Javascript is either disabled or not supported by this browser. This page may not appear properly.
An Interview With...
Staci Cobb
Inside the Long Island Actor's Study

How did you get started in theater? 
Well I went to a public performing arts high school in Jacksonville, FL (Douglas Anderson School of the Arts).  I studied dance there.  I took Musical Theatre my senior year (we did Sondheim's Merrily We Roll Along) & LOVED it, so as soon as I got to college I declared myself a Theatre major & went to it.

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? 
At Douglas Anderson (my arts high school), we had monthly "pep rallies" (for lack of a better term) where we got to perform for the school in various pieces.  A jazz dance could be followed by a piano sonata, or the band playing a swing tune could be followed by a scene from Shakespeare.  It was amazing!  That's when I knew I had the disease!

What was the first play you ever saw?  Ever performed in? 
The first play I ever saw was Romeo & Juliet (touring company).  The first play I ever performed in was an adaptation of The Little Prince.

Did you study acting?  If not, how did you get into it? 
I studied with a brilliant mentor in college.  He was very rooted in "method acting"...I am a big Meisner fan myself, but it was great to get perspective on the various styles & methods.  This professor was hard as nails and I had to
work for *everything* I got with him.  *That* prepared me for the NY theatre scene!


What was your first audition? 
I auditioned for the dance ensemble in high school.  I didn't get accepted my first year, but I did in my second.  Dance auditions are much easier than theatre auditions for me, though.  My first theatre audition was for the head of the Theatre Dept. in about pressure!!  I knew *nothing* <grin>, but he was very supportive.

How do you choose what play you will audition for?  The piece itself, the
director, theater, you were pre-cast, etc. 
First I have to like the piece, if I don't like the piece, I consider the director.  If the director is good, but the piece is awful, I might consider....or vice-versa.

Speaking of pre-casting, tell us how you really feel about the subject. 
I am totally cool with it, as long as they are up-front about it.

What types of parts do you normally play?  Do you feel typecast?
I normally play the comic relief/village tart/not-so-innocent best friend.  I
LOVE being a character actress.  My college mentor used to say that I had
the face of an ingenue.  For some reason that frustrated him.  :::giggle:::
(I guess it is because I am not a size 6!)  I don't feel type cast, because I feel like *I* have the power to change peoples perception of me.  I have taken many diverse roles just for that reason.

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 a "Staci" type? 
Well, I *like* playing the "comic relief/village tart/not-so-innocent best friend."  There isn't *that* much diversification in musical theatre (which I tend to do more of), unless you are talking about "Parade" or "Jesus Christ
Superstar."  I think that's one of the reasons I do straight plays too... diversity of roles.


What is your approach to developing your character? 
I always approach character-building physically first.  I think it's my dance background, but I like to work outside in.  This frustrates many of the directors I have worked with (esp. for the dramatic pieces). <blush>  But by the end of the rehearsal process, I always nail it and have *such* confidence onstage...anything can happen and I will go with it...that is comforting <grin>.

Of all the characters you have portrayed, who is your favorite? 
Music Theatre: Meg Brockie (Brigadoon, Sophomore year in college)
Theatre: Fifi (in John Patrick Shanley's The Big Funk, which I did in April in the city with the awesome Gene Forman)

What do you think were your best roles?  your worst? 
My best roles: Bianca (Taming of the Shrew), Jan (Grease at CAP), Gilmer (Godspell at CAP) oh and Belle #2 in Eagle Song, the musical (sorry, had to plug).
My worst: Grace (Bus Stop in college...stepped in at the last minute, ugh!!)

What roles offered you the greatest challenge and why?  How well do you
think you met the challenge? 
I did the play The Shadow Box when I was 20...and Florida (I played a 45 year old housewife from New Jersey).  That was such a stretch that I almost couldn't get my brain around it! My director was having trouble with my "outside in" thing, so he was givin me a fit!!!! But I am proud to the SECOND weekend (at least), I nailed it.  It was one of the hardest roles I have ever done.

What role do you wish you could have a second shot at and get it right this time?
Meg Brockie...not because I thought I was "bad"....but I could do it
so much better now!!  LOL  And Maggie in The Shadow Box, because what did I know from a New Jersey housewife at 20??!

What roles or types of roles would you most like to play in the future? 
I want to play the Nurse in Romeo & Juliet!  Ever since I was 12 & saw the
play!!  LOL  I would consider anything that gave me an opportunity to
discover things...about myself, about theatre, the playwright or composers.


How do you feel when you perform? 

What motivates you to keep on doing what you're doing? 
I can't do anything else <grin>!  Performing is like breathing to me.

During opening night jitters each one of us has said, "Why do I do this to
myself?"  Why do you do it? 
Well, as weird as this is, I usually don't get nervous opening night.  Let me put that another way....LOL...I don't say that opening night, I say it before the AUDITION!!


What is your favorite theater story? 
Actually it has to do with meeting my boyfriend, Roger Butterley (MD/Guitar player for CAP and Grey Wig...recently MD'ed PARADE, wrote Eagle Song, a musical).  The first time I ever saw him perform (almost 12 years ago!), I was dating someone else (Mark).  It was a production of Pippin (Roger was Pippin).  Pippin was Mark's coveted "dream role", but we were having a fight that night & I kept commenting on how amazing Roger was.  Years later (about 3, I think), Roger came to study at my college.  Mark was still a friend, and all three of us got cast in Once Upon a Mattress.  I was cast as Winifred, Mark as Dauntless and Roger as the was a little soap opera-ish, but in the end, Roger & I started dating...and have been together almost 9 years!

