot L Baltimore,” “Kaddish,” “A New Brain” (Drama Desk Nomination), “Diamonds,” “Real Life Funnies,” and “Tuscaloosa’s Calling Me.”

Chip has also written several shows for the stage. His one-man show “Death in Ashtabula,” “Travels With My Discontent” (a new musical written with Deborah Abramson, et al), and most recently “The History of War” which was presented at NYMF this past fall.

When not on stage or sometimes at the same time, Chip has been a fixture on television. In addition to being the announcer on “The Caroline Rhea Show,” Chip has appeared in numerous television shows such as “Lipstick Jungle,” “Rescue Me,” “CSI,” “Law and Order,” “Cheers,” “The Bob Newhart Show,” “Thirty-Something,” “Judging Amy,” “Cosby,” “The Cagney and Lacey Movies,” “Chips”, “Son of the Beach,” “Madigan Men,” “Wings,” “All My Children,” “Almost Perfect,” “Now and Again,” “Deadline,” “Shell Game,” “Love, Sidney,” “Reggie.”

Chip has also lit up the big screen in “The Siege,” “Howard The Duck” (the voice of Howard), “United 93,” “Snake Eyes,” “Breakfast of Champions,” “Dorothy Parker and the Vicious Circle,” “Grace Quigley,” “So Fine,” “Hello Again,” “House of God,” “and “The Rose.”

Currently, Chip is reworking “The History of War” for future production. Stay tuned to “Adaumbelle’s Quest” to find out when that will be!

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and Perry Como. I always thought I’d grow up to be like Frank Sinatra, I thought Dean Martin was the greatest actor I’d ever seen, and I wanted to host a variety show like Perry Como. When I first came to NY, it was really my goal to just sing and host a variety show. Danny Kaye was a big influence on me as well…his songs were the first ones I really learned.

2. Who’s the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? Geoffrey Rush. I would have liked to work with Sinatra. You know early on in my career, I was very friendly with Henry Winkler and I was very jealous of Henry because he got to meet Sinatra and I never did. Of course, I would have also loved to work with Jack Lemon and Walter Matthau. I’ve said “Hi” to Angela Lansbury, but never worked with her, though I would love to. I’d like to work with all these wonderful actors in my show (“The History Of War”).

3. If you couldn’t be doing what you are doing now, what career would you choose? I was motoring down two paths when I graduated college…one was to be a lawyer and one was performing. I grew up in Milwaukee and as much as you could have a stage mother in Milwaukee, mine was one. She would enter me in these tiny tot talent shows and I would always sing in them. I’d sing “Down Yonder Someone Beckons To Me” and be dressed up like a cowboy with six shooters and a cowboy hat and at the end of the song I would pull my guns out and shoot off caps. So, I was always singing and be in shows, but performing seemed like an odd thing to do as a profession. A lot of my family were lawyers, so my real plan was to go to college, be a history major, go to law school and then be a lawyer or work on a political campaign. I actually ran a guy’s campaign my first year out of college and he lost by 1/2 a percentage point and if he had won, I would have gone to Georgetown Law School at night and work on his staff during the day and then my life would have changed. The reason I ended up acting, not only because I had been doing it my whole life through college, but because my step-sister was running a theatre in Chicago and somebody got sick, this was right after that campaign ended and I had to wait until January to start law school, so my sister said why don’t you come down here and you could play “Little Chap” in “Stop The World.” We are doing these three shows in this repertory theater and after a few months there the theatre burned to the ground, so a bunch of us got in a car and drove to New York and I got work right away in “You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown.” The rest as they say is history.

