BWW Interviews: Denise Crosby and Jamie Rose Talk REVISITING WILDFIRE


The world premiere presentation of Revisiting Wildfire, written by Kari Floren and directed by Eve Brandstein, will play a limited 4-week engagement as a guest production at the Odyssey Theatre in West Los Angeles. Performances begin Friday, July 8 and continue through Sunday, July 31, 2011.

Presented by Right Down Broadway Productions, Revisiting Wildfire stars Denise Crosby and Jamie Rose. Crosby is best known as Lt. Tasha Yar on Star Trek, The Next Generation, and Rose as Vicki Gioberti on Falcon Crest. I interviewed both actresses about the new play.

Denise Crosby (Pam) created the role of Lt. Tasha Yar on one of the most popular TV series ever, Star Trek, The Next Generation. Denise co-starred alongside Fisher Stevens and Jennifer Tilly in the Fox series Key West and played recurring roles on the acclaimed series NYPD Blue, The X-Files, Mad Men and Lois and Clark: The Adventures of Superman. She has guest starred in numerous TV series, most recently, Law and Order:LA, Dexter and Bones. Denise made her film debut in 48 Hours and went on to work with Blake Edwards on The Man Who Loved Women and Skin Deep. Other film credits include Pet Semetary, Jackie Brown and Deep Impact, and such indie films as Miracle Mile and The Red Shoe Diaries. Denise's extensive stage work includes Last Summer At Bluefish Cove (Ovation nomination for Best Actress), Tamara (title role), Stops Along the Way, Epitaph for George Dillon, Beggars in the House of Plenty and most recently the L.A. Drama Desk Award nominee for Best Revival, Orpheus Descending.

Tell me about the play and its challenges.

It's been a very long time since I have done an original piece of work. That is always thrilling and challenging. It has its own obstacles. You're breathing life into a character that's never lived before. You've got a lump of clay in front of you. Fortunately, we have a writer (Kari Floren) who is open and willing to try things, and very interested in the best outcome possible for her baby.

What is your character like?

Pam is a woman who very much started her life by moving to New York at 18, jumping into the scene in the West Village; she was a journalism student at NYU, an aspiring writer, very creative. She and Theresa (Jamie Rose) are soul-sister friends. We've gone through everything together, have had the same passions, have had that real girl friendship that only women know about. There came a fork in the road, I married and went to Cleveland; I went right and Theresa went left. However, we still maintained our deep love for each other, as our lives went in very different directions. So the story is about them at this point in their life where they're both having their own sort of change and crisis. It's not unlike what women experience right about hitting 50. It's a re-examination: are they living the authentic life that they hoped they would be?

What are the playwright's expectations?

I think she wants this play to touch you in an emotional way that you realize how much friendship can contain. They didn't tolerate certain boundaries. If it's true, it's true. It's OK to be vulnerable and to really need one another. We often view that as a weakened condition. Especially my generation of women. We've grown up under can have it all...kind of expression. We kind of expect have it all. What does that mean? It's a very tough one. You find yourself hitting some walls, and you feel like a failure. You need to cut yourself a break here.

Is there a favorite role you've played over the years?

In the theatre, there are some deep, resonant parts for women. But I certainly have enjoyed playing certain television roles. One of my favorites was in a short-lived series on Fox called Key West. I played the mayor; the show was so far ahead of its time. She was a wonderful character, challenged, conservative in a free-for-all kind of place. She was struggling with alcoholism...and at the same time incredibly funny. I like characters that don't have it all together, who are vulnerable and have some obstacles to overcome.

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BWW Interviews: Denise Crosby and Jamie Rose Talk REVISITING WILDFIREJamie Rose (Theresa) made her professional acting debut at age six portraying Little Girl #2 in the TV series Green Acres, where she appeared alongside television luminary Arnold The Pig. Since then, she has worked extensively in theater, television and film. Her many TV appearances include starring roles in the series Falcon Crest and Lady Blue, recurring characters on St. Elsewhere and Chicago Hope, and numerous guest star roles. Favorite film credits include Tightrope with Clint Eastwood, and Chopper Chicks In Zombie Town with Billy Bob Thorton. Recent TV credits include guest stars on House MD, ER, and Two and a Half Men. Favorite theater credits include: Room Service at the Pasadena Playhouse, Detachments at the Tiffany, Shim Chong at the Getty Center, Sunrise In My Pocket at Playmakers Rep in Chapel Hill N.C., It's Just Sex at the Two Roads Theatre in Studio City, and Hercules Furens at the Getty Villa in Malibu. Also an author, Jamie's memoir/self-help book titled Shut Up and Dance! about her experiences learning the Argentine tango and how they affected her relationship with her husband is being released September 15th 2011 by Tarcher/Penguin.

Tell me about the play and its challenges.

To keep it all kind of succinct, what attracted me to this material was that this woman is turning 52 and I'm turning 52...

You don't look it!

Thank you very much. Victor Hugo said, "Fifty is the old age of youth and the youth of old age". It's so true. I still have youthfulness, and I thank you for the compliment...but old age is in sight. With the time left, what do you want to do with it? My life has changed in an incredibly remarkable way. I have my first book coming out in September. Writing was something I came to later in life. And then in was written for me by my friend John Putch...a movie, a comedy...and I've never had the chance to do a lot of comedy. I got kind of pigeon-holed into the one-hour drama mode. I play a very goofy, funny kind of person in this movie. And then I had a chance to do some classical theatre, which I love, but never do, and now this play was offered, so this year has been my full personal expression. And that's the theme of this play. This person I play has spent her life doing one thing. She started as a driven artist in fashion design, but instead got involved in a lot of big money. She didn't really completely sell her soul, but she comes to the point where she says "This is the youth of my old age and what do I want to do with the rest of it?" I was experiencing the same thing in my own life. Someone asks "Who are you doing this play for? Who needs to hear it" My answer is "I need to hear it." When I approach the journey of my character, it's: What is she going to try to discover that I, Jamie Rose, also need to discover? Our journeys are very similar, and that's what attracted me to the part of Theresa. And I also get to be funny. Please God, let them laugh! One of my idols in theatre is Laurie Metcalf. Her comedy one can touch her. I just keep praying to my altar of Laurie Metcalf in playing this character. I'm trying to conjure her spirit, even though she's still alive. (we laugh) I get to do some crazy, zany stuff.

Is this the playwright's message about the youth of old age?

It's about understanding that 50 is not the end of your life. It's the beginning of perhaps a second life. You can really recreate your life into whatever you want it to be, but it's up to you to do it. I think it resonates with men too, but especially with women past menopause, who can no longer bear children and create another life. Instead it's about ... creating another life that maybe I can hold within my own ... Oh my God, how poetic was that! (we both laugh boisterously)

Tickets for Revisiting Wildfire, which range in price from $20-$30, are available online at or by calling the Odyssey Theatre Box Office at 310-477-2055. Performances are Thursday - Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 2pm. The Odyssey Theatre is located at 2055 South Sepulveda Blvd. in West Los Angeles.


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