Thursday, December 10, 2015

Don't Tell Mama ;)

This week, I got to sing at the Don't Tell Mama cabaret, a legendary space established in the eighties. "Mama's," as everyone calls it, has hosted over 30 years of cabaret, piano bar, and the NY night life experience.

The marvelous Clare Cooper plays and sings there every week, and she invited me to do a mini medley of my characters from the Off Broadway musical, Hell's Belles.

Hell's Belles is about a cabaret in hell which dares to ask, "What is Hell, and how can you get yourself out of it?"

3 actresses play 20 wild women from history and pop culture. I play Salome, Lady Godiva, Janis Joplin, Gunenvere, Alice B. Toklas, Joan Crawford, and Judy Garland.

Here's a small taste:

This is our closing weekend, so if you'd like to join us Belles in Hell, our final shows are this Sunday Dec. 13th at 3 PM and Monday Dec. 14th at 8 PM.

Tickets are through

Come on down! :)

Saturday, December 05, 2015


I was recently asked to send in a clip for a new web series, and for any video audition, you have to slate: state your name and any other relevant info. Here's mine, as coached by the marvelous Dena Tyler:

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Broadway Sessions

I am so behind on blogging! It's been a whirlwind, opening Hell's Belles Off Broadway, zooming to CA to be in my brother's wedding, and then coming back to NY to go right back into Hell's Belles. In the midst of this, I got to perform in Ben Cameron's Broadway Sessions at the Laurie Beechman Theatre. Such a cute space! And the talent is OFF THE CHARTS!!! The night I sang, Thayne Jasperson from Hamilton performed, and Kevin Smith Kirkwood from Kinky Boots rocked the house as Whitney Houston!

I loved singing "Thank you for being a friend" with Kevin and the whole cast that night!

I also performed "The Grand Gesture" by Andy Monroe. Such a fun song!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Hell's Belles Opening Night

Hell's Belles had a lovely opening Off Broadway last Saturday Oct. 24. The show is about infamous women in a nightclub "in hell." 3 actresses, myself included, play 20 characters, so it's a lot of quick changes!

The audience was filled with fabulous people, many of whom stayed afterwards to regale us with praise.

I play Judy Garland and Janis Joplin, and it's always such a thrill to hear audience members call out afterwards, "Hey JANIS!" or "It's JUDY!!!!!"

I heard from many folks who'd actually seen Judy Garland LIVE in concert, and it was such an honor to hear that my embodiment of her in "Hell's Belles" was spot on for all of these folks.

I'm out of town this Halloween weekend, but I'll be back with the Belles on Saturday Nov. 7th.

The show runs Saturdays at 2 and 5:30 PM and Sundays at 3 PM. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Growing up with Star Wars

When I was a kid, my dad was a big Sci Fi guy. His library was peppered with The Lord of the Rings and 2001 a Space Odyssey. In the summer of '77, he and his friend from work heard about this movie called, Star Wars, so we piled into our respective cars and went to the drive-in. It was $2 per car, so it was a deal!

From the minute John William's music blasted through our speakers, I was hooked! I promptly went home, cut up a white sheet, stole my mom's silver disco belt, and ran around the house as Princess Leia.

Now with Episode 7 coming out for Christmas, the kid in me is so excited to go back to that "galaxy far, far away."

"The Force... it's calling to you...."

Monday, October 19, 2015

Livin' the Dream

When I was a kid, I LOVED "The Wizard of Oz." I could quote it on the playground, and I always pretended I was Dorothy. What kid didn't? ;)

When I was old enough to audition for the community theatre production, I of course was cast as a munchkin. But when I hit high school, our incredibly hip drama teacher teamed up with the music teacher, who LOVED funk, and they picked, "The Wiz." I passionately listened to Stephanie Mills, rocked on with her riffs, and somehow got the role of Dorothy! But in "The Wiz," Dorothy's slippers are silver, just as they are in Frank. L Baum's books. But I didn't care as I eased on down the road! ;) It was a blast!

