BWW Interview: Pam Trotter On Going From PURPLE to BLONDE
Fresh from the combined creative minds of Jake O'Flaherty and Tom Misuraca, their SUICIDAL BLONDE will world premiere September 19, 2019 at the Whitefire Theatre. Their dark comedy take on suicide will be directed by Candi Milo.
I had the opportunity to field a few questions to Pam Trotter, who plays BLONDE's integral Felicia.
Thank you for taking the time for this interview, Pam!
You did STELLA's LAST DATE at the Whitefire Theatre in 2016. So, this is your second show at the Whitefire, right?
No, this is actually my third show at Whitefire.
How did you first get involved with SUICIDAL BLONDE?
My first show was actually in a series of SHORTS at the Whitefire called INLAWS AND OUTLAWS, and was produced by Jake O'Flaherty. A very, very funny show. I would say, this is the show that may have birthed Felicia, through the mind of Jake . The second was STELLA'S LAST DATE and now we're here with SUICIDAL BLONDE.
Please describe your character of Felicia, as if you were writing her a letter of reference for a prospective job position. What flaws of Felicia would you forget to include?
Felicia is the woman that you would want on your side if you were ever in any trouble. She's a great listener and will be there whenever you call. Morning, noon or night, she'll drop everything to be there. At the same time, she's going to tell you when you're straight path might be a little crooked. I might have forgotten to include that she will sometimes do for you before she will do for herself.
In an alternate universe, under what circumstances would you find your characters (Felicia, COLOR PURPLE's Sofia, and TRIALS & TRIBULATIONS OF A TRAILER TRASH HOUSEWIFE's LaSonia) interacting? A church social? In line in a grocery store? At a protest rally?
These women are at the forefront of the rally holding hands to fight for what is right. Putting their funds together buying groceries for the homeless and less fortunate, and then cooking up a soulful meal at the church social. And if you need a place to rest your head for the night, a room, a couch, or a floor is always available for you.
Will you be getting the opportunity to show off your vocal talents in this dark comedy?
You have to come and see, and you will not be disappointed.
Do you prefer touring (i.e., National tour of THE COLOR PURPLE) or staying put in a single theatre (i.e., Zephyr, Sierra Rep, Fountain) for its run?
Hmmm... Well, national touring was lucrative, but I did miss being home with my doggie. Small local theater has great perks as well, like keeping my acting chops sharp and being fortunate enough to be seen by local casting directors and agents for future projects. So to answer your question, now that I AM doing more TV & film locally, "staying put" is a wonderful treasure. I still can say, "I did a Broadway show."
What useful tips did you get to easily survive touring?
Always get your rest, eat right, no drinking and drugging, and pray often. Not necessarily in that order.
What were the highlights of your COLOR PURPLE tour?
Being able to play one of my dream roles. When I first saw The Color Purple the movie, I was a teenager. I used to imitate Sofia with my friends, and knew every line. I entertained my friends every chance I got. They were convinced I was Sofia. Once I moved to California, and the production of The Color Purple began to audition for Broadway, I auditioned several times. But was told I was too young. Years later, I tried again, and FINALLY got the part. It was such a joy to be able to tell this beautiful story about women's struggle for empowerment, love and relationships. Playing the role of Felicia, another heroine, one who helps spread joy and light to a family in crisis is rewarding and makes me wanna pat myself on the back, stand back with my arms crossed and say, "Hey, I was a part of bringing these women BACK together." It's what I strive for as a human being in "real life."
I remembering see Del Shores' TRIALS & TRIBULATIONS OF A TRAILER TRASH HOUSEWIFE at the Zephyr Theater. Were you in the 2003 or 2006 production, or both?
I was in both productions. I was originally hired to understudy for the Oscar award-winning Octavia Spencer. Del found out I could sing, and I started doing both roles at different times throughout the runs. I played Octavia's sister as the blues singer, and also played LaSonia, another strong woman who fought for what was right.
Would you share some amusing memories working with Del and his company of crazy, wonderful creatives?
OMG, I love Del Shores. He is a very generous writer and friend. He's called me on several occasions to help out with different projects he's doing. We both love dogs. I remember he would let me bring my dog to rehearsal, and if you remember the show, it was about domestic abuse. My doggy, Coconut, DID NOT like the abusive husband JB. Whenever the scenes would come up where he was being a mean 'ole man, Coconut would growl and want to attack. That was always a good laugh.
You sang background on Levi Kreis' recordings. Was doing Del's plays where you met Levi?
YES! I met Levi doing TRIALS & TRIBULATIONS OF A TRAILER TRASH HOUSEWIFE. He was the piano player for me as the blues singer, and then I also played LaSonia (pronounced 'Lasagna') in the same show. We've been friends ever since. I've sang on a few of his albums and toured with him periodically. I will be singing background for him in December at one of his live shows here in L.A. and Palm Springs.
You also sang background for Rod Stewart. Tell us some memorable incident from that experience.
Rod Stewart did an album called Soulbook, which is a collaboration of soul music. I was called in by Steve Tyrell (who I also sang with) to sing background on a few of the songs he produced. And also on Michael Bolton's album, and that was a lotta fun. It was right when he cut his long, curly hair and started sporting the short style. I did a lot of flirting (but he was engaged to be married) he's so cute. LOL!
What is your emphasis right now - more acting or more singing? Or both?
Actually, my focus is doing both. I love to sing AND act. I have a one-woman-show that incorporates both. Maybe Jake will produce... hahahaha!
Any projects in the near future you can share with us?
I am currently filming a movie called Pencil Town. Just finished taping a few new TV shows Stumptown, Good Trouble, A-typical and others.
What feels would you like the Whitefire audiences to have after SUICIDAL BLONDE's curtain call?
Realizing that relying on a higher power, you can get through anything. Understanding that we're all different. No one is the same. If we check ourselves FIRST, maybe things might go a little differently than expected. A feeling of reflection on family and reconnecting. Some may have been in a similar situation, and this show will demonstrate how we sometimes have to chip through the rough edges to get to that smooth edge. When we nurture our relationships, we won't have time to give up.
Thank you again, Pam! I look forward to meeting your Felicia at Whitefire.
For ticket availability and Thursday night shows' schedule through October 24,2019; log onto suicidalblonde.yapsody.com/event/index/459691/suicidal-blonde