Broadway Book Chat

Broadway Book Chat: Lauren Lukacek from Love Never Dies

Broadway Book Chat

As an actor, every job you do, you make a new family.  There is something special about theatre and it’s ability to bring people together in a way that is unlike any other.  I have made so many amazing friends throughout my career, and many of them share my love of books and literature.  Since theatre brings stories to life, I thought I would feature some of my favorite performers (my fabulous friends and cast mates) and see what their bookshelves look like! Welcome to my Broadway Book Chat!

Lauren Lukacek

Lauren Lukacek

From the National Tour of Love Never Dies: The Phantom Returns

www.laurenlukacek.com

Instagram: @laurenlukacek

What are you currently reading?

I’m in the middle of David Sedaris’ latest collection of essays, Calypso.  I’ve loved reading his stuff since my mom first gave me Me Talk Pretty One Day when I was in college.  A lot of the comedic essays I write (about being an actor in New York and all the craziness that goes with it) were inspired by his work.

What is your favorite book series?

I’m not really a book series kind of gal! I did get through all of The Hunger Games books, which I really enjoyed.  But I love reading paper copies of books rather than digital books, and it’s hard to travel multiple books while touring.  A lot of books that I read on tour were hand me downs from other cast members that I found on the free table or that the women’s ensemble kept passing around for an informal book club.  It was easiest to conserve space by reading something and then letting it go.

Who is your favorite author?IMG_8532

I have a huge soft spot for Rosamunde Pilcher.  After college, my mom introduced me to Shell Seekers and  I got hooked on her storytelling.  She has a wonderful way of describing the ins and outs of daily life in a captivating way.  I also love her novel September, which follows some of the same characters as Shell Seekers and expands on the live of characters that were mentioned in her other novels.

What book inspires you and why?

I love Gillian Flynn’s writing style.  Her thrillers are the best kind of writing that draws you in and keeps you turning the page.  She doesn’t give you all the information up front.  Plus her metaphors are some of the best I’ve ever read.  She can pair two unlikely things together to paint such a vivid picture of the situation, you feel like you’re watching it instead of reading it.

Which literary character would you like to play?

Ooh, this is fun! I would love to play Vida Winter from The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield.  This is one of my favorite books!  I love the complexity of her character — she’s a mystery to everyone that meets her and she constantly changes her story about her childhood.  The novel begins when she summons a local writer to come stay with her and write down the true story of her life before she dies.  How fun would it be to to play her at different ages, with all the things that happen to her in her life? Just such a well written novel and a great story that I would love to tell.

If you could be friends with any of the characters you have played, who would it be and why?

Oh man! I would definitely be friends with Carrie Pipperidge from Carousel.  She’s spunky and fun – and one of those honest friends who will tell you exactly what she is thinking without sugar coating anything.  I adore her wacky sense of humor — and her positive attitude.  She’s a good, loyal friend.

What book would you like to see made into a musical/play/movie?

I used to say they should make The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows into a movie — but they just made it into a really cute Netflix movie! They did a great job with it.  Highly recommend the book and the movie as well.  It’s a quaint, feel good novel.

I would love to see Broken For You by Stephanie Kallos adapted into a musical.  There are a lot of colorful characters in that one that would be fun to see on stage.  The two main characters are women, one of whom is in her seventies — and we could always use more female roles, especially older ones. Plus I would love to see how they would create the mosaic at the end, maybe they could digitally project it onto a screen. Would be fun to see!

What is the next book on your reading list?

I got really into Ernest Hemingway last year after visiting his home in Key West, FL.  I finished A Moveable Feast while I was on tour, which is his recollection of his time living in Paris as a struggling writer with his first wife.  His writing is so simplistic and straightforward.  I learn so much about being a writer just by reading his works.  Now I have A Farewell To Arms waiting for me when I get back to New York after the holidays. 

IMG_1073Have you ever written anything yourself?

Yes! I love to write.  I think it’s so important to have a hobby outside of performing to keep life balanced when performing opportunities are limited.  Writing is that creative outlet for me.  I started writing when I was young, encouraged by my amazing mother who also writes.  I’ve written essays, comedic sketches, TWO novels and I even took a class where I wrote a spec script for television!  I wrote the novels with the help of NaNoWriMo, a nonprofit that encourages you to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days, which breaks down to 1667 words a day.  I’ve done it eight years and completed the word goal twice! It’s a great way to stop making excuses not to write and to turn off your inner editor.  The goal is quantity of words, not quality, so even if you feel like you’re writing terribly, you just have to keep going.  The main idea is to get the words down.  I love the audacity of the program — writing a novel in 30 days feels so ambitious and when I complete it, I feel like anything is possible.  It’s a great feeling.  I’m hoping to start editing my novel in the new year and keep that momentum going.

What show are you currently working on?