Now I'm playing Judy Garland in the Off Broadway musical, "Hell's Belles," and the costume designer, Dustin Cross, made me my own pair of ruby slippers. I am livin the dream! :)

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

"Hell's Belles" Off Broadway at the Elektra Theatre

For the past few years, I've been involved in readings and showcases for a musical called, "Hell's Belles." It's about infamous women in "hell," and was originally done as a cabaret. The musical has grown and now we're opening Off Broadway this Saturday Oct. 3rd at the Elektra Theatre!

Performances are Saturdays at 2 PM and 5:30 PM.
Sundays at 3 PM.
Tickets are here:

We even have a commercial running with NY1's "Onstage" program! :)

I'm so excited to be playing in the The Elektra! It's one of my favorite Off Broadway theatres. I saw Silence (of the Lambs) The Musical there, and had a blast! It has such a fun, Gothic feel, which is perfect for our show!

We're also on the marquee! Whee! :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Trending: A Series

Last weekend  I got to film a scene for the new web series, "Trending: A PR firm with all of the damage and no control."  As our wonderful writer/director/actress/producer, Rosalie Tenseth, said, "Think Ab Fab meets The Office."

The whole team - cast and crew - are amazing! SUCH go-getters! Most of us came together through Bonnie Gillespie's Self-Management for Actors workshop in NYC last year, and we formed the NYC Ninjas. :) Bonnie encourages self-producing, so the Ninjas began working on this script earlier in the year, and I was lucky enough to be part of it. I play a naughty businesswoman named Madeleine Lich:

The full cast and crew are made up of the following fabulous folks: Rosalie Tenseth, Lisa Budwig, Victoria Prather, Erin Zapcic, Jenny Moss, Brandi Alyssa Young, Andrew Nielson, Denise Ivanoff, Ingeborg Riedmaier, Michaela Grant, Courtney Williams, Lya Yanne, Carly Turro, Eliana Gonzalesz Scannell, Isabella Way, Kristin Carbone, Mary Ann Hay, Karen Frances, Sierra Rein, Michelle Lullic, Elinor Dekhert, Jon Breley (DP), Mike Hurst (Sound) Rom Festo (Gaffer) and Partick Hopkins (Gaffer).

They're an AWESOME bunch, and are on Twitter @trendingaseries

Monday, September 14, 2015

Evita at TheaterMania's Block Party

Yesterday, I had the immense pleasure of playing Evita from Hell's Belles for TheaterMania's Block Party. It was such a blast! My husband encouraged me to take a cab, so I wouldn't ruin my 'do, so I felt very "official." :)

When I arrived, the Block Party was already in full swing. I got there just in time to see a performance from the upcoming Broadway revival of the Deaf West production of Spring Awakening. It was seriously amazing. The incorporation of deaf artists with Duncan Sheik's beautiful music make this show a MUST SEE.

Then Fuerza Bruta hit the stage, and I have never seen ANYTHING like it! They exloded onto the stage with one drummer, a ton of music, confetti and dancing! EVERYONE was dancing with them. It was such fun!

The Amazing Max was our phenomenal host, and he kept the audience delighted with magic tricks between performances. Even when we took a break, kids were coming up to him, asking for more magic, and he didn't disappoint. He was brilliant!

Then I went on, and it was SUCH a blast! There were some musical theatre fans in the audience who got all the Evita jokes, and it was so fun to sing out to them. One of my friends captured it video, so it's here on Vimeo:

Our pianist, the rockin' Rachel Kaufman, had been to Eva's shrine and museum in Argentina, and said she had to take a pic with me to show her Argentine friends:

Thanks to Tweiss Productions for making it happen! :)

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Revisiting RENT

Last week, my husband and I headed to Rehoboth Beach for a much-needed getaway. We kept joking with some friends that maybe the little theatre down there would be doing RENT, and wouldn't it be fun to catch a  production like that at the beach? Well, don't you know, they were doing a production of RENT, and it was opening night, so we figured, What the hell! Let's go!

