Monday, March 16, 2020

Interview with Susan Priver

Actress Susan Priver is a Los Angeles native and former ballerina. The story of how she started in ballet and finally crossed over to acting is the subject of her new mmoir entitled Dancer Interrupted. In our conversation she gives us great detail about the devastating ups and downs of her life. Her passion will make you want to rush out and buy the book, which is a great read.

The style of your book is so affecting. It was like reading your personal diary. Your thoughts and emotions jumped out and hit me. I understood.

SP: OMG, that's what I wanted to do. Let me tell you, it took 8 years. You are a writer by profession, whereas I am an actor.

I am an actor too.

SP: You are an actor too, but you have been writing longer than I. Not all actors can write, but I think actors learn the most important thing is the dialogue, what the person is feeling. I did have diaries from this growing up stage and I remember a lot, not everything, but everything that's in there I remember very distinctly because of my emotional place. I had a tough, tough time with people that I loved.

I felt so sorry for you spending time on the couch and you didn't want to leave it. Your father was hard on you, but he was so funny in his approach.

SP: Let me tell you, I hear kids now. How do you raise a kid? My dad was... "You get your ass off that couch". He was raised a certsain way and he was what he was, but...he didn't understand exactly what I was going through. He didn't have the empathy, but maybe the empathy would have been bad for me.

He did understand what your mother was doing to you and how that relationship was hurtful to you.

SP: She had empathy. My mom enjoyed being a nurse.

She wanted to keep you dependant on her.

SP: That's exactly right. She got some kind of enjoyment out of enabling me to sit there and just fall apart. I've never been a parent, and will never be a parent obviously, but it must be such a hard be a parent.

Henry (Olak) he your husband?

SP: No, we've been together for 17 years you know Henry?

No, just from reading about him in the book. I thought he was the best of your boyfriends, so kind and understanding. Gregory, the Russian, I wanted to take him and twist his neck.

SP: I think what I wanted to do with Gregory was contextualize in the way that I was still a bunhead. Dancers...I don't know if you know that world at all...I think the acting world is a little broader, because you are fencing, you're dancing, you're learning great playwrights, you're learning how to present yourself in a way that isn't just the veil of ballet, which is extremely difficult. The amount of commitment is more than what actors put in, and it keeps you from many other things. Learning that people take advantage of people. Perhaps my family didn't prepare me for that. My dad would have known, he was a lawyer. He was used to bad things happening in the world. But, maybe I didn't listen. I just was hopeful, hopeful that everything would be ok in those early years. Then when I was out in the world, when it was time to meet someone, maybe I wasn't ready for...I enjoyed being put down. I was a masochist.

Oh yeah, I felt bad for you as I read. I kept thinking, "She's got to break out of this."

SP: And I did...eventually. I did work in a workshop for a while about the craft of writing. I got better as I went along. In terms of the book, people want to feel like they are not going to die. It's not like a Hollywood movie, but I did survive certain things, and a lot of people don't survive.

One thing I did not quite understand. Why were you fired from the Cleveland Ballet ? They said "We have to let you go." What was the reason?

SP: I don't know.

Was it a weight thing?

SP: No. I was the skinniest I had ever been. I don't know exactly what it was, whether it had to do with funding...and they didn't need my services anymore. I didn't stay in line with people very well. I was in the corps de ballet. It might have been that. I was not a soloist. Maybe they didn't need any corps dancers...maybe they needed a soloist but they needed someone better than me. I don't know, but ballet never had a lot of money in these regional companies. They get grants and they bring people up through the schools. City ballet and American Ballet Theatre in New York have money.
Because it was never explained to me, that made it hard. It makes you question yourself. You just go get another job.

I loved your audition for Gwen Verdon and Bob Fosse in New York, where they told you to find a better song. You did "Happy Birthday"! (we both laugh)

SP: I saw people bringing out the sheet music. I didn't sing and I went to the audition kind of on a dare. Fosse liked tall ballet dancers, but ballet dancers who could sort of sing.