I just closed the first national tour of Love Never Dies, the sequel to Phantom of the Opera.  I was a showgirl dancing behind Meg Giry, who became the headliner of a vaudeville act since we last saw her in the first Phantom.  We were the North American debut of the musical and played 41 cities in 16 months!  It was an incredible experience getting to meet and work with Andrew Lloyd Webber.  I’m currently enjoying some down time with family for the holidays.

What is your favorite show you’ve been a part of and why?

I love love loved my time on the first national tour of Cinderella from 2015-2016.  Right before that, I had been a non-union actor for six years and things had been difficult.  I earned my Equity card with that tour when I was cast as an immediate replacement.  I covered Marie, the fairy godmother (I got to fly!) and Madame, the wicked step mother, two very different roles.  I got to go on for both multiple times! Plus I loved my ensemble track.  Dancing in the ball every night in a huge gown was so romantic. 

I also adored the cast, who were all so kind and welcoming when I joined the tour.  I made some great, life long friends there.  Our principals were very inclusive and set the tone for the rest of the cast to be kind, just like the theme of our show. 

I pinched myself daily.  Plus the income from that show allowed me to travel to Europe for the first time during a layoff, a lifelong dream that I couldn’t afford before.  I truly couldn’t believe my good fortune when I booked that show.  It was such a magical time in my life.

You can check out some of Lauren’s essays on her website www.LaurenLukacek.com!!
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Broadway Book Chat

Broadway Book Chat: Jeff Brooks

Broadway Book Chat

As an actor, every job you do, you make a new family.  There is something special about theatre and it’s ability to bring people together in a way that is unlike any other.  I have made so many amazing friends throughout my career, and many of them share my love of books and literature.  Since theatre brings stories to life, I thought I would feature some of my favorite performers (my fabulous friends and cast mates) and see what their bookshelves look like! Welcome to my Broadway Book Chat!

Jeff Brooks

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Currently on tour with Fiddler on the Roof

Instagram: @bathrobedbrooks


What are you currently reading?

Just about to start Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn.  Let it begin.  I’m going down the rabbit hole.

What is your favorite book series?

Anyone will tell you that I’m an ENORMOUS Lord of the Rings fan.  I’ve read the entire series 9 times.  Once for each member of the Fellowship.  Or each of the Nazgûl.

Who is your favorite author? IMG_6790

Without a doubt JRR Tolkien.

What book inspires you and why?

I’d be hard-pressed to choose between Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury and Anthem by Ayn Rand. Both are hypnotic metaphors for the state of Society.

Which literary character would you like to play?

I’d love to take a swing at Louis from Interview With the Vampire by Anne Rice.  Newly turned, still figuring it out, hanging with a vampire god.

If you could be friends with any of the characters you have played, who would it be and why?

Gaston, definitely. Nobody pays when they drink with Gaston.  Literally.  No one ever pays.  For all those drinks.  Not a cent.

What book would you like to see made into a musical/play/movie?

I’d love to see a miniseries of RA Salvatore’s Dark Elf Trilogy. People would eat Drizzt Do’Urden up.

IMG_6785What is the next book on your reading list?

Shadows of the Empire by Steve Perry. Love me some Star Wars Expanded Universe!

Have you ever thought about writing yourself?

I used to write short sci-fi stories, but never anything with real depth. Mostly just putting my technicolor dreams on paper and giving the characters cool names.

What show are you currently in, and what was the last show you were in and who did you play?

I’m currently on the road with the 1st National Tour of “Fiddler on the Roof” where I play the Constable. Last year at this time I was also on the road, but with “The Sound of Music”.

What is your favorite show you’ve been a part of and why?

“Bullets over Broadway” was such an amazing experience. A beautiful piece mixed with some wickedly-talented people.


See Jeff and the rest of the cast in Fiddler On the Roof all around the US!

http://fiddlermusical.com/ticket-info/


I feature a new performer every month! I would love some suggestions for questions you would like to ask, or things you want to know!  Leave them in the comments and I will add them to future interviews! Shout out to my wonderful friend, Jeff, for sharing with us! ❤

Broadway Book Chat

Broadway Book Chat: Hannah Cruz from Hamilton

Broadway Book Chat

As an actor, every job you do, you make a new family.  There is something special about theatre and it’s ability to bring people together in a way that is unlike any other.  I have made so many amazing friends throughout my career, and many of them share my love of books and literature.  Since theatre brings stories to life, I thought I would feature some of my favorite performers (my fabulous friends and cast mates) and see what their bookshelves look like! Welcome to my Broadway Book Chat!

Hannah Cruz

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Currently playing Eliza in the national tour of  Hamilton!

www.hannahcruz.us 

insta: @thisishannahcruz

twitter: @heyhannahcruz

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie.

