Friday, December 19, 2014

The Game's Afoot - meet cast member Michelle Fletcher

Meet Michelle Fletcher, playing Inspector Goring in LTA's The Game's Afoot!

What do you find appealing about your character and this show?
She is a misfit and yet takes her job seriously - a credit to His Majesty's Police Force and Middlesex County Police Department is lucky to have her.

What have you learned about yourself in playing this role?
I enjoy a challenge!

What do you want the audience to experience from this show?
The fun and wackiness of a great Ken Ludwig farce and the dedication of the cast and crew in bringing it alive for their entertainment and enjoyment.

How does this show differ from other shows you have worked on?
It doesn't really.

How long have you been acting and what made you get involved with theatre?
I was involved in theatre in Brussels for about ten years. I love the whole team process and the talents I get to meet and the opportunity of contributing something to that.

What advice would you give to others who want to work in theatre?
Get involved in any way you can.

Tickets: www.thelittletheatre.com


The Game's Afoot - meet the director Frank Pasqualino

As a director, I always believe it's a good sign that I find myself laughing out loud when I first read a play.  I have directed farces before, and I have played roles in quite a few murder mysteries, however, I've never before dealt with a show that combines both; The Game's Afoot offered me that pleasure.  It's a fun piece of whodunit nonsense, managing to be both a loving embrace of the Agatha Christie formula of murder mystery combined with the farcical escapades for which Ken Ludwig is famous.

What do you hope the audience takes away from this show?
I hope that The Game's Afoot provokes the same laughs for the audience, along with some serious frights and gasps that it provided to me when I first read the play.

How did you get involved with theatre and LTA?
I have personally been involved with theatre since I was in first grade when I played a blade of grass in the spring pageant at St. Mary Gate of Heaven Catholic School in Queens, NY.  What is it they say?  The roar of the crowd, the smell of the grease paint?  I was hooked then and there.  So here it is, 57 years later and I'm still doing theatre.  In 1984, I came to the Washington area to live.  It was LTA where I first did theatre in this area and to this day, I consider coming home whenever I do a show here.

What advice do you have for others wanting to get involved with theatre?
No matter what your interests, there is a place in the theatre that will satisfy anything you can imagine.  Don't be shy!  Call a community theatre and tell them you are interested in working on a show.  Believe me, they will be happy to have you!

Tickets: www.thelittletheatre.com

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Game's Afoot - meet cast member Patricia Spencer Smith

Meet cast member Patricia Spencer Smith, playing Martha Gillette in LTA's The Game's Afoot!

What do you find appealing about your character and this show?
Well, I am a crazy old lady from Connecticut playing a crazy old lady from Connecticut.  So, there is that!

What have you learned about yourself in playing the role of Martha?
Like Martha, I have many different faces depending on circumstances.  Sweet old lady?  Sometimes.  Demanding mother?  Sometimes.  Crazy as a bedbug?  Sometimes.

What do you want the audience to take away from this show?
I want them to have so much fun that they forget all their cares for at least one evening.  I want them to be swept away by the story, the characters, and the place.

How does this show differ from other shows you have worked on?
I have done several of Ken Ludwig's farces, and several Agatha Christie mysteries, but not both at the same time.  Such fun!  Also, the tech support at LTA is above and beyond any other group I've worked with.  They are phenomenal!

How long have you been acting and what made you get involved with theatre?  How did you get involved with LTA?
I minored in drama in college, then took a long break to raise my kids.  I returned to Southern Maryland/Northern Virginia theatre about 30 years ago.  Ten years ago, I moved to Connecticut and got busy on the stages there.  Now I spend part of my time in Virginia and part in Connecticut.  I think all actors in this area aspire to work at LTA.  I'm proud to say this is my third show here.  Acting is a habit I have no intention of breaking.

What advice would you give others who are interested in working in theatre?
Go for it!  There are so many ways to be involved, and you can keep doing it until your last breath!  And, you meet so many great people, some of whom are sure to become lifelong friends.

 Tickets: www.thelittletheatre.com

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Game's Afoot - meet cast member Melissa Dunlap

Meet Melissa Dunlap playing Daria Chase in LTA's The Game's AFoot!

