Laurie Rae Waugh’s words on being a prolific director

FullSizeRenderLaurie Rae Waugh is a two-fisted director. She has two plays opening tonight and subsequently running in NYC this next few weeks: one at the Midtown International Theater festival (www.midtownfestival.org) and one at the American Theater of Actors (212.581.3044)

13709823_10153529450171567_6828311276130037005_n

We hear a lot about inspiration- or Muse- that drives an artist. What inspires you?

The writing.  I love reading well written plays. There is something in the play that calls to me and not every play I read has it.  It could be the subject matter or a line or two from the play that then gives me a visual and from that I see the whole play.

What do you want most in your chosen profession? It’s OK to say “fame” or “wealth.”

I want to be known as a Director who is always working on new quality scripts.  Getting new scripts produced and always working towards taking one of more of those scripts to another level.  ie: movie version of the play or a Broadway or Off Broadway run.  To be recognized for the work that I do not only from the playwright but my peers as well.  Continue to take the level of each and every production up another notch all while making a comfortable living at it.

 

Sally Field and Paul Newman both said of their profession…”it’s all I can do.” Is this all you can do?

I love directing with a passion and YES it is all I can do. In the last year, I have directed three full length plays, seven one-act plays and was the lead in another one act play.  I also received the ATA Best Director Award for A Spanish Harlem Story (2015) from American Theatre of Actors.

Along those lines, if you couldn’t do this, what would you do?

If I couldn’t direct, I haven’t asked myself that question.  To be honest, I really don’t know.   Directing is a part of me and I don’t see myself without that in my life.

Last Words?

I started out as a stage manager and did that for many years.  I was given the opportunity to finish directing a project that I started out as the stage manager on and from then on I was hooked.  I always wanted to direct and this opportunity was the one that had me move on from stage managing to directing.  I love working on plays that I connect with.  The best part of my job as the director is hearing from the playwright that I got their intention and that is the best feeling in the world.

 

Advertisements

Artist on the Spot: Mel of a Good Time!

Welcome to the Over Share Cabaret a monthly variety show hosted by Mel DeLancey, a girl next door with a wild side, a degree in musical theater and absolutely no filter.

Upcoming Shows: JULY Fri 7/29 @ 8pm; Sat 7/30 @ 8pm / SEPTEMBER Thurs 9/8 @ 8pm; Sat 9/10 @ 8pm. 

IMG_0295We hear a lot about inspiration – or Muse – that drives an artist. What inspires you?

I told my boyfriend last weekend that he was my muse because he wanted credit for a joke I wrote. I should probably stick with that if I want a nice dinner this weekend. I’m also inspired by life’s coincidences, the magic of being in a city full of people with different pasts and futures and how we all are made up of the same stuff inside. For me I feel the most connected to the universality of it all when I am singing.

Tell us about your play … and why you wrote it?

Over Share Cabaret is a mix of classic style cabaret where I try to honor musical theater song writing at its best, and contemporary true stories. I was worried I was running out of salacious stories to share with my audiences so I’ve been trying to convince my talented singer friends to jump on board so I don’t have to get myself in trouble monthly for good stories.

What do you want most in your chosen profession? It’s OK to say “fame” or “wealth.”

Enough money to buy a Hampton’s House, I swear I’ll stop there and just peace out NYC and sing to the seagulls.  My chosen profession is personal training and I love my clients and helping them reach their goals and enjoy movement and exercise. As far as a performing goes, I would love to have a regular cabaret singing spot, like every Thursday night at The Carlyle for example, where I just sing everyone’s favorite show tunes from 1940-1980 and have a small band behind me. Being specific is the key to getting what you want, right? And along the lines of money, I really only need enough to buy a new glittery dress every week for my Carlyle gig. 🙂

Sally Field and Paul Newman both said of their profession… “it’s all I can do.” Is this all you can do?

