Broadway Book Chat

Broadway Book Chat: Emily Jeanne Phillips from Cats

It's Liberation Day.

As an actor, every job you do, you make a new family.  There is something special about theatre and its 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!

Emily Jeanne Phillips

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Currently playing Jennyanydots on The National Tour of Cats

www.emilyjeannephillips.com

Instagram: @emilyjeanne4 (Follow her. She’s hilarious.)

What are you currently reading?

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I just finished The Woman In the Window by AJ Fin.

What is your favorite book series?

Harry Potter.

Who is your favorite author?

I don’t currently have a favorite author! But I am starting to read all of Kristen Hannah’s books.

What book inspires you and why?

Becoming by Michelle Obama inspires me. She is honest and open about her time in the White House and her opinion on what’s going on with our country now. I think she’s brilliant and I would love for her to write more books.

Which literary character would you like to play?

The book I just read, The Woman in the Window, has a main character who is a woman and it’s a great thriller story. I’d love to play her if the book were turned into a movie.

What is the next book on your reading list?

The next book on my reading list is Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah.

Have you ever thought about writing yourself?

I have thought about writing a book about the psychology of auditioning.

What show are you working on now?

I am currently in the National Tour of Cats as Jennyanydots the tap-dancing Gumibe Cat!

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

My favorite show I’ve been of part of was a crazy off-broadway show called Attack of the Elvis Impersonators. I loved that experience because it got me my equity card and I bonded with a group of people who will forever be family.


I feature a new performer every month, so check back in August for our next guest! I would really love some suggestions for new 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 kitty cat sister, Emily, for sharing with us.

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Broadway Book Chat

Broadway Book Chat: Melody Rose from Finding Neverland

It's Liberation Day.

As an actor, every job you do, you make a new family.  There is something special about theatre and its 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!

Melody Rose

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Peter Pan in the National Tour of Finding Neverland

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading Calm the F*ck Down by Sarah Knight and Columbine by Dave Cullen.

What is your favorite book series?65252422_1568151019981681_7677563987914915840_n

I don’t really have a favorite series. My reading taste is very eclectic and sporadic. I always search for what I’m interested in at the time and I tend to stay away from fiction. I’m really into Sarah Knight’s “No F*cks Given Guides” lately!

Who is your favorite author?

Currently, I don’t have one. My favorite author during childhood, however, was Lisi Harrison who wrote The Clique Series. For a middle-schooler who was always excluded from cliques, this series was a dream. I would always buy them the day they were released and finish them that same day!

What book inspires you and why?

A little cliche, but You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero helped inspire me to let go of things I couldn’t change and focus on the things I can, no matter how detrimental or small my problems were.

Which literary character would you like to play?

If I could play any literary character it would be Alaska Young from Looking for Alaska by John Green. She’s described as wild, unpredictable, and enigmatic living in her own “reckless world,” which is very different from me in real life. She’s quite mysterious and playing a darker, more serious character like her would be a blast. Looking for Alaska would make an incredible play, I think.

65616889_2605563612789132_6337888062508367872_nIf you could be friends with any of the characters you have played, who would it be and why?

Of course, Peter Pan would be an incredible companion! He’d continually remind me to never let go of my inner child and seek adventure wherever life takes me.

What is the next book on your reading list?

On Bowie by Rob Scheffield and Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis.

Have you ever thought about writing yourself?

Not at all! I’ll leave the writing to my sister Megan. She is an extremely talented writer and got all the literary talent in the family.

What show are you working on now?

I just finished Peter Pan in the National Tour of Finding Neverland!

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

Finding Neverland is actually my very first musical! I’ve learned so much in the process. Each individual in the cast and crew of this incredibly touching show has changed my life.


I feature a new performer every month, so check back in July for our next guest! I would really love some suggestions for new 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 again to Melody for sharing with us 🙂

Broadway Book Chat · Uncategorized

Broadway Book Chat: Kevin Clay from The Book of Mormon

It's Liberation Day.

As an actor, every job you do, you make a new family.  There is something special about theatre and its 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!

Kevin Clay

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Currently playing Elder Price on the European Tour of The Book of Mormon

Instagram: @kclay6

What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading The Hero of Ages, by Brandon Sanderson. It is the third book in his Mistborn trilogy. I first started reading Sanderson’s books after being recommended his Stormlight Archive series. He has such a knack for making brilliant magic systems and rules that define his worlds paired with extensive lore and histories. Certainly someone to check out if you want some immersive fantasy.

