Friday, September 12, 2014
Spotlight On...Vodka Stinger
Hometown: Salem, Oregon...Crystal meth capitol of the country
Education: BFA Marymount Manhattan College Theater/Musical Theater Minor
Select Credits: My gosh I haven't done an actual show in 10 years! The last one was Hair at a theater in New Jersey called the Academy Theater, which is ironic as the only way I have any hair is to wear a wig. I've mostly been writing my own material. Recently have had success in the night club scene with my three shows Lower Your Expectations, and Around the World in 80 Ways, and Vodka Stinger's Last Resort.
Why theater?: There is something so marvelous about live theater! Though I have gravitated away from performing in theater pieces and have really found that I operate well in a night club format where though there is a script and a set list I can riff on anything that is happening. If you spill a drink, I'll come clean it up without missing a beat. I love to connect with an audience. I guess that is the real answer. Rehearsals are fun, selling tickets and press are nightmares to me, but once I am in front of a crowd I am in absolute heaven. Its my drug. I love to make people laugh, I love to let go and play with the crowd. I still love going to see a live show. Theater is the medium I love the most. I want to smell the actors. I saw a show last week and I knew the performer had a cup of coffee before they went onstage. How thrilling! I remember seeing Venus and Fur and when Nina Arianda made her entrance I could smell her perfume. Its so visceral. To see Meryl Streep in Mother Courage and end up with mud on my face. Meryl's mud! We are breathing the same air.
Tell us about How to Lose Friends and Intoxicate People: How to describe what the show is like?? My makeup artist Brian Strumwasser said to me before our last show, "am I going to know any of these songs?" I answered "No." Our tag line is Vodka Stinger and The Martha Rayes: We Sing the Songs You've Never Heard Of. You'll hear some Kay Thompson, some American Songbook, a Monty Python tune, Big Band, Tom Waitts, an old children's song from China, some showtunes you probably don't know, our famous Offensive Indian Medley. It's a mixed bag of weirdies that add up to a really entertaining night. It's a nightclub act, bawdy, funny, touching, a mashup of two of my shows from last year. A kind of best of Vodka Stinger and the Martha Rayes. That said I couldn't do all old material, it kills me to pay for a cabaret show, or club act and find out the performer is singing the same set list they sang the last time you saw them, So there will be new songs in this show, and ALL new material in between.
What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I love absurdist theater. I thought The Maids was a real kick! It hardly mattered that I couldn't understand half the play. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf speaks to me! I love classic musicals! I can't wait to see On the Town, On the Twentieth Century, Into the Woods and A Delicate Balance this season! I find inspiration in performers like Elaine Stritch. I always called her my spirit animal. Balls to the wall performing. She was incapable of not giving it her all. I love that about her. I certainly identify with her fears as well as her strengths. The just don't make em like her anymore. Kay Thompson is someone I have also found a great deal of inspiration in as well. Maybe I have a thing for older women that live in hotels? Marilyn Maye is another performer I just adore! She is so warm onstage I'll see her do anything.
Any roles you’re dying to play?: What dream role? George in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf. For years I thought I was a Martha type, but in reality I'd be a better George. Fagan in Oliver would be a blast, anyone in Forum, ANYONE IN URINETOWN! Title of Show I love very much as well.
What’s your favorite showtune?: My favorite showtune! JUST ONE???? I could never pick just one. I've been listening to "Subways Are For Sleeping" the last week or so so right now I am obsessed with that score. I love anything by Kander and Ebb, Cy Coleman, Comden and Green, Rogers and Hart. My boyfriend says it's "All That Jazz". He is probably right.
If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: If I could work with anyone in theater right now??? Hunter Bell and Jeff Bowen are theater Gods to me. They are living the dream. When I see their shows I feel like they are in my head. We have the same references.
Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: If anyone was going to play me (as a boy) I hope it would have been Gene Hackman circa 1975 or Walter Matthau. As a broad Bette Midler when she was a red head and still had a sense of humor.
What show have you recommended to your friends?: A show I recommend???? I still tell people to go see Urinetown.
What’ your biggest guilty pleasure?: My biggest Guilty pleasure?? Chips and Salsa!
What’s the most played song on your iTunes?: How do I see what my most played song on my ipod is?? I can't figure this contraption out. Oh it's actually “When The Foeman Bares His Steel” from the OBC of Pirates of Penzance. Not surprised to find that out at all. Second is “Die Vampire Die” from Title of Show, third is “Veronique” from On The Twentieth Century.
What's up next?: Next up we start working on our Christmas show (dates tba) for 54 Below! It's like The Radio City Spectacular only bigger!