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Lovelle Liquigan

Lovelle Liquigan as Annelle in “Steel Magnolias”

Tell us about the character you play, and how can you relate to her. Is there any part of STEEL MAGNOLIAS that resonates with you as an actor, or personally?

I play Annelle.  She is the new-kid-in-town that brings with her some baggage with secrets that she ultimately reveals at the end of the first scene.  I really dig the arch she goes through.  From being this timid, unsure but very talented girl, to emulating her boss’ style and gaining in confidence, then from becoming this born again Christian to developing a balance between her spirituality and her life.  It’s a pretty rad journey.  It’s amazing what a difference a community can make in one person’s life.  These five women show Annelle so much love that there is nothing for her to do but thrive and pulsate.  The family-life she has lacked has been created.  She has guts, even at the beginning, even though she is nervous.  It takes a lot of gumption to do what she has done.  To uproot herself at such a young age with no one to fall back on until Truvy opens up her shop/home and heart to her.

What distinguishes this production or role you have compared to other characters you’ve played in the past?

No one would EVER cast me in this role.  Honestly.  I believe only four people weren’t surprised that I got cast as Annelle: my Maid of Honor, my best friend, another close friend, and my fiancé!

During the week-end performance, there was a man that came in to help our wardrobe mistress out with hair (she is also assisting with some of the actresses hair because we are short-handed on Saturdays).  He turned to me while I was applying make-up, looked in my mirror and said, “So, you must be Julia Roberts.”  I told him, “No.  I’m Daryl Hannah.”  And he said, “Oh!!”

I typically wouldn’t be seen in this role.  I never thought when I was just beginning that I would play in comedies.  I was always so easy to tears that I naturally just wanted to do drama and never considered comedy.  Pretty lame to close the door on that.  I did have a Shakespeare teacher in college that told me I was a comedienne after I did a workshop scene of AS YOU LIKE IT.  I didn’t believe her, though.  I didn’t take her seriously because I don’t seek out to be funny.  I actually think I’m quite introverted and serious.

 Why do you think theater is important?

It brings people together.  When an ensemble truly has a beating heart, that beat will vibrate out to the audience creating a golden thread that will weave and connect each person together.  And if a show truly touches, that vibration will continue on even after the bows.  It’s a magical place.  A playground for kings.  A loving, accepting, bright, inspired family can be created through the theatre.

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to pursue acting?

Sometimes, you have to say, No.  As an artist, you must realize what you are worth and that you are in constant need of challenges and improvement, and wanting to dig deeper beyond the surface.  At the beginning of the year, I had to turn down a role because I didn’t think it would challenge me in the way I wanted and needed to be challenged.  It was heartbreak for me.  It wasn’t a matter of being offered a small role, it was about me wanting to be pushed so that I could better myself in my work.  I cried for about the first six months of the year.  Moral of the story, had I not said, No, I would have never been able to play in STEEL MAGNOLIAS.

It’s ok to be discouraged.  I feel that you can use that as fuel for your work.  I often don’t take my own advice but I find this one to be of value.  Just as long as you don’t stay discouraged and continue to accept every struggle as being part of your journey.  Every struggle will get you closer to something (who knows what that something is).  I’ll be honest, it’s hard for me to follow this piece of advice but I still offer it.

The following applies to anything from auditions, to the last day of rehearsal, to the closing performance, and so on: Always be prepared, because when you are, anything can be thrown at you and you will be able to take it in and go with it.  Come in with choices.  Be open and listen.  Always be full-hearted than half-assed.  Lead with your heart, and have an awareness and be thoughtful of mind.  Be curious.  Take big risks and play.  Steal from anyone and anything that inspires you.  Don’t lose your love and joy for what you say is your passion.  Never be afraid to fail or look like a fool.

