BWW Interview: Broadway Actress/Director/Choreographer Kay Cole Talks About A DULL PAIN TURNED SHARP
Actress/singer/dancer/director/choreo-grapher Kay Cole is known for her award-winning work in the original Broadway production of A Chorus Line, which garnered the Tony, Pulitzer Prize, Drama Desk, and Theatre World awards -among others. Other credits as director/choreographer include hundreds of plays and musicals in New York, LA and London. Visit her website for a complete list: www.kaycole.net
She is currently directing Group rep's production of a new play by Brent Beerman A DULL PAIN TURNED SHARP that will open Friday April 21. She also has a CD called Souvenir just released by Kritzerland Records.
We know you did the trailblazing A Chorus Line in 1976 for Michael Bennett. It opened new doors for you and many other artists and recently celebrated its 40th anniversary. You have been a triple threat performer in many musicals through the years, but when did you make the transition from performer to director?
It happened naturally. I transitioned by being a choreographer first, then wanting to expand my vision I began directing. I have always loved plays and the language of theatre. I was also with the Los Angeles Repertory Company for many years and had the opportunity to stretch my skills as an actress and director.
Have you had a mentor or mentors who have had an important effect on your work?
So many people along the way...their care and guidance and love have always surrounded my artist's spirit. But Tom O'Horgan was the director I felt molded my director's eye. I worked with Tom O'Horgan in Hair in Los Angeles at the Aquarius Theatre, and in New York on Broadway; and Jesus Christ Superstar in New York on Broadway (original company) and several shows at La Mama in New York. Working with Tom on many shows taught me the value of risk and trusting your instincts.
How did you get involved in directing A Dull Pain Turned Sharp?
Brent (Beerman) and I met and started working together about 5 years ago...at La Crescenta Valley High School. We have written a screenplay together and I have directed several musicals for the high school. We are now working on several original ideas for film and stage and Brent wanted to re-visit this play. After I read it ...I wanted to direct it. We did a reading at GRT and did re-writes and are now putting up a full production.
What do you find special about it? What do you hope audiences will take away?
It is about family and extended family and how love solves all of their conflicts. I would love for audiences to open their hearts to embrace a new vision of family.
Your CD promo sounds wonderful. Tell us about it. I know it's a long time in the making. How did you choose the songs you sing. Was Bruce Kimmel instrumental in helping you put it together? Wih him you are always in safe and creative hands.
THANK you ... I am very proud of the CD ... It was time to expand my horizons creatively and singing just seemed right. When Marvin Hamlisch passed ... Bruce asked me to sing at a Kritzerland
Show .... I did ...and the rest just fell into place.I had so many songs I thought I wanted to sing but with the help of Bruce and John Boswell ..we narrowed it down. It is about telling a story with each song and telling a story with the CD as well. Bruce is a brilliant producer and a close friend ....it was just a perfect partnership. He introduced me to John Boswell ... and that was a wonderful gift ... He is an amazing musical director and now a really good friend. I was blessed at every turn ...
Kay Cole will be doing an evening of song to promote the CD on July 16 at the Federal.
In the meantime, go to Group rep and see her direction of A Dull Pain Turned Sharp.
A Dull Pain Turned Sharp runs April 21 - June 4. Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 PM; Sundays at 2:00 PM. Tickets: $25. Seniors/Students w/ID: $20. Groups 10+: $15. Buy tickets:www.thegrouprep.com or email@example.com The Lonny Chapman Theatre is located at 10900 Burbank Boulevard North Hollywood.