4. What’s your most embarrassing on-stage moment? I’ve had a few…but one of the worst was when I was doing “Grand Hotel” and I took over for Michael Jeter, who was fantastic. My wife was a dancer in the NYC Ballet and now she teaches at the School of American Ballet and she said to me, you know when you kick your leg up to do those big fan kicks, you’re leg is just not going anywhere. She said what really makes it terrible is that you keep looking at it. So don’t look at your leg, look up instead. I was determined to be a better dancer, so when I went on stage that night I looked up and fell backwards on my head (like doing a back flip) and everyone on stage just gasped. The first thought I had was I hope that I’m still standing, and that everyone else had fallen and turned upside down, so I was momentarily convinced that I was okay and the rest of the cast had fallen. Eventually the cast was hysterical laughing and dancing around me. Another time in “Into The Woods,” the fog machines wouldn’t turn off. The stage became so filled up that we couldn’t see anything and we all had to grope our ways out of the stage door onto 45th Street. We stood on the street hysterically laughing. The orchestra was stuck in the pit, the actors are out on the street, and the audience was trying to get out. Oh that night was a complete disaster. I’ve had a bunch of them…

5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? It was actually from James Lapine who said to me: “Stay focused on what you are doing. Just do your job. Don’t project too far ahead. Try not worry.” It’s the old cliche of “Staying in the moment.” My mom told me years ago when I was at camp, which I think she heard someone had said to James Cagney (I played all the great female roles in summer camp shows, I was “Lola” in “Damn Yankees,” I was “Liza Doolittle” in “My Fair Lady”), “You know you’re wandering all over the place. Stand still until you have a reason to move.” Wynn Handman, a great acting teacher in New York once said to me “Go to LA and make lots of money, then come back here and I’ll fix you.”

6. What’s your proudest moment? The birth of my children is probably the most amazing thing that’s ever happened to me. I also have to say driving by the Martin-Beck Theatre (now the Hirschfeld) when the big boot from “Into The Woods” went up on the marquee. I stood on the corner with Joanna Gleason and I never thought this would happen to me. We stood there together and thought “Wow, this was awesome.” It was this realization that something I wanted to do my whole life had happened and it happened at a very high level which I probably would have never imagined. One of the really cool things was when we taped that show for “Great Performances,” I had a moment with Sondheim after it was over, and we had a really great audience that night. It was one of those audiences who knew every line in the show and Sondheim said to me, “This is as good as it can get” and I just started to cry.

7. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that nobody knows about? Not really, but I think the one thing that is different is that I build my own computers. I’m technically pretty sophisticated. I was president of my high school AV squad and I mean old school when you had to thread the 16mm film. As the years have gone by, I was thinking, the things that interested me when I was 12 are the same things that interest me today. I’m also really good at Photoshop…I think it’s the 8th wonder of the world. It’s amazing what you can do. I’m also an excellent Yo-Yoist. I can do really complicated Yo-Yo tricks and that is because there was a Yo-Yo champion in “Grand Hotel” who used to practice back stage.

8. Favorite play/musical? My favorite musical is “Sweeney Todd.” My favorite play I’m stumped on, but I would have to say “Death of a Salesman.” I would love to do that show. I’m old enough to do it. I know they are doing it again, but it’s not with me. Me: Well that’s a mistake. Chip: I also love “Waiting for Godot.” The army scenes in this show are kind of modeled after “Waiting for Godot” at least in my head.

9. Favorite website? I’m a political junkie. I would say The Huffington Post, Talking Points Memo, and I sneak onto some of the theatrical websites.

10. Mary or Rhoda? Mary.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? I used to have a recurring dream where I would drink coffee around a camp fire with John Wayne and he would say “Kid, it’s gonna be okay.” Then that dream mutated to Jack Gilford as I got older. It’s kind of really funny because they are opposite ends of the spectrum. I crossed paths with John Wayne at one moment in my career because at one point we had the same agent, obviously it was late in his career and early in mine, and I was sitting in a lobby across from John Wayne and I thought to myself “Wow, this is really the yin and yang of show business right here.” I said, “Hi” and he said, “Hi, how are you doing kid?”

I would also love to dream about having dinner with Bill and Hillary or President Obama. I liked to dream about being at some of those big meetings they have, like health care. Those dreams can be exciting because you can’t be at them in real life.

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Stage presence, comedic timing, and a smile to light up the room, Amy Rutberg is a performer to go see! From television to film to theatre, Amy has conquered them all!