Lastly, don’t ever EVER take yourself out of the game.  I was still pretty down from what had happened earlier in the year (pretty pitiful, I know), and strongly considered letting my acting dream die because I needed to move forward with my life the older I’m getting.  I debated with submitting and almost didn’t audition for STEEL MAGNOLIAS.  But, I was being offered a gift (that would not be denied) and had to go for it, no matter what.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I am looking for representation!  Both theatrical and commercial.

How can fans stay updated about your projects?

My fiancé made a website for me: lovelleliquigan.com

Also, we started our own YouTube Channel – http://youtube.com/LovelyerCreations

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Ruth Coughlin as Shelby

Ruth Coughlin as Shelby in “Steel Magnolias”

Tell us about the character you play, and how can you relate to her. Is there any part of STEEL MAGNOLIAS that resonates with you as an actor, or personally?

Shelby is all heart and joy for life. She loves with every part of her being and is generous with that love. Shelby is definitely the life of the party. She is constantly trying to help the people in her life be as happy as they can be. Shelby is also stubborn and wants things in her life the way she wants them. It seems like nothing can stop her – until life does. I admire her joie de vivre, her unabashed lust for life. I relate most to her care and love for her family and friends. I am very close with my two brothers and parents. I would do anything for them. My mother is Japanese, so I get having a mother who is as stubborn as I am. Love you, Mom! I also want a family of my own. If I found out that I wasn’t able to have that in my life, it would be devastating to me.

What challenges, if any, have you faced with playing your character?

It takes a lot of emotional energy to perform this play over and over. It’s hilarious, but heart wrenching. The challenge in this is to stay open and be present in those moments of chaos. Our bodies are designed to run away from those moments. If I do my job well, then the audience will be able to experience it with us, and it’s worth any emotional sacrifice to have even one audience member experience a moment of recognition or catharsis. It’s my job and I look forward to the challenge of inhabiting Shelby for 2+ hours each night.

What distinguishes this production or role you have compared to other characters you’ve played in the past?

Shelby is definitely the most fun character I’ve ever played. It’s also been inspiring to work with so many talented and empowered women. I’ve never been in a cast of all women, directed by a woman. Each one of them has brought themselves 110% to this process and it has been a dream to play with them all.

Our earth-mother of a director, Laurie Woolery, told us on the first day of rehearsals that producing and performing in this play, as women of color, is an act of revolution. I love that. Viva la revolution!

Why do you think theater is important?

Theatre is where an audience can experience a story come alive. The sound vibrations of the words come from the actors and enter into the audience member’s body. We are made of nearly 90% water. When your molecules are moved enough, that’s where laughter and tears come – the water overflows. Theatre is an experience unlike any other art form because we – the audience, the actors, the crew – are all creating this story in the moment.

I’ve thought about this question a lot because I need to understand what I am contributing to this world by doing this work. True, the theatre doesn’t feed the hungry, but it does feed the soul. My life, my humanity has been changed by going to and performing in the theater. Experiencing the lives of so many with empathy and recognition (either of my conscious self or my lizard brain!) – I have found myself and learned about the world within the darkness of a theater seat and under the glare of lights.

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to pursue acting?

If you want to be an actor and there is nothing else that will bring you joy in life – GO FOR IT! Do not wait. That will only make you depressed and bitter. READ PLAYS – know the classics. There is a a depth of life to learn from in those pages. Go see as much theatre, dance, opera, movies, TV, improv as possible – I have learned so much from watching some of the best and worst shows ever. Be an observer of life. Get training – talent is one thing, but technique and the ability to be a professional is something to learn from your elders. Be courageous and generous in your work. Keep finding and fueling that joy that inspired you to pursue this in the first place. It’s an absolutely insane dream to be an actor. Warning. We are all crazy.

Anything else you’d like to share?

We are performing a play I never dreamed I would be in and on a stage I’ve wanted to perform on for so long. The play and the movie are fantastic and iconic. But I didn’t think an all Asian cast could or would exist. Thanks to the bravery of Tim Dang’s programming – I can play this joyful and strong character. I’ve wanted to perform at East West Players since I was a kid in High School, far away on the East Coast. I can’t express with words how grateful I am for the chance to be in this show with this amazing director, cast and crew. I look forward to sharing this story with the community and can’t wait for our first audiences!

