by Steve Peterson
AMY TOLSKY is a popular character actress currently working in theatre, film and television. Her credits include Regional Theatre:South Coast Repertory. L.A.Theatre: Mud Blue Sky (The Road), The Importance of Being Earnest (Theatre Banshee);Table Manners, Nicholas Nickleby (Theatre 40);I Love Lucy Live Onstage (Greenway Court);City of Angels; Theatre@Boston Court;Antaeus; The Odyssey;PRT. Film:“Please Stand By”;“Fishes ‘n Loaves:Heaven Sent”; “The Tiger Hunter”,“Eat With Me”. Television: “Crowded”;“Shameless”; “Code Black”;“Married”;“Castle”;“2 Broke Girls”;“Parks and Recreation”; “Big Bang Theory”;“Jeeves and Wooster”. Internet:“You’ve Probably Dated My Mom”.
When did you first become interested in acting/performing?
I first encountered the acting bug in High School. I saw an audition notice for the student-run variety show, decided to audition with very low expectations and was shocked that I was chosen for the production. I went on to act, direct and crew in a dozen more productions during my high school years including lead roles in Pippin (Leading Player) and Mame (Agnes Gooch).
Who were your mentors along the way (who encouraged you)?
My high school drama teacher, Bob Johnson, was an excellent theatre director and a real taskmaster. He demanded a lot from us kids and we did everything we could to please him. He was pretty realistic about the business and warned me that it wouldn’t be an easy road. However, he sent me on my way with a copy of Michael Shurtleff’s Audition books when I told him my plans to pursue theatre in college. After receiving my BFA from the University of Illinois, I went on to live in England for thirteen years where I was one of the founding members of Absolute Theatre Company. Today, my incredibly supportive husband is my number one fan. He was an actor and understands the trials of the actor’s journey.
Tell us a bit about the play BABY OH BABY.
It’s a comedic look at two half-sisters whose biological clocks are ticking and are faced with the usual problems of wanting things in life that they don’t have and fretting how to get them. The action of the play takes place in one day, and there are farcical elements when the girls encounter a few interesting folks who come knocking on their door.
What was it about the character of Bella that called out to you?
Doing theatre usually offers more for an actor to chew on than some of the television roles and commercials we work on to pay the bills. It was an exciting prospect to do a lead role with a lot of range and work on a naturalistic, contemporary piece playing a fully realized character that people could empathize with. She’s a good person who has given up when it comes to herself, but is a hopeless romantic and has found a way to help others. I was also happy to play a British character as a way of reconnecting with my past. I have a great fondness for my time in England and miss my British mates dearly.
What do you think the audience might take away from having seen the play?
A fun time with lots of giggles! The characters are realistic and I think the audience will easily root for them and hope that they find their way and overcome their challenges in life.
What’s up next for you?
I’m guest starring on the new NBC show called “Crowded”
which premieres March 20th. My episode is called “Daughter” and will air sometime in May. I also worked on a few feature films that should be coming out in the next year or so, “The Tiger Hunter” with Danny Pudi and Jon Heder, “Fishes ‘n Loaves: Heaven Sent” with Dina Meyer, Dominique Swain and Bruce Davison and “Please Stand By” with Dakota Fanning and Toni Collette.
Is there anything you’d like us to know about the play or you that we might not have asked?
It’s really interesting to work on a play from its inception--to be able to help shape the story and tweak the dialogue with the writer/director. It can be a challenge doing theatre in L.A. with scheduling issues and cast changes and we have had a few of those since we did the initial reading in September! We do have a great group of people, though, and I think it’ll be a fun ride. We have another interesting challenge in playing only Saturday nights for twelve weeks. It’s a long commitment and how will we maintain momentum? That is the question! I’m also curious to see what will happen with the documentary aspect of this production(“From Page to Stage”)!
BABY OH BABY runs Saturdays at 8:00 PM, March 19 – June 4. Adult humor appropriate for ages 18+. Mature audiences only. Running time: 80 minutes; no intermission. Advance purchase tickets: $20. Tickets at the door: $25. Discount Tickets Students/Seniors with ID; Groups of 10 or more: $15. Buy advance tickets at babyohbaby.brownpapertickets.com or call 800-838-3006. For information please call 747-263-9858. The Whitefire Theatre is located at 13500 Ventura Boulevard, Sherman Oaks.