When people I know in theater ask me what growing company I think has its act together (horrible pun not intended), The Seeing Place is always the first that comes to mind. I’ve always promoted their work not only because the quality of the performances are among the strongest that I’ve seen but also because the company presents its work at a price ($12 a ticket) that is lower than anyone else’s in town (and this being New York, it’s the biggest theater town there is!) I know I’m not the only one who’s noticing — I have seen the audiences have grown over the two and a half years I have been reviewing The Seeing Place productions.
Nonetheless, such consistent quality performances have resulted in high expectations whenever I walk into the Sargent Theatre, The Seeing Place’s home for the last few seasons. For fans of quality indie theatre, this month The Seeing Place is offering two plays: Sam Shepard‘s A Lie of the Mind and August Strindberg‘s Miss Julie. I’m happy to report neither show disappoints, keeping The Seeing Place’s winning streak going.
A Lie of the Mind is Shepard’s most decorated play and tells the grisly saga of husband and wife Jake (Brandon Walker) and Beth (Erin Cronican). Jake, who is so prone to anger that the expression “short fuse” doesn’t even do him justice, has beaten his wife to the point that she suffers from brain damage. As both retreat to their families afterward, each has deep paranoia issues directed at their family members after a series of past family betrayals. Much of the blame can be put on the shoulders of Jake’s mother Lorraine (Janice Hall), who is apologetic for Jake’s actions and sees her son as blameless, and Beth’s parents, Baylor (Alan Altschuler) and Meg (Mary Lahti), with Baylor being so selfish and hard-headed that he longer seems to know what love is and Meg a ball of worry and confusion. Also adding to the family drama are Jake’s brother Frankie (Jason Wilson) and sister Sally (Magan Wiles) and Beth’s brother Mike (Philip Lakin). Read more
Unless it is during a festival, many indie theatre companies tend to stay away from original work, at least for their first few productions. Unfortunately the reality is that often it’s hard enough to draw audiences with work they are familiar with, so trying to get them to try something new can sometimes be an impossible task. So the fact that taxdeductible theatre is staging an original play, #hero, as its first full-length play is a major accomplishment in itself. The fact that it’s so intelligently reflective of our media-driven society is another.
It seems counterproductive, but our cynical, social-media driven world likes tearing heroes down even more than celebrating them, so seconds after someone does something considered heroic that person is immediately under a microscope in order to find something negative. That is the idea behind #hero, in which New York City police officer Norman Burrows (Robert Larkin) becomes a social media sensation after saving the life of a woman who faints on the subway tracks. He is initially hesitant to be recognized for his good deed, so his wife Grace (Wendy Bagger) arranges an appearance on a national morning talk show with a publicist, Cory (Bryn Boice). Norman is soon absorbed into pop culture as a celebrity, and the nature of that status changes not only his relationship with Grace but also everything that made him such a hero in the first place causing the gap between his public “Officer Burrows” persona and troubled private self to grow. Read more
Interview: ‘Beautiful Creatures’ stars Alden Ehrenreich and Alice Englert talk Getting Cast, Bad Auditions and Vomit
The new film Beautiful Creatures, adapted from the best-selling novels of the same name, tells the story of Ethan (Alden Ehrenreich), a young man eager to leave his small southern town, and Lena (Alice Englert), the new girl who is filled with secrets.
Directed by Richard LaGravenese, it also stars Jeremy Irons, Viola Davis, Emma Thompson and Emmy Rossum and Ehrenreich and Englert more than hold their own acting with the top-notch cast. But, for them to even get there, they both had to be convinced to audition for their roles because both actors turned down their auditions when first asked. Crazy, right? When they were given the chance to read LaGravenese’s script, they quickly changed their minds. “Oh my God. I’m silly. I really wanna do this now,” Alice told me.
Alden and Alice are smart, charming and talented actors and for their sake, I really hope the film is a success. We need more young actors like them working today.
In this interview, we talk about how they got their parts, working with the cast, some of their worst auditions, advice to actors and vomit. Yeah, there’s some vomit talk happening. You guys are going to enjoy this.
Miles Teller is the first one to admit that he’s not sure how he landed the much-coveted role in the indie The Spectacular Now. The actor, who stars alongside Brie Larson and Shailene Woodley, recalls completely bombing his first audition.
“It was just not good. It was right after Footloose got done, like the day after it wrapped,” Teller recounted to Interview. “I tried to play a character, as opposed to make it more mine. It wasn’t very good, it wasn’t honest, and I was acting. I asked for a second one, and the second one went a little better but they were still like, ‘We’ve moved on with somebody else.’
“There were a lot of other actors attached to this before I was. And then James [Ponsoldt, the director] got involved, and I never had to audition, we just met for beers and by the end of that, he was like, ‘You’re my guy and I’m gonna try and convince everybody else, hopefully we have this done in about a week.’ That’s how I came on board. Maybe it’s good I didn’t have to audition for James, because I probably would have sucked.” Read more
Written by Sasha Sinnott, Esq.