What is your favorite book series?IMG_7004

Growing up I was thoroughly obsessed with the series Pendragon I remember writing the author, D. J. MacHale, and telling him I would be perfect to play one of the girl characters ‘Courtney Chetwynde’. Which was not true at all. She was like a soccer star and I could never get through any sporting event without crying. But you know, acting.

Who is your favorite author?

Ron Currie Jr. hands down. His books changed my life.

What book inspires you and why?

Everything Matters! by Ron Currie Jr. It was the first book I read by him. It’s the first time I heard the nihlistic voice in my head on the page and I felt seen.

Which literary character would you like to play?

So. Many. What comes first to mind is the character of ‘Claire’ in (you guessed it) Ron Currie Jr.’s The One Eyed Man. She’s not exactly likable but man there’s so much to mine there. It would be a blast.

IMG_7003If you could be friends with any of the characters you have played, who would it be and why?

Eliza for sure. What an incredible person. I am still learning from her every night. Never mind living to be 97 and continuing her husbands work but FORGIVING him after all he put her though..I don’t know if I could ever achieve that. I’d love to actually speak to her on that.

What book would you like to see made into a movie/musical/play?

I have always said Girl Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen would make a fantastic play. I always said I would write it but never sat down and put it to work.

What is the next book on your reading list?

Anthony Kiedis’ bio Scar Tissue! The Red Hot Chili Peppers are my favorite band and I can’t wait to crack that one open.

What is your favorite show you have worked on and why?

Hamilton has been such a ride. Just telling the story every night is such a rush. It’s exhausting and it’s taking everything I’ve got, but I love it.


Catch Hannah and the rest of the cast of Hamilton on tour around the US!

https://hamiltonmusical.com/us-tour/tickets


I feature a new performer every month! I would love some suggestions for questions you would like to ask, or things you want to know!  Leave them in the comments and I will add them to future interviews! Thank you to my insanely talented and beautiful (inside and out) friend, Hannah, for sharing with us! ❤

Broadway Book Chat

Broadway Book Chat: Jordana Grolnick

Broadway Book Chat

As an actor, every job you do, you make a new family.  There is something special about theatre and it’s ability to bring people together in a way that is unlike any other.  I have made so many amazing friends throughout my career, and many of them share my love of books and literature.  Since theatre brings stories to life, I thought I would feature some of my favorite performers (my fabulous friends and cast mates) and see what their bookshelves look like! Welcome to my Broadway Book Chat!

Jordana Grolnick 

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Just seen in Oliver! at Goodspeed Opera House!

www.jordanagrolnick.com

instagram: @jordanagrams

twitter: @JordanaGrolnick

What are you currently reading?

The final book in the Harry Potter series, for the first time!

What is favorite book series?

Harry Potter, obviously.  It’s taken me 26 years to get here, but I’m finally on board.

Who is your favorite author?

At the moment, Cheryl Strayed.

What book inspires you and why?

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.  I always wished I could be that fearless and adventurous as a kid, and it filled me with romantic ideals of living in New York City.

Which literary character would you like to play? IMG_1152

Elizabeth Bennet.

If you could be friends with any of the characters you have played, who would it be and why?

So, I played Mazie LaBird in high school, and I think she would be a damn good time.  A little flakey, but if you can pin her down, she’d be a hoot.

What book would you like to see made into a musical/movie/play?

A Visit From the Goon Squad.

What is the next book on your reading list?

Chernow’s Hamilton biography.  Admittedly I’m drawn to it because I’m a musical theatre nerd and not necessarily buff, but hey.  I’m not ashamed.

What show are you currently working on?

I just did Oliver! (yes, it comes with an exclamation mark) and I was in the ensemble playing Helga the Whore, and understudying Nancy.

What is your favorite show you have been a part of and why?

A Chorus Line (with Miss Lexie Plath).  It hits dangerously close to home for performers, and it’s incredible to share “our” story with an audience and see them connect to something so viscerally.  It’s truly a masterpiece and I’m lucky I got to do it.  And Lexie as Val was a force 😛


I feature a new performer every month! I would love some suggestions for questions you would like to ask, or things you want to know!  Leave them in the comments and I will add them to future interviews! Shout out to my gorgeous friend Jordana for sharing with us! ❤

 

Broadway Book Chat

Broadway Book Chat: Blake Price

Broadway Book Chat

As an actor, every job you do, you make a new family.  There is something special about theatre and it’s ability to bring people together in a way that is unlike any other.  I have made so many amazing friends throughout my career, and many of them share my love of books and literature.  Since theatre brings stories to life, I thought I would feature some of my favorite performers (my fabulous friends and cast mates) and see what their bookshelves look like! Welcome to my Broadway Book Chat!

Blake Price

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Currently performing as Curly in Oklahoma at Stages St. Louis!

www.blakewprice.com

instagram: @blakewprice


What shows have you been working on and who do you play?

