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Posts Tagged ‘“Sex and the City”’

Do the holidays make you feel like a drag? Then pick yourself up and dust yourself off and come on down to the Metropolitan Room for one of NYC’s fiercest holiday drag shows: “Lettuce Rejoice: A Holiday Tradition” starring Hedda Lettuce from “Project Runway,” “Ugly Betty,” “Sex and the City” and fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest.” Hedda’s dynamic performance of both comedy and song, will leave you laughing well into the New Year!

“Lettuce Rejoice: A Holiday Tradition” plays at the Metropolitan Room in NYC at (34 West 22nd Street, between 5th & 6th Ave).

Fri, 12/17 at 9:30pm, Sat, 12/18 at 10:30pm, Sun, 12/19 at 7:30pm, Wed, 12/22 at 7:30pm, Fri, 12/24 at 7:30pm, Sun 12/26 at 7:30pm

Call 212-206-0440 for reservations: $22 cover + 2 drink minimum

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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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Joshua Henry is another one of our next generation actors on the rise! He won the Drama Desk Award for Best Featured Ensemble for “In The Heights,” which he also starred in on Broadway and he originated the role of the “Favorite Son” military hero in Broadway’s “American Idiot.” His other theatrical credits include “The Wiz” (City Center), “Godspell” (Papermill Playhouse), and “Being Alive” (Westport Country Playhouse). On television, Joshua has been seen in HBO’s “Sex and the City” as well as NBC’s “Kings.” Joshua is currently in Minneapolis making his Guthrie debut, in the pre-Broadway run of “The Scottsboro Boys” through September 25. “The Scottsboro Boys” will arrive on Broadway starting October 7. Be sure to check out this amazing talent!

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? It was just one person, but I remember being twelve years old watching Michael Jackson on TV and in awe at the power he had over an audience.

2. What is the highest and lowest note you can sing? Why? Is this the final callback? I fancy myself a tenor 2 range with a little extra on the bottom and a few surprises on top.

3. Who is the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? Brian McKnight. Amazing musician and song writer. Brian, if you listening, let’s jam together!

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

5. Do you have any rituals that you must do before a performance? How do you decompress after a show? After shoulder rolls forward and back I like to have a moment of silence to remind myself how blessed I am to be doing what I love. Most nights after a show, I zone out to ESPN on the couch.

6. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that nobody knows about? Well, I can make my voice sound computerized/audio-tuned.

7. Favorite way to stay in shape? I’m all about supersets at the gym. Although I’ve recently discovered Sculpt Yoga.

8. Boxers or Briefs? Recently briefs.

9. Favorite website? Facebook. Sometimes it’s annoying, but when it comes down to it, it’s perfect for the NYC lifestyle.

10. Superman or Wonder Woman? Superman because he can fly and see through walls. I haven’t done much research on Wonder Woman..I’m on it.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. What is the best advice you’ve ever received? Always do your best.

12. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? Beyonce. And I mean that in the most respectful, professional way.

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With one of the most beautiful and powerful voices, Jose Llana is a performer to go see! From Broadway to regional and national tours to film and television, Jose delights and mesmerizes audiences where ever he goes. He made is Broadway debut in the 1996 revival of “The King and I” and in 2005 he created the role of “Chip Tolentino” in “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” His other Broadway credits include the revival of “Flower Drum Song” (with Lea Salonga), “Rent,” and “Streetcorner Symphony.” Off-Broadway, Jose has delighted audiences in “Adam Guettel’s Saturn Returns” and “On The Town.” He’s been seen in the national tours of “Martin Guerre,” “Ballad of Little Jo,” and “Candide,” while regionally he’s performed in “Wonderland” at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center and The Alley Theatre. Jose’s film and television credits include “Hitch” (Ross) and “Sex and the City” (Damian).