What is your favorite book series?

Hm, this is a tough one. Though not a traditional “book series,” I am always reading the latest issues of Batman comics and associated graphic novels. One of my favorites growing up was Percy Jackson and the Olympians, by Rick Riordan. They inspired my initial love of classical mythology. Of course, I’ll always be a big Harry Potter nerd (as made evident by my Slytherin House robe I wear backstage). I think my true favorite series, however, is one that isn’t finished yet: The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss. Perhaps it’s gripping me so much simply because it isn’t finished, but it’s been a long time since I have connected so strongly to a protagonist.

Who is your favorite author?

Ernest Hemingway, for sure. His writing is such a strange combination of dry minimalism and sweeping detail work. No other author has been able to elicit such emotional responses in me from written work as Hemingway. If you want a good read and probably a good cry, pick up A Farewell to Arms.

What book inspires you and why?60647322_457453288392578_9113568406203793408_n

I always come back to The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. Most of my friends know my love for this novel. Edmund Dantes may be a bit of a dark character to be inspired by, but there is something so compelling about a man who has had everything wrongly taken from him only to come back stronger than ever. In my mind, The Count is like an 1800’s Bruce Wayne and I love it.

Which literary character would you like to play?

My nerdy side says that I want to play Tim Drake (the third Robin under Batman). My sophisticated side says Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë, to sound impressive. Seriously though, I love the book so much, and Heathcliff and I, in most regards, are stark contrasts. I’ll need to age up a few more years before I think I would be appropriate for the character, but I can wait.

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

Being a Jet in West Side Story is the greatest. The first time I was in the show in high school, I played Baby John; a few years later, I got to play A-rab. I think that, as misguided as they are, I would like to be friends with the Jets and maybe have a little chat with Riff before he puts that switchblade in his pocket.

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

I’ve said for years that I would love for The Prestige (novel by Christopher Priest, film by Christopher Nolan) to be adapted into a Sweeney Todd-esque musical. There is plenty of meaty character development and potential for spectacle all wrapped in a macabre overtone. The show would rely on finding an incredibly talented pair of twins, but I’m sure there are plenty out there!

What is the next book on your reading list?

I’ve been reading Sanderson novels for a few months straight now, so I’m ready to switch up genres. I’ve already downloaded Supermarket, by rapper Logic, onto my kindle. I’m a huge fan of his music, so I am definitely curious to see how his style translates to a novella.

Have you ever thought about writing yourself?

There are so many times when I come up with what I think is a brilliant idea, jot it down, and then return to it only to be disappointed and uninspired later. I have one idea for a graphic novel that still excites me so I’m clinging to it and continually come back to it. My favorite idea, however, is for a science-fiction novel. I was playing around with the notion of writing my own creation myth that could be the foundation of a religion and from that developed a world that would observe this faith. I even adapted the world slightly to be used for a Dungeons and Dragons campaign that I dungeon mastered, and it surprisingly gave me a lot of inspiration. There is a lot of work to be done, specifically how hard it is to actually write the text itself, but the bones are there.

What show are you working on now?

I am currently playing Elder Price in a new Book of Mormon European Tour. Before that I was Elder Price on Broadway and before that Elder Price on the US National Tour, and before that Elder Smith on the US National Tour……. So I’ve been with the Book of Mormon for quite a journey! It is the greatest show that I’ve ever been a part of and it has taught me a lot of what it means to be a professional performer.

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

Other than The Book of Mormon, I always hold a special place in my heart for West Side Story. Like I wrote earlier, being a Jet is indescribably special. It’s the kind of show that, whether you like it own not, you will feel completely connected to the whole cast by the time you’re done.


I feature a new performer every month, so check back in June for our next guest! I would really love some suggestions for new 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 friend Kevin for sharing with us from across the pond! 🙂

Broadway Book Chat

Broadway Book Chat: Liz Schmitz from Cats

It's Liberation Day.

As an actor, every job you do, you make a new family.  There is something special about theatre and its 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!

Liz Schmitz

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Currently playing Demeter in the National Tour of Cats!

www.lizschmitz.com

Instagram: @lizschmitz

What are you currently reading?IMG_2310

Oathbringer: Book Three of The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson

What is your favorite book series?