I was most notably Monty Navarro in the most recent tour of the Broadway show A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, which played all over the country from October of 2017 through May of 2018.  But I’m currently checking off another dream role off my list at Stages St. Louis, playing Curly in Oklahoma!

What are you currently reading?

I’m going back and forth with And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini, but it’s been a very slow go.  I really enjoyed his first two books: The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns.

What is your favorite book series?

It’s hard not to say Harry Potter, but in an attempt to be different, I’ll say the Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children series.  I blew through all three books seamlessly, and as I said before I’m usually a really slow reader.

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Who is your favorite author?

Most of Khaled Hosseini’s books are some of my favorites.  I have a very basic library so JK Rowling is obviously up there.  I also love diving into a good memoir or interview-based novel like Judd Apatow’s Sick in the Head.  Or revisiting George Orwell’s 1984, which I read in high school.  It’s a little too poignant nowadays, so it hits pretty close to home.  Home being America and its new obsession with fascism.  Let’s just say it didn’t make riding the subway in NYC any less stressful.

What book inspires you and why?

I love a good acting self-help book.  The Actor and the Target by Declan Donnellan was a game changer for me.  It revamped the way I approached character work and my own process and blocks in all aspects of my work.  I highly recommend it for any performer looking for a new outlook and a practical approach to their work.  Even more important is the book The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.  It’s one of the most inspirational books I’ve ever read.  It’s basically an ass kicking thrown into less than 200 pages with an emphasis on overcoming any and every thing that keeps you from achieving your true purpose, as an artist or otherwise.  It challenges you and is 100% upfront with you about its strong opinions.  Not everything in the book will resonate, it even includes a forward from another author that disagrees with the entire final portion of the book, but the sentiment and practical approach cannot be denied.  Read this book if you’re a person with any type of aspiration… Seriously.

Which literary character would you like to play and why?

This could go a million ways.  I’ve had feedback from more experienced readers who’ve told me I should play the infamous Dr. H.H. Holmes from Erik Larson’s Devil in the White City.  I did play one murderous character based on the 1906 novel Isreal Rank:  The Autobiography of a Criminal which was then turned into the 2014 Tony Award-winning musical, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.  I played Monty Navarro, who comically knocks off 8 of his family members to become the Earl of Highhurst.  The book is a dark comedy, but nowhere near as fun and enjoyable as the musical.  If you see it playing anywhere near you, buy your tickets immediately.

If you could be friends with any of the characters you have played, who would it be and why?

I played Billy Bigelow a couple years ago, and part of me wishes I could’ve helped him through his problematic relationship with Julie Jordan.  It’s a musical with a stigma and a musical that’s disliked because more often than not, it’s done incorrectly.  Like bad Shakespeare, it has a way of leaving audiences with a sour taste in their mouths.  Sweeny Todd is another gentleman I’d like to be there for.  I’d rather avoid murderous and violent folks, but growing up in the emasculating sports world, I’ve had experience helping gents get in touch with their sensitive sides.  It’s okay to be a man (straight or not) and enjoy singing, dancing, dressing nice, watching musicals, shopping, embracing love from both women AND men.

What book would you like to see turned into a musical/movie/play?

Many of the books I’ve read HAVE been made into movies.  And self-help books and acting technique books would make for real masturbatory work.  Which, I mean, there’s a place for it.  But Khaled Hosseini’s second book, A Thousand Splendid Suns, would make for a very poignant film in our current era of #MeToo and #TimesUp.  It follows three women and their place in Afghan society.  It spans various points in the latter half of the 20th century, but it really exemplifies an immense amount of strength that women in a much more conservative society have to have in order to endure and overcome adversity.  It puts out own society in perspective and helped me look at the way I treat the women in my life in various aspects.  It’s important that we find ways to take a step back and look at how responsible we are when interacting with the people in our lives.

76401What book is next on your reading list?

Dee Brown’s Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.  I’ve always been enamored by those classics that I never got to read or had to read when I was “too cool to care”.  This is one I’ve always known about but never took the time to sit down with.  It’s one of the best stories for retelling the brutal relocation by our own government, stripping any and all tribes of their power and land for no other reason than greed.  I’m excited to give this one a hearty read.  I’m also apparently into anti-establishment books that also give me anxiety.  Go figure.

What is your favorite show you’ve been a part of and why?