Fosse had an addiction problem. I try to bring that out in the book. I think creatives tend to have that.element in them, if they're any good. We're addicts. It's sad but true. A behavioral psychologist who is a professor at USC read my book and said he wants to give it to his addict students. There is a thing... How do you find a self without your addiction? For me it was finding a voice

I wrote down that the message of your book is learning to love yourself and taking your place in the world via the arts, first as a dancer and lastly, an actor. In the Forward, you tie them in so well, when you say that ballet is poetry in motion. "I couldn't live without it." Later you add,  "how will I ever get poetry back in my life?"

SP: I had that in my journal. Ballet is a hard icky sticky world but it does have poetry. Then when I took a job as a secretary, I couldn't do anything. My dad thought I was kind of an idiot. My dad was really more of an atheist than Jewish, but in Jewish families, education is everything. Being a baller dancer is really not what they do. But I was weird and we had a little bit of a weird family.

Why did you write the book? For many an autobiography is a catharsis, but I think it's more than that for you. Sum up the various lessons you have learned that have brought you to this current state of bliss.

SP: For me it was to find my particular sensitivity to what had happened to me, in another craft. I always use that sensitivity in the characters that I like to play, particularly in Tennessee Williams...and Pinter. It was a way of creating one full thing that was my own. It was mine. It came directly from my experience. I like to filter that sensitivity into roles that I am capable of playing. I did do Lorraine Sheldon in The Man Who Came to Dinner, which is completely broad and bombastic, but I learned how to use my strength and my kind of witchiness and brought that to it.

So having the experience of doing Blanche in Streetcar and writing this book that has pure emotions in it, pure thoughts in it...I had to shape everything and make it into a craft. I did have an editor, and it's crafted.

I'm also a yoga teacher, and I love teaching.You're giving back. As actors we take people into another world. All people are attracted to storytelling. I'm attracted to storytelling through playwrights. Everybody has a story. It's putting it together and contextualizing why does this relate to this and that. I had to work out my life, that I really didn't have to be a doormat and be used by men like Gregory, a dark passionate Russian who was also an alcoholic. I also had to work out that not everybody hated me and wanted to hurt me as he did. gain confidence, because when I stopped dancing, I had zero confidence, and that's why I attracted certain kinds of men in my life.

Dancers do exactly what they're told to do. It's manipulation and unless somebody gives them a backbone...and my parents were not really bad people. I just didn't listen to that. And as far as drug addiction is concerned, I had to say loud. "You did this to yourself. You are going to have to dig yourself out of it." You cannot isolate yourself. I isolated myself because I was afraid. You learn from your failures. I became a strong human being. I am a survivor, and I hope that the book will help people to realize that you don't have to join a cult or take anidepressants. You have to dig down and embrace your darkness, embrace the things that make us human that will allow you to rise above that.
The dance world taught perfection, Hollywood taught having your face lifted to be, it's what comes out of you: that's what you look like.

There will be signings of Dance Interrupted

on April 13th at Book Soup, Hollywood with John Fleck---Q and A

and on April 27th at Vroman's, Pasadena with Lian Dolan---Q and A

These events are subject to change depending on the state of the Corona Virus.

Check for updates.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Message on the Corona Virus and Theatre Closings


Friday, March 13, 2020

Interview with Social Worker Daniela Rojas Garnica

The following article explains the atrocity in Colombia in 2010, presents an original story beautifully written about the children and introduces social worker Daniela Rojas Garnica with whom I had a short inerview.

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Letter to U.S. officials regarding rape and murder by Colombian military

Description: Last Thursday, October 14, three siblings, Jenny, age 14, Jimmy, age 9, and Jeferson, age 6, were found tortured, strangled and beheaded in a ditch near their home in Caño Temblador, near Tame, Arauca. A delegation made up of their teachers, social leaders of Tame, a member of Arauca’s state legislature and representatives of the Permanent Committee for Human Rights visited the ditch and took testimony from witnesses in the area that links the Colombian military with what happened. Apparently, military men raped the girl and killed the boys who witnessed their sister’s rape. The Commander of the 18th Brigade complained to local radio programs that the accusations were false and made up by the "guerrillas." More than 6,000 people from the region showed up at their funeral on October 19 in a demonstration of solidarity with the family, condemning the crime and demanding a prompt and clear investigation, given the fact that the presumed responsibility falls on members of the Colombian Army. 

