Friday, March 6, 2015

FRIGID New York Interview - Samantha DeSimone of "Erik"

By Byrne Harrison

Show: Erik
Photo credit: Kisha Peart

Samantha DeSimone is a New Jersey native who graduated from Wagner College with a B.A in Theatre in 2012.  Samantha has been working with Rising Sun Performance Company since 2012. Shows with RSP include Hotel Suite/Room 128, Erik Staged Reading, Donkey, Henry’s Wives and Hellcab (2013).  Past non RSP credits include Jesus Christ Superstar (Soul Sister), Lysistrata (Lampito) and The Magic Tower (Mrs. O’Fallon) all at Wagner College.  Other favorite credits Bare: A Pop Opera (student), Straphangers: An Original Musical (Sarah) and Rent (Mrs. Davis).  Samantha is also a volunteer with Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids, helping to produce and direct numbers cabarets including “Laughter is the Best Medicine I and II”, “All You Need is Love: A Beatles Revue” and “Blackout.”

Tell me a little about your show.

Erik (with a K!) is a satirical look at The Phantom of the Opera as told through the rag tag members of a traveling freak show.  It's highly stylized and highly hilarious--plus there are puppets.  Plenty of puppets!
How did you become involved with it?

I was lucky enough to be a part of the initial reading of Erik in October, from then I was hooked.  When I heard that we were going to get the chance to produce a full production of the show I could not contain my excitement.

Who else is helping you bring the show to FRIGID?

Rising Sun Performance ensemble has been home base for all things Erik.  Rising Sun has an outstanding reputation in the off-off Broadway community and has been a nurturing home for this avant-garde piece. 

Who would be your dream audience for this show?

Anyone with an open mind.  There are tons of laughs to be mined in this show--but if you walk through those doors expecting a conventional show you have come to the wrong place.  But if you're willing to suspend reality for an hour or so then we have a show for you---oh and Meryl Streep.  Meryl you're always welcome.

As a theatre artist, who are your biggest influences?

When Mark Rylance is in a piece I try not to miss it.  He has such freedom on stage as well as overall courage when tackling a role.

What shows are you planning to see at FRIGID?

As many as I can.  I get free passes--why on Earth would I not go to as many as humanly possible.  Even without the passes I would go.  This festival is an amazing opportunity for artists to get their work seen on a level that may not have been possible before.

What is next for you in 2015?

Next up I am in an interactive, immersive theatre piece called Phantasm that will be premiering later this year Off Broadway in the same venue as 50 Shades: The Musical Parody!

Lightning round

Favorite theatre professional? Julie Taymor (I'll forgive you for Spider-Man)

Current show you would love to be involved with? Sleep No More

Your dream show to be involved with?  Does Saturday Night Live count?

Who would you most like to have a chance to work with? Alan Cumming

Your best theatre experience? Last year working with Rising Sun Performance ensemble again I was in the Planet Connections Theatre festivity in a show called Donkey, and that experience changed my life.  Oh, and the time I played a tree in the second grade.

Person you’d most like to thank for getting you where you are today?  My parents, my sister and Lucille Ball.  All of whom taught me that laughing at yourself is the best form of comedy.

To find out more about Erik, visit the FRIGID New York website.

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