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Teach Me to Cry

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Richard E. Waits
June 24, 2013

What is your job on this show?
Actor.

What is your show about?
A new play inspired by real fear, during the AIDS epidemic in New York City. Can two, diametrically opposite, men come to accept each other and themselves?

When did you know you wanted to work in the theater, and why?
The early evening, in the dead of a Western New York Winter Snow storm (think Buffalo)! I was Production assistant on our High School's Production of My Fair Lady. We were all nervous...were we going to be able to make it home that night. Eliza was nervous about her new feelings towards Professor Henry Higgins. She sings the ending wind up to "I could have danced all night" in a white dress, embroidered with tiny red roses, standing in front of a red velvet fainting couch, the stage goes dark, a special comes up on her. "I only know, when he, began to dance, with me, I could have danced danced danced ALL NIGHT! (Da da da DA da,Da da da DA da, da da da Da da da!!) Light bump up on button of the song. The bug had bitten, I was in tears...I knew, there there was not turning back. My life would be given to the Theatre

Are audiences in New York City different from audiences in other cities/countries where you’ve performed? If so, how?
New York audiences are the cream of the crop, especially audiences for Play Festivals! They possess a hard edged sophistication, are intelligent, well read, have a keen eye, for detail, story telling, and theatrical know how. With a play like TEACH ME TO CRY, they will know of the difficulties of the time period, and will revel in and appreciate the fresh, heart felt story Writer William J. Schneider has decided to tell. "There are no new stories, only new ways to tell them."

Is there a particular moment in this show that you really love or look forward to? Without giving away surprises, what happens in that moment and why does it jazz you?
Oh yes, I look forward to the moment when the character Edgar finishes and emotional speech, and turns to Anthony and says, "Do you know what it is like to hide every day of your life?" Anthony without word nods yes. So simple, so on point, he understands they have more in common, than not. To me , this is the main theme of Human Universal Life. As Carl Sagan said it, "we are nothing but star stuff." This sends me to the moon! And the only reason it can work is because of my co star Jim Thalman, he is so in the moment, ready to catch me if I fall, so willing to play ball, real talent, no Bull Sh**, and not bad on the eye...professionally speaking of course.

Which “S” word best describes your show: SMOOTH, SEXY, SMART, SURPRISING?
SURPRISING Because it's not the typical story you expect from this type of Play.

How important is diversity to you in the theater you see/make?
Diversity is very important! In my opinion, DIVERSITY EQUALS TRUTH. For the youth, in particular, it gives them a broader perspective in life, and makes dreams possible to achieve. These Youth mature into responsible, caring adults Our Director Gerald vanHeerdan works with many Youths in Theatrical settings, and with his South African roots, has a long family history of Human Civil Rights. With this in his DNA you will experience a diverse cast both ethnically, and creatively.