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BWW Interview: Beth Malone Being FUN HOME, An AMERICA's Angel & Celebrating Kritzerland's 10TH

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Kritzerland's 109th show THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY SHOW, livestreams this Sunday September 13, 2020.

BWW Interview: Beth Malone Being FUN HOME, An AMERICA's Angel & Celebrating Kritzerland's 10TH

Kritzerland will celebrate their ten years of producing monthly cabarets with their 109th show THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY SHOW, livestreaming this Sunday September 13, 2020. Joining the stellar lineup of Kritzerland's vocally-gifted regulars (Daniel Bellusci, Peyton Kirkner, Kerry O'Malley, Hartley Powers, Sami Staitman, Adrienne Stiefel, and Robert Yacko) will be Jason Graae, Beth Malone, and special guest Petula Clark. The incomparably witty producer Bruce Kimmel will once again host, with musical director Richard Allen on the piano keys.

I jumped at the chance to pose a few queries to Beth Malone, Tony nominated for her lead role as author Alison Bechdel in FUN HOME, and, as Angel, seen flying over Prior Walter in ANGELS IN AMERICA.

Thank you for taking time for this interview, Beth!

So how are you holding up in these endless months of shuttered live theatre?

We're hanging in there. We adopted a dog and that's brought so much silliness to our daily lives. You can't feel really depressed or angry when there's a fluffy face gazing at you with so much love you can't even take it.

How's your mastery of the new normal Zoom?

Just did JEANETTE (by Ari Afsar and Lauren Gunderson) in a 29-hour reading. That was a LOT of time to spend in front of the laptop and I had a tough time with the fatigue. And a lot of that rehearsal process was devoted to getting the best possible Zoom result? You can't cut people off, it's hard to land a joke or get any kind of rhythm going, but in this case we got a lot of feedback to the tune of- we mastered the Zoom reading. So, there's that.

What activities have you adapted to keep yourself creative and sane? Working on your one-woman cabaret Beth Malone: SO FAR, perhaps?

I've been doing a series of live concerts performed in socially distanced venues. IT was so good for my head to build something, and collaborate with people. Totally sane making. It's not SO FAR, but sort of a cousin to that show.

How many times have you performed before with Bruce Kimmel and Kritzerland?

I think I've done two? But it's possible I only did one. I know I learned "Alto's Lament" for him, and I've gotten so much mileage out of that song, I'm forever grateful!

What cosmic forces initially brought you and Bruce together to sing on the Sterling's 21 stage?

There was a once in a lifetime comet in the skies over Los Angeles.

For THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY SHOW, did you get to pick the songs you're singing yourself? Or from a suggested list from Bruce?

I picked this one. I saw TOOTSIE last year and am ripping this tune right off!

At what age did you start going by Beth instead of your given name Elizabeth? My friend Karen Koch started a campaign on my behalf in fourth grade. Not to change from Elizabeth, because I was never Elizabeth. But my whole childhood, I was Beth Ann, said like one word, "Bethann." Karen thought it was baby-ish so she told everyone I just wanted to be called Beth. I do not think it was my decision, but I allowed it because I was embarrassed that I never even thought twice about my name. It was just my name. My brothers still call me Beth Ann. And my uncle and aunt. Anyone who knew me when I was in diapers.

What was your go-to audition song?

"Music That Makes Me Dance." Got a few jobs with that one.

Before landing on Broadway, you mounted the theatrical boards in Los Angeles, Denver, Aspen, amongst other cities. How would you compare and differentiate the theatre communities of these various cities?

Every city has its own vibe, theatrically. I did Ordway for a season, and got a sense of what Minneapolis local theater is like. The stars of that town. Denver was a magical place for me to start out in. I was a kid in awe of the actors, then I was on stage WITH them. I was starstruck. Broadway was just a bigger version of that. I met Judy Kuhn in the bathroom on a 10-minute break and had to consciously slow my breathing. Now she's one of my best friends.

When you first saw Tony Kushner's masterpiece ANGELS IN AMERICA, did you ever think you'd be flying around the stage as Angel?

I had never seen it on stage, just the HBO which I thought was gorgeous. And Emma Thompson was so powerful, elegant, sexy. I never thought I'd ever play the Angel. But then Marianne Elliott's breakdown for the role came out and it said, "buglike." I thought, "Oh, yeah! I can do bugs."

Was being willing to be rigged and fly, part of your audition for Angel?

Our Angel was lifted by a team of movement actors except for one moment in PERESTROIKA where the Angel flies two stories high to try and lose Prior during the wrestling match. The audition didn't deal with the harness or Foy at all, but we spent days with the movement team flying from place to place.

Putting aside that the Angel is celestial and Alison Bechdel is a real human, what interests would the two of them have in common to chat on or debate about?

I think Al and Angel would have an in-depth conversation about the foibles of human nature. Then Alison would draw and "caption" it, "I, I, I, I am confused!"

BWW Interview: Beth Malone Being FUN HOME, An AMERICA's Angel & Celebrating Kritzerland's 10THIn this age of Zooming across the globe, whom would you love to sing a duet with or have an intimate Zoom meeting with?

My writing partners and I are currently collaborating on a show with long-time obsession, Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls. And yes, we Zoom chat often and I have to pinch myself.

Thank you again, Beth! I look forward to seeing you in Kritzerland's THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY SHOW!

To livestream Kritzerland's THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY SHOW this Sunday, September 13, 2020 at 5:00 pm (PST), log onto www.facebook.com/KritzerlandUpstairsatVitellos

or www.youtube.com/user/haineshisway/featured?view_as=subscriber

The event is FREE, however; donations to the Actors Fund gratefully accepted @ actorsfund.org/kritzerland.


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From This Author Gil Kaan