Posts tagged Los Angeles Production
Today, we bring you our first exclusive interview of 2011, provided by the lovely Emily Rozek. Ms. Rozek has a wonderful history with “Wicked”, having been the standby for Glinda in Los Angeles (two separate times) and an ensemble member and cover for Glinda on the 1st National Tour (where she was an original cast member). Check it out below!
What was your first professional acting job and what did you learn from the experience?
My first professional acting job was at the Helen Hayes theatre in Nyack. I played the role of Marta in Company starring Norm Lewis and Donna Mckechnie. I booked the job just after my graduation from The Boston Conservatory. My first Broadway show was Annie Get Your Gun starring Bernadette Peters. There was a lot to be learned in both shows and working with those amazing actors was priceless. I believe that the best way to learn is by observing people you respect and admire.
Other than “Wicked”, what has been your favorite acting job so far?
My favorite role was Millie Dillmount in Broadway’s Thoroughly Modern Millie. I enjoyed her wit and tough persona. It was extremely fun for me to play.
Tell us your audition & casting story for “Wicked”.
I don’t actually have a long and drawn out casting story for Wicked. I only went in once and was cast as the understudy for Glinda for the first national tour. From there, I was promoted to the Stand-by position in the Los Angeles company and the rest happened from there. I was excited to be a part of the show, but nervous about how to play the role initially. I knew I couldn’t be a carbon copy of what had already been done so the trick was to bring myself into the character while also keeping within the set form of the show and direction.
What was your initial rehearsal process for Glinda like?
My rehearsal process for Glinda started with basic music and blocking and it was actually through performing the role as frequently as I did that I found my own portrayal.
How did you stay fresh in the ensemble each night?
Any of us in a show, whether it be in the ensemble or playing a lead role works to stay fresh by staying present with the other performers on stage each night. Our goal is to tell the story and we all play a part in that. The audience is new each night and brings with it its own energy. That helps create something new each night.
How did your move to Los Angeles come about? Did you have to audition a second time?
As I said above, I was offered the Los Angeles position from the tour, so no. I did not audition again.
What, for you, is the best and worst part of being in a hit show like “Wicked”?
Being in a hit show like Wicked is a huge blessing, but a long running show like that can also have its down side. It’s very easy to get used to the income and get a false sense of stability within the business. Most of us, once in a show like Wicked, stay for quite some time instead of auditioning frequently. As hard as it is to go in and out of employment, moving from show to show helps build a resume and offers many experiences with many different shows. All that said, I am monumentally grateful for Wicked and all it has given me.
Do you have any memorable stagedooring experiences you’d like to share?
I always enjoyed the people at the stage door and how touched they were by the show. It was a constant reminder that what we do reaches people. We all like to feel like what we do makes a difference.
What are some dream roles you have in mind?
One of my dream roles is Polly in Crazy For You and I just got to play the role this past fall for the first time. It was the first Broadway show I ever saw and I have wanted to play the role ever since.
Would you ever consider a return to “Wicked”?
Depending on the situation, I would absolutely return to Wicked. One never knows.
What advice do you have for aspiring performers?
I would advise aspiring performers to keep training and learning from people they look up to. Also, to figure out what is special about them. Don’t try to fill someone else’s shoes. Build your own.
Today, are proud to present our 40th exclusive interview – this time with Julie Reiber. Ms. Reiber has worked in both the Los Angeles and Broadway companies of the show as the standby for Elphaba. Previously, she toured with “Rent” and also stood by for Eden Espinosa in “Brooklyn” on Broadway. Enjoy her interview below!
When did you first know you wanted to be an actress?
At the age of 12. I did a show called “Mad Mad Mad Mad Cinderella” at the Bellingham Community Theatre and I was hooked.
What was your first professional job and what did you learn from it?
Well…I sang a few church gigs in high school and college. Those were the first times I got paid to sing. But my real first professional job was as a singer on Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. I learned a lot there, but I learned more when I moved to NYC. That is when I REALLY learned what it takes to make it in this biz.
How did you come to audition for “Wicked”? What was the process like?
I got my first appointment for Wicked while I was performing in BKLYN the musical on Broadway. The process was long for me. Spanned over about a year I think. I probably had about 5-7 auditions total before I booked the job.
What was your reaction when you found out you had the job?
Well…to be honest I was thrilled, but I was in a place in my career where I was turning down understudy jobs, so it was a hard decision to leave home to cover because it was the new L.A. company. But I really wanted the opportunity to play this incredible role. I knew Elphaba was a great fit for me and I wanted my shot at it….so I headed to L.A.
What was your first performance as Elphaba like?
It was pretty out of body. I had not had a put in rehearsal yet (that is where you are on the stage for the first time and you do your quick changes, the technical stuff, etc.) I was in my dressing room and they came down and said that Eden had hurt herself or was feeling sick….can’t recall. All I know is, the show had just started and it was right after ‘The Wizard and I’ that they came down. They said, “we gotta get you green.” Like I said, I hadn’t had a rehearsal yet, so I was freaking out a bit, but I was prepared and went into work mode. I had done all my homework and knew that even though I hadn’t had a rehearsal, if they needed me they wouldn’t hesitate to throw me on. And I was right.
So we got me green and I went on right after “Popular.” Eden walked off and I walked on. It was really crazy. I was so focused and it literally was a survival, out of body experience. I just knew I had a job to do and I did it. Everybody said it went great. I guess it did, but I really didn’t have any idea what I did
It was an amazing time…but it was a little crazy.
And ironically….my first show in the Broadway company was a similar thing. I hadn’t had a put-in yet and I was thrown on. I can’t remember if it was mid show that time, but I think it was. No rehearsal and same thing….just get thru it without messing up!
Live theatre….good times.
What did you do backstage during your spare time as standby?
What didn’t I do?
In L.A. I made a goal to learn to play the guitar. So that took up a lot of my time there. I played a lot and wrote my first tunes there. I also watched all of “Six Feet Under” in L.A. Crocheting, reading, yoga, tea drinking, TV watching.
Also having dinner with friends, running errands, working out, sitting on my couch at home….we had a 5 block radius as standby’s so we could be out and about and I lived close. Lucky girl.
What was your favorite song to perform in the show?
That is a tough one. I loved each one for its own reasons. If I had to choose it would be “Wizard and I” or “No Good Deed.” The two opposites of Elphaba’s show. And of course who doesn’t love flying and screaming the most famous musical theatre song ever “Defying Gravity.”
How did the move to Broadway Elphaba standby come about?
They had asked me to stay on as standby in L.A. and I passed on that. I wanted to come home. I was home for about 5 months when they called me to standby in NYC. It was right next to my house and I just couldn’t pass it up. I loved the role so much, I was excited to play it again on Broadway.
How did performing with different actresses as Glinda change your performance?
For me acting is all about being present and listening. So it was so fun to experience different Glinda’s. They were all so different and I never try to plan how I will play a scene. I try to just be present in it and react…which would always make me different. So I think I was always in essence the same, but each Glinda would bring out different things in me.
What did you do to warm up before each performance? Did you have a set routine?
Well…when I had the time to prepare and wasn’t going on half way thru the show or got the call right before the show….I did have a routine. I would always do some yoga to some of my favorite music. Then I do some breathing/meditation. I’d do my vocal warm up and then I’d get green. I always listened to some of my favorite tunes (Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Stevie Wonder, Joss Stone, Michael Jackson) during the green process and sang along probably louder than my team wanted to hear but that was part of my warm up.
Then right before I went on for Elphaba I had a little routine that I did backstage. I did these kicks and punches on the side, always giving a high five to the stage hand there. Then I’d continue to do the same right behind the clock flailing around probably looking crazy but just loosening myself up and getting my heart rate up for that first entrance where she is so thrilled to be at school.
We know that you enjoy writing music – what are some sources you look to for inspiration?
Well…I’m still looking to become a better musician on my instrument so I can have more inspiration from that. Playing and finding new sounds inspire me a lot and is the start of my process. I usually write the music first. I am also inspired by things that happen in my life that give me strong feelings.
Are there any dream roles you’d like to play one day?
My biggest dream is to create new roles. I want to continue to work on new projects and be able to bring myself to roles and be a part of the creative process of building it from the beginning.
What advice would you give to aspiring performers?
Be yourself. First and foremost. There is a lot of rejection in this business that can make you think there is something wrong with YOU. You need to be strong in yourself and who you are. And trust that you are right where you are supposed to be…even if you aren’t getting a role you wanted and really thought was yours. There are so many factors at play that are out of your control. So the only thing you can control is your audition. You do your work there, be yourself and do your best….and then leave it in the room. Whatever happens…you are still wonderfully talented and trust in the universe that it is all happening just as it is suppose. You just move onto the next one. When it’s right, it will fit and you will book it.
Today, we are thrilled to host an exclusive interview with Tom Flynn. Mr. Flynn is currently performing the role of Dr. Dillamond on the 1st National Tour of “Wicked”, a role which he also portrayed in the Los Angeles and San Francisco Production. Prior to this, he has also performed in several other shows, including “Juan Darién” and “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” on Broadway. Check out the interview below!
What was your first professional acting job, and how did you land it?
Right out of college, a director I had worked with cast me in an equity production of “Fiddler on the Roof” in Southern California, which lasted for 7 months. It was quite a shot right out of the gate.
What is your favorite role you’ve ever played?
Mr. Gatch in the Broadway production of “How to Succeed..” That was an incredibly fun time and fun company. Matthew Broderick was a dream to play with. Other great role was playing opposite Chita Rivera in a straight play called “Venecia,” which Arthur Laurents directed. AHHH-Mazing experience to work with both of those legends.
How did you come to audition for “Wicked” and what was the audition process like?
I saw they were casting the replacement for the tour so I wrote the casting director and also contacted my agent. I think I had a total of 4 auditions over the course of 2 months. The final audition was very high pressure with 12 creatives in the room including Joe, Stephen S., Wayne C. et al.
How long and how difficult was the initial rehearsal process for the show?
Only 2 weeks and not stressful at all.
What was your first show like? How were you feeling throughout the show – nervous, excited, scared?
I was THRILLED to be a part of Wicked and so excited and full of gratitude and high emotions on my first night. I have been in the business such a long time that I truly understand the fortune to be given a role like this in one of the biggest hits ever. I continue to love my job more than anything!
What is your favorite part of the show to perform?
The Classroom scene. Particularly when I alert Elphaba to the dangers in OZ. It really starts her on her journey of discovery.
What was it like to change productions of this show? Do you think it changed your performance any?
It keeps me fresh. Each company is so different and the LA company was slightly different than the San Francisco company. I am grateful for the California experience but I am infinitely happier being back on the road. It just suits my lifestyle better.
Do you have any onstage bloopers or mishaps you’ve been involved in or witnessed you’d like to share?
Early on in my Wicked tenure, I went up on my lines and panicked and had no idea what to say or do. This was during the tenure of Victoria Matlock and Christina DeCicco. No one was able to bail me out, so after what seemed like a couple of minutes (in reality, maybe 3 seconds) I screamed, “Class Dismissed.” Unfortunately, the chalkboard hadn’t been flipped yet or anything, so the audience probably had no clue what to think
Are there any dream roles you’d like to play one day?
Malvolio in “Twelfth Night,” Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol,” Hook in “Peter Pan.” Also currently, I would love to play Mr. Banks in Mary Poppins and the Father in “Billy Elliott.”
What advice would you give to aspiring performers?
Study, learn about life, all of life, not just acting. Know about art and philosophy and science and economics and math et al. The more you know, the better an actor you are. Get a degree at a University so if the business doesn’t work out for you, you have something to fall back on. Don’t be delusional. If after 2,3, 5 years at the most you haven’t gotten anywhere, haven’t gotten a professional job, aren’t making real headway and progress at making a living in this business…MOVE ON! You will be much happier.
Remember that time in Los Angeles when Melissa Fahn (former ensemble, u/s Glinda – Los Angeles, Broadway) was on for Glinda and the ensemble member did not correctly unhook her from the bubble? She attempted to step out and was jerked right back into the bubble.
There is a very substantial rumor that Eden Espinosa (former Elphaba – Broadway, 1st Tour, Los Angeles) will be replacing Teal Wicks (Elphaba – San Francisco, Los Angeles) on March 2, 2010 in the San Francisco production. There is also a not as substantial, but still existent rumor that Jemma Rix (current Elphaba alt. – Sydney) will be replacing Eden after three months.
This one shall be a quickie, but here are my thoughts on the whole Adam Lambert (former Fiyero u/s on the 1st National Tour and Los Angeles productions).
Adam Lambert is with no doubt an incredibly talented performer; he has an amazing voice and he has stage presence like few others. I have enjoyed just about everything he sung, with the exception of “Ring of Fire” on American Idol and the stunt he pulled earlier this week which led to Lambertgate.
Quite frankly, I feel that what he did was completely and totally inappropriate, for several reasons. For one, just because it’s been done for years on TV does not make it appropriate. The shock factor he wanted was totally there, so it’s clearly not common. Secondly, he knew it was inappropriate when he didn’t do any of it in dress rehearsal, thus putting ABC in an incredibly difficult position of having someone doing things onstage that is not conducive to their family station. And the fact that it was 7:45 in the west when he was doing it makes it even worse. Do any of you really want to explain to a small child why that man was putting someone else’s head in his crotch and moving back and forth? I don’t think so… And yes, I also agree with ABC canceling his appearance later this week. He compromised the values of their station; he has to deal with it.
Do I think it’ll ruin his career? Absolutely not. But was it stupid? Yes. He’s talented, but even the talented have to show limits, something which he utterly failed to do.