KAVINOKY WILL BE OFFERING TWO LIVE: FROM THE KAV EVENTS IN SEPTEMBER:
John Fredo at 8 p.m.
Lorenzo Shawn Parnell at 8 p.m.
Beginning this month, Kavinoky will be offering cabaret-and-conversation streaming events with John Fredo up first.
What’s the name of your cabaret?
It doesn’t have a name as of yet. Loraine [O’Donnell, Kavinoky executive artistic director] is hosting, I am going to sing a couple of songs, and we will have a bit of a talk/hangout.
How did this idea come about?
Loraine approached me about doing something at the Kav to keep things alive and stimulate. I was more than happy to be a part of that.
How will you adjust to singing to nobody?
Having just had the experience of doing a distance performance [as part of MusicalFare’s Swing, Swing, Swing] with a cast of six keeping six feet apart, lip-synching to our pre-recorded voices, including dance, what I thought was going to be nerve-wracking and somewhat daunting became, very quickly, exciting and surprisingly easier than I thought. Often when we are on stage, we are speaking or singing to the dark. The leap was not difficult. I would say, I’ll probably miss the immediate feedback of an audience.
What’s the best acting advice you were ever given?
From a mentor of mine, Judith Jamison: "Don’t show it, be it." I still hold onto that motto.
What’s your best "the show went on" moment?
I was doing a huge production number at the end of the first act of a musical called Harlem Suite. My director, and lead of the piece, got very close to me on a quick set of turns. He clocked me in the jaw and broke my tooth. I remember hitting the ground and a fellow cast member quickly scooping me up. I finished the intense dance number but did go to the emergency room at intermission.
What’s the role that got away?
I remember when I was young, I always wanted to play Tulsa in Gypsy. I was doing a show with Milwaukee Repertory the year that Bette Midler was filming her version in Chicago. My castmates were going down to audition on our day off. That was the moment I realized I was too old to play him. It really sunk in.
What line from a former play have you never forgotten and why?
There are two I cannot get out of my head. Willy Loman, in Death of a Salesman, unable to be shaken from his delusion, when Biff, resigned to his ordinary existence, finally confronts his father. Willy responds, "I am not a dime a dozen! I am Willy Loman, and you are Biff Loman!" I know it seems simple, but there is so much loaded into that moment and dynamic between parent and child, and their dreams for them; it really hit home. And, from Falsettos, Cordelia‘s line, "You save lives, and I save chicken fat. I can’t fucking deal with that." I laughed every night when I heard it and still think of it almost every day.
What "against type" role are you dying to play?
Rose in Gypsy and Joanne in Company
What’s your classic actor nightmare dream?
I am waiting backstage to go on, completely confident that everything is going just right. And then no words would come to my mind and somehow I am not in the right costume, and/or naked. Sometimes, I have to climb a really tall ladder to get to the stage.
What audition would you love to do over?
Years ago, auditioning in New York for a play called Juba. Realizing it was a very important piece and not wanting to appear nervous, I desensitized myself to its importance. I wound up giving a lackluster audition and, of course, not being cast.