It may be time to deck the halls, but these actors had to decorate their dressing rooms before they could move on to the tree. From the practical to the sentimental, we find out what they stash backstage.
Michael Arden, Spring Awakening (director) and The Times They Are A-Changin'
I bring a steamer. Some music. Water bottles and a lot of gummi bears.
I do different things for each dressing room depending on the character. I haven’t quite figured out what I’m going to bring for this one. I like to make vision boards for each character. When I played Christine in
Love Never Dies in London, I had a bunch of gorgeous women on it. One was Nicole Kidman, specifically in "Moulin Rouge." Barbra Streisand always. Katharine Hepburn. I just put a lot of strong beautiful women who inspire me and also help me go along with the character in some way. I also will always bring little positive cards that have one word on them. I always bring one of them because as we do this eight times a week, it’s like, “What do I need to think about today on stage that’s different? Whether it’s "strength" or "truth" or whatever it is, just have a word to start me off before I leave my dressing room and go on that stage.
Kate Reinders [who plays Portia] and I share a dressing room. My grandmother — she’s not with us anymore — but she always gave me lots of interesting little tchotchkes, and I always pick one that is somehow show-related. I’ll bring one to have her with me. Whenever I get nervous, she always calms me down. I touch the tchotchke, go out on stage, and I know my grandmother’s with me.
I have a lot of stuff that I always bring. Basically, my first apartment in New York was filled with all this pink, girly stuff that I then put away when I became a grown-up, and I take it out of my attic and stick it in my dressing room. I've got these fluffly curtains and drapes underneath my dressing table. Girly lamps and everything is pink, which is not really me anymore, but it feels like my dressing room.
My father was an actor and there was a wonderful photograph of him at his dressing room table, taken when he came to New York to do the show he was doing when I was born. A show called
The Boy Friend starring this unknown girl named Julie Andrews. I feel I’m carrying on the tradition having a picture of him in my dressing room. \
I usually take a picture of my Uncle Brian who was a big inspiration to me. There's always a part of him that's with me and in this show, because it's about Shakespeare, I have something that my father gave to me — which was really special: basically a framed typed-written version of Cornelius' advice to Hamlet that his father gave to Hamlet. That's going to be my touchstone for this.
For this show I'm actually doing the theme of the early 1900s. I'm really trying to live J.M Barrie. My wife is an interior designer so she's doing it all. It's been really fun finding these old artefacts and I'm painting my walls a purple and deep blue. It's going to be a nice place to feel that energy and that calmness.
I always have to have my yoga mat, for this character in particular I have to do yoga and meditate before the show because she’s so earth bound and I tend to be someone who’s a little bit more in the clouds and high strung I guess. I have to have those sorts of tools. I have a hammock swing in my room. It’s this amazing woven swing thing they put up and I’ve got my ukulele that I practice and all these pictures of my family. It’s decked out.
The main thing is sometimes I bring Lulu, my Pomeranian. We made her a little New Orleans Saints Jersey and decorated it. She’s so old and arthritic she can’t walk on a slick floor, so we have rugs down. [For
Airline Highway] I shared with Caroline [Neff and other ladies in the cast]. We called it the pit of vipers. We had a lot of trashy magazines and cut out pictures and put them on our “Love It” wall and “Hate It” wall.