Jose has also released his self-titled solo album “Jose” under the VIVA Philippines label. Other recordings Jose can be heard on are “Broadway Romances Manhattan,” “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” and the revivals of “The King and I” and “Flower Drum Song.” Currently, Jose can be seen lighting up the stage in the York Theatre’s production of “Falling For Eve” (along with fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant Adam Kantor, click here for my review) through August 8. For more on Jose, be sure to visit http://www.josellana.com.

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? I was obsessed with movie musicals as a kid. Gene Kelly, Julie Andrew, Fred Astaire. Then I moved onto the splashy mega-musicals of the 80’s, “Cats” and “Les Miserables.” But I’d have to say the moment that meant a great deal to me was when I watched Lea Salonga, a fellow Filipino, win the Tony when I was in high school. It was the first time I thought, “Hey, maybe I can do that.”

2. What is the highest and lowest note you can sing? I sing as low as I need to and as high as the part needs. If I’m lucky that means no higher than a high C.

3. Who is the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? Mr. Sondheim is still someone I would love to work with. I’ve sung for him a couple of times but have never done a show with him.

4. Do you have any rituals you have to do before a performance? How do you decompress after a show? No weird rituals besides the normal warm up, etc. I do get a little superstitious before callbacks, sometimes I make sure I have the same breakfast or wear the same underwear as the first audition. To decompress after a show I usually veg out in front of the television with a cold beer.

5. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that no one knows about? Hmmm… strange and unusual? I’m a pretty good cook, especially Filipino food. Also, I possess a slightly manic need for organization passed down from my mother. I will organize a room, desk or closet to DEATH. I’m talking labels and color coding.

6. Favorite way to stay in shape? Along with my normal 4 mile daily run and weight training, I’ve become hooked on P90x, but only the Plyometrics Training.

7. Boxers or Briefs? Boxer Briefs. And usually in funny prints.

8. Books or Magazines? Both. I always try to have a good book on my nightstand and I can’t let the week go without the bibles Entertainment Weekly and New York Magazine.

9. Favorite website? Playbill.com, Huffington Post, CNN, and my sister’s Baby Blog for my Goddaughter.

10. Superman or Wonder Woman? Oh, easily Wonder Woman. My sister and I were hooked on the cheesy TV show from the 80’s. I actually own the DVD’s.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. Favorite play/musical? “West Side Story,” “Sunday in the Park with George,” “Company,” and “Violet.”

12. Favorite way to spend your day off? Gym, Food Network, movie date night, dinner with friends, couch time with my dog, Charlie.

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When two-time Tony Award Nominee, Mary Testa takes the stage, the audience takes notice, whether it’s her impeccable comedic timing or beautiful singing voice including a belt that knocks the roof off. It’s no wonder she was nominated for her roles in the Broadway revivals of “42nd Street” and “On The Town.” Her other Broadway credits include “A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum,” “Barnum,” “The Rink,” “Marilyn,” “Chicago,” “Marie Christine,” “Xanadu,” and the 2009 revival of “Guys and Dolls.” Mary has also delighted audiences Off-Broadway in such shows as “See What I Wanna See,” “First Lady Suite,” “String of Pearls,” “The Vagina Monologues,” “From Above,” “A New Brain”, and “In Trousers.” She was also a series regular on NBC’s “Whoopi” and guest starred on HBO’s “Sex and the City.” Mary can currently be seen in the Off-Broadway revival of “Measure for Measure” (also starring fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant Jefferson Mays) playing at The Duke on 42nd Street in New York City (229 West 42nd Street between 7th & 8th Ave).

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? Marcel Marceau.

2. What is the highest and lowest note you sing? high c (with my arms over my head) and low a.

3. Who is the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? Luis Bunuel (unfortunately, he is dead).

4. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? Probably God.

5. Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts? What do you order? Actually, I order decaf coffee from both.

6. Favorite play/musical? Play: A tie between “The Ruling Class” & “Comedians.”  Musical: Anything by Michael John Lachiusa &  Floyd Collins.

