CUE & A: Heathers Star Jessica Keenan Wynn on Streisand, Playing Fagin and "I'm Too Sexy"

Cue and A   CUE & A: Heathers Star Jessica Keenan Wynn on Streisand, Playing Fagin and "I'm Too Sexy"
 
Jessica Keenan Wynn, who plays Heather Chandler in Heathers: The Musical, fills out Playbill.com's questionnaire of random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.
Jessica Keenan Wynn
Jessica Keenan Wynn Photo by Chad Batka

This marks Wynn's New York stage debut. She has appeared in the 25th anniversary national tour of Les Misérables, Hairspray at The Hollywood Bowl) and Life Could Be a Dream at The Hudson Theatre in Hollywood.
Full given name:
Jessica Keenan Wynn

Where you were born/where you were raised:
Born and raised in Los Angeles, CA… specifically the valley… duh.

Zodiac Sign:
Gemini

What your parents did/do for a living:
Mom works for Musicares under the Grammy Foundation, and Dad is an entertainment lawyer.

Siblings:
Amazing half-brother Brett Armstrong

Current audition song/monologue:
“Cry Baby” and “Woman in the Moon”

Special skills:
Britney Spears impression

Something you're REALLY bad at:
Britney Spears impression

First Broadway show you ever saw:
My first trip to NY was in high school and I saw Sutton Foster in Thoroughly Modern Millie. I was blown away by the ease and precision that she exuded… I still am.

If you could go back in time and catch any show, what would it be?
It was Cabaret with Alan Cumming, but my dreams came true and I just saw it back on Broadway. Currently, I would have to say the OBC of Into The Woods or Sunday in the Park with George. I live for those recordings.

Current or recent show other than your own you have been recommending to friends:
Bridges of Madison County moved me in a way theatre hasn’t. Since it closed too soon, I recommend purchasing the album to everyone. Also, Pippin still ranks up there as a theatrical, magical whirlwind that everyone should experience.

Favorite showtune(s) of all time:
“I Got Rhythm,” “One Song Glory,” “If I Didn’t Believe In You,” “He Touched Me” and “Move On.” (I could go on and on and on and on...)

Some favorite modern musicals:
Last 5 Years, [title of show] and In The Heights

Some favorite classic musicals:
Meet Me In St. Louis, Bye Bye Birdie and West Side Story

Broadway or screen stars of the past you would have most loved to perform with:
Cheesy, but my grandfather and great grandfather Keenan Wynn and Ed Wynn… and Judy Garland.

Your personal vocal idols, living or dead:
Judy Garland, Ella Fitzgerald, Jane Monheit and Babs

The one performance – attended - that you will never forget:
Watching Barbra Streisand perform 2 years ago at "Person Of The Year." I was moved to chills and frozen for her entire performance. She's a legend and an idol to so many.

Music that makes you cry, any genre:
1940’s standards or an Edith Piaf ballad

MAC or PC?
MAC, duh

Most played song on your iPod:
Sam Smith’s “Good Things,” Sara Bareilles’ “I Choose You” and “Attaboy” by The Goat Rodeo Sessions

Most-visited websites:
eBay… addicted

Favorite Tweeters:
Laura Benanti, Grumpy Cat and Megan Amram Last book you read: "The China Study" …I’m vegan

Must-see TV show(s):
"House of Cards," "OITNB," "Veep," "Downton Abbey" and "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon"

Last good movie you saw:
"20 Feet From Stardom"

Some films you consider classics:
"Whatever Happened to Baby Jane," "Meet Me In St. Louis" and "The Philadelphia Story"

Performer you would drop everything to go see:
Carole King

Pop culture guilty pleasure:
The Doobie Brothers and Hall & Oates… back to back!

Three favorite cities:
Washington DC, Paris, Denver

Favorite sport/team/player:
Oh lord! Basketball. Lakers. Kobe.

First CD/Tape/LP you owned:
Mix tape from my mom with Genesis and The Cure. My first CD was from an infomercial for “Livin’ In The 90’s.” It was unreal, came 2 CD’s, AND had “I’m Too Sexy” on it!!!

First stage kiss:
Now that I think of it, it must have been in college as Mabel Normand in Mack & Mabel. Late bloomer…

Favorite or most memorable onstage role as a child/teenager:
Madam Fagin in Oliver! (It was mostly an all-girl performing arts camp)

Moment you knew you wanted to perform for a living:
Volunteering to sing in 5th grade in front of the entire school and feeling confident as my awkward, chubby, red-headed self for the first time.

How you got your Equity card:
Roger Bean’s jukebox musical Life Could Be A Dream at The Hudson Theatre in Hollywood

Favorite pre-/post- show meal:
French fries ANYWHERE or a special sip and nibble at Casellula

Favorite liquid refreshment:
Rosé or coconut water

Pre-show rituals or warm-ups:
Lip trills, dipthongs, stretching, hugging, our daily cast circle and a Soy-Chai-Misto from Starbucks

Most challenging role you have ever played:
Fantine in Les Mis. She has so many layers and endless depth that burst through in specific moments and are quite subtle in others.

Were you familiar with the "Heathers" film before taking on this project?
Yes, but only recently. I watched it a year before I booked it and was quite shocked by how twisted and maniacal it actually was. I did develop an adult crush on that Slater fellow though

Biggest challenge about this current project:
Pacing. It is key. Also, it’s a challenge to not watch the show while you are in it. The cast brings so much life to their roles, that I find myself getting caught up in everyone’s brilliance onstage from time to time.

Most fulfilling or fun aspect about the project:
Wearing a robe for 2/3 of the show. When Fat Chandler is having a day, she thanks the costume gods for that one. Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap: When I was playing Factory Girl on the National Tour of Les Mis, my skirt completely broke in the factory when I confronted/slapped/strangled Fantine. Let’s just say I did it all like a one-handed Hulk. It was hilarious.

Worst job you ever had:
I was a personal assistant to a hoarder with 10 dogs. I lasted one day.

If you could trade roles/tracks with anyone in the show for a week, who would it be?
Big Bud Dean/Ram’s Dad. I would love to play a creeper and preach about my “Dead Gay Son.”

Leading lady role you've been dying to play:
The Witch in Into The Woods

Leading man role you've been dying to play:
Emcee in Cabaret

Something about you that surprises people:
Dirty mouth

Something you are incredibly proud of:
My showbiz family

Something you're embarrassed to admit:
I’m all talk and quite a prude

Career you would want if not a performer:
Nutritionist

Three things you can't live without:
Green smoothies, friends, wine

"I'll never understand why…"
... avocados can either be the most delicious food or all in all detestable.

Words of advice for aspiring performers:
Rejection is the greatest motivator and success is the best revenge.

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