Onstage / TEN QUESTIONS FOR Lisa Ludwig
(Emma in ANNAPURNA at New Phoenix, Doris in SAME TIME, NEXT YEAR at Desiderio’s)
Image courtesy of Lisa Ludwig
What’s your relationship to these shows/characters?
I am not sure I have a “relationship” with them. I can’t even say I “like” either of these women (haha), but through rehearsals you come to understand their journeys and want to tell their story. Years ago, doing the play ’night, Mother, my director said, “Lisa, you don’t like Jessie [your character], and it is showing.” He was correct, but then I realized that it’s not my job as an actor to judge the characters; my job is to tell their stories as best I can through their eyes and experiences.
What’s the best acting advice you were ever given?
I was young and playing Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors. We were rehearsing “Somewhere That’s Green” and the musical director said, “You sound great....but so what? You’re just singing pretty, you don’t know what you’re singing about; you’re not acting.” It was like a light bulb when on. Not really being a “singer’s singer,” I was always worried about trying to sound good, and never realized yes, you have to hit the notes, but you also have to tell the story to the audience. Musical numbers are like monologues.
What’s your best “the show went on” moment?
Seventh grade, I was playing a dancing snowman for the Alden Middle School production of What Are You Giving for Christmas. I was running to the cafeteria for call and stubbed my hand against a brick wall. I heard and felt something snap in my finger. Instead of going to an adult, I went to the eighth grade student stage manager (who shall remain nameless). She said “You’re fine,” grabbed my hand to wiggle my finger and ended up turning my finger all the way around. The principal put a splint on it and I did the show with my finger backwards and swollen up to the size of my wrist!
What’s the role that got away?
Rizzo in Grease! I played Marty at Artpark years ago but sooooo wanted to play Rizzo. Someone should do a production of old Grease for some of us “mature” actors:) It would be a hoot; I have a dream cast already in mind. Miss Hannigan in Annie is another one.
What line from a former play have you never forgotten?
I am infamous for forgetting every line in every show the minute the show is over, so I can retain new lines for the next show, but if you ask theater reviewer extraordinaire Tony Chase, he can tell you every good line I have ever said on stage.
What “against type” role are you dying to play?
I don’t know if there is one at the moment. I’ve been lucky to play a lot of roles people might not have originally thought I was right for; I am always up for a challenge. Maybe my next “against type” role is retirement.
What’s your classic actor nightmare dream?
Classic is the correct word. It’s the one everyone has: it’s performance time and you don’t know your lines.
What’s one audition you wish you could do over?
Every one of them.
What’s been the best thing you’ve seen this season and why?
I have seen a lot of wonderful productions this year in Buffalo but I have to say Godspell at Iroquois and 42nd Street at Amherst High School. There is something special about directing high school students and watching the dedication and drive of these young adults to put on a professional show no matter what.
In June, I will be appearing in Nine for Second Generation Theatre.
Annapurna opens April 26 at New Phoenix (newphoenixtheatre.org, 853-1334)
For more theater info, CLICK HERE.