STAGE VIEWS: Eager to Lose Star Stacey Yen

Special Features   STAGE VIEWS: Eager to Lose Star Stacey Yen's series features actors commenting on their recent theatregoing experiences, what productions they're looking forward to and more. Here, via email, we hear from actress Stacy Yen, who can currently be seen Off-Broadway in Eager to Lose at the Ars Nova.

Stacey Yen
Stacey Yen

What show recently impressed you?
I finally saw Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 two weeks ago in its new uptown space, and I was impressed. I was impressed by the enormous tent in a parking lot sandwiched between the brick and mortar Broadway houses; I was impressed by Mimi Lien’s design, which was both a stunning theatre and functioning restaurant; but I was most impressed with the impeccable, enthralling and fresh storytelling that took place around me and, at times, on top of me. I didn’t realize that it was a full-on opera! My goodness, the stunning libretto and music required the actors to give huge performances — dancing in strobe lights, running up stairs, interacting with the audience and singing through an incredibly moving story. Hats off to all the actors, musicians and director, Rachel Chavkin, who basically staged a piece of theatre that is as ambitious and sweeping as a classic Russian novel. Impressive.

What production are you most excited to see?
Like so many, I am excited to see The Glass Menagerie. I caught an interview with the cast on "Charlie Rose" and could feel the deep respect, generosity and care they have for each other and the play. They presented themselves as a true ensemble, which is always the ingredient that makes a great play extraordinary.

I’m also excited to see the all-female Julius Caesar at St. Ann’s and the all-male Twelfth Night. I played Olivia at Hartford Stage this summer, and I know Mark Rylance will mine every detail and give a performance akin to a master class on all things “Countess.”

But, perhaps what I’m most excited to see is the premiere of The Power of the Duff at the Huntington Theatre in Boston. My husband, Joe Paulik, is in the show. He’s my favorite actor, and I miss him very much.

What play/musical would you most like to revive on Broadway, and which role would you want to play?
This is an answer all actors should have in their back pocket, but the truth is I don’t have an answer. Except, there is a lot of uncertainty in an acting career, but the one “unknown” I have come to actually like is not knowing who I'll inhabit next. I have found my most satisfying work has come when I have no baggage or preconceived notions about a part or play. I also like surprises. If I could sing, I'd say Sally Bowles. I do love Uncle Vanya and would love a go at both Sonya and Yelena. I know that Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller are really busy, but if there was ever a thought to bring Frankenstein to NYC, I'd love to be their improbable understudy. I mildly kid, but I envied what both actors got to do in that show, alternate between the Doctor and Creature. What a brilliant exploration. But to circle back to the idea of “revival,” at the end of the day, I’d rather collaborate with a great group of artists and create something devised, original and new.

What are your current/upcoming projects?
I am currently stripping, twirling my tassels, and speaking in verse in a burlesque farce called Eager to Lose at Ars Nova. It’s a new play written by Matthew-Lee Erlbach and co-created by Portia Krieger, Wes Grantom and Tansy Tan Dora (“The Elizabeth Taylor” of Burlesque.) Live music, booze, rhyming couplets, T & A, vaudeville acts and a love story... it’s a dream of a show, with lots of moving parts. Everyone involved is insanely talented, and I’m just trying to shimmy with the best of them. It’s been a wonderful, eye-opening introduction to the world of burlesque, which is so vibrant. I’m grateful I can add “striptease” to my list of special skills. I hope people come, order a double pour and get a little rowdy, because it's that kind of show.

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