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 clich├ęs; 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.



Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Rocky Horror Show - meet cast member Tahara Robinson

Tell us about your character in The Rocky Horror Show.
I am one of the six Phantoms for this show.  The opportunity to feed off the other actors and create a personalized Phantom is something I find very appealing about this character.

What have you learned about yourself in playing the role of a Phantom?
I have learned that I can actually sing, harmonize, dance, count, and do a sexy "B-line" when needed... all at once without dying!

What do you want the audience to take away from The Rocky Horror Show?
I would like the audience to get a sense of the cast's unity as one body and to experience the wholeness of the show.  It's a full body story created with the need of each character.  Everyone brings something different to The Rocky Horror Show, which makes this show amazing. It's always amazing to work with people you connect with on and off set.  I think it brings the best out of your character and the show.

How long have you been acting and what made you get involved with LTA?
I started performing as a dancer in elementary school and studied it in college.  As an actress, I have played lead roles such as Fagin in Oliver Twist, multiple ensembles, and I have also acted in local independent films.  I decided to work with LTA because I heard so many great things about their theatre and productions... and beacuse they were doing The Rocky Horror Show!

What advice would you give others who are interested in acting and theatre?
Be yourself.  Trust your gut.  Chase your passion.






The Rocky Horror Show - meet cast member Patrick M. Doneghy

Tell us about your character.
Dr. Frank N Furter is a man of science and the heart.  He comes from another world, so he has literally searched all over the universe to find love to no avail.  So he had decided to do what any other mad scientist would do; he is going to make his perfect mate.  Frank is magnetic, commanding, stylish, and hard to resist.

What have you learned about yourself in playing the role of Frank?
Playing Frank N Furter, excuse me, Dr. Frank N Furter (the mad didn't spend all that time in alien medical school for nothing) has taught me that sexy can live outstide the box, sometimes.  It doesn't have to be what the masses consider sexy.  Sexy can go against the grain.

What do you hope the audience takes away from The Rocky Horror Show?
I hope the audience has fun!  Lots and lots of fun!

How does this show differ from other shows you have worked on?
This show is a love letter to a lot of old horror movies and I would really like the audience to see in Frank the touches of those old school B-movie villains and heroes.  And I spend quite a bit of time in very little clothing.

How long have you been acting and how did you get involved with LTA?
I have been acting since I was a kid.  I have always loved performing.  It helped me get over my shyness.

I first worked with LTA in November of 2009 in LTA's production of Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead, in which I played C.B.  I had a great time and it was an outstanding show.  I met some wonderful people in the cast and crew who I am still lucky to be friends with.  I was happy to return to LTA last May in Boeing Boeing, where I played Robert.

What advice would you give others who are interested in acting and theatre?
The advice I would give to anyone interested in performing or any type of creative endeavor would be to not be afraid to step out side of yourself and your comfort zone.  If you never stretch you never grow.  If you only ever do what is comfortable and safe, what you create will only ever be comfortable and safe.



The Rocky Horror Show - meet cast member Allie Cesena

Tell us about your character in The Rocky Horror Show.
I play Columbia who is amazing!  She's so full of energy and optimism.  We have a lot in common and it's fun finding ways to connect with the character.

What do you want the audience to take away from this show?
I really hope the audience just has a great time and leaves wanting more!

What makes The Rocky Horror Show different from other shows you have worked on?
I've never worked on a show that has this kind of following and I have never been yelled at while one stage, so the call backs will be a lot of fun!  It's a very unique experience.

Tell us about your past theatre experiences.  How did you get involved with LTA?
I've been acting since childhood and have always loved the theatre!  Living in Alexandria, Virginia, The Little Theatre of Alexandria was the perfect place for me to keep doing what I love.

What advice do you have for others regarding theatre?
I would tell them to never give up!  You are never too old or too young to do what you love!


The Rocky Horror Show - meet cast member Zack Walsh


Tell us a bit about your role in The Rocky Horror Show.
I play a Phantom Usher.  My job for the shows is to pretty much do all the yelling back and audience participation stuff, which is fantastic because I'm such a Rocky Horror fan! I do this kind of thing already at screenings of Rocky Horror on weekends, so doing it for the real show is awesome! 

What have you learned about yourself while working on The Rocky Horror Show?
Well, I've learned that I hate wearing lipstick!  All kidding aside, I've really become part of the team with the other Phantom Ushers. Coming up with what we're yelling back, when to do it, and all that. The whole cast has really embraced me, even though I'm the youngest by far (I'm 18, while everyone else is... actually an adult).

What should the audience expect from The Rocky Horror Show?
The audience should expect a hell of a lot of fun! Both fans of the movie and new audiences will be thoroughly satisfied. There's enough allusions and references to the film in our production, while it's still it's own independent thing. Everyone will be happy.... except kids.  You probably shouldn't bring the kids to this one!


How is this show different from other shows you have worked on?
Rocky Horror is very different from other shows I've done. I have to be really hardcore and creepy, in a different way than I've done in other shows. The term "Phantom Usher" suggests that I slink through the audience in an almost ghost-like manner. It will be a bit hard for me, as I am not hardcore and intimidating, but it's fun to try!

How did you get into acting?  How did you get involved with LTA?
I've loved acting, or at least being involved with theatre, my whole life. I joined LTA for this show because it was an opportunity to work with a group I've heard nothing but great things about and to do a show that I am an absolute fan-boy for. It's great!

I'm a recent graduate of Westfield High School, where I was very involved with the theatre program. I played Ezekiel Cheever, the cop in The Crucible, a bunch of roles in The Producers, Sir Toby in Twelfth Night, and Mr. Mushnik, the shopkeeper in Little Shop of Horrors (which I was nominated for a CAPPIE award for Best Comic Actor).  I was also just cast in the feature film "Kalinda" as the main villian's sidekick.  I co-founded the AnyStage theater company, where I'll be doing Hamlet this spring as the title role.


What advice do you have for others that want to get involved in theatre?
I suggest just doing it.  Just go out and do stuff.  Find opportunities, and if you can't, make opportunities. I, myself, just co-founded a theatre company with my friends.  We have a production going up this Spring and we made that happen.  We decided we wanted to have this, so we made it!  Honestly anyone can do anything creative if they have the drive to do so.  Just don't get in your own way.