She has delighted theatre audiences in New York as well as regionally throughout the US. NY credits include “Perfect Harmony,” “The Jazz Age,” “Our Leading Lady,” “Ostrovsky,” “The Civil War,” “The Night They Raided Minsky’s,” “Bat Boy The Musical,” “The Grave White Way,” and the current Off-Broadway smash hit “The Divine Sister” (click here for my review). Regionally, Amy has lit up the stage in “Dracula,” “Dracula The Musical,” “The Rocky Horror Show,” “Man of La Mancha,” “My Fair Lady,” “Porkbroker’s Daughter,” “Bye, Bye, Birdie,” “The Pajama Game,” “Into The Woods,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Lysistrata,” “Evita,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “Two Gentleman of Verona,” and “You Can’t Take It With You.”

In Film and Television, Amy has been seen in HBO’s “Recount,” “Inside Out,” “Camp Summer Stage,” “Law & Order,” “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” “The Unusuals,” “As The World Turns,” “Everwood,” “Broken Record,” “Pacific Blue,” “Fourteenth,” and “Emma & Lorraine.”

Amy’s comedic strengths have been showcased in “Gravid Water” with Upright Citizen’s Brigade and “Don’t Quit Your Night Job” at HA! Comedy club and are currently being featured in Charles Busch’s “The Divine Sister” at the SoHo Playhouse in NYC (15 Vandam Street, between Varick Street & 6th Ave), where she is making audiences laugh out loud hysterically 8 times a week!

For much more on Amy, be sure to visit http://www.amyrutberg.com.

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? There was never a moment when I thought “I want to be a performer” I just WAS a performer. I had no fear as a child. If there was anything that resembled a stage in my proximity I was climbing onto it and singing. I would come home from school and tell my mother that I had a class assignment where I was supposed to dress up as a character from a book. She knew this wasn’t true but would indulge in my fantasy. She would help me put together a costume and then I would come to class dressed up as “Romona the Pest” and insist on singing “Eternal Flame” by the Bangles in front of everyone…dressed as Romona the Pest. I think everyone else knew I would be a performer way before I did. I was lucky to have encouraging parents and teachers. Well, maybe not always encouraging but at least tolerant.

2. Who is the one  person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? I’d love to work with some more fabulous theatre directors like Jack O’Brien or David Cromer. I love their work.

3. What is your most embarrassing on-stage moment? This is an easy one! I did a play called “Perfect Harmony” Off-Broadway last year and I accidentally called an actress by her real name in a scene. That was humiliating. Not sure anyone noticed but she sure did!

4. If you couldn’t be doing what you are doing now, what career would you choose? Running a Hedge Fund.

5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? “Better to Loose the battle and win the war” and “Look at your career as a marathon not a race.” They probably came from the same person.

6. Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts? What do you order? I have a big time sweet tooth and I love coffee, so both make me happy. Not crazy about the donuts at Dunkin. I’m from Southern California. Nothing beats a Winchell’s donut. I like that banana coffee cake thing at Starbucks.

7. Favorite way to stay in shape? Oy. I like the classes at “Crunch,” it’s motivating. I also like biking. Anything to avoid cutting out sweets.

8. Favorite skin care product? Kihels “Brightening Botanical Moisture Fluid.” It’s so refreshing after I take of the lbs of makeup I wear for “Divine Sister.” I have a fab dermatologist Dr. Geyer. He gives me free samples and laughs at my jokes. I love him!!

9. Favorite website? www.travelandleisure.com

10. Superman or Wonder Woman? Charles Busch.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? Dr. Geyer- I mean, um.. world peace!

12. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that nobody knows about? I’m really good at brain teasers and games of skill like card games. Backstage I’m often playing word games with my brother on my iphone between scenes.  Also, I once discovered I have an unusual affinity to Bocce ball. Wonder how that can be monetized? I love to gamble. Acting is really the perfect profession for me.


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On November 4, 2010, I had the distinct pleasure of sitting down with real-life married couple Jonathan Walker and Jennifer Van Dyck after seeing them in hilarious new Charles Busch show “The Divine Sister” at the SoHo Playhouse. This was my very first joint couple interview (Thank You James Valletti for the idea!) and it was thrilling! With impeccable comedic timing, Jonathan and Jennifer bring the house down while on stage both together and separately.

