DIVA TALK: Chatting With NYMF Stars Susan Blackwell, Annie Golden, Rachel Stern and Allyson Tucker

By Andrew Gans
05 Jul 2013

Rachel Stern

Rachel Stern
Legacy Falls at PTC Performance Space; July 16-24

How did you get involved with this production?
I auditioned like everyone else. I just happened to have a good one that day. The room was really friendly, and my energy meshed with the creative team. I’m getting really excited to start rehearsals!

What other NYMF productions have you been a part of?
I did a production called Therapy Rocks a few years ago. It was one of the most challenging and rewarding theatrical experiences I’ve ever had. I even won an award for my performance in the production.

How would you describe the character you're playing?
Well, I’m not sure yet. I mean, I know Fleur is a hungry, entertainment reporter. That kind of character can go in lots of directions. She loves to spill the scoop on what’s happening down at "Legacy Falls" (the soap opera extraordinaire)! I’m looking forward to painting her with some juicy, bitchy layers.

Why do you think audiences should attend this particular production?
Well, I’m a fan of soap operas in general. They’re so over the top and delightful and filled with sparkly jewelry and people! No matter how ridiculous a story line is, we eat it hook, line and sinker. It’s hilarious! If I wasn’t in this production, it would still be the first one I’d go see as an audience member.

Why do you think NYMF is so important?
I’m a huge fan of the NYMF. To have an opportunity for new musicals to showcase in full productions is priceless. It’s the time of year where there is concentration on new musicals, with the forgiveness of small budgets but realized ideas. Plus we actors, no matter how many shows we’ve done or not done, all want to be a part of someone’s ground floor project. It’s why I got into theatre in the first place. Creating new musicals!!!! What a gift.

NYMF celebrates new musicals, but which role in a classic musical would you most like to perform and why?
Classic musical? Does that mean it can’t be a rock musical? Well, tough. I’ve always wanted to play Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar.

What is your most memorable onstage mishap?
Only one? I have experienced some masterful booboos on stage. Some because of me, some in spite of me. Hmmm. Guess I should pick a funny one. Most of them are horrifying. Well, this was scary, but less so than many. I played Humpty Dumpty in Shrek. That costume ruined my life. I have no qualms about saying that. The way it was put together was out of some 1400’s German torture device. The height of the costume was adjusted like a giant umbrella holder. Ya know, with different clicks for different heights. Someone had messed with the height before the show, and when I quick-changed into the costume on stage, it covered my whole head and I had to dance out on stage with no sight, hearing or balance. I managed to squeak out my one solo and ran off stage, banging into people on the way, and had a delightful nervous breakdown. YAY! Live theatre!

What was your most enjoyable theatrical experience of the season (as a member of the audience)?
This season? Sadly, I haven’t been to see any Broadway shows this season, yet. I’m super poor right now. Oh! I saw Peter and the Starcatcher at New World Stages. I loved it. It was in such a wonderful, more intimate space, and it felt like I was back in college, experiencing that raw, hilarious, tender, honest theatre again. It really is rare when it comes to "upper echelon" theatre. Big budget doesn’t always mean giant spectacle. The work was giant, and I loved it. BTW, I love big, giant spectacles, too. I’m so easily awed and entertained. I really want to see Pippin!

What are your other projects in the works?
I wish I had some major news for you. My job luck hasn’t been so groovy lately. Many of the projects I was working on have either fallen through or did me wrong. It happens. I’ve been putting a lot of energy into voice overs and working on my own music. I’ve been writing music for 30 years and never had the guts to put it together until recently. I’m being very patient as far as my career goes, and auditioning, and staying positive. It’s not easy for about 98% of us out there. No matter how good or devoted you are. Sometimes, there are mean times. But, it’s important to realize you are bigger than the lull. I’m not going anywhere. This business is stuck with me!