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                                                                                                       THE GAME THAT HID MY FRIENDS

This story is made in memory of the case of violence presented in the municipality of Tame, Arauca in 2010.


Ten years ago, on the "Flor Amarillo" sidewalk in the municipality of Tame (Arauca), I remember that it was more or less in the middle of October 2010 that all the children on the sidewalk were meeting, playing, since we like to play hide and seek in the forest because it is very big.

We agreed to get together to play after lunch, they chose me to count from ten to ten to a thousand, and then go out to look for my friends who had surely hidden among the trees, - well you know what it is about the game! well the case is that we were: Pedrito, Juanchito, Miguelito, Carlitos, Osquítar, Francy and me; first caught Miguelito unprepared ... - "1, 2.3 por Miguelito", then I surprised the Osquítar, hidden there on top of an orange tree. - "1, 2.3 for Osquítar", after neglecting my "base" I am surprised by Pedrito: - 1, 2.3 for me and "safe country" which implies saving the rest of the players, that is, Juanchito , Carlitos and Francy.

- Francy, Juanchito, Carlitos? , already "saved homeland" for you.

Ten minutes and nothing, fifteen, twenty, twenty-five and nothing.

- We are all going to look for them, could it be that they hid far away?

- Sure !, and maybe that's why Pedrito doesn't listen to us.

We decided to distribute ourselves to look for them and this is where the mystery begins, Pedrito went to the houses to see if they were close, Miguelito walked in the direction of some banana crops, where it was said that the spirit of evil lived. Osquítar and I instead walked around the area where we were playing in the hope of reaching the "base".

Around the houses nobody had seen them, the only thing they knew was that their father was working on the neighboring sidewalk and that they were not authorized to leave the sidewalk, therefore they would not be with him. Miguelito, on the other hand, moved to the banana crops with the fear of meeting the evil spirit, but what he was finding was nothing more than clothing from his friends, first he found a shoe by Francy, possibly the right, then he found the scarf he was wearing as part of his hairstyle, he also found a flip flop for his older brother, a shirt for his younger brother and something a little more strange, he found whole locks of long hair, some say that the spirit leaves remains of hair so that they know that it was he who took them and disappeared them.

For our part, Osquítar and I, we were waiting a lot around our game, going round and round, waiting and waiting but nothing. Then we hoped to see them at school the next day, they did not go, we also expected them to visit us at home to do the homework all together as always, on Wednesdays and Fridays, but neither. In short, we have never seen them return.

Ten years have passed, since the spirit disappeared, however we still meet his father on special dates to eat and play, he is very happy to see us. He says seeing us reminds him of the innocence and purity of children and of course we reflect his children. Although it is hard to accept that they are no longer physically with us, I know that they are still here, because I feel them close. Sometimes dreaming of them, they are always dressed in white and in reality they look very calm, I see them very happy playing "the wheel wheel" and then ... they reach out their hands and invite me to play with them and as I walk towards them , they tell me:

-You are not to blame, friend, that this is so ugly, however, peace must be achieved, we must fight for our dreams, do not worry about us, here we are very well, we are happy and we are calm.

-All right, Francy, Juancho and Carlitos, your words give me courage and strength to not stop dreaming and chasing my dreams, do not forget that we also continue from here and will continue to remember them every day and carry them with us in our thoughts and dreams. And especially remembering for you.

- I know, friend, I know ... Let's play until you wake up.

I invite you, and all the children, not to lose hope of finding paths that lead us to peace, to persist in the fight not to be forgotten.