We had a blast, and I was hit with a floodlight of memories:

When I first moved to NY, I waited tables at Pizzeria UNO's with Jesse L. Martin. He was juggling soap opera work at the time, and he was FABULOUS, always singing and dancing around the restaurant. I got a gig with a Shakespeare troupe in PA, so I left the glamour of "slinging hash," or in this case, pizza, and Jesse stayed there, auditioning his butt off. Fast forward one year later, where I'm cruising through Rolling Stone magazine, and I see a pic of Jesse in the new musical, RENT. It was SO COOL to see him in the mag, and then to hear him on the original cast album, singing such awesome music. It was amazing and inspiring to see him making dreams come true!

A year later, I was back in the city, and was called back for the role of Maureen. I didn't get it, but I ended up booking other gigs Off and Way Off Broadway, doing short films and voice overs, and I've enjoyed every step of the way! Every artist, everyone, goes on their own journey, and where I'm at with my career, it feels like I'm like going up a ladder. I'm constantly movin on up, and it's very exciting!

I can look back on my journey with love and joy, and I look forward to the next adventure. I have some very cool stuff cookin for the Fall, which I can't disclose yet, but I will, and it'll be a blast.

"How do you measure a year in the life? Measure in LOVE."

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Unlikely Heroes

I love this age of unlikely heroes. Like Ant Man where an ex-con makes good as the tiniest superhero of all!

Great cast by the way. Michael Pena had me ROLLIN!

Or Trainwreck, which I'm still reeling from. SO funny but also incredibly heartfelt.

I was watching HBO's "Making of: Trainwreck," and it was mentioned several times how Amy Schumer and Bill Hader are usually playing "the best friend" of the leads, but this movie focuses on them as the leads, and I love it! Thank you, Judd Apatow!

For an actor like me, that's good news, because I always play The Wild Card, someone out of the norm. Like Rita in "Lucky Stiff": a near-sighted mob wife who tries to kill her lover and then goes on a wild-goose chase through Europe to find him and win him back.

Or in "The Tragic and Horrible Life of the Singing Nun," I played Jeanine, a Belgian girl who falls in love with another girl before entering the convent, writes a hit song, and then leaves the convent to be with the woman she loves.

It's time for our stories. And boy, do I realize I need to get back into writing them!

Write on! :)

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Rainbow City

With the Supreme Court's decision to declare Marriage Equality in all 50 States - HOORAY! - the entire island of Manhattan has rainbows springing up everywhere! I feel like Dorothy: "We must be over the rainbow!" :)

 There are so many couples who are now going to be able to legally benefit from this ruling. As a friend of mine said, "FINALLY!"

 I've been thinking about lesbian characters I've played over the years, and how they'd celebrate this momentous occasion. Darlene in "Petunia's Coffee House" would definitely be partying!

Jeanine Deckers and her partner, Annie, would be singing in some spiritual sanctuary.

I played Jeanine, AKA the Singing Nun, in the NYMF show, "The Tragic and Horrible Life of the Singing Nun" written by Blair Fell and composed by Andy Monroe. Jeanine leaves the convent to be with her long-time lover, Annie, but the two are beset by such challenges... they can't make it through (below with Tracey Gilbert as Annie). With governmental support, their story might have been very different.

There was also an amazing HBO film in 2000, "If These Walls Could Talk 2" about lesbian couples, and the most powerful story was embodied by Vanessa Redgrave and Marion Seldes who played a couple who had been together for decades. When the partner who owns the house dies, the other partner has no claim to the place or the things she's shared with her lover for 30 years, and she is asked to leave.

Marriage Equality will prevent that from happening.


Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Quest for the Perfect Take

I recently met a lovely casting director who advised, "In this world of (self-taped) auditions, everyone is searching for the Perfect Take."

This was timely advice considering I filmed 4 video auditions last week. 2 were for the big networks (woo!) and 2 were callbacks for web series (woo too)!

