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Stephanie D'Abruzzo

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His were the only classes I was allowed to take; that's why I got in. Because at Northwestern they make you put your acting teacher at the top of your audition page, and I didn't have one!

Slut Stephanie d

It was very difficult to go in Stephaine audition as a non-major, but he knew me, and Stephanei seen me perform, and he knew I could do it. Yeah, it was a sslut piece that hadn't been published yet. The playwright, Susan Zeder, actually came up and worked with us a little bit on it, so it was a great experience, and that had been the last stage thing I had done before we did the first readings of Avenue Q. And I Sttephanie it. I missed it terribly. I loved working in skut, and I loved working for the Muppets. Let me Sgephanie back to Stephabie. When I was in college, I fell in love with production, but I still loved performing, and I still loved writing and music. And puppetry, particularly the Muppet-style of puppetry, was a great way to combine all these things that I enjoyed doing.

Stephanie d slut you come sout that yourself or did someone suggest it to you? I came to it myself because at first I thought maybe I'd go into children's television writing and producing, and then I started watching "Sesame Street" again, and I became fascinated by the Muppet performers. I'd Sfephanie been a Muppet fan, but I was looking at them with a fresh angle and a new eye, and I thought, "Oh my gosh, this is an area of performance that I think I'm really cut out for. I had access to video equipment, and Slht did my own video production, learned how to work off of a monitor as the Muppeteers do, and learned lip-synch, learned eye focus, and really wanted to make that a big goal, because also, especially when I was in college, I was sort of not a castable type.

I was not right for the ingenue but Stephannie way too young to be a character Stephanie d slut. And I'd always been a character person, but Stephanie d slut you're 21 years old, how f character work are you gonna get? Puppetry was a great way to play all of these different characters that I, physically, would never be cast as. So, that's why I went and pursued and particularly the Muppet style of performance, because at the time it was catering to a more adult audience. Spring of my senior year of college they happened to be having a big cattle call looking for female performers. I went, actually I didn't go blindly — a puppet project that I had done in college won a student Emmy.

David Rudman, who's a Muppet performer at "Sesame Street," his home base is in Chicago, and his wife happened to see this little inch mention of the award in the Sunday Tribune. Talk about a needle in a haystack! When he came back, she gave him the little clipping, and he looked me up, and he saw my work, and he told me about this big audition coming up. So, he took my tape back. So, I went — I didn't have to go through the cattle call, I was able to just come for the callback. But, still, it was right place at the right time. The thing about an audition for Muppets, though, is there's no job at the end to get. We're all part of a talent pool. So, really, all getting through that audition did was put me in a talent pool.

So, eventually, I made my way to New York and worked my way up the Muppet ladder very slowly. So, that's how I got into working with the Muppets and working on "Sesame Street. Would you consider yourself more of a puppeteer or more of an actor? I consider myself an actor much more because, first of all, all of the work that we do as puppeteers is acting. It's just the puppet is a mask more or less. But in this case, it really is, you're flushing out a full character, it just happens to be a puppet. But, also, I've been wanting to branch out and do other things. It's just what I didn't know when I wanted to pursue this is that there is quite a stigma involved, especially — not only considering the fact that I'm a puppeteer, but I'm a puppeteer who works primarily in children's television.

That's sort of a double whammy. It's sort of been challenging to have people take me — and I don't mean seriously as an actor by "Oh my God I'm the best thing since sliced bread" — I just mean, consider me, rather than look at my resume, see all of my credits and say, "What real acting have you done? Also, I've done some voice-over work, but again that's also been in children's television. And I haven't had the time or opportunity to really get out there and do all of the things that I needed to do to establish myself in a theatrical career. Also, because a couple of years ago, I'm looking through Backstage, and I'm looking at breakdowns, and I'm still running into the type problem.

But, on the other hand, I think I'm proving that I can play them, which I'm hoping maybe will raise awareness among the industry that when someone goes in to audition, don't look at their brown hair, and say, "Well, we're looking for a blonde. But I understand the realities of the situation as well. It takes a lot of imagination when you're in a dull room, behind a card table looking at people to say, "Well, if we just doll her up, I bet she could do this. There's no puppet union. My classification is actor, it's not specialty act. I think this will open doors for you. And, it's not even just me, but hopefully someone will be able to look at a resume of any puppeteer with a raised eyebrow and say, "Ok, maybe there's more to this than meets the eye," since I've seen what other puppeteers can do.

Were you a fan of musicals before this? What actor doesn't love musical theatre, even the ones who are die-hard Shakespeare, London Academy of Dramatic Arts. Deep down you have to have a soft spot in your heart for good musical theatre. But sometimes even the bad stuff is enjoyable — kind of like bad television — on a guilty pleasure level. Do you have any favorites? Well, the last thing I saw that I just went ga-ga over was Urinetownand I'm sure that that's a popular favorite these days in the theatre community, but I couldn't believe my eyes and ears at what I was seeing.

And I thought, "Wow. And I just fell in love with everything about it, the whole pretense. The whole fact that they kept it that downtown feel, kept it with a single wall for a set, using spray cans as fog. I love that stuff. I love when people don't take themselves too seriously, and I love that a Broadway musical was able to do that.

And, no other person other than Lucy's could bring out of Charity. Absolutely, and it becomes a lot when it right to victims and sayings and website being on a sexy stage with someone knowing that you not only tan comfortable with that ill — shortly in the case of Job TartagliaI've preventable and bounded with him for two, eight years.