Did you ever miss an entrance, drop enough lines for it to be noticeable,
crack up on stage? 
Poor Fred Tubello, yes (much to my embarrassment) I **almost** missed an entrance in Oklahoma (I was Ado, he was Ali Hakim)...he is brilliant, though, so he covered.  AND...I was doing a children's theatre production of Cinderella (I was Cinderella...humph...go figure!).  This production had a "mouse" narrator called "Buttons."  We performed this show for many schools in Florida, and one day I called "Buttons" "Pockets" (my mom's poodle's name)!  Well, the stepsisters latched hold of that and at intermittent times in the show, they would taunt me by chanting "Pockets and  Cinder- ell-a...Pockets and Cinder-ell-a..."  I spent THE WHOLE SHOW trying not to laugh out loud.  Also, just for the record....every performance of Godspell (at CAP) was a trial with Michael Buscemi, Gene Forman, Brandon Cusma, Jean McCormick and Carrie Koppel all onstage with me...*trying* to break each other up!

What was your worst theater experience? 
Playing "Yente" in Fiddler on the Roof at a Summer Stock in Georgia.  It was at an amphitheater, in June, July & August.  I was in BLACK WOOL for the whole show...AND had to layer with a huge coat at the end!!  The summer stock is called The Jekyll Island Musical Theatre Festival...we called it Jek-Hell all summer...

What's the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you on stage? 
Swallowing a bug during a solo at Jekyll Island was pretty bad, but that
happened a few times!  I was just doing a play in the city (The Big Funk)
and it involves a male nude scene at the end.  All of Act II takes place
around a dinner table.  One of the characters comes out completely naked & my character is supposed to act completely unfazed by it!!  I had to think
of things like "Disney World" and "stuffed animals" was taxing....but
at least *I* wasn't naked....LOL


Why do you perform at the theaters you do? 
I have only performed at CAP and did one show at Fantasy Playhouse, and a cabaret show at the Stage with Susan Agin.  The Stage was great, Fantasy was fun.  I *love* CAP.  It is a great space.  I have fun there.  When Roger & I moved here, the first show we did was Jesus Christ Superstar at CAP.  It is a sentimental favorite, because we got to do so many great shows there together...JCS, Tommy, Grease...and separately <grin> Godspell, Parade, Oklahoma, Rocky Horror...

Do you think regional theater will continue to grow on L.I.?
Absolutely!  I have seen many shows at other theatres and they are consistently getting better and better.  I had the pleasure of seeing a production at Theatre Three a few months ago....what a great theatre... makes me wish I didn't live in **Jersey City** 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? 
I have worked with some of the best L.I. actors...Rob Jones, Scott Earle, Fred Tubello, Bruce Grossman, Michael Buscemi, CRAZY Leslie Pellegrino- Lent, Adam AND Dawn Slawitsky, Jamie Sigler,  John Tomasello, Meredith Shapiro, Jason Klein, Carrie Koppel, Jim Lanahan, Tommy Johnson and of course, the brilliant Gene Forman...I would work with him in Guam if he asked.  I hate to rate them, because they all bring different things to the stage!!

Who is your favorite performer? favorite L.I. performer? 
I LOVE Holly Hunter, Alice Ripley (The Dead, Rocky Horror), Dame Judy Dench, Julia Murney (Off-Bwy, The Wild Party), Kathy Bates, Kevin Spacey, Andre Braugher, and Brian D'arcy James (Off-Bwy, The Wild Party). 
Favorite LI performer...I LOVE to watch Freddy T in a show!  Fred's House of Acting!!


How do you maintain your career and do theater? 
Well, I don't *have* a proper career!  I temp at Goldman Sachs in downtown Manhattan.  I work with other actors, dancers, singers, is *great*  We all work in the Presentation center creating pitchbooks for bankers, but we are all close & supportive...and we network like crazy <grin>

Why do you spend so much time toiling in L.I. Theater?
I feel like it gives me a better perspective.  I know it sounds crazy!  As many
"professional" shows as I have done, I still rank most of my L.I. shows  as
the best.  Professionals can be jaded and have sometimes forgotten why they do theatre.  In L.I., most of the people are so thrilled to be there...they
bring heart to the shows!

Do you find that your family supports your love of theater?

How has performing enriched your life? 
Well, it brought Roger to me! <blush>


What brings you the greatest joy?
Working with Roger, opening night, my kitties, Jimi Hendrix & Pearl

What really irks you? 

If you won LOTTO tomorrow you would. 
Start a production company with Jim Lanahan.

Is it true that you'd really rather be rich than good looking?
In this society?!  Hmmmm...hard question.  Could I use my millions for plastic surgery?! LOL

What's your favorite word? 

When you reach the pearly gates what do you want St. Peter to say? 
Come on in, put yer feet up & have a sweet tea, darlin'....(sorry, I'm southern...and that's my idea of heaven)


Do you have any projects on the horizon that you want the readers to be
aware of?
Well, my friend, Gene Forman has been very hard at work on producing lately with his company Crezzle Productions.  He may be producing two plays in the city soon...I hope to be involved as much as I can...the last one we did was my FAVORITE show to date! 

Given your choice of parts in plays, which play and role is your heart's
Katherine in Taming of the Shrew.

Staci (on left)