How can fans stay updated about your projects?

Follow me on Twitter  @Ruth_Coughlin and Website – RuthCoughlin@gmail.com

 

Now playing at East West Players, “Steel Magnolias” opens East West Players’ 48th Season “Making Light.” Written by Robert Harling, this is a classic comedy-drama play that later became a popular film about the bond among a group of Southern women. The action centers on Truvy’s beauty parlor and the women who regularly gather there. The cast features Hiwa Bourne, Ruth Coughlin, Karen Huie, Dian Kobayashi, Lovelle Liquigan, and Patti Yasutake.

 

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NISEI WIDOWS CLUB Casting Breakdown

East West Players, the longest running theater of color in the US is casting Asian, Pacific Islander, multi-racial Asian performers for THE NISEI WIDOWS CLUB: HOW TOMI GOT HER GROOVE BACK by Betty Tokudani. Directed by Amy Hill. Rehearsals begin October  8, 2013. Previews begin November 7, opening Wednesday November 13 for four week run (5 performances a week) through December 8, 2013. Find out more about East West Players at www.eastwestplayers.org. AEA LOA-BAT Contract ($358 per week).

Casting:

Patrick and Kimo Ikaikakane – to be played by one actor – they are step-brothers. Patrick Ikaikakane is a yoga instructor living in Los Angeles 35 – 45 years old, into Buddhism, kind of cosmic new age type of person, very gentle with dreadlocks. His appearance is “what you see is what you get” and may look a little disheveled, pudgy and a bit of a fashion misfit. A hippie throwback. Kimo Ikaikakane is a bit younger, very fit and in fact is very body conscious – a great body and a beautiful hula dancer into the deep philosophy of Hawaii and the dance. Both are the epitome of ‘aloha’ but in their own special way. Must have good comic timing, be able to dance hula well, able to do yoga poses and speak pidgin English dialect of the Hawaiian islands.

All other roles are cast.

Agent and Personal submissions through Actors Access and Breakdown Services.

Electronic submissions with role to be considered for to casting@eastwestplayers.org

Or send via postal mail your picture, resume, and role to be considered for:

Casting: NISEI WIDOWS CLUB
East West Players
120 Judge John Aiso Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Submissions received August 30 – September 13, 2013.

PLEASE no telephone calls or personal deliveries.

THE NISEI WIDOWS CLUB: HOW TOMI GOT HER GROOVE BACK

The third installment of a comic trilogy following the lives of a group of widowed Nisei women who only have each other in the face of loss and the search for love in their golden years. Tomi loses her only son to a heart attack at the early age of 45 and the other widows gather around her during this time of grief. Hilarity ensues when they embark on an unforgettable trip to Hawaii unleashing the cougar in all of them at a hula retreat.

View PDF.

Karen Huie as Ouiser

Karen Huie as Ouiser in “Steel Magnolias”

Tell us about the character you play, and how can you relate to her. Is there any part of STEEL MAGNOLIAS that resonates with you as an actor, or personally?

Ouiser Boudreaux got no thanks for opening her heart and womb, so they snapped shut. But she forges on, doing what she thinks is right. I ran away from home when I was 15. Yes, a very bold thing for an Asian American girl to do. Strangers took me in, fed me, gave me money, solace and friendship during that time. From then on, it never occurred to me to be anything but open and generous to others. I’ve shared my home, heart, friendship and helped many people get work. For that, some never thanked me and worse yet, stabbed me in the back. Many times. I would have been justified in slamming my door shut. But I didn’t want the bad behavior of others to cause me to slam my door shut.

This is where I identify with Ouiser. She did everything right, only to have it turn out wrong. But she hangs onto her values, even if it’s a struggle to live through each day. Then the universe rewards her, by giving her love in the form of Owen Jenkins, “a blast from the past”.