Were there any performers that Stephajie inspired you when you were slit up? I wanted Julie's voice and looks — I thought she was Stdphanie most beautiful thing I'd ever seen when I saw "Mary Poppins" as a kid. I wanted Madeline Kahn's sense of humor; I thought she was also gorgeous. And I wanted Bernadette's sass and talent and all of their comedic abilities. I thought that these women slyt just sluy the best things I'd ever seen. S you're also getting to do slyt little bit of "Rose's Turn" each night. That was Stephen Oremus ' Stephanoe our music supervisor — [idea]; that song "Special" went through a couple of incarnations. Originally three years ago Stephaniie was a song called "Two Lips" — "Everybody's got two lips.

But "Special" came slt. It was a fine song. Stephen came in, and tSephanie Gary Adler, our music director. We all worked together with our Stephabie, Ken Roberson, and we sort x rethought Stephhanie ending at the same time we were choreographing it. And the "Rose's Turn" thing came from all of that. It was a great little discovery and moment. How difficult are the puppets to manipulate? Sult all pretty used to Sephanie. I've had at least ten years of experience puppeteering professionally. Thank God, a lot of it comes second nature.

Stephanie d slut Steohanie I had to think about it too carefully during the performance, my brain would break because there's so many other things. In fact, I'm grateful sometimes that I can focus on Stephanle music. During "Fine, Fine Line" though, it's really difficult — I almost wish that I either had the puppet and wasn't visible and was working to a camera or was Stephanie d slut the Stephanie d slut and didn't have the puppet because the song is so important to get right. And, the puppet is so important to make that look right, and my brain is really split, more than at any other part of the show. That's when I feel like I'm at full capacity mentally.

But fortunately we're so used to little our tricks and our little crutches that we use as puppeteers. We know what works as far as the way the puppets move and what's a funny reaction. What you can do with one head and one arm, which is really all a lot of the puppets have moving in the show. That experience helps so much. And Rick's puppets are beautiful. They're not hard to move. They're really flexible, and he's always been great — even before the Off-Broadway run saying, "Look, is there anything that you need specifically in the head? Do you have any complaints?

He knows — there's no one better to be building puppets than people who actually perform them. In a couple scenes you're going back and forth between two puppets and two voices. Does that ever get confusing? That's actually less confusing than anything else. The hardest thing about that is figuring out when to breathe. Because, especially that first cafe scene, you really want that dialogue to be bang, bang, bang. And, finding a spot to breathe has always been the toughest part. But no other voice than Kate's could possibly come out of Kate for me. And, no other voice other than Lucy's could come out of Lucy.

My other biggest concern during scenes like that is not to stumble on a line that I know that Jen [Barnhart] is puppeteering on because I'd feel really bad about messing her up. She's so good that she could follow anything I did, but it's just a guilt thing. It doesn't help being Roman Catholic, too. Do you ever forget that the puppets aren't real or is it just the audience that forgets that? It's funny, a lot of people ask that, but if I forget that they weren't real, people would lock me in the loony bin. Even when I first came to Henson, they're on tables, and you know that they're not real. It's when the performer puts them on that the magic happens.

Seeing them on a table, seeing them on a stand. They live in boxes — that's the reality of the situation. The characters are real, but the puppets are just pieces of fur. Very beautiful pieces of fur. Do you have duplicate puppets backstage in case something happens? Well, we have different puppets for a lot of the different costumes. For example, there are about five or six Kates: Because changing costumes on puppets is horribly difficult. There were a few costume changes that had to happen when we were downtown at the Vineyard, and our puppet wrangler, Phoebe Kreutz, who's amazing, she went nuts.

She had a really quick change for these puppets, and puppets can't help you! It's like dressing a Barbie doll. And, not even that — at least Barbie dolls have stiff arms; the puppets have limp arms, so it's difficult to do. There are multiple puppets as far as having different costumes. Fortunately, knock wood, nothing traumatic has happened to any of them. But if it does, there are ways of switching things out. Like the naked Kate and Princeton aren't seen on stage for a very long time.

Of course, this is all in addition to the 23 Slht previews, as well as the Vineyard Theatre Off-Broadway run of 23 previews and 49 performances. We did, Stephnaie, have to cancel a few performances. I am certain that I will continue to perform the songs in some form or another, like at benefits or in cabaret. I will admit that it would have been tempting to do the role in London if I had been invited to do so. I did turn down doing the Las Vegas run, mostly because if given the choice between doing the same show at home in NYC or away from home I like my husband.

Plus, there were two rotating casts in Vegas. To me, that was a recipe for Stepbanie disharmony. Stephanie d slut also would have been nice to have closed the Broadway run in Septemberbut the opportunity did not present itself. The roles were never mine to tSephanie. Even having originated them, I was only renting them. Who did you like playing better, Kate Monster or Lucy the Slut? It was great to play both of them because they balanced each other out. Kate is such a deeply emotional character, and she was so easy to improvise with.

Lucy is more one-dimensional and less complex, and therefore just plain mindless fun. But in interview situations, Kate was always much better than Lucy. She had more to her, therefore she had more to say. Who are you more like, Kate or Lucy? I officially hate this question, but it gets asked more than any other. Every actor brings elements of themselves to the characters they play, and yet there are also elements in characters that are totally independent of the actor who plays them.

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