Monday, October 3, 2011
Spotlight On...Brittney Lee Hamilton
Hometown: Williamstown, NJ
Education: Marymount Manhattan College, The Hartford Conservatory
Select Credits: Peg O’ My Heart (Peg, June Havoc Theatre, MITF Best Leading Actress Nomination); Hurricane (Lil, NYMF); ANGELS: The Musical (Uriel, Pre Broadway and NYMF); Gypsy (June, Ivoryton Playhouse); Eugene O’Neill Cabaret and Performance Conference (Featured Performer); Laughter on the 23rd Floor (Helen, Seven Angels Theatre); Boardwalk Empire (Season 2, Featured, HBO); Pokemon (Georgia, Cartoon Network); Jim Brickman in Concert (Featured Vocalist, Disney Cruise Line)
Why Theater?: I always had a very vivid imagination and I never let go of the love of playing “make believe”. I was never shy and being on stage just came naturally to me. There is something magical about playing make believe and dress up in front of hundreds of people. It’s as if we are all kids and the stage is our playground. It makes you feel like you can be or do anything.
Tell us about My History of Marriage: My History of Marriage is a wonderfully touching show about ‘Nan’, a writer who has suffered a horrible divorce and now must write a book about marriage. I play Ellen, Nan’s naive and enthusiastic assistant who is also the niece her agent (Bonnie Franklin). Through hilarious historical vignettes, wonderful songs by David Shire, Lee Kalchiem, and Sam Kalchiem, and many more problem causing relationships, Nan tries to find a way to finish the book, and celebrate the gay wedding of her agent.
What is it like to be a part of My History of Marriage?: I leave rehearsal everyday with aches and pains from the laughter. The cast is superb and I am so very humbled to share the stage with them. I have been lucky enough to work with Michael Bush and his creative team before, and every time just gets better and better. He really knows how to speak to actors and he trusts the people he casts. Every actor feels safe in Michael’s rehearsals. Lee Kalchiem is a comedy king, Bonnie Franklin the queen, and David Shire is...uh DAVID SHIRE!!! David, Lee, and Sam have written such a truthful show. Through all of Nan’s skewed views of relationships we see two women who have shared their lives together (Bonnie Franklin and Blair Ross) and want to solidify it with “I DO’S”. This show proves that, even though marriage isn’t perfect, it is a beautiful commitment that you hope ALL can have the chance to partake in. It’s never too late.
What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I have always loved the standards...Kaufman and Hart plays, Rogers and Hammerstein, Jule Styne, Kander and Ebb...I identify with the time periods of their shows and the simplicity of the writing. They give beautiful colors to the actor and then let them paint the picture. Stephen Sondheim is a master of that also. They trust that the actors speaking their words and singing their songs are smart. David Shire really knows how to write for the female voice, and singing his music is so refreshing! This allows you to fall into the role and just play. His music is so much fun to sing!!!
Any roles you’re dying to play?: Well, of course, ‘Liz’ in Baby! I would also love to play ‘Alice’ in You Can’t Take It With You, ‘Kate/Lucy’ in Avenue Q, ‘Flora’ in Flora the Red Menace, ‘Dot’ in Sunday in the Park, ‘Mabel’ in Mack and Mabel, ‘Beth’ in Merrily We Roll Along, ‘Sophie’ in Mamma Mia, ‘Young Sally’ in Follies, and ‘Irene’ in Irene.
What’s your favorite show tune?: Well, I must say, “Like” from My History of Marriage is quickly rising to the top of my list!!! It’s hilarious and adorable. “Over the Rainbow” has been my favorite song since I could hear. It isn’t usually considered a show tune, but it is the first song I ever sang. It lead to more Judy Garland songs, which lead to movie musicals, which lead to Broadway show tunes. It’s where it all began for me.
If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: I would love to work with Bernadette Peters. She has always been my idol! Actually, I recently met her for the first time at Broadway Barks. I was so nervous and tongue tied, I said something very very humiliating. It was one of those “why would I say that?!?!” moments and I would really like to work with her and rectify that!
Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: I would think Ginnifer Goodwin would probably play me in a movie. If you put a curly, red wig on her I think we could look a like! The movie would be called, “No, I Have Never Played Annie”. I am determined to write a one woman show, and that will be the title.
What show have you recommended to your friends?: Besides My History of Marriage?!? I highly recommend The Book of Mormon, Avenue Q, and Pride and Prejudice and Time Between Us in NYMF. I have some very talented friends currently in those shows (Michael Liscio, Jr. is in Ave Q and Marriage)!
What’s up next?: I am doing a reading during Marriage of the musical The Countess of Storyville. Then, I am doing a workshop at Irish Rep of the musical The Piper with music by Marcus Hummon. In November, I am off to Bristol Riverside Theatre to play June in Gypsy with Tovah Feldshuh. I am currently a recurring character on Pokemon! I play Georgia and it airs Saturdays at 9am on Cartoon Network. And my episode of Boardwalk Empire is airing on November 20th!
For more information on Brittney, visit http://www.brittneyleehamilton.com/. For information on My History of Marriage, visit http://www.nymf.org/.