Jonathan has delighted audiences on Broadway in “20th Century” and “After the Fall,” while Off-Broadway audiences saw him in Charles Busch’s “The Third Story,” “The Divine Sister” at Theater for a New City as well as numerous productions at The Public Theater, MCC, MTC, Women’s Project, The New Group, Playwrights Horizons, Roudabout Theatre Company, La MaMa, and P.S. 122. Jonathan has lit up the big screen in such feature films as “Far From Heaven,” “People I Know,” “Heights,” “Michael Clayton,” and “Malevolence 2.” Television audiences have seen Jonathan in “The Big C,” “The Good Wife,” “Eli Stone,” “Sex and the City,” “Chapelle’s Show,” and lots of “Law & Order.”

Jennifer has dazzled Broadway audiences in “Hedda Gabbler,” “Dancing at Lughnasa,” “Two Shakespearean Actors,” and “The Secret Rapture.” Her many Off-Broadway credits include Charles Busch’s “The Third Story” and “The Divine Sister” at Theater for a New City as well as plays by Austin Pendleton, Bathsheba Doran, Suzan-Lori Parks, and Douglas Post. Film/TV audiences have seen Jennifer in “Across the Universe,” “Michael Clayton,” “Stealing Martin Lane,” “Series 7,” “States of Control,” numerous “Law & Order” episodes, “Fringe,” and “New Amsterdam.”

Now you can see both Jonathan and Jennifer shine in “The Divine Sister” at SoHo Playhouse (15 Van Dam Street) along with fellow Adaubmelle’s Quest participants Charles Busch, Julie Halston, Alison Fraser, and upcoming participant Amy Rutberg! This show is a MUST SEE, so click here for tickets and enjoy an afternoon or evening in heaven…

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer?

Jennifer: I always wanted to be an actress. There was never any question. It really began growing up…my friend and I would always put on productions of “The Wizard of Oz” and she played “Dorothy,” of course, and I played “The Scarecrow.” As far as people who inspired me, Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett. I was completely mesmerized by “I Love Lucy” reruns growing up.

Jonathan: A number of the guys I gleaned for this show, and I mean this in a good way, the cheesy leading men in the 60s/70s who I admired growing up, like Chad Everett who was on a show called “Medical Center” (who was actually in the “Singing Nun”), Charlton Heston, Dick Van Dyke, and Dick York. Also as a child, we were church going (look how it all blends with this show) and a troupe came to our church called the Alpha and Omega Players (who still exist today) and they travel around in a van and put on religious-themed (but not evangelical) shows. They came into our church, I must have been 6, and they transformed it into a performance space. They did a shortened version of “St. Joan” and I was undone. To see that space I was in three days a week turned into this thing and I have a distinct memory of standing out front of the church as the van pulled away, bursting into tears and saying to my father “I wanna go with them,” (you know instead of running away to the circus). So from “Bewitched” to “St. Joan” was the real early inspirations for me.

Jennifer: The other side of that for me was The Paperbag Players. My parents took me to that when I was very young and they terrified me. I remember they were doing Grimm’s Fairytales and people’s fingers were being cut off and people were being locked in cellars, but I was utterly transported to another world. I remember being both terrified and thrilled by the whole thing and remember saying “I want to do that.”

2. Who’s the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to?

Jennifer: Mike Leigh, the filmmaker (he’s directed “Topsy Turvy,” “Happy-Go-Lucky,” “Vera Drake,” etc), who comes from a theatre background. I just read his book and I’m just so in awe of him. I love his films. He does like six months of rehearsal with his actors, so by the time they shoot the film, the actors really know their characters inside and out. It sounds like a terrifying prospect, but I’ve always been fascinated by rehearsing as if you were living a character. Then getting to do it for film, which normally has no rehearsal, but his way you seem like you get the best of both worlds with theatre and film combined.

Jonathan: I would have to say it’s always been Vanessa Redgrave. I put out feelers for “Driving Miss Daisy” you know when they were casting it and I heard with in two days that Boyd (Gaines) was getting it and I was like “Yes, of course he is.”