I’m also really good at Ms.Pac-Man and Scrabble, can I get paid to do those things? From age 5 to age 23 I believed musical theater was “all I could do”. It isn’t anymore. I MUST do it, to stay sane, but the world is full of lots of wonderful things and life is very long. I like helping people, I like collaborating and giving my energy to people who give back. I could do anything where I got to work with creative and open minded people who don’t take life too seriously.

Along those lines, if you couldn’t so this, what would you do?

Let’s go back to that gig at the Carlyle. I think we should focus on reality.

Last words? 

When I was a young actress the teachers would always say “Make it your own”. I didn’t do that then and I didn’t know what it meant. I give of myself in a very different way now, I understand honesty better. And if I ever stumble on material that I can’t make my own I just don’t bother with it anymore.

MEL DeLANCEY is a full time extrovert who loves to share her “Sex in the City” style true life stories Monday thru Friday with her personal training clients for her company, Joyful Fitness. On top of a life dedicated to fitness and helping others achieve physical strength and confidence, Mel moonlights as a cabaret producer and performer. Mel is best known for her autobiographical cabaret show Tinder Roulette which ran at the 13th Street Repertory throughout the fall of 2015 and received rave reviews. She is the host and creator of The Overshare Cabaret, a new monthly performance party merging the art forms of cabaret, sketch comedy, and personal storytelling. She is a member of the Dysfunctional Theatre Arts Collectiveand will be reviving her original program I Heart Show-tunesthis summer as part of an artist residency on Governor’s Island. For 16 years Mel has been a regular on the Indie Theater scene in downtown Manhattan and Williamsburg, performing most often with Gemini CollisionWorks and Dysfunctional Theatre. From 2004-2009 Mel was responsible for writing, directing, performing, and producing sketch comedy with the 5-member team Slightly Known People. The prolific group hosted a sold-out weekly show at the popular alternative comedy venue, RiFiFi, in the East Village, which ran for more than 150 performances. Mel earned her bachelor’s degree from New York University where she studied musical theater. She also holds a variety of personal training certifications and NYC food handlers permit, in case anyone needs a dishwasher.

Artist Profile: Tahirah Stanley

IMG_6525Natasha Dawsen interviewed Canada’s own Tahirah Stanley… now a native New York actress… and activist. 

As one of ten children, born into a single parent household, where resources were tight, Tahirah learned early-on the importance of drive and determination. Theater became a positive outlet for her to express herself.

IMG_6703She has trained extensively, appeared in several theatrical productions, such as Marat/Sade, The Laramie Project and Romeo & Juliet and has done work in TV/Film. Tahirah is a graduate of The Lee Strasberg Institute, where she received a full scholarship to participate in the two-year conservatory program. Her passion for acting is matched by her passion for social change, and in 2011 she launched a youth program called Theatre for Peace. Tahirah recognizes the transformative powers of the performing arts and hopes to share this with her audiences and her Theatre for Peace, youth participants.

https://www.youtube.com/user/Theatreforpeace

DQ: We hear a lot about inspiration – or Muse – that drives an artist. What inspires you?

20141222-IMG_7870-3Tahirah: Ever since I can remember I have always been extremely empathetic. Whether it was seeing the young boy in primary school get bullied or hearing about a war happening on the other side of the world, I have always felt deep pain and suffering for others. When I watch a news story, a film or even a play, I always find myself completely imagining what the person/character is thinking and feeling. Growing up this way didn’t always help me. I have put my safety on the line for others on many occasions and have even been badly hurt. My empathy is my way into acting and it is what drives me to create everyday. I am a vessel, and I am inspired by the bravery and vulnerability of the people/characters I encounter daily. I want to share their stories.

coverDQ: What do you want most in your chosen profession? It’s OK to say “fame” or “wealth.”

Tahirah: I want to use my platform as an actor and creator to share stories that may otherwise go unheard.

DQ: Sally Field and Paul Newman both said of their profession… “it’s all I can do.” Is this all you can do?