I learned a lot, specifically how hard it is to get The Perfect Take, but I had a ton of fun, and look forward to doing more, constantly working to improve my process. "This is my quest."

Below is a comic take about The Last Couple on Earth. Hope you enjoy it! :)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wonderful Writers

This has been a busy month for me, working on new projects by wonderful writers I'm lucky to know! :)

On May 4, I had the honor of singing in a cabaret honoring female writers of musical theatre:

Clare Cooper
asked me to sing one of her pieces from her show with Bryan D. Leys, "How to Marry a Divorced Man." This re-teamed me with Richard Binder, who's played my husband in many shows! In this piece, we played exes who have a tender moment, much to the chagrin of his new love interest, played by Tiffan Borelli, who also rocked a song from "Urban Momfare" by Pamela Weiler Grayson:

Then, on May 18, I played a sister mourning the loss of her brother in Rob Cardazone's new play, Terribly and In Private. It's an exquisite 5 character play that re-teamed me with my "Petunia" co-star, Wayne Henry, and gave me the opportunity to work with Andrew Schulz, whom I met in Heidi Marshall's on-camera class. Andrew is an incredible actor from The Actors Studio who recommended me to my current acting coach, Susan Aston.

Rob was mentored by Romulus Linney (father to Laura Linney) and Arlene Hutton, whom I met when I auditioned for her play, Gulf View Drive. Small world! Rob and I worked together a gazillion years ago at the PA Renaissance Faire, which was the basis for his play, "Ren Rats," which premiered at the Hunter Playwright Festival in 2013. Reading a play like Terribly and In Private took me back to my drama roots and was such a delicious piece to dive into! Hope to do so again soon!

Friday, April 17, 2015

More Fun with Film

Inspired by the scene I shot for the indie film, "Child's Play," I wanted to keep working that cinematic muscle, so I signed up for Heidi Marshall's 4 week on-camera class. I've worked with Heidi before, and was looking for a window in my schedule to open so I could take her Part 2 session. It was just what I needed!

We started with a scene called "Nice Apology" where I played a big sister on the eve of her wedding, struggling with her baby sister's recovery from addiction.

Then I got to do a scene from one of my favorite films, The Way Way Back. In this scene, the mom, Pam, has to tell her 14 year old son that they're leaving the beach house early, so they can head back home with her boyfriend who's cheated on her.

It was a really great experience, researching scripts and finding my groove. So much good writing out there! Can't wait to do more!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Filming in the Snow

A few weeks ago, on March 2nd to be precise, I filmed a scene for the independent film, "Child's Play." It's a family drama about a little boy obsessed with trains and time. I play a local news reporter who appears near the end of the film.... which happens to take place in the snow.

I've filmed in snow before for an NYU short called "Every Day." But that was a psychological thriller which took place inside a 3 story house. My scene for "Child's Play" was filmed outside in a few feet of snow, and it was absolutely exhilarating!

I met the cast and crew in Newfoundland, NJ at the train station which was used in the beautiful film, "The Station Agent," written and directed by Thomas McCarthy, starring one of my favorite actors: Peter Dinklage. It was such a treat to be working in the same place as that great film!

The cast and crew of Child's Play was AMAZING. They'd been filming in the snow for three days, and they were absolutely tenacious in their positivity and professionalism. I can't wait to see the final result, because just for my scene they tried so many different angles and lenses. It was such a unique experience, meant to put the viewer into all sorts of different shoes.

I met the director and writer, Aleksandra Szczepanowska, a few years ago in a class taught by Playwrights Horizons' casting director, Alaine Alldaffer. Somehow Aleksandra remembered me and brought me in for this role in her film. It was an honor to work with her and the superb crew. Alyssa Fulmer and Julia Warner are the producers. Patrick Linberg, Director of Photography, pictured above with Aleksandra, was so cool! Everyone was amazing!