What challenges, if any, have you faced with playing your character?

I trained at HB Studio in NY many years ago. I continue to take all kinds of classes because I love learning. During the summer, I was in a seven-week full-time musical theatre intensive at Circle in the Square Theatre School in New York. I have been an actor most of my life and am now a different person than I was at 20. I wanted to really dig deep to discover and explore those changes. Alan Langdon, one of the acting teachers in the program (who was Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s acting teacher), talked of doing scenes and shows as “a journey to yourself.” And if our work is fruitful and we are brave enough, we can share that revelation with audiences. As our wonderful director Laurie Woolery says, “It’s about bringing our humanity to these roles and relationships.”

What distinguishes this production or role you have compare to other characters you’ve played in the past?

I enjoy doing comedy and always thought it was something I did well. Surprisingly, I’ve done very few sitcoms or comedies on stage. I even wrote a comedy that became a sitcom pilot but for some reason, rarely got the chance to do much comedy.

I finally made a webisode called, “Miss Mah Poo,” a take off on Miss Marple, so I could do some comedy.The three other shows I’ve done at East West Players were “The Chairman’s Wife,” by Wakako Yamauchi, where I played Madame Mao Tse Tung; “The Joy Luck Club,” by Amy Tan; and “A Little Night Music,” by Hugh Wheeler and Stephen Sondheim. I think doing all-female productions have a different energy. It’s cozy and relaxed. “The Joy Luck Club” was mostly women and “The House of Bernarda Alba,” which I did at the Mark Taper Forum, was 16 women, with the fabulous Chita Rivera at the helm.

Why do you think theater is important?

Theater is an intimate experience. It’s like getting to witness a shared humanity in person. The people aren’t bigger than life, there’s nobody there to cut to an establishing shot. You’re right in their living room, in their neighborhood or in the beauty shop they go to every Saturday. It’s like spending an evening feeling your feelings with the characters who are living them on stage. The characters in plays are regular people in regular circumstances that become extraordinary. They are you and I. I go to theater a lot. If it’s 7:00 and I don’t have anything I have to do, I look for a show to see. With the time limits of when I’m in NY, I might see five shows in one weekend. I just love the feeling of the lights going down and come up on the Petri dish we are going to examine that night. It’s fascinating and I never tire of it.

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to pursue acting?

If acting is something that calls to you, follow it. Follow whatever calls to you. Don’t let logic or external advice stand in your way. It’s a tough road, but it will call upon you to examine your own humanity. It will call upon you to train and continue training to not only hone your skills—acting, singing, dance, study of literature, art, music—but to learn anything you can, so you’ll have things to express. Imagine training as a violinist with no music you’re inspired to play! Stick your ego in your back pocket and throw yourself into learning, rather than looking for praise.

Anything else you’d like to share?

In a recent conversation with our wonderful voice and dialect teacher Leslie Ishii for “Steel Magnolias,” I said other theatres have created “labs” for minorities to develop plays. However, most of those never make it to the main stage. This reinforces the idea that people will foster your ideas and creativity but underscore the fact that it’s not good enough to be put on the main stage. This is where the existence of theatres that cast and do Asian or Asian Pacific Islander material is vital. It allows us to stand up and be seen and valued.

How can fans stay updated about your projects?

Fans can see my demo reel and short films I’ve made by searching for Karen Huie on Youtube or Funnyordie.com

Previews are Thursday, September 5th through Saturday September 7th at 8pm and Sunday September 8th at 2pm. All preview seats are $21.

“Steel Magnolias” is a classic comedy-drama play that later became a popular film about the bond among a group of Southern women. The action centers on Truvy’s beauty parlour and the women who regularly gather there.

