How did you get started in theater?
I quit playing the flute in Jr. High Band (9th grade)
and out of nowhere decided that I wanted to try
out for the show. I got the lead which really
pissed all the chorus people off since I wasn't in
chorus or had EVER done a show before!
What hooked you? Was it your first school play-movie-first time seeing a
Broadway Show? What inspired you to be where you are today?
Getting the lead in the 9th grade show was all it took!
What was the first play you ever saw? Ever performed in?
My Aunt lived in NYC all her life so I got exposed to a lot of shows, ballets, etc. I'm pretty sure the first show I saw was "King and I," probably the second to the last time that Yul Brynner was doing it. My first show was Bye Bye Birdie.
Did you study acting? If not, how did you get into it?
Nope, I never formally studied. In college I was a Communications/ Journalism major, but always took Theater electives and did all the shows (again pissing off all the theater majors). I figure if you're going to study theater, a college really isn't the right place. You need to do HB Studios or Stella Adler, etc. College is for the "practical" degree!!
What was your first audition?
"Bye, Bye Birdie" when I was 14. Boy, I had no clue what the hell I was doing!
How do you choose what play you will audition for? The piece itself, the
director, theater, you were pre-cast, etc.
Now that I'm established in certain LI theaters, a lot of times I get called for auditions. But I only do shows I'm really interested in doing, and people I'm interested in doing them with. When you really get in sync with a certain director, they often have you in mind when they choose certain shows and it's usually a show you've always wanted to do.
Speaking of pre-casting, tell us how you really feel about the subject.
Hmmm . . . that's a double edged sword. If you have a reputation for
pre-casting, it REALLY prevents any new people from auditioning for your
shows/theater. However, if you've chosen a show based on the people you
know will make it top notch, then you have to go with that. I mean, it IS
what happens in professional theater and in Hollywood, however community theater is supposed to give everybody a chance to prove themselves. I guess my solution would be go ahead and pre-cast some shows, but make at least half of your season open for new talent.
What types of parts do you normally play? Do you feel typecast?
It's funny, because I usually get the "bad girl" roles, but I really don't look like that type. I have to admit, I like doing those roles, so maybe that comes across in my auditions. I work with a certain director who gives me many different roles though, so I'm lucky that way and I don't feel typecast with her at all.
Looking back on the roles you've been cast in, do you think there's a
certain kind of role you get cast in repeatedly? When directors look at a certain role, what do you think they see as an "Alyce Mayors" type?
When it's a director I don't know, there is NO standard for how I get cast, and no specific age either. In the past 10 years I've done ages from 20 to 45. Some see me as being A LOT younger than I am and others see me as a mom type (not!!)
What is your approach to developing your character?
I relate as much of her to myself as possible. Frighteningly enough, there's usually a lot of similarities!!
Of all the characters you have portrayed, who is your favorite?
Well, I've done a lot of deep & insightful characters, but I can't help it . . . I love Audrey in "Little Shop." It's my favorite show, favorite part.
What do you think were your best roles? your worst?
Oh boy, I had to pull out the resume for this one! Well, other than Audrey, there was The Girl in "Veronica's Room," (sick show but everybody seemed to love it), Corie, "Barefoot in the Park," Meg, "Brigadoon," Agnes, "The Shadow Box, & Smitty, "How to Succeed . . . " Worst roles would be all the schlock showcases I've done in NYC which aren't even worth mentioning. Oy vey, what actors will do to get noticed.
What roles offered you the greatest challenge and why? How well do you think you met the challenge?
Definitely Agnes in "The Shadow Box." I was in college when I did that role and it really made me dig in to illness and how it relates to different kinds of relationships. Since then I've had family pass away from cancer and even after all these years, that show becomes more and more insightful
to me and has helped in a lot of ways.
What role do you wish you could have a second shot at and get it right this time?
I don't know ANY actor that hasn't finished up a show, woke up the next day and thought, "Oh crap! I could have done THAT in a totally different way!" I've only done one Shakespeare show (in college) and I don't think I took it seriously enough. Honestly, I'm not overly crazy about Shakespeare but that would be a good one to do again.
