DIVA TALK: Chatting With NYMF Stars Jenna Leigh Green, Karen Mason, Jane Summerhays and Lynn Wintersteller

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12 Jul 2013

Jenna Leigh Green
Jenna Leigh Green

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

This week's column spotlights four of the women featured in the 2013 New York Musical Theatre Festival, which runs through July 28 at various venues around the city. Diva Talk posed the same set of questions to each talented artist; their answers, via email, follow.

Jenna Leigh Green
Standby at The Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre; July 19-28

How did you get involved with this production?
I received a lovely email from Daryl Eisenberg, the show's casting director on behalf of the creative team. As actors we are always putting ourselves out there, audition after audition hoping for the "right fit." It will never get old to have someone actually bring a project to you, without having to go through that process. I hadn't worked with this team before, so I was extremly flattered that they thought I would be that right fit.

What other NYMF productions have you been a part of?
This is my second year in a row being a part of the festival, and I couldn't be happier about it. Last year I was in a show called It's On as part of the staged reading series. I'm excited to move on to a full production this year.

How would you describe the character you're playing?
We are actually days away from starting rehearsals, so I have a lot to learn about her still. I love the process of working with the director and writers to fully discover who the character is. My initial feelings are that Cynthia is fragile. She is from a wealthy family and has been taken care of her whole life. She has an intense need to be needed and to feel like she has worth. Part of her journey is learning if she can stand on her own two feet.

Why do you think audiences should attend this particular production?
I think this is a story that everyone can relate to in some way. It's about five people who all need to come to terms with their past in order to move on towards their future. Oh, and the cast is made up of some really pretty people. Who doesn't like to look at pretty people?

Why do you think NYMF is so important?
NYMF celebrates new works, and that is something that is very important to me. We, as a community, need to be supporting up-and-coming writers, composers and performers. NYMF gives us the chance to be a part of these shows in their early stages and feel the creative energy flowing everywhere. It's invigorating and exciting!

Green and John Hill in the original Off-Broadway production of Bare.
photo by Joan Marcus

NYMF celebrates new musicals, but which role in a classic musical would you most like to perform and why?
Well, my ultimate dream would be to create a role that becomes a classic. However, if I could choose anything, Les Miz has always been my favorite show. I would pretty much do anything to get the chance to be in it in any capacity. Hair hag, Whore #1, or hell, I would sing a mean "Stars." We can gender bend, right?

What is your most memorable onstage mishap?
I was 17 or 18 playing Little Red in Into The Woods, still one of my favorite experiences to date. I suppose I was in a hurry to pin my wig on that particular day, because when the Baker went to rip my cape off my shoulders, the hook caught on one of my curls and ripped my wig right off my head. It went flying into the 2nd or 3rd row. I'm not kidding. The scream the audience got that day was a mixture of temper tantrum and total mortification. I had a 30-second crossover backstage for my big song, and there was no way to get it back and on my head, so the number was performed in just my wig cap. Not quite sure I will ever forget that….or live it down.

What was your most enjoyable theatrical experience of the season (as a member of the audience)?
There have been a few. Getting to watch long-time friend Lesli Margherita make her long overdue Broadway debut (and almost steal the show) in Matilda was definitely a huge one. I loved the show so much! Those children blew my mind!! I also lost my mind over the creativity of Pippin. Who wouldn't be impressed by performers putting on body suits and jumping through hoops. Literally. Lastly, I was unbelievably touched and so emotional when I saw Last 5 Years at Second Stage. Beautiful performances, beautiful material! If only I were a blonde…I would kill to sink my teeth into that role!

Do you have any other projects in the works?
I'm kinda working on a secret project with a long-time collaborator. I dont think I'm ready to talk about it yet, but it involves two things that scare me to death. Pop music and recording studios, and I couldn't be more excited about conquering my fears!



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