3. If you couldn’t be doing what you are doing now, what career would you choose?

Jonathan: We were just talking about that with our friend Matt. You know the actor Matt McGrath, well Matt is always talking about “Drop out dream #whatever, opening a candle shop” because it’s so up and down in our profession. You go through a 2-3 month foul period and you’re like “I stink,” “They stink,” “It all stinks.” Then you go okay, Surfboard shop, masseuse, priest, baker…I always wanted to be a UPS delivery man. They have those lovely brown outfits with the shorts and the socks and I see them on the street and I go “Oh, oh, I’d love to do that, wouldn’t that be fun delivering packages all day.” (no, no that would be terrible). All jobs are difficult, all jobs are hard, that’s why they call it jobs! In all seriousness, I’d like to work with a not-for-profit group. I do a lot of volunteer work and now I’m working with a group called “Transportation Alternatives.” It’s a cycling, pedestrian, and mass transit advocacy group. I worked for the Green Gorillas for a while and God’s Love We Deliver. They’re just great because people are there for a reason. That is something I would probably do because they do good work so if I could get job with one of them full time, I would.

Jennifer: I guess I would be a teacher. I have no experience teaching, I know nothing. My mom’s a teacher and my dad’s a minister, so that’s what I’ve seen (they’ve seen this show many times already and love it, the irreverence and all).

4. How did you guys meet?

Jennifer: Doing a play…we did a production of “Hamlet” at the Old Globe, directed by Jack O’Brien. Jonthan was “Laertes” and I was “Ophelia” and Campbell Scott was our “Hamlet.”

5. What’s it like to work together and live together? How does the whole dynamic work?

Jonathan: We spend 23 hours a day together and that 1 hour apart is if you add up all the bathroom time, okay, so maybe we spend 22 hours out of the day together, if we’re including gym time. (Jennifer laughs)

Jennifer: It’s great. When we worked with Jack at The Globe, we did a couple of seasons there doing plays, but then we didn’t work together, other than readings, for like 15 years, before Charles (Busch) put us both in “The Third Story” by sheer accident…We did that in La Jolla and then that came here and all the while we got to know Charles and then he wrote this play for us…

Jonathan: We’ve been in like four plays together with Charles (2 productions of “The Third Story” and 2 productions of “The Divine Sister” (the previous one being the limited run in March ’10 at Theatre for a New City). So, we really like it. You know, we’re married, we live together, we love each other, but really like each other too and respect each other’s work…

Jennifer: I’m always amazed when actors marry civilians because schedule wise, you have no weekends, you can not plan ahead, you can’t do anything when you’re working because you’re so focused on the show…

Jonathan: (not in reference to Jennifer) But you’re also a nut job, you know, you’re out of your mind, you’ve got opening night and you’re like “Blahhh,” but the other person understands…

Jennifer: Right, so we get it, and it’s been amazing with “The Divine Sister” because it’s not just understanding one of us is in a play, we’re in the same play, so we go home and we’re like “oh that sucked” or “wow, that was great” or “what about that…”

Jonathan: Or we go “oh you had a great show, no I had a rotten show, you had a great show….”

Jennifer: We have some of that.

Jonathan: When we were opening, I was thinking maybe it would be interesting to come home to someone who has no connection to the show, because, it’s hard to come home and just detach. We’re always dissecting the show, but we don’t senor that cause it’s actually nice, even on our night off or on Sunday nights we’ll often go out to dinner and we kind of refrain for 20 minutes or so from talking about the show and then we just give into it…

Me: You guys, the whole cast, work so well together. I really feel like it’s such an ensemble piece.

Jennifer: It’s a great bunch and we all work great together. You know, Charles wrote this show for all of us and we’ve been together since the beginning and there is a real sense of comfort and ease with each other.

Jonathan: You know it’s not a lie, we really all get along and like each other. It’s really a cooperative thing, like tonight, the audience is really part of the ensemble. It’s not like “Long Days Journey Into Night” which drags you along, but the audience goes through something too and that’s part of Charles’ charm, and talent, and genius. He comes right out and puts you in his hand and he’s kind of taught us to do that a little bit and be there for the audience, and say “Come on, let’s go, let’s go do a dirty nun’s story.” (everyone laughs).

