Monday, December 9, 2013

2013 Interview with Rebecca Ann Johnson

Actress Rebecca Ann Johnson recently played Elizabeth in MTW's Young Frankenstein and will play in Little Miss Scrooge at the Rubicon in Ventura for one week only beginning December 18.

Tell me about Little Miss Scrooge - its plot in relation to A Christmas Carol and how the character is similar and different from Scrooge.

Little Miss Scrooge is an updated telling of A Christmas Carol mashed together with the love story from Great Expectations.  I play Estella Scrooge, the great great great granddaughter of Ebenezer and I've taken over the family business, cheating people out of their life savings through sub-prime loans, cancelled insurance policies, etc.  I'm a real "baddie" who decides to visit her childhood home on Christmas Eve to personally foreclose on the local halfway house.  Obviously Estella is in serious need of some holiday spirit and she gets it three times that night, visiting her past, present and future, all the while finding love and a place to call home.  What's fun about this incarnation of the story is that the situations are topical with respect to what's going on today in  society and, as an added treat, every Dickens book is referenced in some way through a character name or place.  

What are your challenges as an actress?

To build a career that has integrity and is fulfilling, but also to be a decent human being while doing it.  

You are assuredly much more than decent. What is the music in the show  like? Tell me a little about the creators of the show and its director.

John and Sam Caird and Paul Gordon created this show; Paul wrote the music and the three of them wrote the script.  The music is very rock/pop and filled to the brim with soul.  Performing a show about finding your joy in life and discovering what family really means during the holiday season is one amazing thing, but to be directed by this fantastic group of men is another.  They've created such a family with all of us, coming back again to do this show was a no-brainer.  

What is your favorite role so far?

I've been so lucky to have played some really incredible roles thus far.  I have two favorites and the first would have to be Vivian Ross, a role I played this past summer in Falling for Make Believe at The Colony Theatre.  Vivian was snazzy, fierce and sang some of the most beloved Rodgers and Hart tunes, which was a joy words cannot describe.  My other favorite is Estella because of where she starts her story, what she goes through to find her happiness, and Paul Gordon's beautiful music she gets to sing.  Being bad is so much fun to play.  Who wouldn't love to yell "Bah Humbug" at a Cratchit now and then?  

Do you have a mentor? Who are your favorite actors - stage or film? Those that have inspired you the most!

I've been very fortunate to have worked with some brilliant actors that shared some of their wisdom along the way.  I worked with Harriet Harris in Pippin at CTG, but first I had seen her during her last preview of Thoroughly Modern Millie on Broadway and I told a friend that she was going to win the Tony for her performance.  She was electric on stage, and I remember thinking, "this is what artistry and mastery of your skill looks like".  When we did Pippin, just listening to her stories and seeing how she prepared for a role (not to mention watching her up close performing) was a master class in itself.  And in Scrooge I get to work with the unbelievably talented Amanda McBroom.  She, as you can imagine, is amazing in this show, and just getting to spend time with her and play with her in scenes is truly a gift.  She is the definition of beauty and strength on stage and off.  I have learned so much over the years from watching, listening and absorbing every last drop of experiences with the actors I've been lucky to work with.  I would not be who or where I am without them.From TV and Film it would have to be Gilda Radner and Madelaine Kahn.  Those two ladies defined what "funny" is to me.  They were fearless and hysterical without worrying about what they looked like or trying to be sexy, while being two of the most beautiful ladies in the business.  They had class.  That's what I strive to find in everything I do, every joke I tell and funny face I make.

What role would you like to play?

I would LOVE to play the Baker's Wife in Into the Woods, and Audrey in Little Shop...someday soon hopefully!

Talk a little about your nightclub act The Ruby and Coco Hour. Are you still working with that?

Coco & Ruby are a delightful duo from 1940s Newark, New Jersey.  They're two gals trying to make it big in Hollywoodland 2013, and learning the ropes of the business as well as modern life through laughter and song. We had to take a little break this fall for other projects she and I were working on but Coco & Ruby will be dusting off their saddle shoes and getting back to LaLaLand very soon!  

Don't miss Rebecca Johnson as Miss Scrooge December 18-23 only at the Rubicon in Ventura! She promises to be very special!

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