nytheatre.com q&a preview by Jolie Garrett
February 28, 2013
What is your job on this show?
What is your show about?
Set in New York City, 1958. The Hess family move north. The father unjustly convicted of crimes he did not commit. His business partner follows them, clutching a fistful of IOU's. Will he throw them out of their new home onto the street?
When did you know you wanted to work in the theater, and why?
I was 18 years old and a senior in high school in Shelbyville, Texas. I had been assigned the dagger soliloquy from "Macbeth" to memorize and perform in front of the class. After I did the piece, my English teacher, Mrs. Winola Ellis asked me to stay after class. I thought I'd done something terribly wrong or left out part of the monologue. Mrs. Ellis grabbed my hand, looked into my eyes, and said to me, "You MUST major in theatre!" The seed of theatrical ambition was planted. From there my goal became to become a professional actor in New York City.
What are some of your previous theater credits? (Be specific! Name shows, etc.)
Previous theatre highlights: The Father in August Strindberg's "Playing with Fire" at the Gene Frankel Theatre (Audelco Award Nominations for Best Ensemble and Best Revival), co-production with Negro Ensemble Company & The August Strindberg Repertory Theatre, Othello in "Othello" at Shakespeare in Delaware Park in Buffalo, NY (Winner of the Katharine Cornell Award for Best Guest Artist), Ben in "Freedom Train" with TheatreworksUSA (International Tour), Wilhelm in Kafka's "The Trial" (directed by Eve Adamson) with Phoenix Theatre Ensemble, Paul Robeson in "Are You Now and Have You Ever Been" with Phoenix Theatre Ensemble, Philoctetes in "The Cure at Troy" at the Blue Heron Arts Center, Delroy in "Sus" at the Jean Cocteau Repertory (JCR), directed by Theatre Hall of Famer Woodie King Jr., Mageeba in Tom Stoppard's "Night and Day" at the JCR, Jason in Medea at JCR, Roger in Jean Genet's "The Balcony" at JCR, Bassanio in "The Merchant of Venice" at JCR, Lampito in "Lysistrata" at JCR, Monjoy in "Henry V" at JCR, Banquo in "Macbeth" with the Drama Committee Repertory Theatre, Cassius in "Julius Caesar Set in Africa" with The Nuyorican Poet's Cafe, Don Pedro in "Much Ado About Nothing" with Arkansas Repertory Theatre in Little Rock, Groom in "Richard II" (starring Richard Thomas) and Lepidus in "Julius Caesar" (directed by Joe Dowling) at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D. C., Brother Cinnamon in "I Am A Man" at Arena Stage, and 35 roles ranging from Caesar in "Julius Caesar" to the Courtesan in "The Comedy of Errors" at the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, Virginia.
Is there a particular moment in this show that you really love or look forward to? Without giving away surprises, what happens in that moment and why does it jazz you?
Yes, there is a moment when my character's (Lindy) heart grows ten sizes, not unlike the Grinch Who Stole Christmas! As an actor, I love the process of getting to that moment--it's quite the journey!
Which famous person would you most like to get a fan letter from: Meryl Streep, Lindsay Lohan, Steven Spielberg, Philip Seymour Hoffman?
Meryl Streep, of course! Because she is arguably the world's greatest living actor. Is there anything she hasn't been nominated for? She is a rock star of acting!
Can theater bring about societal change? Why or why not?
Absolutely! Theatre is holding a mirror up to life. Through a great performance in the theatre we are able to see who we are or who we are not as human beings. It can move us to change those things in our society that are causing us harm. Theatre can change our entire outlook on life or encourage us to do a thing we did not have the courage to do before. There is a reason theatre has been around so long--it teaches us how to live. "Easter" is about forgiveness and redemption. If ever there was a play that can bring about social change, it is certainly this one! COME AND SEE IT!