6. Favorite place to rehearse on your own?

Jennifer: In our building, our dear friend Richard Easton lives upstairs from us (as does Julie and her husband) and he was away during the time we were rehearsing “The Divine Sister” for the first time and we would take turns going up to his place to learn our lines because in our one bedroom apartment there is only a door that you can close, which usually isn’t enough to learn the lines separately….

Jonathan: It worked out great, one in his apartment and one in our apartment. The street is another good place to rehearse on your own. John Gielgud who lived in the country, used to talk about walking the roads saying lines to himself and thinking all his neighbors thought he was crazy.

Jennifer: I do learn plays when I run. Once the lines are starting to go in, I do them on the run and then I add on to what I’ve already learned. I make faces and sometimes I think other runners are like what the hell is going on. That is sort of a very meditative time for me to learn my lines.

7. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Jennifer: The first professional job I had was at Trinity Rep and Richard Jenkins was directing me in a production of “The Crucible” and he basically said to me “There is no clear path how one goes through this life (for a career). One step does not lead to another. There are side steps and vertical steps and horizontal steps. Let the unknown be your compass.”

Jonathan: I was working a lot in LA doing television and there’s a famous story that someone asked Estelle Getty “What advice do you have for a young actor trying to make it in LA?” She said, “Take Fountain” (that’s a street in LA that cuts below Sunset Blvd). You know, she’s absolutely right, you were able to get right across town, the lights worked, you were out of traffic. In LA, all you do is drive from audition to audition and I would drive down Fountain and be like, “She’s right, Estelle Getty was right.” But in line with what Jennifer said, Richard Easton gave me a piece of advice “Say, Yes” and he means that in all senses. If someone calls you up and says do you want to do a reading, say yes, because work leads to work.

8. Favorite way to spend your day off?

Jennifer: It would be to be together…

Jonathan: Often. I would say, “There ain’t enough hours in the day for the nothing I want to do.”

Both: Being in Vermont, walking in the woods.

9. Favorite website?

Jennifer: BBC News, Merriam Webster Dictionary (because I do a lot audio books and they have a pronouncing key where you can type in a word and then hear how it’s pronounced.

Jonathan: There’s a website called Chowhound.com which is an amazing resource for food. It’s a place for people who like food and like to talk about food, give recipes, restaurant suggestions, etc. There was also a website called Loronix.com, it’s a Brazilian music website and you can download all this music legally.

10. Superman or Wonder Woman?

Jennifer: Wonder Woman

Jonathan: Superdog, for me, but if I had to answer the question exactly, I would say Superman because I never quite got Wonder Woman with the rope and the bracelets. But I also love Richie Rich, Scrooge McDuck, and Baby Huey.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that nobody knows about?

Jennifer: I’m a ferocious burper. I don’t know if I’d call that a talent, but I got it from my mother and I can really let ’em rip…

Jonathan: You can really let ’em rip…I think that your portrayal of “Timmy” in “The Divine Sister” was a hidden talent. It wasn’t “Timmy” per say, but she’s very, very silly at home and pulled “Timmy” out of a hat and I’ve never seen anything like that before from her in my life…

Jennifer: (to Jonathan) What’s your secret talent?

Jonathan: I used cage drinks doing this…I can take 2 toothpicks and put them in my mouth, in my lower lip, and actually cross them, and then put them up my nose without touching them and then move my lower lip and make my nose go up and down. I know, it’s totally a stupid human trick. It’s vile and creepy and it’s odd and very few people can do it.

12. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be?

Both laughs…

Jennifer: You (meaning Jonathan)

Jonathan: and I’ll have to say Kate Winslet, but seriously the happiest dreams I have are when Jennifer’s in them.

