DIVA TALK: Chats With NYMF's Catherine Cox, Michelle Federer, Anika Larsen, J. Elaine Marcos, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Melissa van der Schyff

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06 Jul 2012

Catherine Cox
Catherine Cox

News, views and reviews about the multi-talented women of the musical theatre and the concert/cabaret stage.

This week spotlights six of the women featured in the 2012 New York Musical Theatre Festival, which runs July 9-29 at various venues around the city. Diva Talk posed the same set of questions to each talented artist; their answers follow.

Catherine Cox
Flambé Dreams at the 45th Street Theatre (Mainstage)
July 9-17

How did you get involved in this production?
Catherine Cox: I was contacted by the wonderful director, West Hyler, many moons ago, and I [also] did a [subsequent] reading.

How many NYMF productions have you been involved in?
CC: One. Last year. So I guess you could say I'm back by popular demand and "on a run." The piece was called Vote For Me (music by Drew Fornarola, lyrics by Scott Elmegreen and direction by Amy Rogers).



How would you describe the character you're playing?
CC: Well-meaning, neurotic, beyond sweet, beyond controlling. In a word… a mother.

Why do you think audiences should attend this particular production?
CC: Because it's incredibly funny and touching and the cast and the material is really, really fabulous.

Why do you think NYMF is so important?
CC: The obvious… it gives writers and actors a venue to work on new musicals and "get them up."

NYMF celebrates new musicals, but which role in a classic musical would you most like to perform?
CC: Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd.

Do you have any other projects in the works?
CC: Yes. Two. One is called The Memory Show. It's a two-character musical about Alzheimer's (and, yes, it's touching and painfully funny). The music is by Zac Redler/lyrics by Sara Cooper and directed by Joe Calarco with Vadim Feichtner as musical director. It will be produced by The Transport Group (thank you, Jack Cummings) and open at the Duke Theater on 42nd St. in March of 2013. And, I have the pleasure to work with Leslie Kritzer.

The other project that's in the works is called Open All Night (music by David Evans/lyrics by Faye Greenberg). It's one-night in the life of an insomniac. (Did I say it was incredibly funny and painfully touching?) I guess that's what I do.

Read more about Catherine Cox in the Playbill Vault.

Michelle Federer

Michelle Federer
How Deep Is the Ocean? at the Theater at St. Clements
July 12-21

How did you get involved with this production?
Michelle Federer: I got involved with How Deep Is the Ocean? through The Midtown Direct Theatre Company, which is based in Maplewood, NJ, where I live with my family. As a company member, I had the opportunity to do a staged reading of the piece last fall. I kinda fell in love with my character Jackie, so when Jeremy Dobrish, who directed the reading, asked me to join this production, I jumped at the chance.

What other NYMF productions have you been a part of?
MF: This is my first NYMF show!

How would you describe the character you're playing?
MF: Jackie is the wife of an artist. She lives at the Jersey Shore year round, works double shifts at the local beauty parlor and drinks Jack Daniels from a coffee mug.

Why do you think audiences should attend this particular production?
MF: I think audiences will recognize the very real struggle the main couple is having in their marriage. What will surprise them is the world they are existing in. The music is great and the book is hilarious, too!

Why do you think NYMF is so important?
MF: NYMF is important because new work is important. It forces artists to get back to the basics, be resourceful, collaborative and creative. It's a great opportunity to see a lot of theatre at reasonable prices!!!!

NYMF celebrates new musicals, but which role in a classic musical would you most like to perform?
MF: Sally Bowles has always interested me, but so has Aldonza from The Man of La Mancha.

Do you have any other projects in the works?
MF: I have to be super selective right now because I have a baby. She is, by far, the best project I have ever been a part of.

Read more about Michelle Federer in the Playbill Vault.

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