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Posts Tagged ‘“The Vagina Monologues”’

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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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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Obie and Emmy Award winning actress as well as fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant Rue McClanahan suffered a mild stroke. She is recovering and working hard to get back to doing what she does best–Entertaining her fans! (Thank you Del Shores for the update).

Dear Rue,

Get well soon! Thinking of you and wishing you a speedy recovery! Can’t wait to hear all your “Sordid” stories…

Love,

Adam 🙂

(This is a picture of Rue & I from when she starred on Broadway in 2001 in Roundabout Theatre’s production of “The Women”).

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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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Rue McClanahan

Updated: Rue McClanahan passed today, June 3, 2010 at the age of 76 after suffering a stroke. The interview below is from 2009 and a special Thank You to Michael J. La Rue who sat down with Rue to answer these questions and send them on to me. I am forever grateful!

Rue McClanahan is an icon.  An OBIE and Emmy Award winning actress, not a decade has passed by without Rue being in the spotlight since making her stage debut in 1957 at the Erie Playhouse in “Inherit The Wind.” She studied with theatre legend Uta Hagen and made her Broadway debut in 1969 in “Jimmy Shine” starring Dustin Hoffman and in 1970 won the OBIE Award for her role in “Who’s Happy Now?” Rue joined the soap opera “Another World” from 1970-1971. It was her guest starring role in 1972 on  “All In The Family,” created by Norman Lear, that lead Lear to cast Rue in “Maude” (alongside Bea Arthur), where she stayed until the show ended in 1978. In the 80s, Rue was on the hit show “Mamma’s Family” starring Vicki Lawrence (and Betty White for a time) and then came “The Golden Girls” from 1985-1992, reuniting Rue with Bea Arthur and Betty White along with Estelle Getty. After the “The Golden Girls,” Rue continued on as “Blanche Devereaux” in “The Golden Palace.” The late ’90s & new millennium has brought Rue back to the stage, starring in such hits as “The Vagina Monologues,” Roundabout Theatre’s revival of “The Women” and the Broadway production of “Wicked.” She also released her autobiography, “My First Five Husbands and The Ones Who Got Away” and came back to  series TV in “Sordid Lives: The Series.” You can catch Rue September 19 at the Majestic Theatre in Dallas, TX as part of “A Sordid Comedy Affair” tour with creator Del Shores along with cast members Leslie Jordan, Jason Dottley, and Caroline Rhea. Like the characters Rue has played, she is strong, funny, and always making fans smile. So watch out, ’cause Rue is still rising!

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? My Mother, Rheua-Nell McClanahan.

2. When did you realize you wanted to become a performer? I realized I wanted to be a performer when I was five and cast as the Mother Cat in my Kindergarten’s performance of “Three Little Kittens.”  I realized I actually could do it as a profession when I was 12; I figured out that the people I saw in movies were not from Hollywood, they were actually from other towns, even small ones, just like me.

3. Who is the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? Harrison Ford.

4. Is there ever a time you thought about quitting? Heavens no!

5. What is the best advice a teacher ever gave you? Barney Brown, a man who directed me at The Pasadena Playhouse – and directors are often teachers, at least the good ones –  he told me: “You’ll never become great until you’re willing to go out on a limb, much further than you feel comfortable, so far out it is dangerous, and then you learn to pull it back and refine it.”

6. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? It would be me actually, but only because there is a particular dream I want to experience again. In it, I was floating in the air, conducting a symphony that I had created; and I knew I was in a dream and wouldn’t be able to bring the wonderful music from my subconscious out with me. I would love to have that dream again!

7. Favorite kind of shoes? Anything that is really comfortable.

8. Favorite holiday? Christmas.

9. Favorite color? Blue

10. Favorite kind of sundae (ice cream flavor & topping)? A classic: vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that no one knows about? I can write backwards, upside down, and even upside down AND backwards.

12. What is the weirdest thing you’ve read about yourself and where did you read it? There was an article filled with lies about the “Golden Girls” actors in the “National Enquirer.”  Someone gave it to me on the way to the airport and I read that I had narcolepsy; that condition where you just fall asleep out of the blue.  It also said that Betty White ate six cheeseburgers a day!  Whoever leaked to the press got it wrong.  I have the ability to take naps anywhere, and often did, even behind the couch on the set of “Golden Girls,” but I do not suffer from narcolepsy.  And Betty White did not eat six cheeseburgers every day, she ate one.

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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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Charles Busch DragJulie HalstonBe sure to catch fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant Charles Busch & Julie Halston this Saturday, August 15 in a benefit staged reading of the Lux Radio Hour Presentation of “All About Eve” for the Fire Island Pines Art Project.

For more information visit: http://fipap.org/event.php?event=96

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