How did you get started in theater?
My introduction to theater was thru
my family. My mother performed and
her brothers were singers in the 40's
and 50's with nightclub orchestras.
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?
I can remember my aunt taking me to my first show... they tell me it was
"Camelot"... I can only remember the dog. But the theatre and performing
were so much a part of my childhood that it's hard for me to single out
one specific event that inspired me. I do recall the feeling I had sitting in a theatre and enjoying the experience. It's that same feeling I get to this day. I can only describe it as those first moments of infatuation. The same feeling that creeps into your stomach and works it's way up through your heart to your face. And I glow.
What was the first play you ever saw? Ever performed in?
I was very little and my mother was performing in "The King and I". I played one of the many children of the King. All I remember is the body make-up. UGH!
Did you study acting? If not, how did you get into it?
I studied acting for a time in college. It was interesting to say the least. I thought it would help me when I became an attorney. Still acting. Forgot about the law.
What was your first audition?
I don't remember auditioning as a child. Just going and talking to people. Which is probably why I'm so lousy at them. For me, it's like a visit to the doctor's office. You "bare everything" and then hope they don't tell you something is wrong.
How do you choose what play you will audition for? The piece itself, the
director, theater, you were pre-cast, etc.
I really try to audition for shows that I love. Although sometimes if I know the people who are doing the show, either directing or acting, and I will to have an opportunity to work with them then I'll go for it. I think I've gotten past the point of taking parts for fear that I'll "never work in this town again."
Speaking of pre-casting, tell us how you really feel about the subject.
It makes me angry. With myself for wanting it and with others for expecting it. Let's face it... the day our name appears above the title is the day that we no longer are working in Long Island Theatre. Until then I'd like to believe that we all have the opportunity to do some really fine work. But the reality is that with so many theatres on Long Island and seasons being set so far in advance, many directors and producers have to scramble to insure that they will have the best actors to fill the roles. And so we have auditions with five people at them. I wish I had the anwer.
What types of parts do you normally play? Do you feel typecast?
Anything with that requires physical comedy. I'm very good at it, unfortunately. I used to see it as a gift. Now I'm not so sure. I don't remember ever being invited to audition for a particularly serious role. I don't think that's how people see me. Of course, the flip side is that they don't see me at all. So, ultimately, I'm grateful that people do appreciate me for the things I have done.
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 "Annmarie Fabricatore" type?
That's hard to say because I have worked with so many directors who know
me from so many different things. I think that there are those who see all actors as whatever it was they saw them in last or first. But that's not a director. That's a casting agent. A director sees a performance and the actor who delivered it and says, "Yes, I could work with them. They would know how to bring something to the character."
What is your approach to developing your character?
Read the script. All of it. Then write down everything I know about the
character. See how the other characters react to your character. What
they say and how they say it... things like that.
Of all the characters you have portrayed, who is your favorite?
I've had many wonderful experiences performing but I would have to say
that the one that comes to mind is "Shelby" in "Steel Magnolias." Not
because of who she was, but rather the work that the director had me put
into creating her. "Shelby" was not going to be a phone-in-Julia Roberts -performance. The director required so much of all the actresses. Any preconceived notions I had about "Shelby" went right out the window. It was the hardest I had ever worked in my adult career and the most rewarding. When the curtain opened, we were those women. It was
happening to us.
What do you think were your best roles? your worst?
"Mrs. Wexel" in "Bedrooms. (She's a 75 year old Jewish lady who just
relocated to a retirement community in Miami)....My worst.... anything
that I thought I could just walk through.
What roles offered you the greatest challenge and why? How well do you
think you met the challenge?
What role do you wish you could have a second shot at and get it right this time?
I don't think I'd want to play any again. Not because I did such a fabulous job, but I figure every time I get up there is a learning experience. Like life, there's no "do-evers", you learn and bring what you've learned to the next experience.
What roles or types of roles would you most like to play in the future?
Something where I don't fall on my butt, or over a couch, or into a fountain, or get run into a wall.
How do you feel when you perform?
Like whoever thought up this idea... where do I send the thank you card.
What motivates you to keep on doing what you're doing?
The people. In the audience, on stage with me, behind the scenes.
During opening night jitters each one of us has said, "Why do I do this
to myself?" Why do you do it?
Because it is very much part of who I am. How I define myself. And there are so few things that we get to say, "Yes, I really like this about me." No matter how big the two by four in the middle of my chest feels, that only lasts a minute. The other stuff lasts a lifetime.
What is your favorite theater story?
There are many but here's one. The actress who forgot that her microphone might not be off and said as she stepped off stage, "Shit, I just lost my tail." for 500 people to hear.
Did you ever miss an entrance, drop enough lines for it to be noticeable,
crack up on stage?
YES. There. Now everybody knows.
What was your worst theater experience?
The day my grandfather died, I had a performance that nite. Gosh, that
sounds terrible. Sorry.
What's the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you on stage?
During "Oklahoma" a very nervous "Curly" walked me straight into the
orchestra pit during "People Will Say We're In Love."
Why do you perform at the theaters you do?
The big bucks. Why else? Really? The people. Plain and simple.
Do you think regional theater will continue to grow on L.I.?
If talent were the only impetus for growth, I give a resounding "Yes." Unfortunately, there are many factors that contribute to the growth and/or demise of the theatre. And that's where producers come in.
Who are some of the actors you've most admired or who have been
particularly rewarding to work with?
The women: Dawn DeMaio, Carolyn Popadin, Amy Goldman, Ginger Dalton,
Debbie Starker, MaryEllin Kurtz
The men: Steve Wanger, Jim Van Valen, Michael Shanahan
For laughs and talent.... Gary Milenko, Howie Orlick and Scott Hofer.
Who's the best (in your opinion) that you've done a show with?
Not going there.
Who is your favorite performer? favorite L.I. performer?
How do you maintain your career and do theater?
Very little sleep. And not being overly anxious about achieving Domestice
Why do you spend so much time toiling in L.I. Theater?
Because the other options bore me. And I'm too old to play softball and I don't like bowling.
Do you find that your family supports your love of theater?
Too an unbelieveable degree. They instilled it in me, nutured it and let it blossom. Besides, anyone who has done a show with me has heard my
mother in the audience. How could you not want to do this some more when
you get a reaction like that.
How has performing enriched your life?
It keeps me sane in an insane world. It keeps me humble in a world that
has too many self-absorbed people. It's given me the opportunity to meet
and work with some truly remarkable people. And I am better for knowing
What brings you the greatest joy?
Teaching. It's the ultimate stage show.
What really irks you?
"Oh, that's good enough."
If you won LOTTO tomorrow you would.
Buy my sister her '67 Mustang to replace the one that was stolen, produce
the musical I wrote and if anything was left, start an "Actors' Studio" on Long Island.
Is it true that you'd really rather be rich than good looking?
Actually neither is true. Because I'm already rich in friends and family
and my mother says I'm good-looking... she's never lied to me before.
What's your favorite word?
When you reach the pearly gates what do you want St. Peter to say?
They're gonna miss you.
Do you have any projects on the horizon that you want the readers to be
aware of? Please give details)
I have written a muscial that is currently with a group called Performance Associates. Their job is to find backers for this project. It's called "The Winner: A Brooklyn Fable" and it's about a neighborhood in Brooklyn the summer the Dodgers left. I'm also writing a screenplay called "The Purgatory Tour." It's about the misadventures of a high school teacher on a concert tour in Italy.
Given your choice of parts in plays, which play and role is your heart's
Whenever I see a play, I always say, "Oh, I'd love to play that part." But the truth is I what I really want is to originate a part that will be mine and mine alone.