Onstage / TEN QUESTIONS FOR Ellen Horst
Grandma Kurnitz in LOST IN YONKERS at Desiderio’s Dinner Theatre
Desiderio’s Dinner Theatre at Bobby J’s
204 Como Park Blvd Cheektowaga
(716) 395-320, www.mybobbyjs.com/desiderio-s-dinner-theatre
What’s your relationship to Lost in Yonkers?
I’ve always liked Neil Simon’s plays. I remember reading the play when it was first out and thinking Grandma Kurnitz would be a role to put on my bucket list for the years ahead.
What’s the best acting advice you were ever given?
When in doubt, always go back to the script.
What’s your best “the show went on” moment?
We were doing Hal Prince’s Show Boat in Toronto. During the opening number, this wonderful Show Boat turns the corner backstage and comes on stage. At the end of the number, the Show Boat reverses, makes the curve, and disappears offstage. One night, the boat was making the backstage turn and one of the knives in the track didn’t get pulled at the right moment and the boat pinned a crew member against the wall. The show never stopped. The audience never knew.
What’s the role that got away?
I always hoped for the opportunity to audition for Anna in The King and I before I aged out. The opportunity never came my way. I certainly could still sing it in concert.
What line from a former play have you never forgotten and why?
Usually when I finish a play, the lines disappear. However, I will always recall probably the most famous quote from Death of a Salesman, which is “attention must be paid.” It applies to every day and life.
What “against type” role are you dying to play?
This one is hard. I can’t think of a time when I saw a play or musical and wanted to do the man’s role. Of course, I’ll think of something as soon as I submit this.
What’s your actor nightmare dream?
Going up on your lines. It’s the black hole!
What audition would you love to do over?
The final callback for a revival of The Music Man on Broadway. I missed getting the show by one person. There were thirteen of us and they took twelve.
What’s the best thing you’ve seen this season and why?
There are a few; it’s hard to choose one over another. I didn’t know Big Fish [Second Generation Theatre], and I found the story so engaging. The mixture of the imagination and reality struck my heart. Umbrellas used to create an elephant was brilliant. Spamalot [Kavinoky] was everything it should be. All the laughter you could want, great choreography, and a pretty fabulous Lady of the Lake. Every character was full and invested. A great time. The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey [Buffalo United Artists] was a beautiful piece. It was wonderful to see Jimmy Janowski in something outside what he is known for. Such a fine actor. Every character was full. Funny when he needed to be funny and immensely touching when he needed to be.
Plugs for the next season?
Lost in Yonkers is all at the moment. I’m available.