Each one has given me the opportunity and tools to grow as a man and an artist.  Each one carries a newfound respect for myself and the artists and world around me.  A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder taught me that I could do literally anything- because my character was onstage for 95% of the show, singing all sorts of patter and operatic turns with highly energetic physical movement on a schedule that no other Monty who has ever played the role has had to endure.  Billy Bigelow in Carousel taught me how to use text that reads one way to be delivered another.  Its format is outdated, and I think the intention for the character is lost when the way he’s written is so aggressive.  The only way the show works is if the audience inherently roots for him- which means the actor playing him MUST show us his capacity for love in the iconic Bench Scene (“If I Loved You”) and that’s not just singing pretty.  Julie has to be seen as an equal and most of the time, she’s bowled over by the actor playing Billy.  I also did a play called Canine Mutiny Court-Martial a couple years back in Arrow Rock, MO at the Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre that was one of the worst selling shows they’ve ever had.  However; it got the most positive email responses of any they’ve ever put up as well.  The cast was beyond stellar.  It was an all-male courtroom drama about a naval captain, who may or may not have lost his composure during a storm, and his second in command is forced to commit mutiny to save the ship.  I’ve never seen a more efficient dissection of a script than this production with only the two lawyers who stood, and every other character sitting.  I was also the youngest in the cast with an entire testimony to carry, and each veteran actor I interacted with treated me as an equal.  It was the first time I began to realize that even if I’m standing face to face with the likes of Morgan Freeman, Bernadette Peters, or Daniel Day-Lewis, I should see myself as no less or no more than their equal.  In whatever moment that is, as two or three or twenty storytellers on the same stage or screen, we are equals.


I feature a new performer every month! I would love some suggestions for questions you would like to ask, or things you want to know!  Leave them in the comments and I will add them to future interviews! Thanks to dear friend Blake for sharing with us! ❤

Broadway Book Chat

Broadway Book Chat: Joey Simon

Broadway Book Chat

As an actor, every job you do, you make a new family.  There is something special about theatre and it’s ability to bring people together in a way that is unlike any other.  I have made so many amazing friends throughout my career, and many of them share my love of books and literature.  Since theatre brings stories to life, I thought I would feature some of my favorite performers (my fabulous friends and castmates) and see what their bookshelves look like! Welcome to my Broadway Book Chat!

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Joey Simon

Currently performing in Anything Goes at Westchester Broadway Theatre!

instagram: @joey.a.simon


What are you currently reading?

Autoboyography by Christina Lauren.  It’s different from what I usually read, which is fantasy, but it’s always refreshing to read a book with a love story that could have actually been about me.

What is your favorite book series?

Such a tough and loaded question.  I consider Harry Potter to be in a category all its own, so outside of that I would have to say Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series.  It’s rare to find fantasy books outside of the original high fantasy archetypes that are written so well and meant for adults.  It is also such a huge part of Stephen King’s life, and is so unbelievably developed and planned.  Honorable Mention: Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles.

Who is your favorite author?IMG_0909

I don’t really have one.  I don’t really follow authors, and the author doesn’t affect my interest in a book.

What book inspires you and why?

Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles, as weird as that sounds.  Maybe it’s where I am at this moment in my life, but they inspire me to seek out things that I would normally take for granted.  They definitely make me want to travel more, love harder, and take risks.  Also being a vampire would be fun.

Which literary character would you like to play?

Vincent from The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman.  First off, I want to be a witch, and secondly, I love how complex he is and that he has a darkness inside of his goodness.  I also found that I really related to his character and his struggle to accept his sexuality.

If you could be friends with any of the characters you have played, who would it be and why?

The nun I played in Spamalot.  She was wild, your honor.

What book would you like to see made into a musical/play/movie?

I want Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake to be a movie, I want Carry On by Rainbow Rowell to be a musical, and The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman to be a play.

What is the next book on your reading list?

Probably The Great Hunt from the epic Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan.  I just ordered it on Thriftbooks, a long with a bunch of others, and I am so excited to get back to that world.

What show are you currently in who did you play?

I am in Anything Goes at Westchester Broadway Theatre and I am in the ensemble, where I mostly am a tap dancing sailor.  Gay boy dreams come true.

What is your favorite show you’ve been a part of and why?

Probably Spamalot at Arkansas Repertory Theatre.  I grew up watching Monty Python, and it was an absolute riot to jump into that world and make audiences laugh every night.  Also everyone in the cast was incredible, and just such wonderful people.

Check out Joey and the rest of the cast of Anything Goes at Westchester Broadway Theatre!

I feature a new performer every month! I would love some suggestions for questions you would like to ask, or things you want to know!  Leave them in the comments and I will add them to future interviews! Thanks to my amazing roommate Joey (who I talk about all the time in my posts) for sharing with us! ❤

 

Broadway Book Chat

Broadway Book Chat: David Girolmo

Broadway Book Chat

As an actor, every job you do, you make a new family.  There is something special about theatre and it’s ability to bring people together in a way that is unlike any other.  I have made so many amazing friends throughout my career, and many of them share my love of books and literature.  Since theatre brings stories to life, I thought I would feature some of my favorite performers (my fabulous friends and cast mates) and see what their bookshelves look like! Welcome to my Broadway Book Chat!

