Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

I've always loved Halloween. It's one of my favorite holidays.

You can be anything! A princess, a witch, a black cat, a gypsy!

Growing up in the 'burbs of Southern CA, trick or treating was always a funfest. My parents took me out when I was little and always accompanied my brother and me and our friends when we went out.

There's something so magical about this night. There's excitement in the air! Makes me want to fly!

My husband and I have always enjoyed Halloween. We were often performing on this night in the Edgar Allan Poe festival at Mount Hope Theatre. And when we moved to NY, we'd still dress up.

He's my favorite matey. ;)

As I get older, I still feel like a big kid on this holiday. The air is full of magic and there's a sense of great potential, that crisp Fall feel of transformation. The year hasn't wound down yet. In fact, there's a great sense of celebration.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Performing tonight at Theater 80 St. Marks Place

I'm really excited to be performing tonight at the historic Theater 80 St. Marks Place.

This East Village theatre was once a speakeasy. Then it became an Off Broadway theatre in the 60s. "You're A Good Man Charlie Brown" premiered there. It was turned into a movie theatre for a while, then it was the residence of The Pearl Theatre Company.

Now, it's hosting HOWLfest, a major arts project, which is where "Steve Cohen and the Sweet Spot" comes in.

It's a new one act play by Michael Small, and it's a very fun ride! I'm the only woman in this all-male cast, and I play the lead character's wife as well as his friends and neighbors and therapist. It's a lot of fun!

The show starts at 7 PM and Tickets at $10. Proceeds go to the Actors Fund.

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Coming Up: a staged reading of the new comedy, "Steve Cohen and The Sweet Spot"

I've been so fortunate to be working steadily as an actress this summer and now into the Fall. Every week seems to hold a new adventure, and best yet, I'm getting paid for every gig! Woo hoo!

Last week's staged reading of the new pop musical, "How To Marry a Divorced Man" went very well. We received great feedback, and there are plans to do the reading again for pop-rock festival in November.

This week, I'm in rehearsals for a staged reading of the new play by Michael Small called "Steve Cohen and The Sweet Spot." It's a really fun piece about one man's quest to find the perfect stereo speakers. I play the lead character's wife and all the other women in his life. I'm actually the only woman in the piece, and it's neat to be surrounded by such fascinating men!

Chris Harbur plays the lead character, my husband; Zak Risinger is the titular Steve Cohen, and Jeremy Ellison-Gladstone, whom I worked with in Michael Small's other play, Got You, plays everyone else! :)

(Jeremy Ellison-Gladstone and I in Got You)

Stephen Nachamie is directing us, and we're having such fun! Did I mention it's a comedy? ;)

The playwright, Michael Small, tends to write big comedies that have a message tucked into the midst of the humor, and this piece has a particular poignancy. I'm so thankful to have met Michael a few years ago when I auditioned for his play, Kaboom, which we then performed at Cherry Lane. This is our third collaboration, and it's such a delight to bring his characters to life! :)

Steve Cohen and The Sweet Spot performs Wednesday Oct. 26 at 7 PM at Theatre 80 St. Marks

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Leading Musical Mondays 2011-2012 Season with "How to Marry a Divorced Man" - Thursday at 6:30

It might sound a bit comical, performing in a theatre lab called "Musical Mondays" on a Thursday, but anyone who's mounting a new musical knows that you work on whatever day and time you can!

I've long heard of Musical Mondays, and I'm incredibly thrilled to be performing in the staged reading of the new pop musical "How To Marry a Divorced Man," which leads their 2011-2012 season.

We perform at 6:30 tomorrow, and I'm really excited to be performing in the Jerry Orbach Theater at the Snapple Theater Center across from "Wicked."

It's been a real treat to be a part of a show as it grows. I performed in the table read of "How To Marry a Divorced Man" last year and had a blast with the talented cast and crew.

My character of Glenda is an ex-punk-rocker who gave it all up to be a mom. I play the "ex" of the titular Divorced Man, played by Richard Binder. Babs Winn (top left) plays a fabulous soap opera actress, who is also the mom of the lead character, and she doubles as my daughter! Christine Marie Heath,who starred as Evita in the international and national tours (above center) plays our leading lady, Layla Diamond. Michael Kirk Lane rounds out the cast as various key people, including my son and a romantic possibility for Layla and Glenda.

(L-to-R: me, Babs Winn, Christine Marie Heath, Richard Binder, Michael Kirk Lane)

It's fun stuff and such a thrill to work with these talented people.

Eric James is our music director and absolutely ROCKS!

