As the temporary shutdown of Broadway and theatres around the world continues, Playbill is reaching out to some of our favorite artists to see how they are coping with the self-isolation on a daily basis, both physically and creatively.
The series continues with YouTube sensation Christina Bianco, most recently seen as Fanny Brice in the Theatre Marigny’s celebrated production of Funny Girl in Paris. A two-time Drama Desk nominee, Bianco has appeared on the New York stage in The Marvelous Wonderettes, Application Pending, Newsical the Musical, and Forbidden Broadway Goes to Rehab. She made her West End debut in The Menier Chocolate Factory production of Forbidden Broadway at the Vaudeville Theatre, and her other theatrical credits include Hello, Dolly!, Rent, Beehive, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Her debut live album, Life of The Party, is available on iTunes.
One of the most important things I’ve learned is to avoid reading the news first thing in the morning. It’s never uplifting, and I need to start my days off with as positive an outlook as possible. So I usually wait until wine-o’clock to read the AP, etc.
What I’ve been doing is giving myself a reason to set the alarm and get up each day. I create a daily schedule the night before and I try to stick to it, to give me some structure and motivation. Even if that schedule includes a set time to brush my dog or watch Killing Eve, it helps me. I typically have a lot of emails to answer; if it’s nice weather, I take my dog Jeff on a long walk, I cook and bake, I work out… (as much as one can in a tiny studio apartment), but I spend most of the day in my new home office—in a corner, in front of a curtain, behind a ring light, or my Yeti microphone. With all of the digital concerts, events, and fundraising going on, I’ve been filming non-stop. Performances, live streams, master classes, interviews, podcasts, and, of course, my own content. It’s been a lot of work but all for great causes and it helps to keep me focused, creative, and in the public eye.
What book/TV show/podcast/film should everyone take the time to consume during this period?
Honestly, all of the recommendations for how to stay in shape and active in the industry have stressed me out! I say consume the content that makes you most happy. We all have so much stress in our lives right now. Directly or indirectly, it affects us. So if watching Zoolander and rereading Harry Potter brings you joy, do it.
Me? I watched all of Schitt’s Creek and am seriously considering immediately watching it all again.
What advice would you give to someone who may be struggling with the isolation?
Take it one day at a time. It’s easy to compare yourself to others who may seem to be doing great, staying busy, and planning ahead, but they don’t know what’s coming either. Take care of yourself, and accept that there will be good days and bad days. I find planning phone calls and video chats with friends very helpful. I always feel better after speaking to them.
And don’t get caught up in "the muck," as I call it. There is so much gossip and fodder out there, and the news is ever-changing. This is uncharted territory for everyone. So don’t get caught up in what people are saying about the future. No one knows! Plan each day, and we’ll all see what the next day brings, together.
How are you keeping your creative juices flowing?
I’m really overwhelmed at how much content and creativity is flowing in the artistic community right now, and I find that very inspiring! I love watching my friends create and perform, and now it’s to the point where there are actually too many events for me to watch in one day. But just knowing people are determined to entertain, stay creative, and keep the arts going makes me hopeful about the future of the entertainment world.
As soon as we locked down, I decided to do my silly little "Diva Madness" battles, to hopefully make people smile. Since then, I’ve participated in and contributed to at least 20 other arts-driven productions/activities, so now I’m focusing on my own content again. There’s a web series I started three years ago that I never got around to finishing. I never had the time before, so I’m not going to waste it now.
Are you working on any theatrical projects during this time?
Thankfully, yes. I’ve had four concerts postponed, but I still need to work on them, so I’m ready for the reschedule dates—whenever that may be. I’m optimistic that two gigs toward the end of the year will still be in place.
I’m also set to do a play that would keep me in the U.K. for many months. That, of course, has been postponed, but the powers that be are determined to make it happen in 2021. So I’m learning the script and continuing my studies of the piece. I’m grateful for the work, and it gives me something exciting to look forward to. Plus, it’s a fabulous distraction from doing my taxes.