BWW Spotlight Series: Meet Julia Buis, an L.A. Actor Who Traveled the World Entertaining Before Settling in Hamburg, Germany
With the current theatre world on hiatus, I have created a Spotlight Series on Broadway World which features interviews with some of the many talented artists who make our Los Angeles theatre community so exciting and vibrant thanks to their ongoing contribution to keeping the Arts alive in the City of the Angels. And just like all of us, I wondered how they are dealing with the abrupt end of productions in which they were involved.
This Spotlight focuses on Julia Buis, an L.A. actor who traveled the world entertaining before settling in Hamburg, Germany. And now with the theatre world on hold, how is she keeping the Arts alive at home?
Shari Barrett (SB): What would you like readers to know about your theatrical background?
Julia Buis (Julia): For as long as I can remember, music had always been a huge part of my life. My grandfather played with a Jazz Band in 1930's San Francisco and my mother played piano from a very young age. We always had a variety of music playing in the house, but I was particularly attracted to Broadway Musicals. When I was very young, I saw the theatrical version of Andrew Lloyd Weber's Jesus Christ Superstar and I KNEW in my soul that I wanted to be onstage.
I became involved in the San Francisco Theatre scene and later in LA when I moved to attend the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Following the call of wanderlust, I traveled around the world and worked as a production singer and dancer for an International Luxury Cruise Company in conjunction with Anita Mann Productions (Who remembers Anita and her Solid Gold Dancers?)
Upon my return to LA, I pursued TV, commercial and film while remaining an active SAG-AFTRA member and performing onstage as much as I could. Among my favorites are: One Night Stands at The Brickhouse Theater in NoHo, playing Muzzy Von Hossmere in Thoroughly Modern Millie and Velma Von Tussle in Hairspray both at the Glendale Centre Theatre, and the LA Premiere of Enron with the Production Company.
I decided to take a hiatus from acting and was heavily involved in corporate hospitality and event planning for several years until my "True North" beckoned again and this time, I humbly and eagerly listened.
(SB): What production(s) were you involved with when word went out it needed to immediately be either postponed or cancelled?
(Julia): We moved from LA to Hamburg, Germany in 2017 for my husband's job and I joined The Hamburg Players, which is the City's oldest English-language theatre group. I had played the role of Ms. Gregory in their production of Death in High Heels in 2018 and was just cast as Mel in their Summer production of Amy Herzog's After the Revolution. And even though we had already been discussing the possibility that our production may be postponed, the cast was officially informed via a heartbreaking email in which we were told that the production had been postponed until November. And all future productions with The Hamburg Players and other venues have been put on hold until the city officials and governing bodies allow theaters to resume operations. In addition, like everywhere, TV & film production has also been shut down.
(SB): With everything on hold, how are you keeping the Arts alive while at home by using social media or other online sites?
(Julia): I was aching for a creative outlet and created a FB Group called "Theater Americana Germany" with moderators in Hamburg & Berlin with a US rep in LA. Currently, we are focusing solely on doing online play readings of Vintage Radio Plays (Think Hollywood Lux Theater) and classic and modern American plays by American Playwrights with the intent to (re)introduce the works and keep our actor tools sharpened.
I've also participated in online monologue challenges, conceptualized and shot a short film, took acting and German classes, practiced Yoga, learned how to Bollywood dance, and digitalized the box of old VHS tapes I had in my office.
I was even graced with a chance to meditate with a Japanese Buddhist monk online while he led us in a beautiful and soul cleansing chant from Japan.
(SB): Sounds to me as if you have managed to travel around the world without really leaving home right now! Do you have any thoughts would you like to share with the rest of the L.A. Theatre community, and the world, while we are all leaving the Ghostlight on and promising to return back to the stage soon?
(Julia): I'd like to share this from a recent article I wrote for The American Women's Club of Hamburg's Currents magazine: "Before I sat down to write this, I was reading about yet another Summer event that's being canceled, and as I looked outside my window I noticed the beautiful new growth on the trees with the sun shining its magnificent brilliance all over the garden, and I had a realization that although many events throughout the World were being canceled, the HUMAN EXPERIENCE had not.
Our ability to CONNECT has not been canceled and we have been given an opportunity for a new beginning, a better chance to get up and do, a much-needed reset of mind, body, and soul. Hang in there. We've done all this together and we know we will get through this because we have each other."
An additional personal observation is that the desire for fascinating artistic content has never been greater than today and while we are all trying to find new ways to bring this to the audiences around the world, I believe we now all have a tremendous opportunity to entertain and inspire people around the globe.
Julia's website: www.juliabuis.com
Instagram: @beardogbuis (follow my rescue dog BEAR and his "tails" of a good boy!)
Theater American Germany: https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheatreAmericanaHamburg/