Thursday, August 9, 2012

Spotlight On..Jesse Liebman

Name: Jesse Liebman

Hometown: New York City

Education: B.A., Princeton University. Graduate of The New Actors Workshop.

Select Credits: Film: "Did You Hear About The Morgans?" (Adam, Feller, Sony); TV: "The Girl's Guide To Depravity" (Jason Lutz, HBO/Cinemax); Waiting For Godot (Estragen, Annenberg Theatre, Paris).

Why theater?: I do theater because it happens now. It's new every night. It changes with the audience. Live performance is both thrilling and terrifying, but whichever way it goes, it makes me feel more alive.

Tell us about #MormonInChief: #MormonInChief is a smart new play about politics, twitter, and our 24-hour news cycle. It's topical without being gimmicky and it tells a great little story about an individual's role in our political discourse.

What is it like to be a part of #MormonInChief?:
Rehearsing the play has been great fun. It's rare to have so much laughter and freedom during a rehearsal process. The director, Austin Regan, creates a great atmosphere, and I couldn't ask for better scene partners in Nicole Rodenburg and Karis Danish. The writer, Matthew Greene, is present at all rehearsals, making small changes as we go. And the producer, Michael Holt, is doing a great job getting the word out. Oh, it's also not every day that I get to play a Mormon.

What kind of theater speaks to you? Who or what inspires you as an artist?: I like theater that dares actually to be about something, to take a stand about what goes on in our world and in our daily lives. I like challenging texts that require creativity and skill to bring them to life. Most of all, I love collaboration. An ensemble can accomplish more than a single individual. Pig Iron, the Philadelphia-based physical theater group, is an inspiration to all of us who want to create new, vibrant, and original work. New York Theater Workshop's An Iliad is a recent favorite show of mine.

Any roles you’re dying to play?: I would love to play Pozzo in Waiting For Godot.

What’s your favorite showtune?: I'm woefully uninformed when it comes to showtunes. Anything with clever lyrics.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Ivo Van Hove. He's Dutch and he's a genius.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Dustin Hoffman would play me in the movie about my life. I think it would be called "Work In Progress."

What show have you recommended to your friends?: I just saw Warrior Class up at the Second Stage uptown space. It's a smart, taut little story... and very well written and acted.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Chocolate and country music.

What’s up next?:
I'm translating and adapting Aeschylus' Oresteia for the new theater group I've started called The Hedge Hog Theater Project. We just completed a two-week residency developing it. Also, I'm getting married on September 9th!