What was your first show ever?
My first show ever...this could be tricky. Technically, the first show I was ever onstage in was "Annie". I was a rotten orphan, and I remember being so nervous that I could barely say my one line (which was "I love you Miss Hannigan"). I'd like to think my acting and ability to curb my nerves has improved since then! However, you could also say I got my start when I was a few months old, because my mom played Mother Abbess in "The Sound of Music" as a guest community performer at a local high school. Since I was so small and my dad stayed at home with my brother and sisters, Mom would just bring me along to the rehearsals and I became the show's unofficial mascot.
What was your primary introduction to the story of The Wizard of Oz, the movie, or the books? And what is your memory of your first impression of the story?
Well, first off, I have to give a shout out to my mom, who would sing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" to us every single night until I was six or seven. That was my gateway to WOZ. But when I was little we didn't have cable, instead we had a bunch of VHS cassettes of different musicals that I watched in an endless loop on our little 12 inch TV. "The Wizard of Oz" was one of my most beloved tapes. I don't remember my first impression of the movie, but I do remember being SUPER JEALOUS of Glinda's outfit and the Wicked Witch's ability to fly/appear in a cloud of smoke. After all, isn't theatre always about the costumes and grand entrances?
What is your favourite musical of all time, and why?
My favorite musical is anything written by Rodgers and Hammerstein. I could talk about how much I love them for probably an hour, but I need to be brief. R&H have this impeccable skill of creating shows that despite the content, have an overwhelming optimism to it and are a beacon of what is good, kind and pure in this world. They also had this incredible sense of what they could and couldn't get away with in a script. Take "Oklahoma," Curly kills Judd Frye in the last half hour of the show AND YET they figured out a way to twist the plot that a) the audience is happy that Judd is dead, b) Curly is acquitted, and c) Curly and Laurie still manage to leave for their honeymoon on time (with us cheering them on). WHO DOES THAT??? Umm, Rodgers and Hammerstein, folks! And their shows are still so popular that to this day, on every single day of the year an R&H show is playing somewhere in the world.