Name: Jan Maxwell
Hometown: West Fargo, North Dakota
Education: Moorhead State University, Moorhead, Minnesota
Select Credits: Currently in Follies at the Marquis Theater
Why theater?: Why breathe?
Tell us about Follies: It’s a great show. Come see it!
What is it like being a part of Follies: It’s a great honor. Stephen Sondheim is a wonderful lyricist/composer and it’s thrilling to sing his songs. It’s also difficult. The musical is very emotionally and physically draining, but it has its rewards. And I get to be amongst all these musical theatre divas and I’ve learned so much about the stamina and preparation of being in a musical with this range.
What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as artists?: Mostly I like to do political theatre. There is nothing like a great political play, something that is real, entertaining, and makes you think of the big picture. We hopefully learn from our history and it’s important to tell what’s going on in the world in compelling ways.
You have a special connection to Howard Barker. What is it about his work that draws you in?: I like the density of his plays. I love the political nature of them and that they are so incredibly smart and actor friendly. His plays are bit like modern Shakespeare to me. I wish we had an American equivalent to his talent, because his plays obviously are more about British politics and from a British point of view.
Any roles you’re dying to play?: I would like to do new plays. Creating roles is more interesting to me than doing a role that has already been done.
What’s your favorite showtune?: Too many to name. I like Sondheim’s “Loving You.” I don’t know what it’s called but the lyric is “more I cannot wish you, than to wish you find your love”— Sarah’s father sings it to her in Guys and Dolls. I love “Do You Love Me” from Fiddler. Camelot. I could go on and on.
If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Christopher Guest
Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: PeeWee Herman in “What Was That Noise?” (I have no idea why I’m saying this)
What show have you recommended to your friends?: I’m still recommending GATZ which will be done at the Public again this year.
What’s up next?: I have no idea. No job, no hope, no future . . . I’m a pessimist.
To see Jan in the smash hit Follies, visit http://folliesbroadway.com/. Must end January 22nd!