The production features Hiwa Bourne (The Pity of Things, Crimes of the Heart, Shake) as Truvy, Ruth Coughlin (A Christmas Carol, A Midsummer Night’s Dream) as Shelby, Karen Huie (A Little Night Music, Joy Luck Club) as Ouiser, Dian Kobayashi (Joy Luck Club, Equus) as Clairee, Lovelle Liquigan (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Language Archive) as Annelle, and Patti Yasutake (Star Trek: The Next Generation) as M’Lynn.

For special performance dates and additional information, visit STEEL MAGNOLIAS.

Volunteer Opportunity Volunteer as an usher.

Now is the time to become a 48th Season Subscriber at East West Players! “We wanted our season to be filled with a momentum that moves all of us forward, something that drives us toward a common goal, a reason to get up in the morning,” said Tim Dang, Producing Artistic Director of East West Players. “What is that joy in our life or the passion in our heart? It is the hope, the light that we create. We make light that inspires us to see the end of the tunnel. I am looking forward to a season with strong women’s roles and social justice matters vital to our diverse mission.”

Our exciting 48th Anniversary Season, Making Light, will include:

STEEL MAGNOLIAS
By Robert Harling
September 5 – October 6, 2013
A classic comedy-drama play that later became a popular film about the bond among a group of Southern women. The action centers on Truvy’s beauty parlour and the women who regularly gather there.

THE NISEI WIDOWS CLUB: HOW TOMI GOT HER GROOVE BACK
By Betty Tokudani
November 7 – December 8, 2013
The third installment of a comic trilogy following the lives of a group of widowed Nisei women who only have each other in the face of loss and the search for love in their golden years. Tomi loses her only son to a heart attack at the early age of 45 and the other widows gather around her during this time of grief. Hilarity ensues when they embark on an unforgettable trip to Hawaii unleashing the cougar in all of them at a hula retreat.

A NICE INDIAN BOY
By Madhuri Shekar
February 20 – March 23, 2014
The second place winner of EWP’s “Face of the Future Playwrighting Competition.” The Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage has been decided and this play is timely in continuing the discussion. Naveen Gavaskar meets Keshav Kurundkar, and they share all things Indian – from the Hindi language to the difficulty of being gay in Hindu culture. They agree to meet in person to find that one is South Asian and the other (Keshav) is Caucasian, adopted by Hindu parents and speaks fluent Hindi.

BEIJING SPRING
Lyrics by Tim Dang
Music by Joel Iwataki
May 15 – June 15, 2014
A sung-through musical commemorating the events of the Tiananmen Square Uprising in Beijing, 1989. For weeks, the world’s eyes were on China as the youth fought for democracy against the hardliners of the Chinese Community Party. This will mark the 25th Anniversary of the Uprising. BEIJING SPRING is a compelling reminder that the battle for freedom and human rights has yet to be won for many.

For season subscription prices, visit http://www.eastwestplayers.org/tickets/subscription.htm.

SUBSCRIBER BENEFITS

  • Save up to 30% off general admission prices for the entire season.
  • Get the BEST SEATS in the house before tickets go on sale to the general public.
  • FREE TICKET EXCHANGE when you need to change your performance dates (subject to availability.)
  • FREE TICKET REPLACEMENT for lost and misplaced tickets.
  • Receive discounts to Little Tokyo restaurants with the EWP ENCORE CARD.
  • Bring guests with $10 off additional single ticket purchases.
  • Save even MORE with Wednesday and Thursdsay subscriptions.

Download the 48th Anniversary Season Subscription form (PDF).

If you are a current subscriber, renew your 2013-2014 subscription by Sunday, June 30th and keep your same seat from the previous season!

Our exciting 48th season, Making Light, will include:

STEEL MAGNOLIAS
By Robert Harling
September 5 – October 6, 2013
A classic comedy-drama play that later became a popular film about the bond among a group of Southern women. The action centers on Truvy’s beauty parlour and the women who regularly gather there.