What do you find appealing about your character and this show?
Daria is smart, witty, and gets to say what she wants because others are afraid of her.  The Game's Afoot is a wonderful combination of mystery and farce.  On the one hand the audience is trying to figure out who did what when, while at the same time laughing at the crazy on-stage antics.

What have you learned about yourself in playing this role?
Usually I am cast as the heroine, so it is a change of pace to play someone less heroic.  I think I've learned that even though I'm small, I can be powerful.

What do you want the audience to take away from this show?
I hope audiences leave having laughed well and with a smile on their faces.

How long have you been acting and how did you get involved with LTA?
I got started in community theater over 20 years ago, took a 17 year break (aka had kids) and returned to the stage just 4 years ago.  I am drawn to the creative process of putting a show together, actors working with directors, actors working with actors, and cast and crew combining talents to create what you see and hear on stage.

This is my first show with LTA.  I've done some other shows in the area and auditioned for The Game's Afoot on a whim.  With other companies, I've had to audition a few times to get them used to seeing my face before I've been cast, so I thought I should start showing up at LTA auditions.  I showed up, auditioned and was cast.  Surprise!

What advice do you have for others wanting to get involved with theatre?
If you are interested in working in theatre, go for it!  Show up, audition, volunteer to help with sets, props, costumes, etc.  I meet such talented, fun and interesting people who act, direct, paint, sew, etc.  Cast or crew, it doesn't matter.  It is all fun and all important for the success of the show.

Tickets: www.thelittletheatre.com

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Game's Afoot - meet cast member Chuck Leonard

Meet Chuck Leonard, playing Felix Geisel, in LTA's The Game's Afoot!

What do you find appealing about your character and this show?
Character parts are my favorites and this show provides a physical and emotional playground on which to play.  Felix is Gillette's best friend and the second banana.  He loves life as an actor and I get to play his exuberance and occasionally be a ham.

What have you learned about yourself in playing the role of Felix?
Like Felix, I treasure moments in which I am NOT the person responsible and can just flex my creativity and sense of fun.  I am also a sucker for witty banter.

What do you want the audience to take away from this show?
I want howls from the audience.  I want them to be laughing while talking after the show about how they didn't see that coming.

How does this show differ from other shows you have worked on?
I have done plays by Ken Ludwig before and I delight in his farce.  The main difference is the community at LTA.  The structure of support here is tremendous and the people I have worked with are lovely.

How long have you been acting and what made you get involved in theatre?  How did you get involved with LTA?
I did some shows in high school and college, but the bug really hit after I graduated.  About 20 years ago, I decided to make teaching theatre my career and went back to school for my Masters.  When teaching and family schedules allowed, I did community and professional acting, directing, and design.  I first worked at LTA in Proof last year, when I decided this was where I wanted to build my theatre family.

What advice would you give others who are interested in working in theatre?
"Jump in, the water's fine."  Find a theatre, like LTA, that is doing productions you would be proud to be a part of and volunteer.  Don't be afraid to try something new.  Theatre is one of those areas where you can enjoy life-long learning.

Tickets: www.thelittletheatre.com

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Rocky Horror Show - meet cast member Matt Liptak


Tell us about your character. What do you find appealing about your character and this show? 
I play Riff Raff, the eccentric and unhinged assistant to the mad scientist Dr. Frank N. Furter. In the original stage production as well as the movie he was played by the show's creator, Richard O’Brien, and is best known for singing "The Time Warp." With that in mind, I hope to both play homage to that original interpretation and also add a great deal of my own flare to it. The role of Riff Raff, like all the roles in this show, are so iconic, that our main goal has been to find that balance between the film's portrayals and our own staging and style…with an emphasis on the latter. I think with my interpretation of Riff Raff, audiences will still get to see the odd, slow-speaking, borderline-sadistic alien they know and love, but (hopefully) they will also get to enjoy the new level of crazy I'm trying to bring to him. Playing such an iconic character and adding your own spin on it is always rewarding. 

What have you learned about yourself in playing the role of Riff Raff? 
I learned a lot about my singing from this show and how far I can take it. The role is written very high and in a very heavy rock style. This scared me at first and I kept telling myself I couldn’t do it. I’ve found a comfortable and stylistic place to put the songs and it’s working out great.  The acting portion for Riff Raff has pushed me to be as odd as I can with just about every part of myself- the walk, the hand movements, the way I look at people- its been a blast.