What ending would you put to the story? (children may write snd draw in a space below)
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SUBJECT: Interview on the psychosocial area CORPORACIÓN CLARETIANA
Wishing success in your daily work through this I will give an account of the
psychosocial support process that we provide at the CORPORATION
CLARETIANA NORMÁN PEREZ BELLO to victims of state crimes in the framework
of the Colombian armed conflict, in relation to the questions sent by mail

With the paramilitary presence throughout the country, a massive forced displacement began without
precedents that led the Intercongregational Commission for Justice and Peace of the CRC to direct
its actions in defense of the rights of communities in various regions of the country. The
Claretians were part of the Intercongregational Justice and Peace and we carried out missions
especially in Medellín del Ariari, Meta; also in communities of Chocó and

For the year 1996, at the initiative of students in the training stage and trainers,
we decided to form the Human Rights Committee "Norman Pérez Bello" in memory
of this young man who worked with the Claretian Missionaries and was assassinated by the forces of the State in Bogotá (1992). Since then, we have welcomed leaders and defenders and
human rights defenders, formalizing us as a Corporation in 2003 as
non-governmental organization defending human rights and accompaniment to
victims of state crimes in the framework of the Colombian armed conflict.

The Corporation provides comprehensive and therapeutic psychosocial care, whose target population
It is made up of human rights defenders and victims of State crimes in the framework of the armed conflict that remain in Bogotá, who present psychosocial affectations as a result of the victimizing acts, and they well request Attention or are sent by social organizations with which we work in partnership. Psychosocial support and care is carried out from the systemic and
social constructionism, implementing the model of resilience and mutual aid in
individual, family, group and community intervention, from careful listening and
art therapy, which allows through music, painting, meditation, dance between
other techniques that allow identifying needs, potentialities and aspects to be transformed
for the reconstruction of life projects.

In the framework of psychosocial care, the following programs of Attention:

1. Welcoming the lives of those who defend human rights: a shelter for Human rights defenders who are in a situation of risk, providing support through the temporary shelter modality, being
initially the reception for one month, with an extension of up to three months, in that period of time humanitarian aid is provided, legal advice, psychosocial support, food, clothing, therapeutic care and training through the School - Workshop.

2. Workshop School: Mending our history, weaving hope: Training space in human rights for boys, girls, youth, women and men who have been victims of State crimes in the framework of the armed conflict, being a space for recognition and enforceability of rights.

3. MUTRAME: Focus group of women who have been victims of the loss of their brothers or sentimental partners in the framework of the armed conflict, working from art therapy
the elaboration of the duel and from the memory component the reconstruction of their life projects and emotional as well as spiritual healing.

4. Social Movement of Boys, Girls and Youth for PEACE: It was born from the perspective that children and young people manage to imagine new paths for the notion of the component political, social and cultural of the country from childhood, in order to promote knowledge and practices from their experiences that allow influencing as political subjects in all spaces in those that develop.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

INTERVIEW with social worker Daniela Rojas Garnica, coordinator of attention and psychosocial accompaniment, Norman Perez Bello, Claretian Corporation

How sad! How awful! These horrible crimes have never been solved and the
military arrested. Has something been done?

Faced with the case of Tame Arauca on the murder and rape of a 14-year-old girl and
murder of her two brothers, aged 9 and 6, in 2010, a situation that is reflected
through children's literature, it was not an unpunished case in Colombia, since the military
committed this act was convicted of the crimes of aggravated violent carnal access and
aggravated homicide. However, the father of the children at the present time presents
permanent persecution and threats for reporting the fact.

The little tale is so beautiful in its simplicity of searching for the children and not
finding them. But their spirits live and peace is requested. Who wrote this story?

The story is written by Karen Rubiano of the Republican University Corporation,
who accompanies from her internship at the NORMAN CLARETIAN CORPORATION
PEACE, setting where the story is built: "The game that hid my friends."

What do you hope to achieve by getting people to read this? Do you think that the United States
will intervene and help defame the military responsible for these crimes?

