Monday, May 18, 2015

Spotlight On...Lisa Rothauser

Name: Lisa Marie Rothauser (yes…I was named after Lisa Marie Presley. No foolin’)

Hometown: St. Louis, MO aka “The Lou"

Education: I received my Bachelor of Music from the “Harvard of the midwest” coined by the locals, but the rest of the world would know it as Truman State University. I inched my way closer to NYC by pit-stopping at Boston University School for the Arts for a couple years to pick up a Master of Music degree with an Opera Performance concentration.

Favorite Credits: Playing Hold Me Touch Me and Lick Me Bite Me in The Producers on Broadway were two of my favorite credits. There is nothing more magical than creating a world and singing your tits off on a real Broadway stage. Playing Sharon Graham opposite Lucie Arnaz’ Maria Callas in Masterclass straight out of college was also a highlight. But nothing could compare to taking credit for the role I play everyday as a mom of two boys. That pretty much trumps everything.

Why theater?: I feel that theatre isn’t something you choose, rather, something that chooses you. It has a heavy pull and no matter how hard you try to get out…it’s always there…silently pulling you back in and you must. You must listen and take the next ride because there is an energy to be shared and a story to be told and no one can tell it the same way you can. It might be the most frustrating and most rewarding career in existence.

What inspired you to write Life.WTF?: It was originally conceived as a series called Men.WTF? a few years back when I was still married and trying to justify how men behave and how the women who love them could learn how to accept their animalistic behavior and live with it. When I was explaining it to my gynecologist (as one does!) he said, “Man, you got stories girl!”, I found that broadening it to “life” was the way to go. In dealing with my personal dramas such as divorce and being a mom of two young boys, trying to raise up from the dust like a phoenix was the story I wanted to tell. So I found myself picking material that made my heart sing, cry, and laugh with a sense of heroic triumph.

What kind of theatre speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: Honestly, give me a main character with heart that moves from point A to point B with committed choices and I’m IN! Frank Sinatra inspires me. Patti Lupone inspires me. Elaine Stritch inspires me. They were/are artists who knew themselves and marched to their own drum without apologizing for it.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: I am going with people who are alive now so: Carol Burnett cause she is the ultimate. Others: Kristin Wiig, Christopher Guest, Catherine O’Hara, Melissa McCarthy, Harry Connick Jr., Patti Lupone, Julie Taymor, Alex Timbers, and the eclectic list goes on and on.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Hand to God. I believe it is quite possibly the greatest new american play/playwright (Robert Askins) to emerge in the last decade. It’s raw, it’s hilarious, Steven Boyer and Geneva Carr KILL their roles. The stakes are high and the train is running with perfect speed. I hope it wins all the Tonys. GO SEE IT!

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: It would be called Life.WTF? and Meryl Streep would play me. Of course.

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: Opening night of Funny Girl with Barbra Streisand. It is said it was the most moving and powerful performance ever to hit a Broadway stage.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: "Shark Tank". Seen ‘em all.

If you weren’t working in theatre you would be_____?: I would be a professional Ukulele player. I learned the Uke for this show and I am OBSESSED. I call it my boyfriend. If I could sleep with it and not break it, I would.

What’s up next?: My writing partner, Tor Hyams, and I are developing three new musicals at the moment. Stealing Time, which premiered at The New York Musical Theatre Festival in 2012 as a song cycle and has now been turned into a full-length musical, Auburn, The Musical which we began writing this January as writers at The Johnny Mercer Writer’s Colony in association with Goodspeed Opera House, and most recently optioned a book called "The Complete Manual of Things That Might Kill You" and turning that into a hypochondriac’s musical romp.

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