What do you want the audience to experience and take away from this show? 
I hope the audiences laugh and have a good time, regardless of how absurd the whole thing is. The premise of the show is so ridiculous and the script is all over the place, but because of that the show is truly brilliant. Its twisted, comical, sexual and bizarre but its also "Rocky Horror" and I think if the audience comes in ready for a zany ride, they won't be let down. 

How does this show differ from other shows you have worked on? 
More make-up, more fishnets, and more high heels than any show out there.
We guarantee it. 
 
How long have you been acting and what made you get involved with LTA?
I’ve been acting since the middle school back home in Ohio and continued to do so throughout high school and college. After college I acted in a few productions in Rochester, NY before moving to DC. I was drawn to LTA last summer with “Avenue Q” and being a part of that show was an amazing experience. I came back for “Spamalot” this summer and then again for “Rocky Horror” because LTA offers such an inviting community and a truly professional experience. 

What advice would you give others who are interested in acting and theatre? 
Whenever you have a chance, go to the theatre. Watch good productions, watch bad productions, watch YouTube videos. Emersion is a great way to learn. Surround yourself in it and take it all in. I’d also say that no matter what role you are given, make it something special for yourself and enjoy the ride.

The Rocky Horror Show - meet cast member Richard Fiske


Tell us a little bit about your character.
The Narrator provides orientation and context during the show, and provides commentary as the situation devolves.  And he has his own secrets as well... 

What have you learned about yourself in playing this role in The Rocky Horror Show?
First and most importantly, I found that I belong in musicals only in non-singing roles.  Watching the way our cast picked up songs and dances, going from a dead stop to full out, professional execution in a matter of minutes, was astonishing.  Also, my monologues are generally short and with the guidance of director Kristopher Kauff I’ve come to more fully appreciate that delivery is as important as text in creating a picture and mood for the audience. 

What do you want the audience to take away from this show?
I hope that the audience gets caught up in the fun of parodying B-movie science fiction clichés; that they lose themselves in the absurdity of the show and, later, find that maybe they can loosen up a bit themselves in real life. 

How does this show different from other shows you have worked on?
This show differs from other shows in its flat out, exuberant absurdity; its celebration of just letting go and having a good time. 

How long have you been acting and how did you get involved with LTA?
I’m a relative newcomer and have been acting for just over four years.  LTA has a terrific reputation at the top end of community theaters.  It is a well-organized machine and very well resourced in people, facilities, and money.  And it puts on great shows.  I wanted to be a part of that. 

What advice do you have for others wanting to get involved with theatre?
Take classes, go to all the auditions you can, watch good acting – and think about what makes it good acting, and be persistent.  You’re only beat when you quit.  I auditioned at LTA three times before I was cast in Caught in the Net last year. 

Give us some background on your past acting experiences.
I was in several shows (the Monster in Frankenstein and LCDR Queeg in The Caine Mutiny Court-Marshal) many years ago when I was overseas.  This latest incarnation began with background acting in movies (my elbow was featured in Body of Lies) and then, in parallel with a number of classes, transition to the stage.  I’ve done mostly community theater, with some work at smaller professional theaters.  This year I’ve been lucky enough to appear in Look Homeward Angel at Compass Rose in Annapolis, understudy Dr. Freud in Freud’s Last Session at Theater J, have fun with Malvolio in Twelfth Night with Theatre Prometheus, and now the Narrator in Rocky Horror at LTA.  I’ve always been an adrenalin junkie, and theater provides that excitement now.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Rocky Horror Show - meet cast member Paige Taylor

Tell us about your character.  What do you find appealing about your character and this show?
I play Magenta.  She is an alien and one of Frank's servants.  She is a character I have always wanted to play because I like complicated people.  Part of the enjoyment and allure of acting to me is the creative process and the work that goes into developing a character.  I never want to play a role that is one dimensional and boring.  I had ideas as to what I wanted Magenta to be before I even got cast, but she has become so much more.  When you do a show like Rocky Horror, it's really easy to just create a love letter to the movie and to bring the audience the same thing they already know and love, but why be in the arts if you are only copying what someone else has done before you?  I feel it's my job as an actor to always create something new and bring something fresh to the table, and that's why I feel so lucky to be a part of this production.