What roles or types of roles would you most like to play in the future?
I'm dying to play Bella in "Lost in Yonkers." I would also love to do Lucy from "Jekyll & Hyde." Hey, that's not playing on Broadway anymore, all you LI theater owners! Let's get moving!!
How do you feel when you perform?
So elated that I'm practically coming out of my skin.
What motivates you to keep on doing what you're doing?
Simple - There's nothing else like the pure joy of being on stage.
During opening night jitters each one of us has said, "Why do I do this to myself?" Why do you do it?
Because not everybody can and it makes me feel what I'm doing is special.
What is your favorite theater story?
My own! During a run of "Vanities," I completely lost my voice, and my director (Laura Wallace-Rhodes) had to go on microphone backstage, script in hand, and be my voice while I lipsynched to hers. Boy, it isn't until something like that happens that you realize how much paraphrasing of the script you've been doing!
Did you ever miss an entrance, drop enough lines for it to be noticeable, crack up on stage?
Hell yea, I dropped an entire 3 pages of script during "The Shadow Box" run. Boy, did that send everybody running backstage, not to mention totally perplex the audience!
What was your worst theater experience?
I had a psycho-stalker leading man for a show I won't mention, but needless to say I haven't worked at that theater since.
What's the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you on stage?
It would have to be dropping those pages in "Shadow Box." It wasn't like I went on to a different section . . . I didn't go on to anything at all. It was total deer in the headlights, there was no recovery!
Why do you perform at the theaters you do?
They have good reputations and I really enjoy the people I work with there.
Do you think regional theater will continue to grow on L.I.?
I hope so, though with the economy right now I can't even imagine what it's taking to keep some of these theaters afloat.
Who are some of the actors you've most admired or who have been particularly rewarding to work with? Who's the best (in your opinion) that you've done a show with?
OK, this is the part of the interview that everybody gets to embarrass everybody else! I've been truly lucky, because I've had like a 90% success rate of all shows I've done as far as good working relationships. This includes my friends at Plaza Touring and Airport Playhouse. But I'll continue to always say, I want to be Sonya Tanenbaum when I grow up. If I could only do half of what she's done in a lifetime, I'd be happy.
Who is your favorite performer? favorite L.I. performer?
I don't think I really have a favorite . . . I see every show Patrick Stewart is in, but that's about it. Hmm . . . Long Island performer? Again, I can't really single out anybody . . . I'll take the easy way out on this one!
How do you maintain your career and do theater?
Heavy drugs . . . just kidding, JUST KIDDING! I don't think performers really have a choice, no matter what else you're doing in your life, this always seems to come first. You make time however you can with whatever else you're doing.
Why do you spend so much time toiling in L.I. Theater?
Because there's a commraderie that you get here and don't get in the big
bad city. You get to work with your friends a lot and the better the
personal relationships, the better the character relationships on stage.
That's a fact.
Do you find that your family supports your love of theater?
Well, not so much my parents in the beginning (what parent wants to hear
"I'm going to be an actor!"), but now the rest of my family is pretty proud of me (I hope!)
How has performing enriched your life?
I think it opens up your senses in a way that you see things a lot differently than non-theater folk. I'm not saying that's always a GOOD thing, but I always feel more charged with my everyday life when I'm doing a show.
What brings you the greatest joy?
Friends, love . . . and on those rare occassions, money, when I actually get paid for doing a show!
What really irks you?
COMPLAINERS! Oh man, if you hate your life so much (job, relationship
situations, etc.) THEN DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!
If you won LOTTO tomorrow you would.
Is it true that you'd really rather be rich than good looking?
No F-#%&! way!
What's your favorite word?
(Hey, this is starting to sound like the Actor's Studio on Biography) .
TRUTH. Actually, that's what my name means.
When you reach the pearly gates what do you want St. Peter to say?
"All aboard! . . . Yes, that includes YOU, hop on!"
Do you have any projects on the horizon that you want the readers to be
aware of? Please give details)
Nothing right now, I'm in "real" job hell.
Given your choice of parts in plays, which play and role is your heart's
Bella, "Lost in Yonkers."