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Ferland Sings 'Like Love'

I love new theatre works, especially musicals. Luckily for NY, there is the 2007 New York Musical Theatre Festival, which presents a wide variety of new works each year to satisfy my appetite. Now in its 4th year, The New York Musical Theatre Festival is the largest musical theatre event in America. NYMF premiered 99 new musicals during its first three seasons, with more than a dozen of these shows transferring to successful off-Broadway and regional productions.  Hailed as "the Sundance of Musical Theatre," NYMF is widely regarded as the premier source for new material and talent discovery. 

This year, a new work called Like Love with book and lyrics by Barry Jay Kaplan and music by Lewis Flinn and directed by Lisa Rothe will be featuring the very talented Danielle Ferland. Most theatre enthusiasts may remember Ferland for her role as the rambunctious Little Red Riding in the original Broadway production of INTO THE WOODS.

So what's been going on with Danielle and what's this new show about?  Well, fortunately, she talked with me recently and I am sharing her thoughts with you now.

TJ: How long has it been since you were on stage in New York?

FERLAND: In June and July of this year, I performed in the New York Premiere of a play called Hate Mail with Monday Morning productions. This play began as an idea to spoof Love Letters, and then took on a mind of it's own as it explored the love/hate/lust/vengeful relationship between two polar opposite personalities. Much of it was written as the authors corresponded through fax, letter and email.

TJ: How does it feel to be back performing in New York?

FERLAND: New York is the best place to perform! I did She Stoops to Conquer at the Irish Rep about 2 years ago, shortly before the birth of my son in November of 2005. Noah is my greatest production to date, and he makes everything, including work, more fulfilling.

TJ: Tell me a little about your role in LIKE LOVE?

FERLAND: I play the role of Love, actually--a woman who does her very best to bring a man and a woman together despite various emotional circumstances. I am somewhat in control, and often am not as their relationship evolves and different obstacles present themselves. It is my duty to try and cajole, coax, chastise, and subliminally convince them they are indeed meant to be together, and that love is the only way to go.

TJ: How did you get involved with this project?

FERLAND: I worked with the show's producer, Dennis Grimaldi, on a project a few years ago and he called and asked if I would be interested in the piece. I am very happy he thought of me for this.

TJ: What is it about this show that caught your interest?

FERLAND: Many aspects of this show caught my interest. I loved the idea of playing a sort of cupid, and was attracted to how different it is from other roles I've played. The music also intrigued me very jazzy/bluesy with some musical theater thrown in, and I haven't had the opportunity to sing that before.

TJ: Is it tough to get people to think of you for roles when you get became famous for your role in INTO THE WOODS?

FERLAND: I think when any actor plays any role that defines them, especially at a young age, it is difficult to break that stereotype. I have been fortunate to be able to explore so many different characters, genres and mediums in this business--from classical and children's theater to contemporary and period film and television. I can only hope that I continue to be given opportunities to create such diverse, challenging characters, and also to create those opportunities for myself.

TJ: How did you get your start in the business?

FERLAND: I love this story. I had an over-zealous dancing school teacher in Connecticut who saw some potential in me at the age of 10. My parents and I listened to her, thankfully. She had some connections with New York agents and introduced me to a few, which led to my acquiring one and beginning to audition. I was a commuter from a young age, as my family lived in Stratford, CT, and hour and a half train ride away from the city. Without the support and commitment of my parents, I never could have begun this career. Soon after, I began to be seen primarily for commercial and theater, and landed my first role in the off Broadway production of Sunday in the Park with George.

TJ: Did you attend school for acting?

FERLAND: I received a BFA in Acting from Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. I had a fabulous time in college, and at long last, I was living in New York City.

TJ: What's coming up next for you after Like Love?

FERLAND: I am in the process of recording some audio books, which I will continue to do after Like Love closes. Also, I will be hanging out with my son, my favorite thing to do.

TJ: Now let's continue on and find out some of your favorite things in life so we can learn a little more about you. First, FAVORITE ACTOR?

FERLAND: That's a tough one. There are so many! I would have to say Sir Ian McKellan right now, simply because I just saw him do King Lear at BAM. He was unbelievable. He is also a true chameleon, and amazes in any project, be it film or theater. And of course. He is Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings films. Does it get any better that that?!?

TJ: FAVORITE KIND OF MUSIC?

FERLAND: I listen to so many different artists, but if I had to pick one I kind of music I would say jazz , because it evokes the most emotion in me.

TJ:       FAVORITE RESTAURANT?

FERLAND: Easy! Aquagrill in Soho. for many reasons; the food, ambiance, the numerous occasions I've celebrated there (birthdays, anniversaries, etc). GO!

TJ: FAVORITE TIME OF YEAR?

FERLAND: I love autumn especially those sunny days when the air is crisp, and the nights get a little cooler, and the beautiful leaves, of course, and the mosquitoes go away.

TJ: If you weren't an actor, what would your profession be?

FERLAND: A neurosurgeon, obviously

Well, that it's for now on Danielle Ferland and you should all go check out her show, LIKE LOVE which plays at the TBG Theatre, 312 West 36th Street (between 8th and 9th Ave.) on Thursday, September 20th at 8:00 p.m.; Friday, September 21st at 1:00 p.m.; Saturday, September 22nd at 4:30 p.m.; Sunday, September 23 at 4:30 p.m.; Wednesday, September 26th at 8:00 p.m.; Friday, September 28th at 8:00 p.m. and Wednesday, October 3rd at 4:30 p.m. Tickets for LIKE LOVE are $20.00 and can be purchased by calling (212) 352-2101 or visit www.nymf.org. For more information, please visit http://www.nymf.org/Show-701.html. LIKE LOVE plays September 20th – October 3rd at TBG Theatre, 312 West 36th Street, between 8th and 9th Ave.  That's all for now folks. Ciao and remember, theatre is my life.


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