7. Favorite store to shop in? Berdorf’s during the shoe sale, and Lord and Taylor.

8. Favorite way to spend your day off? Shopping.

9. Favorite website? dilsted.com and awfulplasticsurgery.com.

10. “Mary” or “Rhoda”? Rhoda.

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Be sure to catch the legendary Charles Busch and Julie Halston (both fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participants) together, live on stage, in Charles’ new play “The Divine Sister” at Theatre for the New City from February 7-March 7 only! If you’ve never seen a Charles Busch play or had the fortunate experience of seeing Julie & Charles together, then this is your chance. It’s a real old fashioned campy Charles Busch play, so you’re in for a real treat…but first enjoy the questions that did not make the original interview:

CHARLES BUSCH BONUS QUESTIONS:

1. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? Derek Hough from Dancing With The Stars. Can something be arranged?

2. “Mary” or “Rhoda”? Definitely Mary, with a lot of Lucy thrown in.

JULIE HALSTON BONUS QUESTIONS:

1. What is the best advice you’ve given someone, but not taken for yourself? Don’t sweat the small stuff and guess what most of it is small stuff.

2. “Mary” or “Rhoda”? I used to be Rhoda but now i think I’m more Mary!!

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Julie HalstonJulie Halston does it all…from theatre to television to movies to books. Television audiences will know Julie from her roles on HBO’s “Sex and The City” as “Bitsy Von Muffling” and CBS’ “The Class”, playing “Tina Carmello”. This fall Julie can be seen in the new PBS show “The Electric Company” as “Antigone Carruthers”. Julie started her career as a founding member of Charles Busch’s legendary theatre company, Theatre-In-Limbo, for which she received a Drama Desk nomination for her performance in Charles Busch’s “Red Scare on Sunset”. They have gone on to star  in many of his productions such as “The Lady In Question”, “You  Should Be So Lucky”, “Vampire Lesbians of Sodom”, & “Shanghai Moon”. Other Off-Broadway credits include: “White Chocolate” (Drama League & Drama Desk nomination), her one woman show “Julie Halston’s Lifetime of Comedy” (Outer Critics Nomination), “The Vagina Monologues”, “The Butter & The Egg”, and “The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told”. On Broadway, Julie has been seen in “Hairspray”, “Gypsy”, “Twentieth Century” (Outer Critics Nomination), “The Women”, & “The Man Who Came To Dinner”.   On top of that, Julie has been awarded four MAC awards for her stand-up comedy and played a triple extension run at Birdland in NYC.  Julie has been in such hits films as “Joe Gould’s Secret”, “Small Time Crooks”, “The Juror”, “Addams Family Values”, “Celebrity”, and “Dottie Gets Spanked.”  In January of 2008, Julie co-authored a book of original monologues Monologues for Show-Offs published by Heinemann Press. From August 19-29 be sure to catch Julie at Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor, NY starring in “Miss Margarida’s Way” and for everything Julie Halston check out: http://www.juliehalston.com.

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? Honestly I had no idea what I was doing until I met Charles Busch and Lewis Black.

2. When did you realize you wanted to become a performer? I was about 9 years old when i decided I wanted to be a performer –it was either that or a nun –either way I wanted some drama!

3. Who is the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? I ‘d love to work with Tony Kushner and Mike Nichols.

4. What has been your best and worst experience in a show? The Best experience is: anything with Charles Busch. The worst: a 20 minute comedy set at a leather bar in the Village on Halloween night!

5. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that no one knows about? Strange Talent I have –I am bizarrely obsessed with knowing the names of celebs children.

6. Describe your worst shopping experience? As for shopping I don’t do it–I HATE shopping -I hae a fabbo stylist named Vangeli Kaseluris and he saves my life everyday!

7. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? I dream about my husband-honestly.

8. Favorite play/musical? My Fav play is A Streetcar Named Desire and my fav musical is GYPSY.

9. Favorite TV show? My Fav Tv show is anything that is playing on TCM

10. Favorite website? My fav website is anything that involves Grey Gardens or the Beatles. Am I too retro or what??

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