Q & A with Lisa Brescia, who starred in the lead role of 'Donna Sheridan' in the Abba inspired Broadway musical Mamma Mia!, playing at the Winter Garden Theatre.
Place of birth?
Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
You now live in?
North Bergen, NJ.
Did you go to training school, if so which one?
American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
Your first stage performance was?
Amaryllis in "The Music Man" (Whitnal High School).
Career highlight to date?
Helena in "All's Well That Ends Well" with the Public Theater's Shakespeare Lab.
What roles would you most like to play?
Beatrice in "Much Ado About Nothing", Diana in "Next To Normal".
What's the best advice you have ever received?
Trust your instincts.
What is the most annoying part about your job?
The ONLY annoying thing is the raked stage. It's tough on the body. I enjoy all other aspects of "Mamma Mia!"
Briefly tell us how you become involved with Mamma Mia!
I auditioned for the role of Donna twice over a 6 month period, then got the call with the offer for Broadway. I was very excited that I'd finally aged into it. It's a GREAT part.
Briefly tell us about the character you play in Mamma Mia?
Donna Sheridan, 40 years old (according to the script), owner and operator of a hotel on a Greek island, fiercely independent, she prides herself on her self-sufficiency. Some of this is due to a romantic heart-shattering which occurred when she was 19 years old, so her defenses came up against any kind of dependency (emotional or otherwise) on a man. She enjoys life, loves her daughter and her friends with complete abandon, and refuses to feel sorry for herself, though she wouldn't mind if a bit more money were coming in. She's got a great capacity for joy and creating fun for those around her, but she also has a quick temper when provoked or disappointed.
If you had not become a performer, what might you have done instead?
I imagine I would have gone into a helping profession, probably in the mental health arena.
Who are your favorite actors/actresses?
Mark Rylance, Cherry Jones, Frances McDormand, Audra McDonald, Frank Langella, Randy Graff, Kathleen Chalfant, Kevin Spacey, Edie Falco, Laura Linney, Brian D'Arcy James, Norbert Leo Butz.
If you could meet anyone in the world dead or alive who would it be and what would you say to them?
William Shakespeare: "Thank you" and "How the hell did you do that?"
Favorite after-show haunts?
Home, with my husband and pooch.
What was the last Broadway show you saw?
What was the last book you read, and name some of your favorite authors?
"The Count of Monte Cristo". Some favorites: John Steinbeck, John Irving, Stieg Larsson, Marianne Williamson.
What was the last film you saw, and name some of your favorite movies?
I recently saw "The Conviction" and loved it. Some favorites: "As Good As It Gets", "District 9", "Frost/Nixon", "A Place in the Sun".
Favorite TV programs?
"The Good Wife", "Nurse Jackie", "In Treatment", "The Closer".
Favorite holiday destinations?
Rocky Mountains, Kripalu in Massachusetts, anywhere in Vermont.
Do you have any hobbies?
Writing/reading poetry, yoga.
Do you have any superstitions?
I never did until I once whistled backstage in the Marriott Marquis theater (during "The Woman In White") and my castmate Michael Ball was adamant that I leave the theater, turn around 3 times and then come back inside. Now I never whistle inside any theater.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you take with you?
My yoga mat, swiss army knife and a lifetime supply of matches.
What are your future plans?
I'd love to keep playing complicated women, and am always interested in professional surprises. I hope to continue cultivating fearlessness in my work and in my personal life, as well as furthering my education in a master's program at some point. There's so much to learn, and in many ways I feel like my life is just beginning.