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BWW Interview: Quadruple-Threat Tom DeTrinis On MAKING FRIENDS & Theatre

Tom DeTrinis premieres his one-man show MAKING FRIENDS for IAMA December 17, 2020, with streaming through January 11,2021.

BWW Interview: Quadruple-Threat Tom DeTrinis On MAKING FRIENDS & Theatre

Multi-talented, multi-hypenate Tom DeTrinis premieres his one-man show MAKING FRIENDS for IAMA December 17, 2020, with streaming through January 11, 2021. Written by Tom and directed by Drew Droege, Tom's performance on his own angst will be filmed live at L.A.'s Pico Playhouse.

Tom enthusiastically answered my queries, as you will see with all the ALL CAPS he excited responded to me with.

Thank you for taking time out for this interview, Tom!

Thank YOU, Gil! And thank you for being such a wonderful supporter of theater in L.A.

The press release for MAKING FRIENDS describes your show as "a gay-tastic look at anger through the eyes of a quick-witted rageaholic." Would you resemble that description?

OHHHH YES. At first when you meet me, you wouldn't know there is a RAGE RIVER running inside of me at ALL times. I have done a great job of keeping that very much to myself... until now. HAHA!

What inspired you to write MAKING FRIENDS for yourself to perform?

Well, my friend Melissa Stephens, who is co-producing this show, was REALLY ON ME about writing a show for myself. And I wouldn't be doing this if she didn't FORCE me to sit down and write. She was adamant that I got my ass moving and get my story out there. I was inspired to tell this tale specifically because... it is all that I know. Ha! I was on a small road trip a bit ago, and something just set me off and made me so annoyed and angry, so I sat down and just went for it. And I also think it is important to be discussing anger - especially in the current world we are living in aka A MESS TO BE ANGRY ABOUT.

BWW Interview: Quadruple-Threat Tom DeTrinis On MAKING FRIENDS & TheatreI'm not used to not seeing you onstage at the Celebration, Rockwell or IAMA. How have you been keeping sane and creative in these audience-less times? Chef-ing online?

I have been working very hard on THIS! Ha! And other writing projects with collaborators to keep my head in the game. I have also been directing monthly plays by Justin Sayre since this all began and that has been a TRUE JOY. I love Justin and their beautiful, creative mind. At first the new plays every month were for charity, but then it became a small collective of us working on them again and again, and a little company was born. We have done seven new original works written by Justin on Zoom, and it is always a treat to gather everyone to make something FUN and not heavy. I love ALL of those artists and guest artists we have had in the shows. They are released through Dynasty Typewriter, and I highly recommend them - OBVI! I have also kept my cooking business going strong because people have been needing a lot of extra help at this time. So happy and thankful to have that too!

I see your director Drew Droege listed with you in many a theatre program. Have you two developed a shorthand in your creative thinking? What originally brought you two together?

BWW Interview: Quadruple-Threat Tom DeTrinis On MAKING FRIENDS & TheatreAt this point Drew and I have worked on SO many shows, I have lost count! Haha! And I love that. I recently directed his latest one man play HAPPY BIRTHDAY DOUG, that was playing Off-Broadway right before the shut down. Very proud of that show! I have always respected and LOVED what Drew does. And he was my first choice when I needed a director for this piece. I thought, who really understands me as an angry little bitch, DREW DOES! We definitely see things eye to eye, and I appreciate him SO very much. He has always been a champion for me for several years, and I am very grateful. I think our first stage show together was DEVIL WEARS PRADA at the Rockwell, but we had been friends and worked on other web stuff prior to that. And it just went on and on from there!

How old were you, growing up in Long Island, that you realized you wanted to be a performer?

Eight! My dad had me play basketball and I HATED it, but the only way I would keep going to practice was if I ALSO got to take acting classes at a local theater. AND THEN I WAS HOOOOKED! SORRY, DAD!

How would you describe your journey from Long Island, by way of Buffalo, to Los Angeles?

Welp, honestly? I went to SUNY Buffalo because it was the cheapest. HAHA! And my dad said are you SURE you want to have hundreds of thousands of dollars in student debt when you leave THEATER SCHOOL?!?!? He was very right. The move to L.A. actually happened kind of fast after Buffalo. I moved here three weeks after I graduated from college. I did live in L.A. the previous summer working two internships, and one of those offered me a job before I even graduated - SO THAT WAS THAT! Rest? History.

BWW Interview: Quadruple-Threat Tom DeTrinis On MAKING FRIENDS & TheatreHow would you compare and contrast the theatre communities of New York, Buffalo and Los Angeles?

No Comment... HAHAHHAH! That is a WHOLE other show for another time...

You've participated in a number of international theatre festivals. Describe your feelings when you won the "Award for Promising Artist of the 21st Century" in San Jose, Costa Rica for your COMING, STAYING, LEAVING that you wrote and performed.

I would NOT BE HERE as a performer if it wasn't for Maria Horne at the University at Buffalo. When I was a freshmen, she took me under her wing and became a fast mentor. We still communicate to this day actually! She is a FORCE in the classroom and the rehearsal room. She believes very much in expanding our horizons, and took us to several theatre festivals all over the world - and in such a short period of time! I mean, when would you ever get a chance to perform in OLYMPIA, GREECE?!?! But we did with her. What a treat! The final one I got to work on before graduation was that one in Costa Rica. I, and my friend Harold and Bethany - two incredibly talented humans and artists, were chosen to create a show together that played to our strengths and represented us to the community in San Juan. We also taught workshops and WENT ZIP LINING IN THE RAINFOREST. SOOOO THAT WAS FUN! I still remember that trip to this day and I am very, very proud of that honor they bestowed upon us.

What gives you greater gratification - singing your ass off onstage? Or offstage watching others performing your words, or under your direction?

BWW Interview: Quadruple-Threat Tom DeTrinis On MAKING FRIENDS & TheatreThat's a tough one! I love it all. I love seeing people shine, I love playing on stage and making people laugh, I love the process of getting a show up and running. They all give me equal gratification.

You're the director of IAMA's ensemble and must be involved in planning their 2021 season. Do you pick shows that can easily switch from live onstage to virtual online? Can you even realistically schedule a live onstage performance?

That actually is a new position that I started just two months ago, so I didn't have a say in any planning this year. But! Stefanie and Katie, and the whole team at Iama, work TIRELESSLY on making sure they always move forward, despite what might stand in their way. It is inspiring to see how they took this pandemic and made it their BITCH when it comes to theater. I am VERY proud to be a small part of that community.

You're also the associate artistic director at the Celebration. What's happening there?

Yes! So, actually! I share that title with Nathan Frizzell. Right now we are working on some commissioned work and some other things that I have to stay quiet about. BUT IT IS EXCITING I CAN SAY THAT.

Any plans to strut your musical talents on the Rockwell stage in the not-too-far future? An Easter show, maybe?

BWW Interview: Quadruple-Threat Tom DeTrinis On MAKING FRIENDS & TheatreHAHAHA! EASTER SHOW! OH, IF ONLY!!! I would like to cast myself as the lead horse in the musical parody of Ben-Hur. She tap dances and also knits blankets for her horse friends.

Thanks again, Tom! I look forward to viewing MAKING FRIENDS, as well as, seeing live onstage sometime soon in the not-so-distant future.

THANK YOU GIL!!! I hope to see you in person soon as well!

For viewing of MAKING FRIENDS from December 17, 2020 through January 11, 2021; log onto www.iamatheatre.com

 


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