PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: Screen and Silence! The Musical Star Christine Lakin
By Matthew Blank
September 4, 2012
TV and film star Christine Lakin, currently taking on the role of Clarice in the Los Angeles premiere of Silence!, fills out Playbill.com's questionnaire of random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.
Lakin's first major role as a child actor was as Young Rose in the American Civil War drama "The Rose and the Jackal." She was next cast as Al Lambert on the popular sitcom "Step By Step," which ran for seven seasons in the 1990s.
She was a regular on the MTV improv series "Wild 'n Out" and served as Craig Kilborn's sidekick on Fox's "The Kilborn File."
Other notable work includes Showtime's "Reefer Madness" movie, "Valentine," "Race to Witch Mountain," "Valentine's Day," "Red Canyon" and "You Again."
She has her own Hulu "mockumentary" webseries "Lovin' Lakin" and provides the voice of newscaster Joyce Kinney on "Family Guy."
Full given name:
Christine Helen Lakin
Where you were born/where you were raised:
Born Dallas, TX. Raised mostly outside Atlanta, Georgia
What your parents did/do for a living:
My father is now retired (and becoming a First Responder) but used to be the CCO of a company called Arris Interactive.
My mother is a homemaker but quite honestly she does about 15 jobs including having been my childhood manager, business accountant, travel arranger, caretaker, taxi driver, costumer, friend, mom, guardian, etc. She currently divides her time between working for Kimberly Clark, helping me in business affairs and perfecting her golf game.
Current audition song/monologue:
"I Wanna Be That Girl" from the musical Sneaux, written by Lori Scarlett.
Cooking, downhill skiing. Throwing parties. I love a good party. It's all in the activities.
Something you're REALLY bad at:
Surfing. Being on time. Team sports that don't involve drinking.
First Broadway show you ever saw:
I saw nearly everything regionally as a kid at the FOX theater but Rent (original cast) might have been my first Broadway show. I was 17 and boy, it made a huge impression on me.
If you could go back in time and catch any show, what would it be?
Davis Gaines in Phantom. Or Elaine Stritch in Company.
Current or recent show you recommended to friends:
Peter and the Starcatcher, Sleep No More and any current Troubie show in Los Angeles.
Favorite showtune(s) of all time:
"Don't Rain On My Parade"
"Ladies Who Lunch"
"Someone Like You"
Some favorite musicals:
Jersey Boys, Rent, Spring Awakening, Les Miserables, Cabaret
Broadway or screen stars of the past you would most have loved to perform with:
The one performance attended - that you will never forget:
Hair at the FOX. I was probably 10 and this particular tour decided to do the nudity in full light downstage for most of "Where Do I Go" - much to my mother's chagrin.
I grabbed the opera glasses and saw as much as I could before she dragged me out of my seat and up the aisle. Clearly, theatre would be my calling after that.
Music that makes you cry, any genre:
MAC or PC?
Most played song on your iPod:
I'm in a Van Morrison and Bob Marley Pandora phase. But easily anything Michael Jackson.
YouTube, IMDB, Hautelook, Twitter, Facebook
Joan Rivers, Conan O'Brien, Seth MacFarlane
Last book you read:
"50 Shades of Grey" I could have lied about this... but it's true. What!? Wanted to see what the fuss was about!
Must-see TV show(s):
Like I have time for TV... Oh Playbill, you slay me.
But if I did I might fall asleep to "Project Runway" or try to stay awake for "The Newsroom."
Last good movie you saw:
"Crazy, Stupid, Love"
Some films you consider classics:
"When Harry Met Sally"
"Some Like It Hot"
Performer you would drop everything to go see:
Adele, Paul McCartney
Pop culture guilty pleasure:
"Big Brother" and "Survivor." And the occasional Star magazine.
Ojai, Paris and Sea Island, GA
NBA Basketball, Derek Fisher.
Or tennis- Agassi (in his day), Federer or Murray.
First CD/Tape/LP you owned:
The Police, "Every Breath You Take." Yes, it was a tape. Also "Thriller," MJ
First stage kiss:
Acting class when I was 14. I had a scene where I had to kiss a boy I had a big crush on. It was really quick but completely nerve wracking.
Then I got to kiss Andrew Keegan onscreen when I was 15 and we were told to "stop using tongue, it's a family show!" Oops.