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On Monday, April 19, I had the privilege and honor of talking with the multi-talented, dynamic, and award winning Tovah Feldshuh after watching her host the “2010 Broadway Beauty Pageant.” I only had a few moments with her, so I got in as many questions as possible, but for the few moments I had, she was kind, personable, and eager to answer my questions. Tovah is a two-time Emmy Award winner (for her portrayal of Chezch freedom fighter “Helena” in “Holocaust” and on “Law & Order” for her work as defense attorney “Danielle Melnick”) and a four-time Tony Award nominee for her roles in Broadway’s “Yental,” “Sarava!,” “Lend Me A Tenor,” and “Golda’s Balcony.” She has also won four Drama Desk Awards, four Outer Critics Circle Awards, the OBIE Award, the Theatre World Award, and the Lucille Lortel Award. Her many other Broadway credits include: “Irena’s Vow,” “Cyrano,” “Rodgers and Hart,” and “Dreyfus In Rehearsal.” Off Broadway, Tovah has been seen in “The Vagina Monologues,” “Tallulah Hallelujah!” (which was chosen as one of the Ten Best Plays of the year by USA Today), ” “Full Gallop,” “The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie,” “Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah,” Roundabout Theatre’s productions of “She Stoops To Conquer” and “Mistress Of The Inn” as well as BAM’s “Three Sisters.” Her triumphant one woman show “Tovah: Out Of Her Mind!” sold out London’s West End at the Duke of York’s and culminated in a symphonic concert with Billy Crystal at Los Angeles’ Royce Hall. The Boston Globe named “Tovah: Out Of Her Mind!” as the best one-person show of 2000.

Film and television audiences will recognize Tovah from “Kissing Jessica Stein” (which she won a Golden Satellite Award), “A Walk On The Moon,” “Happy Accidents,” “The Corruptor,” “Brewster’s Millions,” “Friends and Family,” “Old Love,” “Nunzio,” “The Believer,” “Life On The Ledge,” “The Alchemist,” Toll Booth” (for which she won Best Supporting Actress Method Fest 2005), “Lady in the Water,” “Just My Luck,” and “O Jerusalem,” while television viewers will recognize her from “The Amazing Howard Hughes,” “The Cosby Show,” “The Cosby Mysteries,” and “The Education of Max Bickford.”

In 2008, Tovah acquired the rights to “Golda’s Balcony,” which she now takes around the country performing to sold-out audiences. She just finished up a run at the Old Globe in San Diego, CA.  For more on Tovah and to find out where she’ll be next be sure to visit: http://www.tovahfeldshuh.com.

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? I was on the wait list at Harvard Law School and won a scholarship to the Tarun Guffy Theater in Minnesota in acting and I thought the writing was on the wall right there, so I followed my fate.

2. Who is the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? Oh wow, there are many. I would love to work with Fred Molina, among others.

3. Favorite way to stay in shape? I’m a runner. I run 4-5 miles everyday. I also love swimming and love yoga, but have not given myself the time to do either here in NY, but when I go to San Diego, I re-inherit a very nearby pool from the hotel I stay in, so I’m be able to run and swim and will be a much happier person and so will the small of my back.

4. What is the highest and lowest note you can sing? I went up to a high D with my teacher and I sing to C below middle C well. I could sing that publicly, I don’t know about B below middle C. I would say the three octave range for sure.

5. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? Well in my situation, I would say without hesitation Andrew Harris Levy, my life partner.

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With the talent and personality, it’s no wonder Jan Maxwell is a 4-time Tony Award nominee, with her two most recent nominations this current season for “The Royal Family” and “Lend Me A Tenor.” She is also a Drama Desk Award winner (updated: Jan won her 2nd award tonight for “The Royal Family”) and 5-time nominee as well as a 2-time Outer Critics Circle Winner & 5-time nominee. Jan is one of the few performers with the most impeccable comedic timing of our times. When Jan is on stage, the audience is paying attention. She can make your theatre experience one you will never forget! Her other Broadway credits include “Coram Boy” (Tony & Drama Desk Nominee), “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” (Drama Desk Award Winner, Tony & Outer Critics Circle Nominee), “Sixteen Wounded” (Drama Desk Nominee), “A Doll’s House” (Outer Critics Circle Nominee), “The Sound of Music” (Outer Critics Circle Nominee), “The Dinner Party” (Outer Critics Circle Award Winner), Brian Friel’s “Dancing At Lughnasa” and “City of Angels.” Off-Broadway, Jan has delighted audiences in Howard Barker’s “Scenes From An Execution” (Drama Desk Nominee) and “Camille,” Anton Dudley’s “Substitution,” “Entertaining Mr. Sloane” (Drama Desk & Outer Critics Circle Nominee), Tina Howe’s translation of lonesco’s “The Bald Soprano,” Jules Feiffer’s “A Bad Friend,” Israel Horovitz’s “My Old Lady” (Lortel Award winner, Drama Desk Nominee), “Opening Doors,” Alan Ayckbourn’s “House and Garden,” and “The Seagull.”  Jan’s television credits include PBS’ “AIDS: Changing the Rules,” “Law & Order,” and “Gossip Girl.” Jan can currently be seen in the 2010 Tony Nominated revival of “Lend Me A Tenor.”

