By Sherri Rase, Qonstage.com
QonStage.com recently published a review of “Hairspray,” at the Paper Mill Playhouse, with a dazzlingly talented cast. Playing a variety of character roles was the versatile and talented Susan Mosher. An actress whose face is as mobile as the shadows of clouds across the prairie, she took a few moments to speak with us as she’s preparing for her role in “[title of show]” by Hunter Bell, on book, and Jeff Bowen, the music and lyrics. George Street Playhouse’s opening will be directed by Matthew Lenz and opens on November 19.
QoS: Susan thank you for taking some time out to speak with us. The schedule must be grueling.
SM: Well, I am commuting in from New York City every day so I’ve become VERY familiar with the Northeast Corridor line. It’s only about a four walk block to the theater from the train.
QoS: Four blocks? That’s nothing for a city girl! Are you originally from New York City?
SM: I was born in Tampa, Florida, and raised in San Diego, California, where life revolves around a beach lifestyle and it was a very looks-ist environment. I am an only child and come from parents who are funny in a cerebral way, so my style of comedy is more outgoing. They divorced when I was eight years old and there were two very different sets of rules between homes. I became a major attention whore. I really found my niche, though, in the theater. The first time I went to New York, there was and is so much life of the mind that I knew I had found my home. I’d never live anywhere else.
QoS: Many of our readers have seen you at Broadway at the Beach, hosted on Mondays by Brandon Cutrell, at the Ice Palace, out in Cherry Grove. What is it that you enjoy most about the Grove?
SM: Broadway at the Beach has such a slumber party feel, because those of us who travel out to perform are staying the night. There is such a happy feeling, a feeling of freedom and the sense that we can play with wild abandon and take risks. Freedom, and it’s such a good time–plus the margaritas are delicious!
QoS: In your past, were there any events or occurrences that helped prepare you for your glamorous life as a singing, acting comedy star?
SM: (laughing a little) I don’t know that I’d really call it glamorous. There is some anxiety around pursuing your dreams and doing the things you want to do. Right now it’s wonderful, I’m preparing for this show and everyone is creative and talented. David Saint (director/artistic director of George Street) lives up to his name. He’s a lovely man and very giving as an artist. For the barren times and the waiting and the auditioning, I remember that this is the path I’ve chosen. Someone who chooses theatre as their life has those golden moments, like working on this role, but it’s an odd life.
QoS: That’s a lot to consider! Let’s move from the practical to the fantastical for a moment. Where would you live, or vacation, if given absolute freedom of choice?
SM: Hmmmm, as for vacation…I LOVE Greece and Santorini, it’s just beautiful. But there is nothing like living in New York City. Wherever you go, there are always a lot of people around you.
QoS: You’ve got so much going on right now, what’s next in your career?
SM: I am a writer as well as an actress and I’ve got a one-person, called “The Great Daisy Theory,” that I’ve been performing, writing and refining. It’s written by me, for me and directed by Matt Lenz, who’s directing this production “[title of show].” I am a big believer in creating your own work and all the people I see around me, whom I respect, are always pushing and writing and creating. Work will continue and you’ll see some performances scheduled in January, in and around New York City.
QoS: That’s super! You and I both attend a lot of theatre. Do you feel that there are enough people attending theatre to keep it alive and growing? I know that many of the productions I see are well attended by elders in our community, who see the value of strong performances, but what of people our age and younger?
SM: I saw “Circle Mirror Transformation” here at George Street Playhouse. I noticed that the many of the audience around me were those who develop a relationship with their local theatre. These people, subscribers, are very important. When I see shows in the city, there are a lot of people of all ages in the theatres. These people who love live performance, many of whom are subscribers, are the backbone of any regional theater. People need to come together to experience live events and to feel “This play is me.”