From the construction of children's literature, it is sought with children and young people to make
a critical analysis of the reality of the country, being aware of the need for
social transformation in our territories and conceive ourselves as subjects of rights and
hope. I think organizations like USAID and the UN are betting on the fight to defend
human rights; however, it is necessary to have a complete analysis of the
problems to be able to intervene effectively.

I hope that justice is done/. What else
can we do to help?

We appreciate your solidarity and availability of help, we consider that a way
It is wonderful to support us is to give an account of our process and work at the international level.

I remain attentive,

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

2020 Intrview with Director Thomas James O'Leary

Director Thomas James O'Leary is delighted to be back at Actors Co-op after receiving the 2018 Ovation Award for Direction of a Play for 33 Variations.  

As an actor, Thomas is best known for his three-year run as the Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway (over 1,000 performances) and Mason Marzac in Celebration Theatre’s Take Me Out. Thomas is a proud member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC). 

He is currently preparing to open Marvin's Room at Actors Co-op on March 20. In our conversation he talks about the play in depth.

Marvin's Room is a beautiful play because of playwright McPherson's (Scott) witty dialogue and outstanding characterizations. Bessie is nothing short of a minor miracle in the play. She brings such light and hope to everyone. How do you feel as the director about Bessie's fierce determination to keep everything on a positive note?

T O'L: Bessie is the heart of this piece. At times she can seem almost saintly, but I love that Scott McPherson has written her in a very human way. We are left to wonder how much she chose to be in the situation she has been in for 20 years as primary caregiver to her father and aunt. Scott is so good at portraying real people in challenging situations, while keeping a quirky comic tone dancing throughout. She does have an uncanny ability to see the glass as half full, but she also struggles with her burden and fears as anyone might. The primary story is about how we can keep on keeping on, with as much positivity as possible, through trying circumstances.

What challenges do you have in directing the piece? Is the disparity between Bessie and Lee the only conflict to deal with?

T O'L: We have focused a lot on honoring Scott’s unique comic voice, which is a bit counterintuitive at times to the subject matter, but I believe that the comic tone is what makes the play work. There are also a lot of moving parts in this production – and every designer brought her and his A game to make it all happen. And yes, Bessie and Lee, the two long-estranged sisters at the center of this piece, have the most conflict, but Lee has her own struggles with both of her sons, and Bessie is sometimes challenged by Aunt Ruth and Marvin, and even her doctor!

Love is at the center of the play and McPherson allows for such wonderful imaginative power within the audience. What do you see the message(s) of the play to be?

T O'L: Love is definitely at the center of the play, though as in real life, it doesn’t always come easy to these characters. The big concerns of living and dying and caring are deep themes throughout. While Bessie’s love is unable to stop her illness, it does impact everyone in the family, including her. Simple acts of caring transcend the darker fate that awaits her. It’s heartening to see how each character transforms.

My favorite character apart from Bessie is daffy Aunt Ruth. She is superb comic relief and so lovable. Talk about the comedy in the play that deals with such serious life and death matters.

T O'L: When I first saw the play at the Minetta Lane Theatre in NYC in 1992, I was so moved by it, in part because I was living what I saw on that stage, as I was the primary caregiver for my partner who was very ill at that time. I totally related to Bessie’s journey. And I laughed throughout the whole play. And I think Scott’s writing is brilliant – he’s so skilled at comedic but genuine dialogue – tickling our funny bone in one breath and then touching our heart in the next. I marveled at how he did it! Scott achieves something so unique here – there’s a little John Guare and a little Christopher Durang in his writing – but Scott keeps it all grounded in a nuanced reality with beautifully touching moments throughout. So we laugh through the pain. It’s not really a black comedy like Joe Orton. I call it a funny-sad play, but more funny than you’d expect. It’s such a tragedy that we lost Scott McPherson at the age of 33, just six months after he won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play for Marvin’s Room. Just think of how many other gems he would have written by now!

Tell our readers about your cast.