Clare Cooper, who also worked on Toxic Avenger, wrote the groovy tunes, and they're so wonderfully "sticky," meaning you can't get them out of your head!

It's delicious to be part of something that has such a contemporary R&B feel. And the script, adapted by Bryan D. Leys, based on Leslie Fram's novel, is great fun.

We rehearse tonight and then perform the staged reading (kind of like a concert version of the show where the actors hold scripts) at 6:30 PM tomorrow.

Tickets are $18 and can be purchased at

Hope to see you there!

Monday, October 10, 2011

In Honor of the Lady Lorraine Sussex

This weekend I was saddened to learn of the sudden passing of Lorraine Sullo, known to thousands at the PA Renaissance Faire as The Duchess of Sussex, or simply "Sussex," to those who dared be "familiar" with her.

I first met Lorraine over 20 years ago when I was cast in the professional Shakespearean troupe for the Faire. Behind the scenes she was the Art Director for the Faire and was responsible for every visual tool used to promote the Faire, inside and out. She also designed some of the costumes and always had a stunning gown to wear every year. She was the Queen's "right hand," and never ceased to amuse with her wickedly razor-sharp wit. She was also a phenomenal archer.

I first met her as a peasant rogue, which I think she liked. Maybe it was because I would grovel at her feet or do some of her sly errands.

The next year, I became part of the Queen's Court as the historical Lady Penelope Devereaux, and I'm sure I gave Sussex a run for her money, because she didn't know what to do with me! I was also a fae-touched grave digger named Ophelia, and ended my run at the Faire as the inn keeper, Frida Synne. I also played Queen Elizabeth for a corporate event, and Lorraine attended upon me, always in character as the quintessential Queen's lady.

We shared so many laughs - on and off the fairgrounds - and she was a dear friend of my husband, Rob, and myself.

(Lorraine and Robbie as Sussex and Cardinal Synne)

She was one of a kind, and definitely had a hand in shaping my world in those early days.

I can't believe she's gone. She seemed like such a constant, but her passing has taught me you can't take life for granted, that you must live each day to the fullest and share it with those you love.

The knights at the Faire said, "She died with her boots on," because she had had a wonderful day performing and then went home, passing away in her sleep. I hope her spirit is at peace and knows how much we all loved her.

Farewell, my friend.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

What's Next?

Even before Hell's Belles closed, people were asking me, "What's Next?"

On Oct. 13, I'm performing in a staged reading of the new pop musical, "How To Marry a Divorced Man." I play Glenda, the ex-wife of said Divorced Man, and she' a real hoot! A former punk rocker who gave it all up to be a mom, she runs a rock n roll boutique.

Musical Mondays Theatre Lab is producing the project with Tweiss Productions, and it's the first show in their season.

The stellar cast includes Christine Marie Heath (top right), who played Evita in the North American and International tour; Richard Binder (bottom left), who's played my husband in various shows including Vienna (we were Dr. and Mrs. Freud) and the opera La Ribalta; Babs Winn, whom I got to croon with in a quirky country western episode of  "The Onion"; and Michael Kirk Lane, whom I worked with in last year's table-read of the show.

Based on the novel by Leslie Fram, adapted by Bryan D. Leys and composed by Clare Cooper (Toxic Avenger), it's a charming piece with some great pop-rock tunes.

The staged reading will be on Oct. 13 at 6:30 PM at the Jerry Orbach Theatre in the Snapple Center (across from Wicked): 210 West 50th

Tickets are $18. For reservations, call 212 989-6706 or email

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Closing Night

The final show of any run tends to have some extra magic about it. People let loose or their performances hold a mysterious level of something special.

(me with Kristen Mengelkoch and Oakley Boycott)

This past weekend was the closing run of "Hell's Belles" at HA Comedy Club, and the audiences were fully with us, laughing at every joke, breaking out into spontaneous applause in the midst of songs. They were just there to have fun,and perhaps, because it was the final weekend, we all knew to seize the moment and have fun too!

Some friends who'd come opening night had to come back for a second viewing and they loved it even more.

(Jayne and Ataman - all smiles after the show)

We had some fans who did the same thing, and you could definitely feel the love.

My husband, Rob, came a third time, along with his sister, and I felt so lucky to have so much love and support out in the audience.

On the final night, we had some fun mishaps. One of my Joan Crawford eyebrows wilted off my forehead, and the audience went wild with laughter.

And they loved Judy, applauding in the midst of my song. Playing Judy Garland was such a rewarding experience! I learned so much from playing her and all of the characters actually!

It was a great ride. I was so fortunate to work with such wonderful people. I'll miss them, but I know I'll see them again soon.

Now... onto the next adventure!