So now, as I trek out into this snowy day that's supposed to be the first day of Spring, I'm reminded of the cast and crew of "Child's Play," with whom I made a movie in the wintery weather, and I take heart. :)

Saturday, February 21, 2015

In the Groove

I feel like I'm in a really good place in my life. Every day, I get to dive into a script - whether it's a working on a monologue for auditions, rehearsing a scene for acting class (I work with the sensational Susan Aston), or crafting a scene for a film. I love it! It's all part of my daily routine.

Today I'm working on songs for upcoming auditions, and I find the prep work is very similar to crafting a scene or monologue. It's all about communication (as well as the sustained notes, but you now what I mean). What does the character need in that moment? What are the circumstances? And all of that deep-diving stuff that comes with researching a play, screenplay or musical. It's all about the story, bringing what I can bring to the character, and letting it flow through me. I love getting into the groove of it all!

To "get in the groove " means to enter into the spirit of the situation or circumstance of the moment. The groove is really the track on an old record in which the needle of the record player had to ride in order to reproduce the music--so the meaning is figurative. Gorgeous pic below by James Woody.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Day in the Life of a NY Actress

Something I've discovered about acting in NY is that it feels like you're part of a community. Everyone you meet is doing something to make their dreams come true, and I've been so lucky to meet people who, as Bonnie Gillespie says, "share their toys."

I recently took a seminar with Bonnie about Self Management for Actors, and through that workshop, I met some incredibly motivated people who formed a Facebook group and have been sharing knowledge, experiences, and other "toys." :)

One such actor is Tanya Perez (pictured below right), who recently penned this awesome article for "Ms. in the Miz." In it, she chronicles her day in the life as a film actor in NYC.

This reminded me of friends and family who've asked me what my daily life as an actor is like, so here's a glimpse into my daily groove:

It usually starts with visiting Actors Equity and Actors Access to see which auditions are happening when. This gives me prep time, so I can work on songs, scenes, or monologues for each audition. Preparation is key. Even if I'm going in for the cold reading of a new script, I research the author's previous works or find reviews about a previous productions/readings, so I have a sense of the style of the piece.

Now, as Tanya pointed out for film / TV, we usually don't get the script until the day or night before the audition, so then it's time to cram and jam!

This happened for me a few weeks ago when I was called in for the role of a News Anchor in the independent film, Child's Play. I got one page of a script and had to "fill in the blanks" for the character, so I could fill her shoes. It was a blast, and I got the gig!

With plays and musicals, if I don't get an appointment ahead of time, I go to the "open" Equity call. That means getting up at 6 am to go wait in line at whatever studio is hosting the audition. Aasif Mandvi recently talked about this in an interview with NY1 about his book, "No Lands Man."

You wait in line with a ton of other actors and hope to get a timeslot to audition later in the day. I have this down to a science:

6-something AM: get up, shower, pack breakfast and lunch and audition materials, including clothes, shoes, makeup, hair tools, music or monologue, headshot and resume.
7-something AM: take the train or walk to the audition studio. If it's a major open call, move everything up by an hour and get there EARLY!
Hang out and wait until 8:30 or 9 AM when the sign-up begins. Hopefully get a slot around lunch time.
9-9:30 AM: go work at my support job
Anywhere from 11:50 - 4:30: get hair and makeup done, go back to the audition location and wait to go on.
Audition time = about 2 minutes.

If it's possible to hit more than one audition, I do.

As Tanya wrote, it can take about 10 hours (or more) to prep for  a 2 minute performance, but if you book the gig, it's worth it!

Sunday, February 01, 2015

What's Your News?

A few weeks ago, I was called in to audition for the news anchor role in an independent film, and I booked it! :)

Being a research nut, I looked at the different styles of reporting the news, and brought in some options to the director. Did she want a news anchor in the style of MSNBC, Fox, CBS, or (my favorite) PBS? This seemed to delight the production team, and gave me room to show different possibilities. However, in addition to each style, I realized the goal for my character in the scene was to get the truth, and that helped me drive it.

We film this week, and I'm very excited. The script is really good, and I get to improvise at the end of my scene. Gotta love when a section is set aside for improv!