DIVA TALK: Chatting With NYMF Stars Natalie Joy Johnson, Luba Mason and Victoria Matlock

By Andrew Gans
28 Jun 2013

Luba Mason

Luba Mason
Julian Po at The Signature Center; July 8-14

How did you get involved with this production?
One never knows how one gets cast or not cast these days, but since I got this offer from Tara Rubin's office, I pretty much felt I should do the piece. I have since found out that the director, Kirsten Sanderson, sought me out for the role. She and I did a reading eons ago and am amazed and grateful that she thought of me! She is a great talent, and I wish she would move back to New York from Los Angeles, so I we can see more of her work.

What other NYMF productions have you been a part of?
A couple of years ago, I performed in Pandora’s Box [with] Kerry Butler and Deidre Goodwin.

How would you describe the character you're playing?
I play Lilah Leech, a funny, stylish, sexy Southern woman, who is full of life and passion but not appreciated much by her husband.

Why do you think audiences should attend this particular production?
This cast is superb: Chad Kimball, Malcolm Gets, Sean Cullen, Jason Gotay, Corbin Reid, Jon Fletcher and Issadora Tulalian. The music is beautiful - a mix of pop, folk and bluegrass. The story is unique, offbeat and thought-provoking about a young man, Julian Po, who comes into a small town with the intention of taking his life and has the effect of reinventing the lives of the townsfolk around him. It's a charming gem of a piece!

Why do you think NYMF is so important?
Because NYMF supports and gives voice to these smaller, artful musicals. We need balance with the big, Disney, movie musicals currently on Broadway.

NYMF celebrates new musicals, but which role in a classic musical would you most like to perform and why?
Any musical that Stephen Sondheim would be involved in. I've never worked with him and hope it's still a possibility.

What is your most memorable onstage mishap?
Two come to mind...the first in How To Succeed in Business... with Matthew Broderick when the "office" set malfunctioned and never came on stage. The scene between me (Hedy) and Matthew (J. Pierpont) was all ad-libbed on an empty stage. It was frightening and quite thrilling at the same time! The second was in Jekyll & Hyde when my Dr. Jekyll's tight black pant zipper broke and I needed to keep a straight face during our love scene with a white shirt tail sticking out of his crotch.

What was your most enjoyable theatrical experience of the season (as a member of the audience)?
Watching Bette Midler on stage for 90 min. in the one-woman show I’ll Eat You Last.

What are your other projects in the works?
I'll be finishing up writing my one-woman show by the end of this year with music that I'm writing for it as well. And a date at 54 Below is coming soon...I'll keep Playbill.com posted about both!