What is your definition of misery?
From one who has lived out-of-suitcases on the road for over 38 years now, I’d have to say — travel! I love to travel and I love to perform, but the “getting there” is often miserably challenging and annoying at best. However, true misery is the plight of far too many people in the world who don’t have basic food, medicine, shelter or freedom.
What is your greatest fear?
Being asked to answer a Proust Questionnaire. Actually, at the moment, I would say — devious obstructionists trying to destroy the Health Care Reform Bill.
What was your first “real” job working in theatre?
I got my Equity Card in 1981 for playing the role of “Maria” in The Sound of Music at Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera.
Are you a good at waiting tables?
A thankful public rejoices daily that I NEVER waited on tables. No, my “day gig” was Executive Secretary to the Chairman of the Board, President and Vice President of Sales at a steel hauling company. How exotic is that!
Which historical figure do you most identify with?
I’m inspired by the lives of Christ and Buddha – without the dogma.
Who are your favorite heroes of theatre?..
Not sure I understand the question… but… I always admire strong, independent, multi-layered roles for women — with strong, independent, multi-layered women playing them.
Who are your favorite heroes in real life?
Barak Obama, Eve Ensler, Nicholas Kristof, Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Elie Wiesel, Harriet Tubman Pete Seeger, Michelle Obama, Eleanor Roosevelt, Sojourner Truth, Pema Chodron, Thich Nhat Hanh, Alice Paul, to name a few…..
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
(Blind) Faith – the person who believes they have the absolute truth is the person to be feared the most.
What do you consider the most underrated virtue?
Compassion and Patience
Your favorite painter?
Henri Matisse and Georgia O’Keefe
Your favorite musician?
Chick Corea, Yo Yo Ma, Sting, Joni Mitchell
Your favorite playwright?
When and where were you happiest?
5 yrs. old – with my first dog, a boxer named Tinkerbell My early years in NYC. However, I don’t think my happiest days are behind me.
What do you most value in colleagues?
Integrity and Humor
Is there a class in which you wish you had paid more attention?
If you didn’t work in theatre, what would you do?
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Housebreaking my sweet rescue dog, Hannah. She and I deserve a medal for that one!
What you’d like to be the world’s best at?
Iron Chef – actually I don’t cook, but I do have 40 cookbooks, just in case. I also have every take-out menu on the entire west side of LA and the upper west side of NYC. If I ever retire, a French, Italian and Asian cooking class will be in order.
What book would you read more than once?
Coming of Age in Mississippi by Ann Moody.
Who would play you in a movie of your life? Why?
Everyone wants Meryl Streep to play them in a movie. She’s a master class in every breath.
What sports teams do you follow?
Mets /Yankees and OSU.
Where would you like to spend a vacation?
Anywhere in France, Italy or Portugal
What car would you like to be seen driving around in?
An ecologically sound car.
What book is currently on your nightstand?
Half The Sky by Nicholas Kristoff
Look At The Birdie, unpublished stories by Kurt Vonnegut
The World In Six Songs by Daniel J. Levitin
If you could see a great production of a classic play, what would it be?
Medea at the open-air Greek Theatre built on a cliff in Taormina, Sicily. Years ago, when I was performing a series of Gershwin concerts in Italy, on our day off, we traveled to the tip of Sicily and along the way, came upon the enchanting, walled-in city of Taormina. A production of Medea was playing at their Greek Theater. Unfortunately, we had to return to Palermo by the evening, so we missed the performance. I can only imagine how powerful it must have been to perform (and watch) this classic piece of theater in this ancient setting, with vistas of the sea and Mt. Etna brewing in the background.
If you could travel back in time to visit or live in any time in history, when would it be?
Even though I was born in 1949, I’ve always felt as if I “lived” during the height of the Big Band Era – late 30’s, early to mid-40’s. It was a time of sacrifice and pulling together against adversity, but also, as the music suggests, life was filled with an inherent longing for romance and reunion, hopes and dreams, and an unabashed joyful silliness as well. There was an underlying keen sense of “now” because the future was so uncertain. I have always loved the music of this era and sing it with a feeling that I have been there before.
What actor will you see in any project they do?
The Three Great Dames: Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Helen Mirren