BWW Interviews: Krysta Rodriguez Talks New Web Series, 'Smash' & What's Ahead!
Broadway and Smash star, Krysta Rodriguez is the fly-girl of Ian's dreams in Episode 3 of the Stage17.tv hit comedy web series IAN. In the Cronenberg-esque fantasy episode, the boundaries are pushed as everyone is left feeling a bit 'sticky.' Watch the episode at: http://stage17.tv/video/fly-goddess!
Rodriguez last appeared on Broadway in the musical comedy First Date. Her past credits include The Addams Family, In the Heights, Spring Awakening, A Chorus Line and Good Vibrations. On TV, she recently showed off her musical prowess in NBC's SMASH and has also appeared on Gossip Girl and the TV movies Iceland, Shadow of Fear and It Could Be Worse.
Today the talented actress spoke exclusively to BWW about why she believes web series such as 'Ian' are the next frontier of entertainment, and what's on tap for her busy showbiz career.
I watched your appearance on Ian and thought it was just hysterical.
Oh, thank you!
How did you get involved with the web series?
Ross had written a play that I did a reading of a few years ago and he just contacted me after a few years and said he had this new thing, and it's a really exciting project and told me all about Stage 17. So I read the script and I thought it was pretty funny and I thought, why not be a fly for a day, a fly goddess. When else will you get the opportunity to do that?!
I understand that each episode of 'Ian' pays homage to an iconic film genre. How would you describe the episode that you appear in?
Mine is definitely sci-fi fantasy. It's sort of in the vein of 'Barbarella,' a kind of ridiculously unobtainable woman and a hopeless guy who's living out his fantasies through his favorite sci-fi fiction.
Do you think you may appear in upcoming episodes as different characters?
Well, I haven't been approached about it, but I would be glad to, as a fly goddess of anyone else to make an appearance!
You have such a natural flare for comedy, do you have a preference for comedy or drama?
I'm not supposed to but I do. I really prefer comedy roles, I have such a good time. I love making people laugh. I view comedy as sort of a puzzle that needs to be solved. It's very precise and requires a lot of thought and I really enjoy the work that goes into it and the feeling of the audience's vocal reaction to something that you're doing is very satisfying.
Web series in general seem to be becoming such a popular alternative form of entertainment over traditional TV shows. I was just wondering what your thoughts were on that and if it is an area you would like to become more involved in.
Absolutely. I just love... I could get on a soap box right now but I'll try not to [laughing], I just love that entertainment is becoming accessible and in the hands of the people who can create, and not the business people who are distributing it. I really love that somebody as creative as Ross, or anyone else can put together anything they want and really have it come from their spirit and given to the fans directly, with no middleman. I find that really satisfying, really exciting and I think that really is the next frontier of entertainment. If you think about it, in reality there are about four men who sit behind a desk and decide what everyone in the country watches on television. And now everyone else gets to decide. And that feels very liberating and it feels like almost a revolution in some way and I'm really excited to be a part of it. So I think that any chance I get to be involved in it I will take.
What would you say is the biggest difference between acting for the camera and performing in front of a live audience, as you do on Broadway?
You know, some people might say the biggest difference is that it's bigger or smaller, but I come from a school of thought that there is good acting and bad acting, not TV acting and stage acting. To me, the main difference is the amount of control. When you are performing on stage, you are in charge of the character, and how that character goes from Point A to Point B. In television, you're in charge of facilitating emotions so that an editor can chose which take tells the story they want told. So, you're more in charge of storytelling when you're performing on Broadway or in theater. But that being said, it is really exciting when you're working on television or in film to be able to access more subtle emotions that you don't really get to project when you're on stage. In theater, the words are key and the words are very important, and in movies and television, the words are less important, and it's what you're not saying that becomes important. That's where I try to distinguish the two.
I wanted to ask you about your experience on [NBC's] 'Smash.' Do you feel the series painted an accurate picture of what goes on behind the scenes of a Broadway show?
You know I really do. I know that that is called into question sometimes but you know, somebody recently wrote an expose on 'Orange Is the New Black', a woman who had been in prison, and she was like, 'well this would never happen, and that would never happen' and I thought, how boring would the show be if the guards stopped everyone from doing everything, like it was a real prison. No one would want to watch it! So while the show might not be a documentary about prison, it is an enjoyable hour of television. So yes, maybe certain things about 'Smash' were not historically and incredibly and meticulously accurate, but entertainment is the reason we made the show. That being said, I always said that the things that appeared to be the most ridiculous on the show were the most truthful!
I loved you in 'First Date', your most recent Broadway show. Did you have immediate chemistry with your co-star Zachary Levi?
Absolutely. Well oddly enough, we had met about a year before we did the show, when I was auditioning for a TV show that he was producing and starring in. I was auditioning to play his sister-in-law. And we met for a couple of hours and talked a little bit and it wasn't like chemistry sparks at first sight, but we got along very well. So it wasn't until they had offered him the job after I had been offered 'First Date' and I emailed him and said, 'we met before, would you like to talk about the show?' So we met up for drinks one night to discuss it and he was asking me some questions about Broadway and what it would be like and should he take the job, and I was very honest and laid out all the pros and cons for him and he found that very appealing, that I wasn't trying to just make him do the show, that I gave him advice on what would be best for him.
And from that point on, we talked for hours, we talked for three hours that night and he agreed to do the job. So I think it took us knowing that we were going to work together and knowing that that was an important part of our job to make it happen. But it was immediate for sure. He is still a dear friend of mine and we had the best time doing that show and creating those characters and getting to represent the show together. It was an honor.
What's on tap for you and any chance we'll be seeing you back on Broadway soon?
I don't know. As of now, no Broadway plans, but I said that a month before 'First Date' happened so... you never know! I don't have anything solid in the works right now. I'm taking the year I have ahead of me as more experimental. I'm teaching a lot and I'm working with theater programs, I'm very passionate about art education and making sure that it is an integral part of a child's upbringing, regardless of whether their future is pointed in that direction. So I'm teaching at a lot of places and directing some things and just trying to reach the next generation of Broadway performers and get them started. But I'm also still trying to work and do other things, so we'll see. I'm sure you'll know the same time I do!
Well that sounds great and I hope you take a little time to just relax and enjoy the summer because you certainly have earned that.
Oh thanks, I hope so too!
Ross Evans (Associate Director of the Award-winning Beautiful: The Carole King Musical) created and stars in ian, as the 25-year old nerd who believes himself to be the handsome hero in the cinematic stories of his dreams. ian may still be a virgin... but it certainly isn't for lack of imagination. Ian's outrageous fantasies belie his otherwise unremarkable life. ian has never had a problem finding the girl of his dreams. It's a real one he can't get his hands on..
With each episode, ian pays homage to iconic movie genres, such as 80's Teen Comedy in episode 1, "25 Candles", ian has never seen a live girl naked-does it matter if she's his cousin. What's her damage, like, right? Available exclusively on Stage17.tv at http://stage17.tv/video/25-candles-0.
'First Date' Photo credit: Joan Marcus
'Smash' Photo credit: Will Hart/NBC