Harry Potter will always be my favorite. It reminds me of childhood, my family. It’s grounding.

Who is your favorite author?

Jane Austin. I always feels like she talking to me, or really gossiping with me.

What book inspires you and why?

Book inspire me when there is a strong friend or family group. It reminds me what’s really important.

Which literary character would you like to play?

I’d love to play Emma, from Emma by Jane Austin.  Or Stephanie Brown, aka Robin of Batman and Robin. There haven’t been many female Robins, I love the twist!

IMG_2309If you could be friends with any of the characters you have played, who would it be and why?

I loved Anna from Spring Awakening. She had good ideas and a good heart. She had an open, loving view of the world and future.

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

I’d like to see the Pendragon series by D.J. MacHale into a tv show!

What is the next book on your reading list?

In the fantasy world I’ll read Mistborn, more Brandon Sanderson! But I could use some historical romance from The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin first!

Have you ever thought about writing yourself?

If I wrote, it would be short stories. Or perhaps philosophical, and potentially theoretical, musings.

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

Matilda. It was so many things. It was my first big credit, I swung 7 tracks, and it helped me pick myself up out of a dark place. And most importantly, the story is important. The message is relevant and good. “Even if you’re little you can do a lot…Nobody else is gonna put it right for me. Nobody but me is gonna change my story.”

 


See Liz (and yours truly) around the US in Cats! Click here for tickets and tour stops!

I feature a new performer every month, so check back in April for our next guest! I would really love some suggestions for new 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 stage partner in crime, Liz, for sharing with us ❤

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Broadway Book Chat

Broadway Book Chat: Keri René Fuller from Cats

It's Liberation Day.

As an actor, every job you do, you make a new family.  There is something special about theatre and its 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!

Keri René Fuller

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Currently playing Grizabella in the North American Tour of Cats

www.kerirenefuller.com

instagram: @krfuller13

What are you currently reading?

I just finished Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix! I haven’t started another book yet, but I brought Wuthering Heights, so that will be my next one.

What is your favorite book series?

Harry Potter.  Hands down.

Who is your favorite author?

Haruki Murakami, if I had to pick just one. I love the way he weaves words together to create a story. He has such an imagination and every story is a journey.

What book inspires you and why?

This will not be a popular opinion to anyone who has read it because it is a rather dark story, but I remember reading My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent and being so inspired to live and love nature, as well as make sure my hands and love were always extended towards anyone who has dealt with abuse.

Which literary character would you like to play?

Wow…that’s a hard one. I remember Blanche DeBois from A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams…she is such an intricately flawed character and so full of faults and confusions, plus so emotionally guarded and injured that she would be such a trip to play.

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

I have played a lotttt of loners haha, so any of those character would be good, because we all need friends in this world. But if I had to choose, I would probably say Jenna

Hunterson in WAITRESS because she has a great sense of humor and is a strong woman who blazes her own path even despite the mistakes she makes.

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

I would love to see So B. It by Sarah Weeks be made into a play or a (better) movie. I feel like the mother/daughter dynamic in that book is so strong and intricate that it would touch a lot of people’s lives.

Have you ever thought about writing yourself?

I would love to be able to write a book, but I feel like if I were able to sit down and put something together that it would be more of an informational book or a guide type. As much as I love diving into worlds other people create, I am not the best at conjuring up those worlds myself.

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

When I played Rose in DOGFIGHT, I knew I would never play such a complex character again in the near future. The strength and fragility, the anger and forgiveness she feels and the way she speaks her mind and wears her heart on her sleeve blow me away…it was such a gift to walk in her shoes.

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

I am Grizabella in the North American Tour of CATS! The last show I did was WAITRESS on Broadway where I played a Pantry Person and understudied Jenna Hunterson.

See Keri (and yours truly) around the US in Cats! Click here for tickets and tour stops!

I feature a new performer every month, so check back in March for our next guest! I would really love some suggestions for new 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, cast mate, and sometimes roomie, Keri for sharing with us ❤ 

Broadway Book Chat

Broadway Book Chat: Kaylee Olson

It's Liberation Day.

