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An Interview with Amy Beth Goldman

How did you get started in theater?
I don't know.  I remember there were
choral shows in school in 1st grade, and
I was in those.  I always loved to perform.

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?
It was always a part of me.  I can't remember how it started.

What was the first play you ever saw?  Ever performed in?
If you mean Broadway show, I wish I could remember.  I know I was taken to shows when I was very young, but the first ones I actually remember seeing were all in the 70s and I don't know in what order I saw them.  I just strongly remember three:  Grease, The Wiz, and Annie.

Did you study acting?  If not, how did you get into it?
Only a  year in high school.  Otherwise, I learned by doing and watching and having a few good directors.  I DID study at the Bob Spiotto School o' Acting for a time.


What was your first audition?
Except for early glee club auditions, the first play I remember auditioning for was in 4th grade, spring 1976.  The play was The Heroine of Wren.  I had to read a monologue, along with about eight other girls.  Then we all stood in a line and turned our backs, and the drama teacher put her hand over each of our heads, and the class applauded for their favorite.  I won.  The only line I remember is, "Grandmother, grandmother, the Redcoats are coming!  A rider on horseback..."  That's it.  Obviously it was bicentennial-themed. 

How do you choose what play you will audition for?  The piece itself, the director, theater, you were pre-cast, etc.
Often, it depends on the group.  But if it's a play I've always wanted to do, then I'll basically audition no matter where the theater is (usually it has to be within 30 miles of my house).   Certainly being precast helps in the decision, haha.

Speaking of pre-casting, tell us how you really feel about the subject.
How do I feel about precasting...hmmm.  Well, I love it when I'm precast and I hate it when I want a role that's already precast with someone else.  There, that's my honest opinion and I think it's safe to say I'm speaking for quite a few people.    A part I played a few years ago was recently precast by another theater.  I would've loved the opportunity to audition for the role, but it was precast.  Oh well.  I got over it!  :) 

What types of parts do you normally play?  Do you feel typecast?
I'll never get the ingenue role.  I couldn't pay someone to cast me as Sarah in Guys & Dolls.  Okay not being a soprano doesn't help...

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 "Amy Goldman"
I used to only get cast in the funny, tough character roles.  I'm starting to break out of that, slowly.  I've now gotten to play a much bigger mix of parts...


What is your approach to developing your character?
Wow...I have no idea.  We're supposed to actually develop characters?

Of all the characters you have portrayed, who is your favorite?
There are two roles I've most enjoyed playing and could do them over and over.  Maybe that's why I've gotten the most positive feedback from these performances.  Miss Hannigan and Sister Amnesia.  (Talk about two COMPLETELY different roles.)

What do you think were your best roles?  your worst?
My best were Amnesia and Hannigan, in that order.  My worst...there are two where I felt I was terrible.  The ABSOLUTE worst was the Ruby Keeler role (Aunt Sue) in No, No, Nannette.  I could NOT have POSSIBLY been more miscast.  I only took it because it was my 2nd community theater show and I didn't know better.  I was about 40 years too young and my acting was pathetic.

My 2nd worst, *I* feel, was Dolly Tate in "Annie Get Your Gun."  The director (who's reading this right now, unless he's stopped because of boredom) and I had two completely different views of this character and I just felt like I couldn't give him what he wanted.  It wasn't that I didn't WANT to do it his way, I honestly don't think I COULD do it his way.  (I've also had almost 6 more years of experience since then, and could probably do the role better today.)  Needless to say, that director hasn't cast me since...

What roles offered you the greatest challenge and why? How well do you think you met the challenge?
Annelle in "Steel Magnolias" - big challenge because I actually have to ACT like a person.  I don't know if I'll meet the challenge yet.

Lala in "Ballyhoo."  I actually had to act like a real person.  I think I met it well.

Amnesia in "Nunsense" -  A huge challenge because I had typecast myself as Robert Ann.  I met that challenge well.  I even became a ventriloquist!  :)

Rita in "Uncommon Women & Others" - THIS one was a nightmare because I was given the script on a Wednesday and told I had until the following week's Friday to learn the part and be ready to do two performances while continuing my 8-hour-a-day job.  How I learned all those lines in that short amount of time, I'll never know.  I'm sure I could've been a HELL of a lot better in that role had I had more than 9 days to learn it.  But Bob's House o' Acting helped in this case.

What role do you wish you could have a second shot at and get it right this time?
There's no part that I've ever felt I wasn't good at that I'd want to do again.  The ones I was weak in are roles I can also live without doing again.