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? Both my mother and father. My father is quite the ham. He did community theatre in Fargo, ND, where I was born and also wrote sketches and plays. My mother, though, did the leg work for the few opportunities there were for me to experience the arts in the area. She would find theatre and dance programs and tell me about them; then call, sign me up, and drive me back and forth.

2. Who is the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? I don’t know. Christopher Guest, Steve Buscemi, Edward Albee . . . too many to list.

3. Is there ever a time you thought about quitting? If so, what career would you choose? Umm . . . I think this business quits you before you quit it.  But I’ve always wanted to be in a lot of different professions. I think that’s why I act, so I can be all those things I want to be:  marine biologist, veterinarian, junkie . . .

4. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? Shakespeare – I like epic dreams.

5. What’s the best advice you’ve given someone, but not taken for yourself? Don’t go into acting.

6. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that no one knows about? I can tie a cherry stem into a knot in less than 15 seconds.

7. Favorite skin care product? I wish I could find one. I keep trying different ones, which is probably the worst thing you can do.

8. Favorite play/musical? Too hard to choose.

9. Favorite website? Google.

10. “Mary” or “Rhoda”? Mary . . . Hartman, though.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts? What do you order? Neither. Caffeine is banned after noon. Once, my stage manager, Matthew Melchiorre at Coram Boy, wouldn’t allow me to have it at all. Especially if I have a smaller part. I become a bit obnoxious start trouble backstage.

12. Favorite hobby? Staring at an empty wall (unless I have coffee, and then it’s bouncing off that wall . . . )

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In 2004, Jefferson Mays won a Tony, Drama Desk, Obie, Lucille Lortel, and Theatre World Award for his performance in the Broadway production of “I Am My Own Wife,” the Pulitzer-Prize winning play by Doug Wright. His other Broadway credits include “Pygmalion” and “Journey’s End.” He has also starred in the “Quartermaine’s Terms” at Williamstown Theatre Festival. His film and television credits include: “How to Lose Friends & Alienate People,” “Alfie,” “The Nortorious Bettie Page,” “Kinsey,” “The Closer,” “Fringe,” “Law & Order,” and “Nurse Jackie. Currently, Jefferson Mays can be seen in the Off-Broadway production of “Measure for Measure” at The Duke on 42nd Street in NYC (with fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant Mary Testa).

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? My mum.

2. Who is the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? Conrad Veidt.

3. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that no one knows about? I can recite every English monarch from 1066 to the present in just under 18 seconds.

4. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? Departed friends and loved ones.

5. Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts? What do you order? Starbucks: Tall Pike’s — no room for milk.

6. Books or Magazines? 18 inch stack of various books underway on bedside table, three foot column of partially-read New Yorkers teetering Pisa-like in corner.

7. Favorite play/musical? Currently: “Measure for Measure.”

8. Favorite Quote? “The  readiness is all.”

9. Favorite website? ALDaily.com.

10. Favorite pastime? Aimless rambles around town with  my wife.

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Natascia DiazTwo on the Aisle, 3 in a VanBe sure to catch fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant Natascia Diaz starring in the NYC International Fringe Festival “Two on the Aisle, 3 in a Van from August 16-29. For tickets and show times visit:http://2ontheaisle3inavan.com/

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