David_Girolmo-10073-29233

David Girolmo

Currently performing as Claude Frollo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame at The Fulton Theatre

What are you currently reading?

I’m reading The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse by Robert Rankin.  This oddly named book was a recommendation from a friend who nearly cried telling me how much he loved it, and how many times he re-read it.  We’ll see…

 What is your favorite book series?

Man this is a tough one…  There are so many that I have loved over the years; from The Lord of the Rings books, to Craig Johnson’s Walt Longmire series, C.J. Box’s Joe Pickett series, Sara Paretsky’s V.I. Warshawski series, Harry Potter, The Dark Tower… Too many wonderful hours.  If I have to choose one, I’ll go with John Sanford’s Prey series and his principle character Lucas Davenport.  I don’t know how many he’s written (upwards of 30 by now)- but I’ve loved them all.  No wait!! It has to be the Tales of the City series by Armistead Maupin.  I lived and cried, and loved with this group of people Maupin created for years- re-reading each book like it was the first time.  Yep, that’s it.  Tales of the City.

Who is your favorite author?

I thought this one would be harder- but my immediate response is Stephen King, and I’ll stick with that.  I’ve been reading his work since his first published novel, and we’ve sortof grown up together.  Just finished his latest, The Outsider, and loved it.  Other favorite authors: John Irving, Peter Straub, Harlen Coben, Armistead Maupin, John Sandford, Craig Johnson, Neil Gaiman, Ray Bradbury…

What book inspires you and why?

frollo

Do plays that I’ve read count as books?  There are so many plays I’ve read over the years that inspired me to be a better person/actor/friend/husband… When I was a kid (six or seven years old) I received a boxed edition of A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh series for my birthday that I read over and over again.  I wanted so desperately for those stories to go on and on forever.  I was really bereft when I realized there were no more Pooh books, no more stories.  Maybe that’s why I love all these series: The characters go on as long as the author keeps writing.  I know I get inspired by characters who behave heroically.  I wish I were able to access the better angels of my nature when I read about people doing the right thing against all odds.

Which literary character would you like to play?

Ned Stark… Or Robin Hood… or Walt Longmire… or Iago… Because it would be a BLAST!! Ned Stark, Robin Hood, and Walt Longmire are men of character and virtue who behave heroically.  Iago is just as bad a guy as ever was written, and that would be too much fun!

If you could be friends with any of the characters you have played, who would it be and why?

Fred Graham/Petruchio from Kiss Me Kate.  Who had more fun than Petruchio? Or maybe Sweeney Todd/Benjamin Barker… maybe I could persuade him not to go back into that pie shop….

What book would you like to see turned into a movie/musical/play?

I’d like to see a musical version of Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman.  I’ve seen a pretty badly realized BBC TV movie, and a very small scale play in Chicago.  This cries out for a musical.

What book is next on your reading list?

The Listener by Robert McCammon

What show are you currently working on and who do you play?

I’m currently in The Hunchback of Notre Dame at the Fulton Theatre playing Claude Frollo.  The last show I did was Guys and Dolls playing Arvide Abernathy.  Two more disparate roles I could never have hoped for in the same season!

What is your favorite show you have been a part of and why?

Probably Sondheim’s Follies because that’s where I met my favorite person in the world– my wife.


Check out David and the cast of The Hunchback of Notre Dame at The Fulton Theatre!

I feature a new performer every month! I would love some suggestions for questions you would like to ask, or things you want to know!  Leave them in the comments and I will add them to future interviews! Thanks to the insanely talented David for sharing with us! ❤

Broadway Book Chat

Broadway Book Chat: Elizabeth Dugas

Broadway Book Chat

As an actor, every job you do, you make a new family. There is something special about theatre and it’s ability to bring people together in a way that is unlike any other. I have made so many amazing friends throughout my career, and many of them share my love of books and literature. Since theatre brings stories to life, I thought I would feature some of my favorite performers (my fabulous friends and cast mates) and see what their bookshelves look like! Welcome to my Broadway Book Chat!

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Elizabeth Dugas

Currently performing in The Beast in the Jungle

www.elizabethdugas.com

Instagram: @emdugas

What are you currently reading?

Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress by Susan Jane Gilman.  Thanks to my dear friend and cast mate, Leah Hoffman, who leant it to me!

What is your favorite book series?

The Baby-Sitter’s Club.  That probably sounds like a funny response with all of the amazing options out there, but I was a particularly avid reader as a child and I loved few things more than going to a used book store.  It was my personal mission to collect and read every single book from that series… I think I got pretty close actually (There are 131 by the way… and 122 in the spin-off Baby-Sitter’s Little Sister.)

Who is your favorite author?

Currently, Kristin Hannah. Her book, The Nightingale, was one that had me staying up all night because I just couldn’t put it down.  I also really like Gillian Flynn and shout out to E.B. White for writing my favorite childhood book, Charlotte’s Web.

