DIVA TALK: Glory Crampton, Leslie Kritzer, Julie Reiber, Josefina Scaglione, Natalie Toro and Rachel York's NYMF Chats

By Andrew Gans
13 Jul 2012

Natalie Toro

Natalie Toro
Zapata! The Musical at the Pershing Square Signature Center
July 24-29

How did you get involved with this production?
Natalie Toro: My agents called me with an appointment to audition. I actually laughed out loud when I saw the breakdown for this character. Her age was 60 years old. I went in for the audition, and I felt like it went really well. I called my agents afterwards and asked if this was where my career was going? We had a good laugh, and then I booked it!

What other NYMF productions have you been a part of?
NT: This is the first time I ever auditioned for NYMF.



How would you describe the character you're playing?
NT: Well, we pretty much started rehearsals a little more than a week ago. We learned music the first few days, then the director, Elizabeth Lucas, came to rehearsal. I walked over to her and asked her in my meekest voice and for those of you who know me, that's unusual, and asked if I was really playing a 60 year old. And, she said absolutely not. You play your age. Cool!

Senora Espejo is the mother of Zapata's wife, Josefa. And if you don't know who he is, he was a real person. Lived in a small town of Morelos, Mexico, in the early 1900's and became the revolutionary for the people to gain back their land that was stolen. He was like the "Eva Peron" of Mexico. The arc for this mother starts out liking him and is filled with joy seeing how her daughter is completely in love with him. As they are courting, all this drama does down. To protect himself and the army of men who follows and fights with him, he becomes wanted by the law. This changes everything for Senora. She is very protective of her daughter, after all, it is the 1900's and now there is a war. During the war, Senora realizes how gentle of a man he is to his daughter after a certain tragedy and changes her mind and actually becomes a Zapatista herself, a female soldier, and joins him and his fight.

Why do you think audiences should attend this particular production?
NT: First, it's an epic piece in a full production with a lot of passion and folkloric dancing. It's a piece that inherently still deals with a lot of today's issues, human rights and equal rights. The play starts out in present day, and then we go back to Zapata's time and we see that humans still haven't really evolved. I think what people will get out of this musical is that the fight is for "what you love" and not for "what you hate."

Why do you think NYMF is so important?
NT: Being a "newbie" to NYMF, I really didn't have a clue to the impact of what NYMF really was until I did the press conference on July 3rd. Yeah, I knew it was an opportunity for new works to be developed and such. But the passion of the people starting from the execs at the top to all the people that make a production a production, blew me away. I mean, the bottom line is it's about the work. And the daily commitment I see all around me, not only in my rehearsal room but other NYMF shows that are rehearsing in the same building, makes me feel blessed to be a part of this new experience.

NYMF celebrates new musicals, but which role in a classic musical would you most like to perform?
NT: I would love to be Dolly in Hello, Dolly! And, also in Gypsy and Once Upon a Mattress, as the leading lady, of course.

Do you have any other projects in the works?
NT: Just booked In The Heights in Salt Lake City, Utah, and filming two episodes of a webseries called "Child of The Seventies" out in L.A.

Read more about Natalie Toro at the Playbill Vault

Rachel York

Rachel York
Stealing Time at the PTC Performance Space
July 15-16

How did you get involved with this production?
Rachel York: Tor Hyams, the composer of Stealing Time has been a friend and collaborator for many years. He produced my first solo album, "Let's Fall in Love." In fact, one of my favorite tracks on the album, "Too Good To Be True," is an original composition written by Tor. When he called and asked me to be involved in Stealing Time, it was a no-brainer.

What other NYMF productions have you been a part of?
RY: Last year, I took part in a musical called Ghostlight, which was my first NYMF production.

How would you describe the character you're playing?
RY: Early on in her life, the character I'm portraying, Maya, had a successful modeling career. She has the inherent ability to fill a room with light, charm and positivity. In her early twenties, Maya gave up her career after meeting Thomas (her future husband). Thomas wasn't supportive of her modeling career as it conflicted with his vision of where their lives should go. Now, 13 years later, she deeply questions her decision. Where there was once an abundance of confidence, her husband's controlling behavior has contributed to Maya's low self-esteem. Maya feels trapped and unable to grow as a person. When she meets Ben, she finds love, inspiration and awakening. This is her journey.

Why do you think audiences should attend this particular production?
RY: I find the subject matter to be a window into the human condition. There will be those in the audience that can relate to Maya's struggle to regain her self, and consequently, appreciate her emotional journey towards self-realization and the growth that ultimately ensues.

Why do you think NYMF is so important?
RY: NYMF is an important vehicle for courageous writers to develop new works that otherwise wouldn't have a platform. It gives writers, actors, designers and audiences an opportunity to take risks and experience theatre in an organically raw setting.

NYMF celebrates new musicals, but which role in a classic musical would you most like to perform?
RY: I would welcome the opportunity to play Anna in The King and I again. I had the opportunity to take on the role last year in a beautiful production at The Walnut Street Theater and enjoyed the experience immensely. A role that is not in the cards for me (for obvious reasons), but one that I have always loved and appreciated, is Maria in West Side Story. As much as I enjoy the classic musicals, though, I find creating roles in new musicals, the most fun and fulfilling of opportunities.

Do you have any other projects in the works?
RY: I am excited to be playing Reno Sweeney in the first national tour of Kathleen Marshall's Tony Award-winning revival of Anything Goes, which kicks off in Cleveland this October.

Read more about Rachel York at the Playbill Vault

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Well, that's all for now. Diva Talk will return July 27. Happy diva-watching! E-mail questions or comments to agans@playbill.com.

Photos from the NYMF Opening Gala:

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Natalie Toro, Enrique Acevedo and Maria Eberline
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN