Onstage / Ten Questions for Zoe Scruggs
Alberta in COOKIN' AT THE COOKERY at MusicalFare
What’s your relationship to this show and/or Alberta Hunter?
I only just learned about Alberta last year. As a musician myself, she is such an incredible inspiration in not letting go of what calls you and being true to yourself. YouTube and the Internet in general have been incredibly helpful in being able to see and hear Alberta in recordings and interviews. Plus, our director, Victoria Perez, is incredibly informed and able to offer a lot of insight.
What’s the best acting advice you were ever given?
Listen to your character. Get to know them. Be their voice.
What’s your best “the show went on” moment?
When I was in Smokey Joe’s Cafe, I went blind in the middle of my song. I literally lost my eyesight for a few minutes. I knew my blocking and the stage very well, so I kept going. I warned my castmates so they were ready in case it happened again, which it did not, thankfully.
What’s the role that got away?
I may be lucky in that there really hasn’t been a role that got away that I truly wanted. There’s always the future, though!
What line from a former play have you never forgotten and why?
There are loads. Most recently, “This world am a garden spot, not a thing this world have not, ’cept someone like me around to share its joy,” from Oscar Brown Jr.’s In De’ Beginnin.’ That quote speaks to me like no other. I feel it gets to the heart of me, but also to the heart of most people. We all need to take more time to enjoy the simpler things.
What “against type” role are you dying to play?
I don’t know if it counts as against type but Mama from Chicago.
What’s your classic actor nightmare dream?
[Laughs] Going blind onstage!
What audition would you love to do over?
You know what? Like all actors, I’ve had the occasional bad audition. But I will say this: no matter what, I wouldn’t go back and change any of it because from those bad auditions you learn perseverance and how to be more prepared.
What’s the best thing you’ve seen recently and why?
I saw Toni Stone, in New York, off Broadway. The cast worked so beautifully together. So honest to the work. It’s about the first woman to go pro in the Negro baseball leagues.
Catch me singing as Curtis Lovell: curtislovellmusic.com.
COOKIN' AT THE COOKERY runs through March 8. (musicalfare.com, 716-839-8540)