What book inspires you and why?

Yes Please by Amy Poehler.  In the age of everyone writing self-help books, this one felt particularly real and unapologetically hilarious.  One stand out quote, that I found particularly applicable to people in our field:IMG_7433

“You have to care about your work, but not about the result.  You have to care about how good you are and how good you feel, but not about how good people think you are or how good people think you look.  I realize this is extremely difficult.  I am not saying I am particularly good at it.  I’m like you.  Or maybe you’re better at this than I am.”

Which literary character would you like to play?

Hermione Granger, one hundred percent! She’s strong, loyal, independent, super smart… the list goes on and on and I’m all for playing a badass female!

If you could be friends with any of the characters you have played, who would it be and why?

Lorna from Bullets Over Broadway! Though her track featured a mere one word line, “Hello!”, her subtext and ability to keep David and the play together were vital.  She also triggers my Type-A nerdy side and I’m now good friends with the girl that played her on Broadway (shoutout to Brittany Marcin Maschmeyer).  I’d also like to be friends with Edie Falco who played her in the movie so…. Lorna FOREVER!

What book would you like to see turned into a movie/musical/play?

The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger…. Yes, it’s already a movie, and No, I’m not super into every movie getting a stage adaptation, but I think this would be so fun, and the costumes would be FABULOUS!

What is the next book on your reading list?

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.  I know I’m super late to the game, but it’s one I really want to read before watching the TV series.

What is your favorite show you’ve been a part of and why?

This is such a hard question, but I think I have to give it to The Beast in the Jungle for a couple reasons. 1) There’s something so special about being a part of creative process, and I’ve been lucky enough to work on two workshops of this production before finding a home at the Vineyard.  Which leads into 2) It’s incredibly inspiring to hear the audience’s response to the piece after being isolated with it in a studio for a year and a half.  And 3) It’s a story that needs to be told, and I feel everyone can relate to in one way or another.  I still get chills offstage every night watching the final scene featuring the brilliant Peter Friedman.

What show are you currently working on?

I am currently in The Beast in the Jungle at the Vineyard theatre.  Prior to that I was in Turandot at The Metropolitan Opera, playing an attendant and temptress… also known as Ballet Lady #18 (kidding….. kinda 🙂 )

Check out and buy tickets to see Elizabeth and the cast of The Beast in the Jungle!

Check out Elizabeth’s fundraising page for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids and donate to this amazing cause here!

I feature a new performer every month! I would love some suggestions for questions you would like to ask, or things you want to know!  Leave them in the comments and I will add them to future interviews! Thanks to the wonderful Liz for sharing with us! 🙂 ❤

Broadway Book Chat

Broadway Book Chat: Gabriela Perez

Broadway Book Chat

As an actor, every job you do, you make a new family. There is something special about theatre and it’s ability to bring people together in a way that is unlike any other. I have made so many amazing friends throughout my career, and many of them share my love of books and literature. Since theatre brings stories to life, I thought I would feature some of my favorite performers (my fabulous friends and cast mates) and see what their bookshelves look like! Welcome to my Broadway Book Chat!

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Gabriela Perez

Currently performing in One Thousand Nights and One Day Off-Broadway

www.gabbyperez.com

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. It’s about how much of the decisions we think we’re making are actually just habitual loops we fall into, for better or for worse. It’s a bit scientific, but I find it totally applicable to being an artist. It’s made me examine the habits I immediately fall into when I start rehearsal, when I’m in the middle of a show, when I get an email with an important audition… it’s emotional triggers that I’m now aware of. The book is divided into three chapters: the self (which is the most applicable to actors), successful corporate and team environments, and social movements that used habits to create actual change. (Normally, I read memoirs or historical fiction, so this is new to me!)

What is your favorite book series?IMG_1933

It’s not really a series, but I love the set of three books by Khaled Hosseini: “A Thousand Splendid Suns”, “And the Mountains Echoed”, and “Kite Runner”. They all take place in similar settings with a similar vernacular. I felt so transported to that world.

Who is your favorite author?

There is no way I can choose one! But I’ve been very into Kate Morton and Liane Moriarty lately. I finished all of Moriarty’s books at my library branch. She writes relatable, hilarious women who are grappling with real-life issues. And so suspenseful!

What book inspires you and why?

I’ve been obsessed with As I Lay Dying since I first read it in high school. I love that there is no real protagonist. The entire thing is in first person from the perspective of dozens of characters. It made me realize that to some extent, every story is just one perspective. And the truth of what “really happened” is always some blurring of all those perspectives added together.

Which literary character would you love to play?

If there was a play made out of Rita Moreno’s memoir, I’d be in heaven. It’d have to be a biopic or one-woman show.

If you could be friends with any of the characters you have played, who would it be and why?

