Friday, August 12, 2016

Spotlight On...Julianne Cross

Name: Julianne Cross

Hometown: Erie, Pennsylvania

Education: Penn State University

Select Credits: Improv comedy was my gateway drug back to theater in my adult life. UCB gave me a place to learn and perform as well as a community of artists to collaborate with. I currently perform sketch comedy with my BoogieManja sketch team, First Runner Up every month at The PIT Loft.

Why theater?: There's an infectious energy when performing live - it feels like almost anything can happen. There's also no time for inner dialogue or self doubts on stage, you simply have the gift of being fully alive as the character in the moment. Also, when I was 4 I wanted to be on Star Search so my mom took me to audition for community theater and the rest is history.

Who do you play in Tailspin!?: Duran Duran

Tell us about Tailspin!: Tailspin! is a one act comedy filled with chaos, destruction, and laughs written by Zach Stephens and directed by Kelley Webb. Lowly assistants at fictional Babylon Studios are left to do damage control when North Korea's supreme leader is furious with his depiction in their latest film. Besieged from all sides, they must contend with a spiraling predicament catapulting them further into a frenzied distortion of American culture and the creative process. If you like pop culture and comedy, this show's for you.

What is it like being a part of Tailspin!?: Oh boy. A collaborative blast. Every rehearsal is full of laugher and discovery. To say that my character is wacky would be an understatement, so there is a ton of physical comedy involved. I was lucky enough to work with the creative team on the first run of Tailspin! at the Venus/Adonis Theater Festival in February, and they are all a joy.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I'm drawn to the unexpected - a comedy that makes you really think or a drama that can make you laugh out loud due to the absurdity of human behavior. Lucille Ball inspires me - for every outrageous circumstance she found herself in on her show, she was rooted and grounded as a real human being. That's where the comedy lives.

Any roles you’re dying to play?: I love dark comedies. "a feminine ending" by Sarah Treem is one of my favorites and I feel deeply connected to the lead role, Amanda. I would have to learn to play the oboe, but that's a sacrifice I'm willing to make.

What’s your favorite show tune?: "Stars And The Moon" by Jason Robert Brown from Songs From A New World. I sing it at karaoke bars to mess with people who just want to hear "Sweet Caroline" for the 100th time.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Tina Fey was very kind to me in passing once and encouraged me to quit my corporate job to pursue comedy. She has no idea who I am but she made a huge impact on my life. I think she's a brilliant writer and performer and it would be an honor to work with her in any capacity. That said, Molly Shannon is my spirit animal - her full commitment to physical comedy and total immersion into her characters is what I aspire to. My middle school history teacher used to call me "Mary Catherine Gallagher" when I was misbehaving and I took it as a compliment.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Julianne Moore. It would be called "I know it's confusing, but I'm not Julianne Moore".

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: The original cast of RENT on Broadway. I was a really big nerd for that show in high school but only saw it on tour.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: I typically recommend seeing comedy shows that my friends have written. Girls With Brown Hair is a female sketch duo that I think are fantastic. They have a show currently running at UCB.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Sharing photos and videos of my niece, Marcie Bea. She's two years old and quite possibly my favorite person on the planet. Being an aunt is rewarding and incredible and basically just bragging rights to something I deserve zero credit for.

What’s up next?: I'm trying to do more storytelling and I've been "working" on a comedy project with my writing partner for too long... we need to bring it to life.

For more on Julianne, visit www.juliannecross.com. For more on Tailspin, visit www.tailspintheplay.com

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