THE NISEI WIDOWS CLUB: HOW TOMI GOT HER GROOVE BACK
By Betty Tokudani
November 7 – December 8, 2013
The third installment of a comic trilogy following the lives of a group of widowed Nisei women who only have each other in the face of loss and the search for love in their golden years. Tomi loses her only son to a heart attack at the early age of 45 and the other widows gather around her during this time of grief. Hilarity ensues when they embark on an unforgettable trip to Hawaii unleashing the cougar in all of them at a hula retreat.

A NICE INDIAN BOY
By Madhuri Shekar
February 20 – March 23, 2014
The second place winner of EWP’s “Face of the Future Playwrighting Competition.” As gay marriage is being debated by the Supreme Court, this play is timely in continuing the discussion. Naveen Gavaskar meets Keshav Kurundkar, and they share all things Indian – from speaking Hindi to the difficulty of being gay in Indian culture. They agree to meet in person to find that one is South Asian and the other (Keshav) is Caucasian, adopted by Indian parents and speaks fluent Hindi.

BEIJING SPRING
Lyrics by Tim Dang
Music by Joel Iwataki
May 15 – June 15, 2014
A sung-through musical commemorating the events of the Tiananmen Square Uprising in Beijing, 1989. For weeks, the world’s eyes were on China as the youth fought for democracy against the hardliners of the Chinese Community Party. This will mark the 25th Anniversary of the Uprising. BEIJING SPRING is a compelling reminder that the battle for freedom and human rights has yet to be won for many.

For season subscription prices, visit http://www.eastwestplayers.org/tickets/subscription.htm.

SUBSCRIBER BENEFITS

  • Save up to 30% off general admission prices for the entire season.
  • Get the BEST SEATS in the house before tickets go on sale to the general public.
  • FREE TICKET EXCHANGE when you need to change your performance dates (subject to availability.)
  • FREE TICKET REPLACEMENT for lost and misplaced tickets.
  • Receive discounts to Little Tokyo restaurants with the EWP ENCORE CARD.
  • Bring guests with $10 off additional single ticket purchases.
  • Save even MORE with Wednesday and Thursdsay subscriptions.

Download the 48th Anniversary Season Subscription form (PDF).

Joan Almedilla

Joan Almedilla as Florence Vassey in CHESS.

Tell us about the character you play, and how can you relate to him/her. Is there any part of CHESS that resonates with you as an actor, or personally?

My character’s name is Florence Vassy, who at first plays the assistant to Chess Champion Frederick Trumper, who then moves diagonally and finds herself at the other side of the board.  I play a woman who’s fearless, determined and continues to be success-driven in a male dominated society.

What challenges, if any, have you faced with playing your character?

It was vocally challenging for me or maybe it was just the process of repetition during rehearsals. So yes, the thing that I love about this role is the very thing that gave me that challenge. But I have no shame whatsoever when it comes to asking for help and coaching. I worked with a voice teacher who also studies acting and is brilliant in improvisational work. She taught me many things from maintaining healthy vocal chords to having a healthy diet.

What distinguishes this production or role you have compared to other characters you’ve played in the past?

What distinguishes the role from other productions is that we discover new nuances every performance. It’s like a chess game, the board is the same, the pieces are the same but the moves are different. They way the other players present themselves emotionally and physically has an influence on the way I deliver back.  What’s great about Tim’s direction is that he laid in the structure and allowed us to explore the characters internally.  The improvisational exercises gave me permission to find the subtle moments, the beats, the things not written on the script, the things not said that would actually connect and would become my character’s thread. There were times of fear and frustration that turned into favorite moments.

What made you want to pursue acting?

My acting coach, Allen Savage, inspired me to pursue acting. He gave me TRUTH about acting. That it is selfless and that it is about listening to the other person. Know the WHYs of your character. Don’t play interesting but BE interested. I was also inhibited as a result of my conservative upbringing and because of that I was guarded, I built walls. I was so stiff. Allen ruined me, tore me to pieces and brought me back up. He helped me tear the walls down and turned my vulnerability into an asset.