What roles or types of roles would you most like to pay in the future?
***I'd like to play a rich society b*tch.


How do you feel when you perform?
Thrilled, happy, excited.

What motivates you to keep on doing what you're doing?
I just loooove the sound of an audience laughing after I say a line...that's SUPPOSED to actually GET the laugh, haha.

During opening night jitters each one of us has said, "Why do I do this to myself?"  Why do you do it?
Most actors I've met, including myself, have fairly low self-esteem and are actually pretty shy.  Getting on stage helps boost the ego and lets us become someone completely new  Another big part of it is the rehearsal process.  Rehearsals can be a LOT of fun.  I had more fun rehearsing that brilliant piece, "What the Rabbi Saw" than I've had in a loooong time. 


What is your favorite theater story?
Whatever it was, I seem to have forgotten it now.

Did you ever miss an entrance, drop enough lines for it to be noticeable, crack up on stage?
I don't think the first two things have ever happened to me, actually.  I've come close on both occasions, though.  My most noticeable crack-up on stage occured during "Dearly Departed" (soon to be a major motion picture, brought to you by Twentieth Century Fox and retitled, "Kingdom Come," starring Whoopi Goldberg) simultaneously with Scott Hofer, Connie Moore, and Steve Rossi.  The four of us were laughing so hard we were crying.  And there was no stopping us.  The audience started applauding they loved it so much.  And THAT'S why I do theater...

What was your worst theater experience?
I can't even come up with one of those.  I must admit it was QUITE painful doing double Sundays during a run of a particularly long, wordy show where I had about 25 lines TOTAL.  Okay that was a little more than painful.  Luckily the whole cast pretty much got along.  I won't mention the title of the show, but the lead character was a salesman...who died.  :)

What's the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you on stage?
My entire performance of Sue in No, No, Nanette.

Why do you perform at the theaters you do?
Because they're crazy enough to want me back.  I guess it's mainly location, location, location.  It's SO hard to perform at theaters past western suffolk county when you live in Queens.

Do you think regional theater will continue to grow on L.I.?
Is it really growing now??

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?
Oooh these questions are strange.  It's gonna turn into a whole love-fest now.  I've admired quite a few actors I've worked with. 

Who is your favorite performer? favorite L.I. performer?
Carol Burnett is my hero.  Favorite LI PERFORMER?  I can't say I actually have one.  There have been actors who've played roles brilliantly and they've become favorite performances.  But I don't actually have a FAVORITE PERFORMER.  But on my list I'll include Scott Hofer as Tevye, Dawn DeMaio as Alexa ("Bees..."), Chris Dufrenoy ("Pirates..."), Mary Ellin Kurtz as Mrs. Lovett ("Sweeney Todd")  Annmarie Fabricatore as Angela ("Bermuda Avenue Triangle") the 17-year-old chick I saw play Eliza Dolittle at the Suffolk Y a few years ago [ed.-Jennifer Evans], Tara Cotty as Cinderella (ITW),  and the entire cast of "What the Rabbi Saw."  If I left anyone out, you were great too.


How do you maintain your career and do theater?
When I get onto the subway, I start studying my lines.  Luckily I have a 45-minute ride each way, plus a 10-minute bus ride.  The hardest part is when I have rehearsal 4 nights a week and get home from work at 6:15 and have to set the VCR, eat dinner (?) and change my clothes and leave between 6:30 and 6:50 to get to rehearsal.  After a while that gets exhausing and my apt. turns into a pigsty.  Rehearsing on the weekends only adds to the difficulty.  But, alas, I continue to do it, haha.

Why do you spend so much time toiling in L.I. Theater?
It's where I've met most of my friends and it's a great hobby. 

Do you find that your family supports your love of theater?
They support my love of theater, yes.  Not my love of LONG ISLAND theater.  Getting them to one of my shows is like pulling teeth.  Ugh.

How has performing enriched your life?


What brings you the greatest joy?
My new hobby, scuba diving, lol.

What really irks you?
People who press elevator buttons that are already pressed.

If you won LOTTO tomorrow you would...
Donate it all to Pat and Jerry Zaback.  Who needs millions when you can perform at Broadhollow???

Is it true that you'd really rather be rich than good looking?
Yes, because if I was rich I could pay for the plastic surgery that would help get me closer to good looking, and live on the beach and not have to come to this hellacious job anymore.

What's your favorite word?

When you reach the pearly gates what do you want St. Peter to say?
I know, I know, everyone says, "Go back, we made a mistake."  I'll be happy with, "Everything's made of milk chocolate, which is now dietetic."