As an actor, every job you do, you make a new family.  There is something special about theatre and its 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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Kaylee Olson

Currently in Chicago at The Fulton Theatre

Instagram: @kaylee.is.the.olson


What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading- well, I am one chapter away from finishing- Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey, I just picked up Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica at the supermarket, and I was in the middle of The Power by Naomi Alderman when I had to give it back to the library before leaving town for a contract. I like to read one book at a time, but occasionally I get caught up in a couple different stories.

What is your favorite book series?

My favorite book series would probably align with my favorite authors growing up. I adore everything that Tamora Pierce has ever written. But two of my favorites would be the Trickster’s Duet, and the Beka Cooper Series.  Which happen to be outliers from Tamora Pierce’s very first fantasy series (Song of the Lioness), which makes the interweaving story lines all the more fun! I was also impacted by the Bloody Jack series by L.A. Meyer. As the swashbuckling historical fiction greatly attracted my adventurous spirit.

What book inspires you and why?

When I need some inspiration, I turn to the book Terrier by Tamora Pierce. The story of a girl moving out of her family home to a rough city to pursue her dream and overcome her weaknesses to be the best she can- is a tale that I find highly relatable. Plus I love a little magic and crime thrown in the mix as well!

Which literary character would you like to play?

If I could play any literary character, I would play Delilah Bard from A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. She is a badass thief with a mysterious past and an even more mysterious future. She’s cool, tough, resourceful and ambitious. Besides, if this book was on stage it would probably have some super cool combat-dancing musical numbers.

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

As a strong member of the ensemble, I tend to play a multitude of characters in a single show. If I could befriend any of those characters, I think I’d like to hang out with “Daisy” my show girl character from the show Bullets over Broadway. She seems like a sassy, flirty kind of gal, who would know all the good speakeasies in the 1920’s.

What book would you like to see made into a movie/musical/play?50452730_241543356599567_4665375377370120192_n

If I could see a book brought to life, then I think Ink Mage from the Fire beneath the Skin Trilogy by Victor Gischler would be a fascinating movie. The visible element of tattoos providing magical power to help a deposed duchess regain her throne… sounds like I need some popcorn. Or, if I could see a book turned into a musical- that I could perform in, of course- I think that the book Caraval by Stephanie Garber would be fabulous. Two sisters swept away to the biggest most elaborate carnival-like performance, inlaid with a game where reality is challenged but the stakes are exceedingly high. I think they might need some showgirls in a musical like that. I’m pretty good at being a showgirl…

What is the next book on your reading list?

The next book on my hit list will be book 2 of the Kushiel’s Legacy trilogy by Jacqueline Carey, Kushiel’s Chosen. Because one cannot start a trilogy and not complete it!

Have you ever thought about writing yourself?

Once upon a time I had a thought in my head of being a writer. Then I realized, that it’s wicked hard; plots and story arcs and the proper use of semicolons was a bit more of a challenge then I knew how to tackle. If I ever find a story to tell, I may reconsider, but for now I’ll stick to book reading instead of book writing.

What show are you currently working on?

Tonight is opening night for me! I will be performing in a production of Chicago at the Fulton Theatre, dancing in the ensemble as well as playing Liz (one of the “Cellblock Tango” girls). Which will be my first speaking part EVER, so wish me luck!!

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

This production of Chicago is turning out to be quite spectacular! This glitzy, vaudeville version has been uniquely original and supremely enjoyable. But other than this most recent credit, the most gratifying show I have ever been a part of was Susan Stroman’s Crazy for You. I was honored to be a part of the 25th anniversary concert performance at Lincoln Center. To have the chance to work with the strong, incredibly brilliant, and legendary Susan Stroman, was an experience I will treasure for the rest of my days. The pinnacle of my career thus far, but only the beginning of my hopes and dreams for the future.


Happy Opening to Kaylee and the rest of the cast of Chicago 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! Thank you to my dear friend, Kaylee, for sharing with us! I love you so much!

Broadway Book Chat

Broadway Book Chat: Lauren Lukacek from Love Never Dies

It's Liberation Day.

As an actor, every job you do, you make a new family.  There is something special about theatre and its 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!!
Broadway Book Chat

Broadway Book Chat: Jeff Brooks

It's Liberation Day.

As an actor, every job you do, you make a new family.  There is something special about theatre and its 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

It's Liberation Day.

As an actor, every job you do, you make a new family.  There is something special about theatre and its 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

It's Liberation Day.

As an actor, every job you do, you make a new family.  There is something special about theatre and its 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! ❤