I’m about to play Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady this summer, and I’m already in love with her. She is so witty, and saucy and self-assured. She has a wonderful zest for life and sense of humor, but she also knows her own worth and won’t back down when she feels as though she’s being looked over or talked down to.

IMG_1936What book would you like to see made into a musical/play/movie?

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton would be such a beautiful movie period piece. I love movies that cross eras and decades.

What is your favorite show you’ve been a part of and why?

This is such a tough question! Part of me wants to say the Anything Goes National Tour, simply because it was so fun and felt so exciting out of college. I made some incredible friends. But I’ve done more roles since then that have felt less like a communal experience with the cast, but have taught me so much about myself as an artist and the kind of work I want to be doing. I did Marian Paroo in The Music Man last summer, and it was thrilling to be able to play aspects of myself in that role. Many people think of her as being an ingenue, but she is strong-willed, hilarious, and a dreamer.

What are you currently working on?

One Thousand Nights and One Day off-Broadway. I’m playing several characters, one being “The Virgin Bride”. The show takes place in mythical Persia and modern-day NYC, so an ensemble of 8 of us play several characters, each across these stacked layers of time.

What book is next on your reading list?

Eastern Body, Western Mind… again, so new to me! Usually I get swept up in fiction. But this show I’m working on now has asked a lot of me spiritually: to be open, to be present, to trust that my own presence is enough. I’m hoping to learn more about the chakras and how I can apply that grounded energy to my own Western view of acting and living in NYC.


I will feature a new performer every month! I would love some suggestions for questions you would like to ask, or things you want to know!  Leave them in the comments and I will add them to future interviews! Thanks to my beautiful forever friend Gabby for sharing with us! 🙂

Broadway Book Chat

Broadway Book Chat: Mallory King

Broadway Book Chat

As an actor, every job you do, you make a new family. There is something special about theatre and it’s ability to bring people together in a way that is unlike any other. I have made so many amazing friends throughout my career, and many of them share my love of books and literature. Since theatre brings stories to life, I thought I would feature some of my favorite performers (my fabulous friends and cast mates) and see what their bookshelves look like! Welcome to my Broadway Book Chat!

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Mallory King

Currently performing in Guys and Dolls at The Fulton Theatre

www.malloryking.com

instagram/twitter: @mal_king15

What are you currently reading?

Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman and The Lying Game by Ruth Ware.

What is your favorite book series?
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Harry Potter– is that even a question?

Who is your favorite author?

Ooooh.  I kind of have a list.  So I love Liane Moriarty, Ruth Ware, Jodi Picoult, and JoJo Moyes.  I recently went to a book signing event and had the opportunity to hear JoJo Moyes speak.  I loved how she talked about how it took her several books to get one published, several published to get one bestseller, and then several best seller books to have one turned into a film (Me Before You).  I found her to be truly inspiring.  You can tell she’s an incredibly hard worker.

What book inspires you and why?

I would have to say The Help by Kathryn Stockett.  I love how it’s about a female writer who stands up for what she believes in.  There’s also a little bit of mystery in it because as you’re reading you want to know more about the lives of these women.  I’m also a huge fan of historical fiction, so it’s everything I love about books poured into one novel.  And have you seen the movie? Talk about female power.  I was also inspired by Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult recently.  Schools should integrate it into their English curriculum. It’s pivotal.

Which literary character would you like to play?

I would love to play Zelda Fitzgerald.  I read Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Anne Fowler, and I really got into her head.  I also LOVE the 1920’s era.  It’s kind of cool that she is a character in several novels, as well as the wife of one of the greatest authors of all time.  I mean Zelda was a pretty amazing woman… who kind of went crazy, but we’ll set that aside.

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If you could be friends with any of the characters you have played, who would it be and why?

Probably Serena in Legally Blonde because she would teach me how to properly “bend and snap.”

What book would you like to see made into a movie/musical/play?

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult.  There is a huge plot twist… can’t say much more or I’ll ruin it for you.

What is the next book on your reading list?

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng.  It takes place in a suburb of Cleveland (my hometown) and it’s on Reese Witherspoon’s book list… and she KNOWS how to pick good books.

What show are you working on now?

Right now I am in Guys and Dolls at the Fulton Theatre, and before this contract I was on the national tour of Annie as Lily St. Regis.

What is your favorite show you’ve been a part of and why?

I feel like ANY show where I have had the chance to work with amazing people and spend time onstage is a blessing.  But I have to say being Lily St. Regis in Annie was a total blast!

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Mallory and I backstage in Guys and Dolls at The Fulton Theatre

I will feature a new performer every month! I would love some suggestions for questions you would like to ask, or things you want to know!  Leave them in the comments and I will add them to future interviews!  Thanks to my old friend, and college theatre buddy, Mallory, for sharing with us!  It’s always fun to swap books with you 🙂