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BWW Interview: Victoria Gordon Doesn't Need a Label

This spring and summer will see Gordon debuting a new anthology web series, 'Pilot Season.'

BWW Interview: Victoria Gordon Doesn't Need a Label

Take the glamour, style, and sophistication of show biz tradition, and add the digital era's DYI energy, and you wind up with a transcendent and unique performer/artist like Victoria Gordon. With a touch of class she inherited from her show-business family and a keen eye and ear for what both physically present and socially distant audiences might want, the multitalented Gordon is a force to be admired.

This spring and summer will see Gordon debuting a new anthology web series, "Pilot Season," bringing five completely different stories to life, with a comedic tone she describes as somewhere between "Gilmore Girls" and "Better Things." Meanwhile, she's also preparing for a series of sold-out, socially distanced cabaret performances, after spending the past year perfecting her act in quarantine via a series of Twitch performances called "Live on Sunday."

BroadwayWorld had the pleasure of speaking to Victoria Gordon about her dynamic career and her best Hollywood stories, including a run-in with the great Carol Channing.

Read the full interview below!


Your career is like a big, beautiful, modern love letter to the past. What's been the most fun for you in figuring out where you fit in the entertainment industry?

I love that phrasing of it! Finding my place has never been easy for me. I've always been a bit of a maverick, and from the time I was very young, I realized that "fitting in" was not going to come naturally. But the cool thing about entertainment, and my career in particular, is that no one has to be stuck with one label. There are so many different paths to pursue in this industry, and getting a chance to really craft my own version of an ideal career is so enjoyable. I love putting my voice and ideas out there in so many different ways!

Tell me more about your family Hollywood history! What's your best story?

My family is pretty entrenched in the industry. My paternal grandfather won three Emmys as a comedy writer; my dad worked in music and variety television for more than 30 years; and my mom's family is all musical and worked with some of the biggest names during the Golden Age of Hollywood. I learned a lot from being around my family. They taught me the importance of showmanship, being gracious to everyone involved in a project, and speaking really loudly to be heard over a crowd.
I have a lot of really cool stories, like the time Stefanie Powers actually put in the time to talk to me when I was five years old and made me feel like the coolest person ever, and the time when I was 10 and obsessed with I Dream of Jeannie and Barbara Eden gave me a signed poster. But one of my favorites is actually my Carol Channing story.
I was once in a tribute show for one of my family members, and Carol Channing was a featured performer. She needed a ride from the airport to her hotel, and rather than hire a car service, my mother and I, being massive theater fans, decided to do it ourselves! We spent over an hour in the car with Carol and her husband, Harry, just talking about life, work, and her passion for arts in schools. It was, I am not exaggerating, one of the coolest hours I've ever experienced. The nicest part, though, was when we got out at her hotel. Once we were in the lobby, I pulled off my sunglasses and Carol got a good look at me and said "Victoria, I didn't realize: you're beautiful!" She was a beauty, inside and out, and getting to not only work with her, but spend an afternoon with her, was a gift.

What led you to singing these classic Broadway songs? Has that always been your style?

When I was a kid, my mom always played cast albums in the car. As I got older, she switched to the Broadway Channel, initially on XM, then on Sirius. She would have us guess the show, song, and composer for everything we heard, and I just absorbed it like a sponge. I never appreciated classical music as a child, but I loved showtunes, and especially more traditional numbers (by which I mean everything from the earliest days of Broadway to songs from the '80s). I spent years trying to deny it, because there isn't necessarily a specific genre for a non-Broadway performer who sings songs from musicals. Everyone encouraged me to try different styles, and I did: pop, country, rock...nothing worked the way a good old-fashioned Broadway showstopper did. I think it's something about my voice and my personal style that just makes me a theater singer at heart!

What's something you're excited about re: your upcoming web series, "Pilot Season"?

I'm enjoying rolling out the whole series! It's a miniseries, with five different sitcom pilots that have their own unique characters and stories. What I love is that there's really something for everyone. Not everyone will love every show, but if you like comedy, you will enjoy at least one of the five-if not more. And they're all so different, ranging from a really broad multi-camera satire to a very intimate, extremely grounded dramedy.

I've also enjoyed the filming process. Since everything is done over Zoom, from the auditions to the final taping, I've learned so much, and my sister (who is my co-producer and editor) and I have gotten really creative about how we make everything feel "real" despite the fact that it's obviously made from everyone's homes.

Who do you admire most in entertainment?

Ooh, big question. I'm going to go with Jane Krakowski, for being fearless when it comes to her work; Bernadette Peters, for turning her quirks into assets and being a queen, onstage and off; Christine Baranski, for seamlessly transitioning between genres and not getting bogged down in celebrity culture; Julianna Margulies, for her exceptional body of work and for regularly coming up when I'm asked for celebrity comparisons for myself (when my hair's curly, she's the comparison; when it's straight, it's Alicia Florrick!); and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who inspired me to rock my natural curls when I was a frustrated teenager who was constantly being told that I'd only be pretty if I had straight hair. Ultimately, I admire creative people who work hard and are true to themselves.

Tell me more about some of your other upcoming projects!

This spring, I'm planning to do two longer, live-style shows as opposed to the shorter themed cabarets that I did online last year. Now, the challenge is, of course, figuring out what "live-style" looks like. Can I have an audience? Is it just going to be members of my bubble? Can we have a few people in person and then have the rest watching online? I'm not completely sure what the logistics on that will look like; time will tell. But that's coming very soon, and I'm excited to share those! Beyond that, the goal is to get back to real theaters and start doing things for live, in-person audiences. One of the best things people have said to me during this pandemic is that they appreciate the work I'm doing to keep people entertained while we're locked down, and I hope I can continue to entertain them once we're free again. That is, after all, what I do best!


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