Moment you knew you wanted to perform for a living:
I don't know if I knew it, but I've done it since just after I was on my parents' fireplace "stage" singing along to my Annie record at age 3. I don't think I had much choice in the matter... I guess it's always been a bit of a blessed curse that this is what I'm drawn to do.
Are you still in touch with any of the "Step By Step" crew?
Yes, Patrick Duffy and Staci Keanan did an episode of my webseries "Lovin' Lakin" (a mockumentary on my life as a former child actor - watch it on Hulu or YouTube!).
We also just had an annual potluck BBQ with many of the producers and writers. It was quite a nice group of people and still very much in touch.
Out of all of your screen work, can you pick a few favorites? What were the most fun or fulfilling experiences?
Certainly many of the Garry Marshall films I've done. I've been a huge fan of his movies since "Beaches" and "Pretty Woman" so getting to work with him is a dream.
"Valentines Day" was particularly fun. Jessica Biel and Jamie Foxx were both wonderful and total pros.
I also very much enjoyed working on this winter's "Parental Guidance" with Andy Fickman. I was lucky enough to choreograph and star in one of the scenes with the Divine Bette Midler, who is a legend in my eyes, as is Billy Crystal (who also stars). She was generous and lovely to me and it was a dream come true. Go see it this Christmas!
Is Craig Kilborn as cool as he seems?
Yes and he makes a mean martini.
Favorite pre-/post- show meal: (note where)
Pre-show could be a Larabar or a half sandwich leftover from lunch if I'm lucky. I don't eat much before performing.
But after shows I love a beer and french fries- anywhere. Laurel Tavern serves late. Timmy Nolans also has the best J. Boogie Chicken Melt and they are like family there.
Favorite liquid refreshment:
Newcastle. Stella. Jack Daniels Honey on ice if I'm really feeling it.
Pre-show rituals or warm-ups:
Not many. Underthinking things is usually the way I go. Now and then I steam with an actual hand steamer. It's probably not made for faces.
Most challenging role you have ever played:
Toady in last year's A Christmas Westside Story was a very physical show - with winter costumes on stage. Clarice is quite challenging as well. Less so physically but drawing the line of parody and finding the specificity from the movie. It's a good challenge.
Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap:
Oh god... it was A Christmas Westside Story there was a part where I was an elf and had to give a PSA.
I decided to switch it up one night and do something completely different, which muscle memory did not agree with. Let's just say I went blank and it was awkward and humiliating for everyone, including my parents in the audience.
Worst costume ever:
I'm pretty sure I just mentioned being an elf. Not particularly cute. Although Clarice's suit is pretty sexy by comparison.
Worst job you ever had:
It was summer stock in a theatre mostly outside with a raccoon trap backstage. And yes, we caught one.
What sort of research have you put into this role?
I've re-watched the movie a million times looking for performance nuances and dialogue cues.
Has Stephen Bienskie given you any good advice?
On tucking? Yes, of course. We share other theatre secrets, too, but if I told you I'd have to kill you.
If you could trade roles with anyone in the cast for a week, who would it be?
Jeff Hiller. But I wouldn't do it NEARLY the justice he does. He gives every scene and every character such incredible wit and fun. He is a joy to watch and learn from.
Leading lady role you've been dying to play:
You were part of the Heathers concert. What are some other movies that you'd love to see made into musicals?
Something about you that surprises people:
People say I'm very normal. Which I suppose I am. All things considered.
Something you are incredibly proud of:
I'm blessed to have made a modest living doing what I love. It is certainly my greatest achievement.
Something you're embarrassed to admit:
I watch "Jersey Shore." And then I made a special visit there because I wanted to ride the rides.
Career you would want if not a performer:
Three things you can't live without:
Friends, good wine, laughter
"I'll never understand why "
people can be so cruel to each other.
Words of advice for aspiring performers:
Do it because you love the work. Money and fame come and go... and don't amount to a whole lot. Save when you are fortunate. Be kind when you are famous. Create your own opportunities. The work is the only thing that will continually inspire passion and fulfill your artist.
Since we're here, any other projects you want to plug?
Sure! My webseries "Lovin' Lakin" on Hulu and YouTube and the filmmaking show I judge with Ryan Higga called "Internet Icon," which you can also find on YouTube on the YOMYOMF Network (Season 2 coming soon!!)
Catch my voice on "Family Guy" and of course Dec. 25th in "Parental Guidance!"