Have you ever faced adversity in your career, and if so, how?

This is something you can ask me on a daily basis because once I overcome one adversity I face a new one the next day. Rejection is constant, I have to say. I’ve been through the too-fat-too-thin/too-old-too-young phase and more. But being married to a producer/director, I have learned to appreciate the complexity of the casting process.

Any advice you’d give to actors just starting out?

Find a mentor. Find an acting coach that you can trust and build a lifelong friendship with. Someone who can tell you what you don’t want to hear. Someone who sees from a bird’s eye view of your career, one who is brutally honest. When you find something that interests you, whether or not it is acting related, dig deep into that subject and do more research. Find something that excites you and it will surely benefit you as an actor. As for the inside job, PRAYER and DISCIPLINE.

 What’s in store for you after CHESS?

I have mostly out of town projects lined up and a festival Award-Winning film touring the circuits right now. I just recently signed with a new agency here in Los Angeles and I’m very excited to be with them and focus on Film and TV so I can be home with my immediate family. Also, I was offered to teach Vacation Bible School this summer, one of the few things I’m very passionate about.

 Anything else you’d like to share?

READ the classics! The more acting jobs you get the more classes you take!

How can fans stay updated about your projects?

joanalmedilla.com
info@joanalmedilla.com
facebook.com/itsjoanalmedilla
Twitter @joanalmedilla

Ray A. Rochelle as Alexander Molokov in CHESS.

Ray A. Rochelle as Alexander Molokov in CHESS.

Tell us about the character you play, and how can you relate to him/her. Is there any part of CHESS that resonates with you as an actor, or personally?

I play the part of Alexander Molokov (the Russian Second) and he is seen as an antagonist of this show. I appreciate the “bad-guy” or character roles because of their layers and complexities in pushing and feeding the storylines. Because Chess is set in the 80’s during the Cold War, I remember clips of media and movies that reminded me of pieces Molokov’s character.  I understand the intention of his plot points and added color to his storyline by creating gestures and emotion that give him life through my interpretation.

What challenges, if any, have you faced with playing your character? –

I chose to smoke an electronic cigarette on stage to give the character some sense of habit or business. I actually do not inhale the smoke. But there are times, when I am not careful just before I speak or sing, when the smoke has gotten into my lungs which almost caused me to cough right before my lines. Also, the Russian accent I speak and sing with is not easy. But, luckily for me, it is one of the accents I was already familiar with before being cast in the role. It’s a funny thing I like to do to creditors when they call my home… in real life!

What distinguishes this production or role you have compared to other characters you’ve played in the past?

Molokov doesn’t usually get featured as much in past productions of Chess. The director and choreographer have given me room to make the role of Molokov more memorable in THIS production of Chess more than any other.

What made you want to pursue acting?

When I started in show business, I was originally a chorus dancer. I found that more growth in the entertainment industry could come from the craft of acting.

Have you ever faced adversity in your career, and if so, how?

I have been very fortunate to not have faced adversity.  Most of the companies or organizations I have auditioned/worked for don’t see me as a specific race or color. I have been fortunate to have worked as long as I have and for as many production companies due to my ability and opportunities given me to direct, perform, costume, and cast.

Any advice you’d give to actors just starting out?

Have a flexible day job or some money in the bank to sustain your craft. And audition for ANYTHING and EVERYTHING so you can start building your resume. As you work more, you will be able to cut your resume down to the things that show your best work!

What’s in store for you after CHESS

I currently have a full-time (9 to 5) job but I have been granted leave to perform as the “Interpreter’ in the King and I for two weeks at the prestigious Sacramento Music Circus this summer. I will also be casting the hit musical Nunsense  for the San Gabriel Valley Music Theatre in late June 2013.

Anything else you’d like to share?

East West Players is a wonderful place to work for/with and I proudly call them my second home!

How can fans stay updated about your projects?

Twitter: @DirectorHands

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