T O'L: I am blessed with an extraordinary cast – and all are actors who were new to me. The Actor’s Co-op is rich with talent! Francesca Casale is simply sublime as Bessie. Tara Battani Bowles is pitch perfect as Lee, the vulgar white-trash sister and mother of the two boys. Kane Filbeck has a natural sensitivity beneath Hank’s hard-to-pierce armor. I went a little younger in casting Marek Meyers as Hank’s younger brother Charlie because he is so unaffected, and he and Kane are so convincing as brothers. Brian Habicht is hysterical as Dr. Wally in scenes that are written as sketch comedy, but he also keeps it grounded in enough reality to allow dramatic moments to hit us at unexpected times. And Crystal Yvonne Jackson is so real and funny as Aunt Ruth. Justin Bowles and Kimi Walker bring much needed versatility to dual roles. I couldn’t ask for a better cast!

How would you relate this play to others you have directed? With a small cast, the ambiance is intimate and relatable. Where else gives the piece its power?

T O'L: Well, I just love this play! It’s the most I’ve been in love with something I’ve directed since 33 Variations, and yet the two plays could not be more different. I think my love affair with this one is because of Scott’s comic writing and because of my connection to the play when I first saw it. We are definitely leaning more toward what I saw in the original production than the more serious direction of the movie. And from what I’ve read, we’re taking it back to its origins more than the Broadway revival of 2012, which was hindered by being spread out on a large stage. The 99-seat Schall Theatre is perfect for this intimate play, and I adore all of the design elements of our production – we’re going for a hyper-realism, with a lot of detail work in Bessie’s home (I just hope no one tries to plug their phone charger into one of the outlets). One of my central images is the bouncing light in Marvin’s room, and that has inspired the lighting and sound design, plus original music by Dylan Price.

This is another perfect play for Actors Co-op. Tell our readers if you agree and why.

T O'L: The Co-op’s acting company is brimming with great talent, so it’s a great fit for them. Plus the story does have a spiritual bent to it – though I see almost any play as spiritual. Scott even satirizes spiritual beliefs in one of Aunt Ruth’s monologues. But the real spirituality in the play is in the theme of discovering the joy of being able to love in an unconditional way, and in seeing everyone being transfigured by Bessie’s love. You can’t get more spiritual than that.

Add anything that you wish like other projects you have been involved in since directing The Christians.

T O'L: I directed concert version of one of my favorite musicals, Sunday in the Park with George, for Musical Theatre Guild last spring, simultaneously with The Christians. And this past fall, I directed Aida at AMDA College of the Performing Arts where I also teach. Ironically, though my Broadway credits were all musicals and I direct only musicals at AMDA, I’ve directed only non-musicals at Actors Co-op. I’m not complaining – I really do love both! I’d rather not get locked into one thing anyways.

MARVIN'S ROOM plays March 20 - May 3
Fridays/Saturdays 8 pm
Sunday Matinees 2:30 pm
Saturday Matinees 3/28 & 4/4 at 2:30 pm
*No Shows Easter Weekend April 10-12 

Dates TBD

at Actors Co-op David Schall Theatre
1760 N. Gower Street
Hollywood, CA 90028

Monday, March 9, 2020

Interview with Luke Monday

Actor/singer Luke Monday is performing as standby for Elder Price 
in The Book of Mormon at the Ahmanson. He is also preparing to 
perform his concert/cabaret at Rockwell Table and Stage on Monday
March 16 entitled Callback Queen. In our interview Monday talks 
about both shows and how he really likes performing in Los Angeles.

I understand you are standby for Elder Price in The Book of Mormon. 
Have you gotten the chance to go on? What other role(s) do you cover?

LM: I have! I went on for Price on last Tuesday March 3rd, and I’ll be on again

March 17. I only cover Elder Price in the show. When it’s a role as demanding
as this, often times companies will hire a standby just to cover that part. I’m 
the only Price standby in this company.

This is without a doubt the funniest musical comedy, especially for gay

people. Are audiences still jumping out of their seats?

LM: They really are! I wasn’t sure what to expect since the show has played 

here a few times, but we’ve been selling really well and the crowds have been
fantastic. I went on on a Tuesday night, and it honestly felt like a Friday night 
crowd. Totally electric. I love it!