Hollywood is the epicenter of the entertainment industry. Actors from around the world hope to relocate to the United States so that they can jump-start their careers. However, many foreign actors do not sufficiently prepare themselves for the immigration process itself. There are visa and green card options for entertainers who wish to work and live in the United States but the process must be handled with care so that potential issues can be avoided before they become an impediment to immigration.
As an immigration attorney who works with actors and entertainers, I deal with entertainment professionals at all stages of the immigration process. Actors will have different immigration options available to them depending on whether they are already in the United States and their level of experience in the entertainment field.
Experienced actors and entertainment professional may have more options than they realize. For instance, their talent manager can sponsor them for an O-1 visa based on their already existing extraordinary ability. This can be especially beneficial as actors who are sponsored by their talent managers on an O-1 status can legally work for more than one US employer. It is also possible for actors to qualify for visas based on a specific job offer (this may be an O or P visa). This will not require as robust of a resume but may limit the actor’s ability to take on additional work while in the US on that specific visa. Read more
Tom Holland on Going from the West End’s ‘Billy Elliot’ to Working with Naomi Watts in ‘The Impossible’
Although Tom Holland is only 16 years old, he will not be letting his new found fame go to his head. After starring in the critically acclaimed film, The Impossible, Holland knew he might be getting some additional attention.
“My agents and I had a sit-down chat that the next couple of months could be a whirlwind,” the British actor told The Wall Street Journal. “They said, ‘Make sure you stay grounded. It’s very easy to go down the wrong route.’”
This is sound advice for someone who has already won the Breakthrough Performance Award by the National Board of Review and the Spotlight Award by the Hollywood Film Festival. But Holland is not a complete rookie in the world of show business, having started his career playing the lead role in Billy Elliot in the West End. Despite his experience, the actor struggled while making the transition from stage to screen. Read more
Scarlett Johansson: “I wanted to start playing adults — tough women who knew what it took to survive”
Scarlett Johansson has made her return to Broadway — her first time since her 2010 debut in Arthur Miller‘s A View From the Bridge — as Maggie in Tennessee Williams‘ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. In an interview with The New York Times, Johansson explains that the role comes after what she calls a three-year “growing up” period.
Johansson reveals that one of the reasons why she was interested in taking the role was to move away from some of the lighter roles she had in the past. She explains, “I felt extreme vulnerability over the last few years, more than I ever had, and no longer wanted to keep rushing into movie jobs or a play just to escape how I was feeling. Once I wanted to work again, I wanted to start playing adults — tough women who knew what it took to survive.”
Part of her decision had to do with choosing roles that would be a major challenge for her. She says, “After my first time on Broadway I decided I wanted to keep doing projects that I didn’t know how to do. I’m finally at a place in my life where I feel comfortable not anticipating the result. I’m comfortable with being uncomfortable.” Read more
Q&A: Chloe Sevigny talks American Horror Story, Working with James Cromwell and Her Approach to Acting
When Ryan Murphy was looking for an actress to play a nymphomaniac who gets her legs amputated by crazy Doctor for season 2 of American Horror Story: Asylum, Chloe Sevigny was at the top of his list.
Academy Award nominated Sevigny is perfect in the part of Shelly, one of inmates at Briarcliff Manor, and she said in a recent conference call that Murphy called her up, spoke for an hour about the part and character and after watching a handful of season 1 episodes, she was “hooked right away and that’s when I signed on.” She then went on to say “Thank God,” she didn’t have to audition “because I’d never gotten the role auditioning, I’m terrible at it.”
In this Q&A, she talks about her character and how more craziness is yet to come, working with James Cromwell and her approach to acting.
American Horror Story: Asylum airs on Wednesdays at 10pm on FX. Read more
Ashley Tisdale recently had a 2-episode arc on FX’s Sons of Anarchy as Emma Jean, an escort working for Jimmy Smits‘ character, Nero Padilla.
As you probably know, Tisdale is a Disney Channel star (who still does voice work on the animated Phineas and Ferb), but with her desire to shed that Disney image, she jumped at the chance to work on SOA.
In this Q&A, which was done several weeks ago – yeah, we’re late in posting this, she talks about how she got offered the role, how she wants to more challenging parts and shedding her Disney image.
Sons of Anarchy airs at 10pm on FX Read more
British-born Steve Coogan was on top of the U.S. box office in 2008 with Tropic Thunder, and most recently starred in the comedy The Trip, his third film for director Michael Winterbottom. He was also seen recently in Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, reprising his role from Night of the Museum.
Other film credits include The Indian In The Cupbaord; Jim Jarmusch’s Coffee and Cigarettes; Michael Winterbottom’s 24 Hour Party People and Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story; Around The World In 80 Days; Happy Endings; Sophia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette; Finding Amanda; Hamlet 2; Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief; and Marmaduke. Later this year, he will also be seen opposite Hilary Duff and Molly Shannon in Safety Glass. Read more