What do you want the audience to experience and take away from this show?
I want them to experience a brand new version of this show that they never thought was possible.  We have an amazing cast, crew, and team that is working so hard to make this great (and did we mention it's in 3D?)!  This was a groundbreaking show and I hope this particular experience is going to be just as new and exciting for audience members.

How long have you been acting and what made you get involved with LTA?  Give us a brief history of your past acting experiences? 
I've known what I wanted to do since I was a little girl in footed pajamas, making up animal alter egos and begging my grandparents to film me singing in front of the fireplace.  I was always a ham and I always wanted to make people laugh.  Growing up, I took dance classes, voice lessons and was involved with all my school plays.  I studied Acting at The New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts and continued my training at The Studio Theatre in DC.  I got involved with LTA when I heard about Rocky Horror auditions.  It was a show I always wanted to be involved with, but I never expected it to be such a unique show and overall wonderful experience.

Some of my favorite roles have been Mimi in "Rent", Linda in "The Wedding Singer", Ulla in "The Producers", Elizabeth in "Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson", and Margie in "Bye Bye Birdie".  Although I have focused primarily on musical theatre, I have also done some TV work with Investigation Discovery and am wrapping up a horror film, "Easter Sunday" this Fall.

What advice would you give others who are interested in acting and theatre?
I had a film teacher once tell us, "If there is anything else you can see yourself doing as a career, do it." and I agree.  It's not an easy path and it takes very thick skin to hear "no" 15,000 times in a row before someone tells you "yes".  That being said, there is nothing more rewarding in life than doing what you love.  If you have a dream, you should definitely 100% follow it.  Life is too short to settle for anything less than everything you want, and if you want it badly enough you will find a way to get it.  Just never give up.  Ever.

The Rocky Horror Show - meet cast member Stella Giapitzeli

Tell us about your character.  What do you find appealing about your character and this show?
I am one of the Phantom Ushers and we are the tough ones!  I have never had this kind of character before and I am not tough at all....I love it because it is a challenge!  Our role is to yell at the actors with offensive quotes.  They hate it!  I would hate it too if I was in their shoes.  We also guard the audience and protect our actors on stage from having things thrown at them!  WE DON'T WANT THAT!  You don't want to know what the people of Transsexual Transylvania will do to you!

What do you want the audience to take away from The Rocky Horror Show?
The Rocky Horror Show is such a distinctive play!  It is a comic, offensive, sci-fi, horror story and for me, a totally new exciting experience.  First of all, this show will be different from what we are all used to!  It has a new and fresh approach and I love it because we don't go by the book!  The crew has really built the whole thing from the beginning, the cast is full of talented people who really work perfectly together, and the energy is high level.  The audience will remember it for a long time! And because of us, the Phantom Ushers, everyone will go home having had fun yelling to the actors but with no voice to speak the next day!

How long have you been acting and what made you get involved with LTA?  Give us a brief history of your past acting experiences.
I have been on stage forever with long breaks in between and with various forms (dance, singing, and acting).  I have a BA in Theatre Arts from the American College of Greece and for the past three years, I studied acting in the New Hellenic Theatre of George Armenis.  I moved to the United States four months ago to be with, at last, my husband Alexander, who really supports me and loves
what I do.  I really wanted to start doing what I love the most and there is no other place better to do that than The Little Theatre of Alexandria.

I have worked as Rosalind from "As You Like It" by Shakespeare, the little stone from "Eurydice" by Sarah Ruhl, Madelene from the "Victims of Duty" by Ionesco, and Electra from "Electra" by Sophocles.  I also have played the puppet in a short film by Michael Kiloumis called "In Distortion" and played Danae from Marianna Kalbari's "Stories for Gamophobes".

What advice would you give others who are interested in acting and theatre?
Do it!  Go after it!  Never stop trying because it is a long road.  Theatre gives you the opportunity to reveal yourself in a safe place and really play with different characters and different situations.  Theatre expands your mind and emotions and makes you improve yourself and of course question and improve the audience.