What do you think is the message of the play, and why is that vitally 

important in today's mixed up world?

LM: My takeaway from the show is that it’s ok to follow your own path, even

if it’s not what you expected. Particularly in Elder Price’s case, he’s had this 
very specific idea of how everything in his life (and afterlife) will play out. 
Obviously once he gets paired with Cunningham and sent to Uganda, that all 
gets derailed. But by the end of the show he learns to manage the change, and
in that finds a new strength. I think that’s something anyone watching can learn 
from. Life always throws curve balls, but it’s all about how you handle the struggles
and find a way to move forward!

Is this the favorite role you have played? Why? If not, what is your choice 

and why?

LM: It’s definitely up there! Maybe top 3? I love the music in this show. I remember
watching the Tonys that year, hearing “I Believe” for the very first time and thinking,
“I can do that!” Almost 9 years and 3 auditions later and here I am! My other favorites
would have to be Gabe in Next to Normal and George in She Loves Me.

What part did you perform in Mamma Mia? Was that enjoyable for you?

LM: Mamma Mia was a blast! One of the best experiences I’ve ever had. 

It was my first time touring, and and those people became my family. I was
in the ensemble and I covered Sky, the fiancée. I loved Mamma Mia because
no matter what negativity was going on in the world at the time, we could take
the audience away for 2 hours and escape all of that to just have fun.

Your cabaret show Callback Queen premiered last summer in San Diego. 

You tell anecdotes about your career thus far and sing Broadway show 
tunes. Can you give us a little sneak peek without creating a spoiler alert?

LM: That’s right! So, the show sort of opens with my very first rejection, not 

getting the part I wanted in my 4th grade school play, and then we continue
all the way to the present. I noticed a trend with concerts and cabarets that a
lot of them are just greatest hits of roles people played or originated i.e. their
success stories. And while that is perfectly great, I thought it would be interesting
to flip that idea on its head and share stories of rejection. Every actor has them! 
Without giving away too much, there are going to be appearances from my talented
friends from The Book of Mormon, awesome medleys and mashups, a costume 
reveal, glow sticks, and a choose-your-own finale. It should be a blast!

Do you have a favorite musical? Composer? Performer?

Why these choices?

LM: I think it’s a tie between West Side Story and Ragtime for favorite musical. 

Two of the most glorious scores ever written, and sadly still so relevant now. 
I don’t think I’ve got a favorite composer. I appreciate so many of them for 
different reasons! I have a few favorite performers. I’m a huge Gavin Creel 
fan. His voice was and is one of the best in the business. I want to play 
everything he’s ever played. I guess I’m on my way, seeing that he was an
Elder Price! Another fav is Laura Osnes. She’s a true triple threat and just 
has a positive presence that I think is so important in a cut throat industry 
like this.

Have you thought about auditioning for the King in Hamilton or did you? 

It's a funny, funny role.

LM: I mean obviously I’d love to play that part! I think it’s pretty spectacular 

that a character can be onstage for such a short time and yet be so memorable. 
That’s one I definitely will go in for at some point. Thankfully Hamilton will be
around for MANY years, so there’s time!

Tell our readers anything that I did not mention, like the comaraderie 

with your Mormon cast or how LA audiences are different from those
in other cities across the country.

LM: I love my cast. This is the longest I’ve been with any company and I can 

honestly say I love each of them. We lift each other up, and I know they’ll be
there on the 16th cheering me on. I think the audiences in LA are used to 
seeing great theater, so they are really smart! They pic up on the details and
the nuances that often go unnoticed in other cities. Being here is a reminder 
of how truly funny and well written this show is. It feels new again in a way. 
I can’t wait to go on again on the 17th and experience that rush again!

Catch Luke Monday on March 16 at Rockwell Table & Stage at
1714 N. Vertmont Ave. in Hollywood. Call 323-669-1550  for table 
reservations. And remember you can see him perform Elder Price 
in The Book of Mormon downtown at the Ahmanson Tuesday March 17.