Friday, August 22, 2014

Spotlight On...Melinda Buckley

Name: Melinda Buckley

Hometown: North Attleboro, MA

Education: BA Dance, Theater with a minor in Music

Select Credits: Broadway: Crazy for YouA Chorus Line and the ill fated Raggedy Ann (which was directed/choreographed by the most wonderful Pat Birch).  Also, National Tour of Sweet Charity directed/choreographed by Bob Fosse.

Why theater?: Theater has always been like church to me.  The place I go to 'commune' with something bigger than myself.  I've always found great theater to be thrilling, powerful and transformative.

Who do you play in Mother?:  I play all the characters in this story: myself, my Mom and everyone she and I encountered 'along the way,' so to speak...

Tell us about MotherWell, obviously it's about a Mother... mine; who I always thought of as my 'larger than life Hungarian Mama Rose.'  She was a real character but her strength and undying support of me and my dreams, propelled me all the way to Broadway. When she became ill, the tables turned... and I stepped into a very different role. MOTHER tells that story but hopefully in a very creative way.  It incorporates music, pop culture, humor and a narrative that goes back and forth through time to tell a story of love and what it truly means to be family.

What is it like being a part of Mother?:  Right now, it's an unbelievably amazing and exciting experience... a true labor of love, and I'm so thrilled to be a part of FringeNYC, I can't even describe it!
What kind of theater speaks to you?  What or who inspires you as an artist?: I love creative, innovative staging.  For example, I loved Peter and the Starcatcher. The recent Glass Menagerie, and a few years back, Stones in his Pockets.  (I can't wait to see Fiasco's Into the Woods choreographed by my friend Lisa Shriver.) When I was a young dancer in Germany, I went to everything Pina Bausch did.  That blend of dance, theater, set design and audio... this collage form of story telling... was a powerful influence on me.  I also LOVE the art of solo performance.  From the first time I saw Lily Tomlin's "Search for Signs of Intelligence" I was hooked.  And then Eric Bogosian, John Lequizamo, Spaulding Gray, Mike Daisy... I just love the range and versatility of these artists and their ability to create a whole world on the spot out of their words and themselves.

Any roles you’re dying to play?: Oh, dear... I can't think past MOTHER at the moment!

What’s your favorite showtune?: Ack... how can I possibly pick just one??  Anything Sondheim.  Right now, I've got "Everybody Says Don't" on my brain... I think it's to inspire me to keep going.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Oh my gosh, there are so many!  Des McAnuff, for one.  I loved how he staged Billy Crystal's solo show, 700 Sundays.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: In my improv days, we used to joke that my movie would be: "Wigs in my knapsack... the Melinda Buckley story."  And I guess since a lot of people think I resemble Catherine Keener, she'd get to play me.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: I really loved Fun Home at the Public last year.  And Murder for Two, which just closed.

What’s the most played song on your iTunes?: I just checked my iTunes playlist.  It's a track called, "Middle Age Trifecta" and it underscores a funny bit in my show.  You'll have to come see MOTHER to hear it for yourself. ;)

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Sauvignon Blanc and dark chocolate.  Equal guilt.  Equal pleasure.

What’s up next?:  MOTHER at the FringeNYC!

For more on Melinda, visit