Tahirah: Acting is not all I can do BUT it is the one thing that has held on to me. I say ‘held on to me’ because there have been times that I have questioned this path because of its uncertainty BUT it always finds a way to pull me back in. It’s a visceral, almost spiritual, connection that I cannot seem to pull away from.

DQ: Along those lines, if you couldn’t so this, what would you do?

IMG_6744Tahirah: One of my favorite quotes is by Aristotle, “Where your talents and the needs of the world cross; there lies your vocation.” With that being said, acting has always been my way of giving back to the world. If I couldn’t act anymore, whatever I decided to do, would have to be servicing the needs of others.

The Producer of “CHANCE” tells us Why She Does It!

Anne_8x10_Color_1
I do new works for two reasons: first, I’m interested in the future, and new works provide a glimpse into the future. In new works, yes, even in new musical theater works, most writers grapple with what we need now to make the future better. In CHANCE, by Richard Isen, a man overcomes the trauma of his past that he had buried so deep he didn’t even see it as a problem. He overcomes it by learning compassion – the hard way.  Richard started writing this piece six years ago – I’ve been involved for four. And if we look around the world right now, compassion is what’s needed. We have a lot of prosperity, people live longer than ever, but we’re more closed off as individuals than we once were. We can and do deny others in exchange for our comfort.  In GOLDRUSH 2.0, another show I’m developing, we explore the implications of the tech world and its Goldrush mentality – in which the goal is to make money through disruption of all kinds – on the psyches of three people involved in a start-up. The prescription there is to accept and appreciate our humanity, rather than brush it aside in the search of the perfect world promised by artificial intelligence. Anyway, it’s exciting to see people react to a work for the first time, to see the audience agree or disagree, and to hone the piece to perfection. Hitchcock, I think, said “Structure is the key to the unconscious” – though certainly others have said something like that. And it’s true – the more we hone the piece, the more we discover what it’s truly about – and vice versa. It feels as if somewhere in space/time the work already exists – if only we can reach it. When we do, it’s magical.
The other reason I do new works, especially new musical theater works, is that I have a big brain. I don’t say that in a boastful way, because actually it’s been a bit of a problem throughout my life. There are few endeavors in which I feel fully satisfied. I used to make a living acting, I write plays and poems and lyrics, I compose music, I paint and draw, my grandma taught me to sew, my children taught me to be patient,  I’m good at business, I’m good at teaching, especially writing, and I’m really good at seeing how a project can materialize in time. Seriously, it comes into my mind like a 3D chessboard. So, when I produce a new work with a good writer and a good collaborative team, all of my needs are satisfied. New works are a harder sell to contemporary San Francisco public, I think, than they are in New York – or Chicago, where I’m from. So that has been a challenge. But I like challenges – they keep me young.
————————————————————————
Chance – A New Musical Play about Love, Risk, & Getting it Right; By Richard Isen -Inspired by Quotations from the Writings of Oscar Wilde; Wednesday, July 20, 6:00 pm; Thursday, July 21, 9:00 pm; and Saturday, July 23rd, 3:30 pm. A gay psychologist and a handsome young rent boy stumble down a unique path to healing when guided by a mysterious Hollywood glamour queen (as played by a gender illusionist). 55 year old Gregory has spent his adult life denying the loss he experienced as a young man during the AIDS crisis. After a near-death experience, The Lady appears. Is she an inner guide from the Jungian collective unconscious? Or a musical hallucination resulting from a small stroke? Gregory is pushed out of his solitary reality by his unlikely muse, and down the rabbit hole of mid-life crisis where he enters into a turbulent, dangerous relationship with a young male escort named “Chance.” Produced by Anne Nygren Doherty and the New Musical Theatre of San Francisco. With book, music and lyrics by Richard Isen, direction by Jonathan Cerullo, and musical direction by Denise Puricelli, This unique theatrical cocktail is one part fun, one part heart, and one part magic.